The European Investment Bank has approved a US$245.7M loan as the initial tranche of a US$798.5M advance to finance the construction of a rail tunnel as part of a 76.5km rail project in Istanbul, Turkey. The remaining US$552.8M will be paid as construction of the 13.65km tunnel advances. The link includes a 1.35km section under the Bosphorus Strait. The Taisei/ Kumagai Gumi/Gama/Nurol JV, won a US$912M contract in May to build the 13.65km of tunnel. Completion is due by early 2009.