Turkey has held a groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of a third bridge over the Bosporus Strait connecting the Asian and European sides of Istanbul.

The eight-lane motorway and two-lane railway bridge, whose construction was inaugurated Wednesday, is expected to be one of the word's widest suspension bridges.

The project will cost $3 billion and aims to ease traffic in the highly congested city of nearly 15 million.

The bridge is being constructed by a Turkish and Italian consortium and is scheduled to open in 2015.

President Abdullah Gul said the new bridge will be called "Yavuz Sultan Selim", after the Ottoman sultan who reigned between 1512 and 1520.