CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WJZY) – A vital bridge between the Elizabeth neighborhood and Plaza Midwood is now the center of a lawsuit.
The contractor, Johnson Brothers Corporation, claims the City of Charlotte didn’t pay the bill.
This 27-page lawsuit filed in Mecklenburg County Superior Court claims the City of Charlotte still owes $115 million for the bridge project.
The Hawthorne Lane Bridge connects Central Avenue to 7th Street and runs above Independence Boulevard. The City Lynx Gold line runs across it.
“The bridge is done, and we can walk past it. Having the Gold Line there has been really great to get to Uptown,” Lauren Parish, who lives in the neighborhood, said.
In 2017, the city shut down the bridge to remove and replace it. What was supposed to take less than two years took more than three years.
“There has been a lot of construction in the area, so traffic is backed up when there’s anything out there, so this bridge itself is very vital,” Kirk Brawley, who lives in the area, said.
A new lawsuit claims the City of Charlotte failed to pay the contractor Johnson Brothers Corporation for the work. The company is suing the city for $115 million.
Johnson Brothers claim the city’s original plans were inaccurate, deficient, and inadequate requiring sweeping changes and plan revisions, delaying the project.
Throughout the project, Johnson Brothers claims the City of Charlotte avoided payment by complaining about the delays, which Johnson Brothers claimed were the city’s fault.
“I remember it took a long time to get it done, and I was very relieved when they finally completed it so I could walk across,” Kevin, who lives in the area, said.
JBC claims the city failed to shut down traffic completely, forced working hour restrictions, and didn’t coordinate with the utility company to get the work done.
The contractor claims it sent requests for payment to the city 70 times, and almost all of them were paid late, sometimes a year behind, and some still unpaid, creating “severe financial distress and hardship” to JBC.
JBC also claims their company is on the hook for more than $4 million to subcontractors.
A spokesperson for the City of Charlotte says they don’t comment on pending lawsuits. Johnson Brothers Corporation also declined an interview about the lawsuit.