HICKORY, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — The City of Hickory has filed a lawsuit over the February arch collapse.
The incident happened on February 18, 2022, after the wooden arches spanning the Rudy Wright Bridge fell during a heavy rainstorm. Thankfully, no one was hurt.
But now, the City of Hickory is suing three construction companies; Neil Grading and Construction Company, Inc., Dane Construction, Inc., and Western Wood Structures, Inc.
“The nature and purpose of this action is to recover from the Defendants damages that have been and will continue to be incurred by the City of Hickory as a result of the arch collapse,” the lawsuit states.
The large wood arches were the centerpiece of the Hickory City Walk project that connects Lenoir-Rhyne University with downtown. The pedestrian bridge crosses over NC 127.
In April 2021, the project hid a roadblock due to “concerns brought to the contractor’s attention during installation.”
A city spokesperson said a section of the wood arched showed signs of “stress” and construction was stopped out of an “abundance of caution.” Engineers with the arch’s manufacturer, Western Wood Structures, Inc., inspected the structure and came up with a plan to reinforce it at that time.
“I would hate for it to fall down on somebody under the bridge or on the train. It would suck,” Hickory resident Emily Sypher told Queen City News in May 2021.
City officials said the “iconic” structure cost $752,743 and was paid for by a bond referendum approved by voters in 2014.
Copy of the lawsuit below: