Hawthorne Lane Bridge contractor sues City of Charlotte for $115M

CHARLOTTE — The contractor in charge of a Charlotte bridge project is suing the city for $115 million alleging a breach of contract.

The contractor, Johnson Brothers Corporation, said it won a bid for the project in November 2016 to replace the Hawthorne Lane Bridge over Independence Boulevard. The goal was to make the bridge streetcar-accessible and renovate its other infrastructure.

In a lengthy civil lawsuit, JBC outlines a series of revisions, payment issues and mutual mistakes caused by the city that company claims cost it money.

“The city’s provided design included numerous errors, omissions and discrepancies,” the lawsuit alleges.


Channel 9 covered the bridge demolition and rebuilding when crews first shut it down in 2017. They built the Gold Line extension from Johnson C. Smith University to Plaza Midwood.

Crews had to stop work in 2019 because the city said the contractor ordered the wrong size girders. The bridge finally opened in December 2020.

In the lawsuit, JBC said the issue was a result of errors made by the city. When JBC says it offered alternative solutions to complete the bridge with the original materials, the contractor says the city balked.

“Instead, the city chose to disregard the proposals, refused to analyze a time and cost-effective solution, and mandated a full ‘remove and replace’ option,” the lawsuit reads.

In addition, the lawsuit claims the contractor “encountered massive alterations to the original plans and specifications and major changes to the contracted scope of work” that were “materially and drastically changing (to) the character and scope of the project as represented by the city at the time of bid.”

When asked for a response to the lawsuit, the City of Charlotte told Channel 9 they had no comment.

(WATCH BELOW: ‘It’s really exciting’: Hawthorne Lane Bridge reopens to cyclists, pedestrians)