Neighbors frustrated with Hawthorne Bridge delays

A construction project has created a headache for drivers in the Elizabeth neighborhood. Hawthorne Lane is closed between East 8th and Bay streets and the end is nowhere in sight.

The Hawthorne Bridge, which was set to open in March, has been pushed back indefinitely. One restaurant says the construction has put it out of business.

Brown paper covers the doors and windows at a restaurant on Central Avenue. Another business gone belly up near Hawthorne Bridge.

"It feels like the entire city is under construction right now," said Hawthorne Pizza General Manager Christopher Mullis.

The construction has taken its toll on businesses in the area. The Kickstand, a burger bar, closed its doors Thursday morning after ten years in business. Its sister restaurant, Hawthorne Pizza, has also taken a hit.

"I feel like we've been lied to at every stage of this project by the city and the contractor."

Construction on the Hawthorne bridge was in the home stretch. It was set to open in 3 short months at the end of March. But a major mishap has the project on hold until the city and contractor can figure out a solution.

"Apparently there was a defect in the structural steel that was ordered for the bridge and it's missing some sort of curve," said Mullis who attended the Charlotte Area Transit meeting on Monday.

He says this leaves businesses and their workers in limbo.

"It's about time to get this mess out of the way. It's been a really long time."

For now, there's no end in sight. Fox 46 asked when the project will be complete and we were told, "additional meetings are being held with the contractor to develop a final solution to determine impacts to the project schedule."

Here’s the full response FOX 46 received from CATS:

"During the recent work to set girders for the Hawthorne Lane Bridge over eastbound Independence Boulevard (US 74), a problem was identified with the girder alignment. Because the girders do not fit the specifications for alignment, bridge work has stopped. The vertical alignment of the girders is not in tolerance. This means, the curvature in the girders does not fit required contract specifications.

The project contractor has been notified that the steel girders are not acceptable in their current state. Staff is working closely with the contractor as they develop a solution to this issue and also restructure the remaining work on the CityLYNX Gold Line Phase 2 project to minimize overall schedule impact.

The project management team will provide more information as final plans are developed with the contractor."

 Frequently Asked Questions

  • Why has construction stopped on the Hawthorne Lane Bridge?

A problem with girder alignment was identified when the steel girders were placed over the eastbound lanes of Independence Boulevard (US74). Because the girders do not fit the specifications for alignment, work has stopped. The vertical alignment of the girders is not in tolerance. This means, the curvature in the girders does not fit required contract specifications.

  • Who is at fault?

Per City contract, it is the responsibility of the contractor to construct the bridge per plans. Staff is working closely with the contractor to resolve the issue and develop a solution.

  • How long will it take to fix?

Additional meetings are being held with the contractor to develop a final solution to determine impacts to the project schedule.

  • How are you going to fix this?

Staff is working closely with the contractor to resolve the issue and develop a solution.

  • What will this cost taxpayers?   

At this time, we have not identified any additional costs to the project.

  • How much will this delay the project overall?

The bridge will not be complete in March 2019. Staff is working with the contractor to resequence the work to minimize overall project delays.

  • How do we plan to be efficient while this is resolved?

The City is working with the contractor to reschedule other components of the project. Work will continue along West Trade Street in Uptown and the Historic West End as well as on Hawthorne Lane in Elizabeth.

  • Are the girders safe to drive under?

Absolutely. The girders are securely anchored to the bridge end bents. The alignment issue has to do with the elevation of the bridge not the structural integrity.