Road collapses near ODTÜ construction after water pipe blast

Road collapses near ODTÜ construction after water pipe blast

Road collapses near ODTÜ construction after water pipe blast

Ankara Metropolitan Municipality workers’ work in the area reportedly led to the collapse of the road that provides access to the campus’ entrance. DHA photo

A burst water pipe has led to a collapse in a section of asphalt road close to the construction of a controversial road through the Middle East Technical University’s (ODTÜ) campus in Ankara.

The collapse took place at around 9 a.m. on Nov. 4, with the only incident involving an international student who had fallen within the hole created by the collapse, only to manage to climb out of it without injury.

While excavation work was being carried out near the asphalt road close to the campus’ A4 entrance, a water pipe had burst, resulting in a flooding of the construction site. The flooding, weakening the asphalt road, affected a portion of the road to collapse. 

“As soon as we saw a boy walking along the road while we were heading towards the campus by cab, we heard a loud noise. When I looked back, the boy escaped from my sight. I stopped the cab at that moment and went to the collapse. The student held on to the edge of the road and escaped the danger of tumbling down into the abyss. He climbed out on his own, then we accompanied him through till the campus,” eyewitness Zeynep Gürel, a postgraduate student at ODTÜ told reporters.

Students and academics were forced to abandon buses and vehicles and walk to the campus after the area was cordoned off by the flooding.

Students, who said the blast was the third since the beginning of construction on Oct. 18, voiced their frustrations in reaction to the incident to municipality officials while entering the campus.

The road construction, linking the Eskişehir Highway to the Konya Highway, is slated to pass through the ODTÜ forest. The construction work earlier caused tensions between Ankara Metropolitan Municipality and ODTÜ students, which then erupted into open clashes on Oct. 19 after municipal workers entered the campus at night during Eid al-Adha (Kurban Bayramı) to cut down thousands of trees without permission.

The road project has sparked protests that have intensified since Sept. 6. Police have repeatedly resorted to water cannon and tear gas to disperse protestors on the ODTÜ campus, sparking solidarity rallies around the country. Ahmet Atakan, 22, was allegedly killed by police on Sept. 10 in the southern province of Antakya in one such solidarity protest.