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Quad Cities Celebrates Completion of New, I-74 Bridge, Open to Traffic Friday

Michelle O'Neill
The ribbon cutting ceremony for the new I-74 bridge

This morning's sunny skies matched the mood of all the elected officials and others who celebrated the completion of the new, I-74 bridge in the Quad Cities.

Four years ago, the construction team broke ground on the $1.2 billion project which includes the new, six-lane bridge and highway between Bettendorf's Middle Road and Moline's Avenue of the Cities.

All the Quad Cities mayors were on hand to thank the hundreds of people who helped build the bridge. East Moline Mayor Reggie Freeman reminded the crowd that the first span of the old, green I-74 bridge was built in 1935 for horses, carts, and pedestrians.

Michelle O'Neill
The governor of Illinois and several mayors listen to other speakers at the ceremony.

Illinois Governor JB Pritzker says the I-74 bridge is one of the country's primary Mississippi River crossings, and it'll provide safe transportation for commercial purposes and daily commutes for families.

After officials cut a ribbon in the middle of the new, east-bound lanes of the new bridge, crews prepared for the arrival of hundreds of people who signed up to walk on the new bridge in the afternoon.

Michelle O'Neill
The old, I-74 twin bridges

It should open to traffic within a week, and the old, eastbound bridge will close immediately. The new, westbound lanes opened about a year ago.

Project Facts and Milestones (from the Iowa DOT press release):

  • Construction of the new I-74 River Bridge began in July 2017.
  • The basket-handle arch on the Iowa-bound bridge was completed in May 2020.
  • The Iowa-bound bridge opened in November 2020.
  • The arch on the Illinois-bound bridge was completed in May 2021.
  • The old suspension bridges are anticipated to be removed in 2022.
  • Contractors on the project include Lunda Construction Co., Helm Group, McCarthy Improvement, Kraemer North America, Walsh Group, Valley Construction, and Langman Construction.
  • The design firm of the original I-74 suspension bridges, Modjeski and Masters, was also on the design team for the new structure.
  • The river bridge is approximately 3,464 feet or 0.66 miles in length.
  • The twin, basket-handle arches stand approximately 164 feet above the roadway.
  • Two full-size shoulders on each bridge will improve maintenance operations and allow for easier access for crew members and emergency vehicles.
  • On average, over 450 people worked on the project each day during peak construction.
  • The interstate project includes over 240,000 cubic yards of concrete, 30 million pounds of rebar, and 70 million pounds of structural steel.
  • The new I-74 structures will include over 31 miles of conduit, 405 roadway luminaires/lights, and 928 aesthetic lights.
  • The new bridge will have LED, color-changing lights, operated by the cities of Bettendorf and Moline.
  • In 2016, the Iowa and Illinois departments of transportation and environmental agencies undertook extensive efforts to relocate more than 140,000 mussels considered endangered or threatened species, prior to construction. This relocation effort was one of the largest in the country.
  • There have been over 80 companies from the Quad Cities and surrounding areas working on or supplying materials for the project.

For more information, go to I74RiverBridge.com.

I-74 Opening.mp4

Officially, Michelle's title is WVIK News Editor which really just means she wears many hats, doing everything there is to do in the newsroom and around the radio station. She's a multimedia journalist and serves as Assignment Editor, reporter, radio news producer, copy editor, announcer, news anchor/host, and photographer. She also writes and produces content for WVIK.org and social media and trains interns.
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