North Carolina city files lawsuit over collapsed arches

HICKORY, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina city is suing three companies over the collapse of decorative, 40-ton wooden arches along a pedestrian walkway in February.

The lawsuit was filed by the city of Hickory in Catawba County Superior Court on Wednesday, the Hickory Daily Record reported. It names Neill Grading & Construction Co., Mooresville-based subcontractor Dane Construction and Oregon-based arch manufacturer Western Wood Structures.

The city contends that the arch collapse “could not and would not have occurred in the absence of negligence by one or more of the defendants.” An official of Neill Grading wasn’t immediately available for comment Thursday.

Neill Grading hired Dane Construction to design, build and install the arches. Dane brought in Western Wood for design and construction, according to the lawsuit.

The arches were the centerpiece of a pedestrian thoroughfare in downtown Hickory called City Walk. They fell on Feb. 18, more than six months after being installed. The collapse damaged part of a pedestrian bridge under the arches as well as an adjacent bridge.

There had been issues when the second arch was being installed last year after part of the wood had splintered, city officials said. It was repaired using a combination of adhesives, clamps and screws.

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