I-80 Bridge Project: Next Step, Narrow the Options
The I-80 Mississippi River bridge team will now examine seven alternatives for improving and replacing the bridge between LeClaire and Rapids City.
On Wednesday, more than 600 people participated in a virtual, public meeting (see video below).
The project team includes representatives from the Illinois and Iowa DOTs plus Parsons Transportation.
Mark Peterson, from Parsons, says all seven alternatives will feature the same number of lanes and shoulders.
And the project includes improving the I-80 and I-88 interchange.
Tony Pakeltis, also from Parsons, says the next step is for the team to narrow the alternatives based on a number of factors (see chart). Another public meeting will be held later this year to present those recommendations. Then a final, preferred alternative may be presented next year.
During the public meeting, lots of people asked about the bison bridge park proposal. But it's not part of the study because federal law requires the process to be limited to transportation issues.
The project website is I80MississippiBridge, and public comments will be accepted through May 25th (to become part of the official record).
The team says say the existing bridge is "fatally flawed" and cannot be widened or repaired to meet current standards. "no-build" alternative will continue to be part of the study as a baseline for comparison.
Alternative one is to close I-80, tear down the existing bridge, and build a new one in the same place. The downside is all I-80 traffic would have to be detoured to I-280 (or I-74) for about four years.
Alternatives two and three (referred to as "parallel" options) include building a new bridge 50 feet to the east or west of the existing bridge. Then traffic would move to the new bridge while the old one is torn down and another span built. And I-80 traffic could be maintained throughout the project.
Alternatives four and five (referred to a "companion bridges") are similar, but two new spans would be built 20 feet east or west of the existing bridge. I-80 traffic would continue during construction.
The last two alternatives, six and seven (referred to as "off-alignment" options) include completely new alignments, with a lot more new highway construction. And again, I-80 traffic could continue during the project.