Hickory files lawsuit against three businesses following collapse of City Walk arches

The arches collapsed in February, damaging the Rudy Wright Bridge.
The arches collapsed in February, damaging the Rudy Wright Bridge.
Published: Apr. 29, 2022 at 11:57 AM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - The city of Hickory is suing three companies following the collapse of a pair of arches over a pedestrian bridge in February.

The arches were built over the Rudy Wright Bridge, which is part of the City Walk across N.C. Highway 127. The arches also run parallel to the Main Avenue Bridge and a Norfolk Southern bridge.

[Pair of recently raised wooden arches collapse over pedestrian bridge in Hickory]

The lawsuit names three parties: Neill Grading and Construction Company (which won the bid for the archway project) and two other subcontracted businesses - Dane Construction and Western Wood Structures.

The walkway was built as part of a bond package that passed in 2014. Construction on the arches started five years later and was completed on the weekend of April 17, 2021.

[Milestone reached as massive archway raised on Hickory’s City Walk project]

Not even a year later, the archways “catastrophically failed,” the lawsuit described, and collapsed in the early morning hours of Feb. 18, 2022, not even a year after construction was completed.

The incident caused damage to the Rudy Wright and Main Avenue bridges, and temporarily closed N.C. 127.

According to the lawsuit, Neill and Dane promised to repair and reopen the Rudy Wright Bridge at no cost to the city; however, the project was never finished. Part of the City Walk is still closed to the public.

The city says “substantial costs” will be needed for any future repairs or work on and above Rudy Wright Bridge because it is so close to three other bridges, all owned by third parties.

The lawsuit alleges negligence in the design, fabrication and/or installation of the arches, causing the collapse. The city is asking for $25,000 in damages.

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