City of Hickory will not independently investigate wooden arch collapse over bridge

Those arches collapsed in the early-morning hours of Feb. 18.
Those arches collapsed in the early-morning hours of Feb. 18.
Those arches collapsed in the early-morning hours of Feb. 18.(Source: WBTV)
Published: Mar. 2, 2022 at 5:49 PM EST
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HICKORY, N.C. (WBTV) – In a city council meeting, the City of Hickory says they will not be conducting an independent investigation into the collapse of two arches over the City Walk pedestrian bridge over Highway 27 on Feb. 18.

Officials say the city never accepted ownership of the arches. Officials say the project was technically incomplete until the DOT signs off and the city formally takes ownership.

Those arches collapsed in the early-morning hours of Feb. 18. A police report revealed that a vehicle crashed into debris from the arches right after they fell. The police report says the driver saw the arches collapse in front of him and had no reaction time to stop.

The North Carolina Department of Transportation owns the bridge, according to Hickory City Council. Therefore, the city does not have the authority to remove the arches, so other parties will have to remove them.

Related: Video of wooden arches collapsing over Hickory bridge released

The City of Hickory recently released video of the collapse of the two arches.

The wooden arches of the City Walk pedestrian bridge over Highway 127 collapsed around midnight on Feb. 18.

According to the city, Hickory officials reached out to businesses in the vicinity of the arches to see if any surveillance footage was available. Three videos were obtained and provided to contractors to assist in their investigation.

“The City is thankful that no one was hurt in this incident and looks forward to seeing the City Walk project through to completion,” city officials said in a news release.

Related: Pair of recently raised wooden arches collapse over pedestrian bridge in Hickory

It was March of 2021 when crews raised the first arch, made of Douglas Fir and spanning 178 feet and 60 feet tall. It was set in place on the City Walk footbridge over four-lane Highway 127. A second arch was put in place several weeks later.

The city’s focus is recouping the investment that taxpayers made. This now involves multiple contractors, multiple insurance companies, and multiple lawyers.

Moving forward, officials say the Hickory City Council will be updated confidentially on the situation.

The city says multiple groups are investigating and developing reports on why this happened. The city is not one of those groups investigating.

Officials say the insurance company advised the city not to get involved in the investigation.

The concern is if they do, it could hurt the claim and their ability to get money back from whoever was ultimately responsible.

The City of Hickory has released video of the collapse of the two arches over the City Walk pedestrian bridge over Highway 27.

The archway is a centerpiece in the two-mile-long City Walk that spans the city, with downtown Hickory’s Union Square in the middle.

City officials previously said the cost of the arches is approximately $752,743.66.

Adam Holcomb is the president of Dane Construction, the company who installed the arches. Holcomb says the company didn’t have many challenges putting the arches up. While a crack did develop during installation, they don’t believe the crack played a role in the failure.

According to Holcomb, glue was used to make the repair to the crack. Holcomb says wind may have been a contributing cause in the collapse, pointing to moving trees in the video. He also questions if it may have been a microburst.

Inspection teams were on site this past Saturday. Holcomb called videos of the collapse “amazing” and says the company is devastated and shocked this happened. Dane Construction employees are reportedly devastated because of the collapse.

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