A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held by the Iowa and Illinois departments of transportation, the Federal Highway Administration, and the Quad Cities communities on Wednesday to celebrate opening the new I-74 Mississippi River Bridge to traffic.
Governor Kim Reynolds (IA) provided an official statement and Governor J.B. Pritzker (IL) was joined by federal, state, and local officials in making public remarks celebrating the opening of the iconic structure, as well as the future of the Quad Cities region.
“This new bridge will serve as a vital east-west link for the Midwest. It provides exceptional opportunities to strengthen the economies of Iowa and Illinois and improve regional and global options for moving goods produced in each of our states,” Gov. Reynolds said in a statement. “The I-74 River Bridge illustrates the promise of our states and the Quad Cities communities to all who travel across it. I am thrilled that this majestic bridge will be here for generations to come, helping to bring that promise to fruition.”
The I-74 Mississippi River Bridge has long been a critical east-west link in the nation's transportation network.
As one of the largest projects in state history, we’re taking a critical piece of infrastructure and turning it into the centerpiece residents deserve. pic.twitter.com/PI2w0ziHlK
— Governor JB Pritzker (@GovPritzker) December 1, 2021
Governor Pritzker pointed to the collaboration between neighbors, communities, and states in delivering a transformational project.
“The I-74 River Bridge is a testament to what is possible when we work together to build a better Midwest,” Pritzker said. “These improvements will support safer and shorter commutes, connect economies across the Mississippi, and spark opportunity across the Quad Cities. I’m proud to celebrate our partnership with the Iowa Department of Transportation and thank them for their leadership.”
The new 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 commuters. The bridge includes a 14-foot wide bike and pedestrian path with a scenic overlook and connections to existing paths in both Bettendorf and Moline and is anticipated to open by the end of December.
— Iowa DOT (@iowadot) December 1, 2021
The approximately $1 billion project is the largest in Iowa state history and includes twin river bridges, new interchanges, ramps, and local road reconfigurations to improve mobility and operation, delivering safer and more reliable travel for motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians alike. The project is approximately 88.5 percent federally funded with Iowa and Illinois DOTs funding their land-based contracts, respectively, and splitting the cost of the river bridge.
“This new I-74 Mississippi River Bridge will join our states and communities, will strengthen our region, and will stand tall in welcoming new hope and opportunity to the Quad Cities and beyond for many years to come,” Iowa DOT Director Scott Marler said.
“The I-74 bridge is yet another example of bold leadership delivering the type of improvements in infrastructure that will keep this region 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.”
Connecting the states of 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 percent of total vehicular traffic across the river. The I-74 River Bridge project is part of a regional strategy for improving access across the Mississippi River.
Project Facts and Milestones:
- Construction of the new I-74 River 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.
- Contractors on the project include Lunda Construction Co., Helm Group, McCarthy Improvement, Kraemer North America, Walsh Group, Valley Construction, and Langman Construction.
- The design firm of the original I-74 suspension bridges, Modjeski and Masters, was also on the design team for the new structure.
- The river bridge is approximately 3,464 feet or 0.66 miles in length.
- The twin, basket-handle arches stand approximately 164 feet above the roadway.
- Two full-size shoulders on each bridge will improve maintenance operations and allow for easier access for crew members and emergency vehicles.
- On average, over 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. This 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.
For updates on the final stages of construction, visit the project website at www.I74RiverBridge.com and follow on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube @I74RiverBridge.