CATS not ruling out demolition, project delays after bridge construction failure

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Charlotte's controversial streetcar project now in jeopardy because of botched bridge construction in the Elizabeth neighborhood.

Construction on the new bridge over Independence Boulevard has been delayed indefinitely.

Not only is the construction causing traffic problems, but it could also delay the streetcar extension.

Neighbors have described the construction to Channel 9 as a nightmare.

Now, officials aren’t ruling out having to possibly demolish the bridge and start over.

On Hawthorne Lane, where crews have been working to construct a bridge, there are fences, barriers and construction material scattered everywhere.

Officials have not said when the mess will be clear and the job done.

Last week, Channel 9 reported that work on the Hawthorne Lane bridge had to stop because the girders don't fit.

There’s still no plan for what happens next.

The Charlotte Area Transit System is not ruling out the potential for demolition of what has already been built or for the entire streetcar project to have its opening delayed.

One thing for certain is the bridge will not be finished by March, as planned.

Charlotte Councilman Larken Egleston, who represents the area, said he hopes the disruption is minimal.

“The people right around that area are eager to have the construction project over and be able to walk across it and drive across it again,” Egleston said.

Egleston said the City Council will get to the bottom of the issue.

CATS is blaming it on Texas-based contractor Johnson Bros.

Officials say no tax dollars will be needed to fix the issue.

This project has caused nearby restaurants to lose customers.

Earlier this month, Kickstand Burgers, on Central Avenue near Hawthorne Lane, announced it was closing for good because of the construction.

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