New I-80 bridge "preferred alternative" requires demolition of existing bridge
During Wednesday's public meeting, the team announced Alternative #5 has the lowest impact on homes and businesses, plus the environment.
Alternative #5 calls for first building the Illinois-bound lanes just downstream or west of the existing I-80 bridge. Then traffic would be moved to the new bridge and the old bridge torn down. Then the Iowa-bound bridge would be built where the existing bridge is located.
That means a bison bridge park would not be possible. Steve Robery, from the Illinois Department of Transportation, says the team had to follow the National Environmental Policy Act. It requires the team to evaluate options based solely on the purpose and need of the project plus impacts on existing homes, businesses, and natural resources. So, the team could not include the concept of bison or a bison bridge park in its study.
The preferred alternative would allow traffic to continue on I-80 during construction. It would feature six lanes, including two auxiliary lanes for entering and exiting the interstate.
The team also selected Alternative B for the reconfiguration of the I-80, I-88 interchange. It features a 3/4ths cloverleaf design with one direct, outer ramp.
People have two weeks to submit comments on the project website, I80MississippiBridge.com. The deadline is November 29th.