HICKORY, N.C. -- No one wants to claim responsibility for fixing a bridge that was washed out by heavy rain. The bridge is one of two ways into a neighborhood, which means there is only one way in and out now. Neighbors are fed up, so they decided to “Get McGinty” to get the ball rolling to try get something done.
It was a very hard rain that washed out the bridge three years ago.
“It was July 2013 and the rain was horrendous” says one neighbor.
The ensuing torrent of water took out the roadway and part of the bridge on 24th Street Place NE, and since then, nothing has been done.
Another neighbor says “it’s horrible, it looks so dangerous.”
It doesn’t take a genius to see that this is an accident just waiting to happen. This street doesn’t have streetlights; at night it's pitch black. Driving down this way accidentally could be deadly, the only thing here is this barrier.
Neighbors say there have been times when the barriers are down because kids have been playing here, so no one would see them.
The guardrails are suspended in mid-air over the collapsed road and there are no fences, just a looming danger and attractive place for curious kids.
And then there is the possible delay in emergency services with one of only two ins and outs now cut off.
One neighbor said, “I know we had an ambulance come through on our street and they had to go all the way around where at one time, they would have cut right through here.”
So who’s to blame for not fixing this?
The state says it’s not one of their roads, so not their problem, and the county bowed out saying roads aren’t our responsibility, so not their problem either.
NBC Charlotte found a property deed that says the roads were built privately. One of the property deeds says the “maintenance of all the streets and roads in the subdivision shall be the responsibility of Keener Shook and Tarleton,” the subdividers.
Problem is, their partnership dissolved in 1994 and two of the men have since passed away. An attorney for the surviving partner says the roads were offered to the city decades ago, but one unknown neighbor was a hold out, so no one owns the responsibility for this road and this mess.
“It’s like we’re forgotten, yeah,” says a frustrated neighbor.
You’re probably thinking the developers and their estates are still then responsible. The attorney we spoke with says the limitations of their involvement has long passed.
As for Catawba County, they said, “We don’t do roads and bridges, no county does.”
And the state? They said they’d take the road, once it was fixed and brought up to their standards.
In the meantime, we have reached out to a local congressman to investigate some type of funding source that might be available. We just simply refuse to believe that there is no solution to this problem. It may take us a long time, but we’ll keep working it.