I-80 Bridge Study Will Consider Bison Bridge Proposal

Apr 5, 2021

A number of factors will determine whether Chad Pregracke's Bison Bridge proposal becomes a reality.

The main one is the I-80 Mississippi River Bridge Planning Study.

Michelle O'Neill reports.


Twelve years ago, many Quad Cities drivers endured months of traffic headaches when emergency repairs nearly shut down the I-80 bridge between LeClaire and Rapids City. That was after the interstate bridge over the Mississippi River had been widened -- twice.

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Credit submitted / IL DOT

Paul Wappel, Illinois DOT spokesman, says it's obvious something needs to be done because the I-80 Mississippi River Bridge is reaching the end of its useful life, and it cannot be widened.

  • Current design standards are not met.
  • Traffic volumes will increase by 2045.
  • Its crash history shows it has potential safety issues.
  • And maintenance and repairs are increasingly expensive. 

The current I-80 bridge study kicked off last spring with a virtual public meeting. (See below or click HERE for the videorecording of the meeting and materials used during the virtual presentation.)

The Illinois DOT took public comments about what to do with the 55-year-old bridge and nine miles of highway from Middle Road in Bettendorf to the I-88 interchange in East Moline.

Wappel confirms Illinois DOT officials did hold a meeting with Chad Pregracke to hear about his Bison Bridge park proposal. He says it will be considered along with everything else the public brings to the attention of the department.

Initially, more than $300 million has been set aside in the Illinois DOT budget for the I-80 bridge project. That includes engineering, design, environmental studies, utility adjustments, and construction.