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Bicyclists & Pedestrians Must Wait to Use New, I-74 Bridge Trail

2021 11 04 Lunda eastbound REC TRAIL CROPPED dji_0098.jpg
Iowa DOT
The trail is attached to the upstream side of the new, eastbound lanes of the I-74 bridge over the Mississippi River. It includes an overlook in the middle.

Shipping delays and decisions about safety have delayed the opening of the recreational trail on the new, I-74 bridge.

Last month when the eastbound lanes opened, the project team said the 14-foot wide path would open before the end of the year.

But Bettendorf City Administrator, Decker Ploehn, says the glass for the trail's centerpiece overlook has not been delivered yet, nor have the aluminum barriers that will keep people from falling into the Mississippi River. Once those materials arrive, installation will take at least a few weeks.

Bettendorf and Moline will be responsible for maintenance of the pedestrian and bike path. And Bettendorf will take care of it for the first five years. Ploehn says the cities must decide the best way to do that, especially in the winter. And they're taking advantage of the extra time this month and next to make those decisions.

He says the snow can't be plowed with a truck because there's no room for it to pile up. It'll take a skid steer or other equipment to throw the snow over barriers and into the river.

Other questions include whether the trail surface will have to be brushed after plowing, and if it should be salted.

GEDC5261 bett entrance to i-74 rec trail.JPG
Michelle O'Neill
The recreational trail begins here in Bettendorf without a gate or other barrier on ribbon cutting day, Dec. 1st, 2021.

The delay in opening will also give public works employees time to safely practice clearing the trail without people using it at the same time.

Ploehn also says decisions must be made about when (and if) to close the path, and under what conditions. Currently, there are no gates or permanent barriers.

In addition, Bettendorf officials will discuss possible maintenance schedules and prioritize the work.

crowds on eastbound lanes CROPPED rec trail.jpg
Used with permission. © 2022 Iowa DOT
A police car is parked on the new recreation trail in the bottom right corner of the photo.

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