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The project includes a 13.6-kilometre (8.5 mi) crossing of the Bosphorus and the upgrade of 63 kilometres (39 mi) of suburban rail lines to create a 76.6-kilometre (47.6 mi) high-capacity passenger line between Gebze and Halkalı, along with the provision of 440 electric multiple unit cars.
In addition, the excavation has uncovered the oldest evidence of settlement in Istanbul, with artifacts, including amphorae, pottery fragments, shells, pieces of bone, horse skulls, and nine human skulls found in a bag, dating back to 6,000 BCE.
The waterlogged, silty soil on which the tunnel is constructed has been known to liquefy during an earthquake; to solve this problem, engineers injected industrial grout down to 24 metres (79 ft) below the seabed to keep it stable.
The walls of the tunnel are made of waterproof concrete coated with a steel shell, each independently watertight.
The total cost of the project is expected to be approximately 2.5 billion US dollars.
In late 2009, costs were expected to increase by approximately 500 million US dollars due to the archaeological delays.
On October 29, 2013, the first stage of the Marmaray project, covering the underground connection between Europe and Asia, was inaugurated.