HICKORY, N.C. (WBTV) – Two arches that were over a downtown pedestrian bridge in Hickory have collapsed overnight.
WBTV spoke with those at WACB 860 AM in Taylorsville who took a report saying that the wooden arches of the City Walk pedestrian bridge over Highway 127 collapsed around midnight.
The highway has since reopened, but the Main Avenue and the Rudy Wright bridges will remain closed until further notice.
#BREAKING The arches over the Rudy Wright Bridge (over Hwy 127) in Hickory have collapsed. This is part of City Walk on Main Ave NE (near the FPS Pawn Shop, Hickory Fire Station). No word yet on what led to collapse…but we’re live on @WBTV_News as we work through what happened. pic.twitter.com/ab6MjmeutZ
— Sharonne Hayes (@SharonneHayesTV) February 18, 2022
A system that brought rain and heavy winds moved through the area overnight. However, it is not known if the weather had any impact on the collapse of the arches.
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.
“We are saddened by this unfortunate event,” stated Mayor Hank Guess in a press release. “Thankfully, no injuries were reported and collateral damage to the surrounding area appears minimal. We look forward to reopening this section of the City Walk.”
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.
Although the City Walk was opened in December 2021, the project has not been closed out with the contractor, according to city officials. A performance bond and warranty are in place to cover all aspects of the City Walk project and to protect the public’s financial investment.
A second arch was put in place several weeks later.
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.
The walkway is part of a bond package that passed in 2014.
Voters approved $40 million in bonds and the city was able to more than double that with grant money.
City officials previously said the cost of the arches is approximately $752,743.66.
The City Walk contractor Neill Grading & Construction and engineering firm John Wood Group PLC are currently assessing the damage, and an investigation is underway to determine the contributing factors.
Until that investigation is complete, the debris cannot be removed, according to city officials.
The North Carolina Department of Transportation has opened N.C. 127. The Main Avenue Bridge and the Rudy Wright Bridge remain closed until further notice.
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