Ancient bridge in Turkey's west collapses during restoration

Murat Gürkan / Aydın, Sep 2 () - An almost 600-year-old historic bridge in the Aegean province of Aydın will be rebuilt after it collapsed this past January during restoration works.

The bridge over the Dandalaz creek in the Karacasu district of Aydın, which also boasts the ancient city of Aphrodisias nearby, collapsed on Jan. 30 during renovations.

The bridge, which was built in 1426 on the order of Ottoman Sultan Murad II, began undergoing renovations in September 2014. The bridge was suspended with a system weighing 120 tons of steel, but a part of the bridge collapsed in a landslide in January, a report prepared by authorities stated.

Mustafa Büyükyapıcı, the mayor of Karacasu from the Republican People’s Party (CHP), said the collapse had led to the destruction of the historic texture of the area.

“A catwalk and abutment were installed under the bridge when the restoration works started. The catwalk and bridge collapsed with the floodwater. Our bridge, whose stones had been numbered one by one and kept, suffered great damage while many of its stones probably went missing with the flood,” Büyükyapıcı said.

Stating that the contractor and the relevant state authorities needed to be punished for the incident, Büyükyapıcı said no attempt had been made in this regard.

Abdurrahman Çabuk, the chairman of the Çabuk Construction Company, the contractor company which was responsible for the restoration, said neither the company nor project was at fault for the collapse, adding that they had withdrawn from the process as a new project was needed for the restoration of the bridge.

“A piece with a length of 30 meters, height of 15 meters and width of five meters broke off due to floodwaters and crushed the catwalk’s leg. With the flood, the crack on the floor where the leg of the bridge rests was also revealed,” said Çabuk, who quit his post as the vice president of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) İzmir branch to run for parliament during the June 7 elections.

The risk of landslides continues in the region and a more thorough restoration project is needed, Çabuk said.

An official from İzmir’s 2nd Regional Directorate, who wished to remain anonymous, said they had warned the Council of Monuments that such a restoration would be too risky, and suggested demolishing the bridge totally, numbering the bridge’s stones one-by-one and re-constructing it as a true copy by using the original stones, but were rebuffed.

“Afterwards there was a landslide due to floodwater and, unfortunately, both the bridge and the catwalk collapsed. In other words, the risk that we initially foresaw occurred,” the official said.

“Now we are preparing a new project. As we could not persuade the General Directorate of Cultural and Natural Heritage, we will demolish the rest of the [bridge] and rebuild it as a true copy,” the source said.



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