Families consider legal action over washed-out bridge

by: Dave Faherty Updated:


HICKORY, N.C. - Families in one neighborhood in Hickory are concerned tonight that a washed-out bridge could slow firefighters and paramedics during an emergency. 

It has been more than seven months since flood waters took out part of a road in the Hickory Woods subdivision. 

The repairs could be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. 

Channel 9 was in the St. Stephens area along Snow Creek last summer when it flooded after a foot of rain fell in Catawba County. Nearly eight months later, 24th Street Place in northeast Hickory is still a mess near the creek, causing families to drive miles out of the way to avoid the washed-out bridge. 

"I'm worried that if an ambulance or a fire truck needed  to get over here quickly, it would (be) minutes that would be lost and that is important,” neighbor Melanie Holmes said.

Catawba County said not only are response times delayed, but not being able to use the road cost the school district $14,000 a year extra in fuel cost.   

"We take if when we go to the grocery store, the library...pretty much everywhere. So it is a big inconvenience,” neighbor Gina Raines said.

Channel 9 has learned the developer, Shook Tarlton, is responsible for the private roadway, but when we called the developer today, they told us they weren't aware of the problem even though the companies name is listed right on the county plat.   Greg Sakatos has spent months trying to get help to make the repairs here.  Like many he is frustrated and losing hope. 

"Right now it does not look like it is going to be fixed aside from a miracle.   Something...I've given up. I'm not sure what it is going to take,” said neighbor Greg Sakatos.

Seventy of the neighbors have come together to hire an attorney in hopes of getting the developer to make  the repairs here.  He never returned Channel 9’s calls Monday.