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We made it! What a awesome amenity! Best arch on the Mississippi! Officials Celebrate New I-74 Bridge

Quad Cities mayors, government officials, and community leaders will continue to brag about the new I-74 bridge for years to come. Last week, they shared their excitement during a ribbon cutting ceremony on the eastbound lanes of the bridge.

Each and every person who spoke during the formal ribbon cutting ceremony on Wednesday described the bridge and highway project in glowing terms.

That includes Tim Marshall, Iowa's Division Administrator for the Federal Highway Administration, who is very proud of the project. The bridges are designed to last 100 years. And he said the federal government paid for about 80% of it, or more than $800,000.

As Bettendorf Mayor Gallagher thanked those who tied the rebar, mixed the concrete, and bolted the steel, he also mentioned a few challenges -- leaving out the infamous zipper merge. Those challenges include a long, record-breaking flood on the Mississippi River in 2019, a derecho in the summer of 2020, a polar vortex, and last but not least, a pandemic.

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Michelle O'Neill
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WVIK News
The new recreational trail and overlook should open later this month.

Gallagher can't wait to welcome visitors who will come to use the new, 14-foot wide recreation trail and outlook in the middle of the new eastbound bridge.

By the time East Moline Mayor Reggie Freeman was called to the podium, most of the thank yous had already been expressed repeatedly.

He said the old, green twin bridges just downstream from the new one was built in 1935 and allowed pedestrians, horses, carts, and dogs to cross the river. Then in 1959, the second span was added.

Freeman says the new bridge will accommodate 80,000 vehicles per day. And he added that "We've come a long ways, baby, a long ways."

The eastbound lanes opened to traffic on Thurday, December 2nd, 2021 at about 9:00 P.M. The old bridge is now permanently closed and demolition will continue.

The bridge project website with more information is HERE.

Officially, Michelle's title is WVIK News Editor. She does everything there is to do in the newsroom and whatever may be needed around the radio station.
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