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Celebrated Completion of I-74 Bridge Over Mississippi in Quad Cities
Iowa Ag Connection - 12/02/2021

Gov. JB Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Transportation Wednesday joined with the Federal Highway Administration, community leaders and residents of the Quad Cities to celebrate the upcoming completion of the new Interstate 74 Mississippi River Bridge, one of the biggest projects in state history and a transformational investment in infrastructure for the region. The new bridge is the latest project delivered under Gov. Pritzker to improve safety and mobility, enhance quality of life, and position an important region of the state for economic opportunity for future generations.

"The I-74 Mississippi River Bridge has long been a critical east-west link in the nation's transportation network. Alongside our Iowan and federal partners, we're taking a critical piece of infrastructure that has been mainly untouched since 1960 and turning it into the centerpiece residents deserve," said Pritzker. "This is one of the largest projects in state history -- and proof that Illinois is laying the foundation for safer and shorter commutes, while creating and sustaining hundreds of thousands of jobs across the state. It's a win for the businesses and people of Illinois, a win for the businesses and people of Iowa, and a win for the entire Midwest."

After more than four years of construction, the I-74 Mississippi River Bridge is anticipated to open to traffic in early December, delivering four lanes in each direction and providing improved safety for all travelers. The bridge includes a 14-foot-wide bike and pedestrian path, with a scenic overlook and connections to existing paths in Bettendorf and Moline.

The approximately $1 billion project includes twin river bridges, new interchanges, ramps and local road reconfigurations to improve mobility and operation, delivering safer and more reliable travel for motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians alike. The cost of the project was split between Iowa and Illinois, with the Iowa Department of Transportation serving as the lead agency during construction.

"The I-74 bridge is yet another example of bold leadership under Gov. Pritzker to deliver the type of improvements in infrastructure that keep Illinois competitive for many, many years to come," said Illinois Transportation Secretary Omer Osman. "This beautiful new structure is especially meaningful because of our partnership with Iowa and our work with federal, state and local stakeholders.

"The completion of the I-74 Mississippi River Bridge has been a long time coming for the people of the Quad Cities," U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) said. "Nearly 90 percent of the project was funded with federal dollars--an effort dating back 20 years. The new bridge is key to the economic future of the region and will improve safety. I'm grateful to the men and women who worked so hard to build this bridge and thank our state and local partners for their commitment to this effort."

"Projects like the I-74 Mississippi River Bridge are a great example of the multiplying effect federal resources can have on state and local infrastructure projects," U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) said. "They show the impact these federal resources can have to improve the lives of so many in our communities. I'm proud of Governor Pritzker's leadership and all of our local leaders for the completion of this project, which shows the great work we can do when all levels of government come together. I'll keep working with Senator Durbin to provide federal support for important infrastructure improvements all across our state."

"The Mississippi River is one of the most iconic and important waterways in the world, and as of today, we have a brand new way to cross it. I want to thank everyone involved in making this new bridge a reality -- From Governor Pritzker's leadership to the workers who have spent the last four years building it," said U.S. House Representative Cheri Bustos (D-17th). "So many people contributed to this moment -- and they are the reason we're able to open this beautiful new bridge today. I'm so grateful for their work underwater, on the water and up in the air over the last few years to build this incredible structure that will serve the Quad Cities for decades to come."

Connecting Iowa and Illinois, I-74 serves as an important east-west link in the nation's transportation network. The I-74 corridor serves as a primary crossing of the Mississippi River in the Quad Cities area, carrying more than 45% of total vehicular traffic across the river.

The original bridge over the river opened in 1935, with a second span finished in 1960. The bridges were made part of the I-74 corridor in the 1970s, when the Iowa and Illinois departments of transportation took over co-ownership and joint maintenance.

Other project facts and milestones:

- Construction of the new 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.

- The bridge is approximately 3,464 feet or 0.66 miles in length.

- The twin, basket-handle arches stand approximately 164 feet above I-74.

- Two full-size shoulders on each bridge will improve maintenance operations and allow for easier access for crew members and emergency vehicles.

- On average, more than 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. The 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.

"Today marks the culmination of a project decades in the making and is yet another example of the regionalism and interstate cooperation that the Quad Cities does best," said Illinois State Representative Mike Halpin (D-Rock Island). "Other communities might have seen the river as a barrier, but this new I-74 bridge demonstrates, both literally and figuratively, our interconnectedness. While there are many who contributed to making this day possible, the greatest credit goes to the men and women who labored each day to erect this beautiful piece of engineering."

"An abundant spirit of collaboration and cooperation shaped this construction effort and for that, we in the city of Moline are immensely grateful. This project opens a wealth of new possibilities and for a future marked by increased connectivity, community, commerce, and quality of place. We have tremendous hope for the future," said Sangeetha Rayapati, Mayor of Moline.

Under the leadership of Pritzker, IDOT is making historic investments throughout the state, progress made possible by the historic, bipartisan Rebuild Illinois capital program. Through the program, the state is investing $33.2 billion into the state's aging transportation system, creating jobs and promoting economic growth. Rebuild Illinois is not only the largest capital program in state history but also the first one that touches all modes of Illinois transportation: roads and bridges, transit, waterways, freight and passenger rail, aviation, and bicycle and pedestrian accommodations.

In the Quad Cities alone, Rebuild is restoring the I-280 bridge, improving the Quad Cities International Airport, and building a new Rock Island location for the YWCA -- all projects that will make the region more resilient. With $17 billion from President Biden's federal infrastructure plan coming to Illinois, more outstanding improvements are still to come.

Through year two of Rebuild Illinois, IDOT has made approximately $5.2 billion in improvements to more than 3,000 miles of highway and almost 300 bridges, as well as almost 450 additional safety improvements.


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