Arches weighing 40 tons collapse along pedestrian walkway

The Hickory Daily Record

Hickory, N.C. – An investigation is underway in North Carolina after decorative wooden arches weighing 40 tons collapsed along a pedestrian walkway in the city of Hickory.

No one was hurt after the arches fell around midnight, although a nearby bridge was damaged, city officials told the Hickory Daily Record Friday morning. A possible cause has not been given.

This aerial image take with a drone, shows collapsed wooden arches Friday morning, Feb. 18, 2022, in Hickory, N.C. The arches are an artistic component of a pedestrian bridge named for former Hickory Mayor Wright, which itself is part of the City Walk.
Traffic flows under the lite arches over N.C. 127, after the dedication of the RudyWright bridge.

The arches were erected less than a year ago. They had been a centerpiece of a pedestrian thoroughfare in downtown called City Walk. The project was funded through a bond referendum. The arches cost about $750,000 and made up about 5% of the $14.3 million City Walk contract.

Burk Wyatt and Frank Young walk across the new Rudy Wright bridge on City Walk prior to the dedication and lighting of the arches.

Hickory Mayor Hank Guess said last spring that the arches would be “safe” and would “last forever.”

This aerial image take with a drone, shows the collapsed wooden arches Friday morning, Feb. 18, 2022, in Hickory, N.C.

They mayor said Friday morning that he was grateful no one was hurt. Taxpayers will not bear any costs from the collapse because of the warranty on the arches, he said.

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

Guess told the newspaper Friday that the city “did everything according to the rules and according to the professionals, the architects, the engineers. I don’t know what else we could have done that we didn’t do.”

Battalion Chief Jeff Barger ropes off the sidewalk of N.C. 127 where the arches collapsed early Friday morning, Feb. 18, 2022, in Hickory, N.C.