December 2, 2015 – The Interstate 74 Bridge Corridor project involves the replacement of the I-74 Bridge and nearly eight miles of corridor improvements. It has been the number one transportation priority in the Bi-State Region since 1998. It is in need of reconstruction due to crashes, recurring congestion, and significant maintenance. The bridge itself is functionally obsolete with no shoulders. The Iowa bound span was built in 1935 and the Illinois bound span in 1959.The 4.3 mile expanded central section of the I-74 Bridge Corridor project from south of Avenue of the Cities to Middle Road has been value engineered to reduce costs and the construction period from 8 to 3.5 years. Design plans for the Iowa portion of the expanded central section are complete and are nearing completion for the Illinois portion of the expanded central section, which will be completed in 2016. The design of the Iowa portion of the project north of Middle Road, 3.5 miles in length, will commence in 2016 and should be completed by 2018. All National Environmental Protection Act requirements are complete or being reevaluated due to final plan details, and final design of the central section will be completed in 2016.
Pre-construction elements of the project along with right-of-way acquisition and demolition are nearing completion. Elements of the project including the Lincoln Road overpass and the interchange at 53rd Street have already been finished. Property purchases have been completed in downtown Bettendorf, Iowa, and all properties that required total buyouts are nearing completion in Illinois. Illinois DOT will be continuing with partial property buyouts over the next two years.
There are two projects recently under construction, preparing the streets in downtown Bettendorf and Moline for the new bridge. Grant Street and State Street in Bettendorf will be reconstructed through 2016. During construction efforts will be made to keep at least two lanes open on both State Street and Grant Street. In Moline, the River Drive project between 19th and 23rd Streets was completed in summer 2015. Maintenance work on the I-74 Bridge itself ensures the existing bridge will handle traffic during construction of the new bridge.
The expanded central section of the project, including the new bridge, is included in the Transportation Improvement Programs for both the Iowa and Illinois DOTs. Construction on the new bridge will begin in the water in late 2017. Work in the river will continue through 2018. The approaches will be constructed in 2019 and 2020 with the old bridge set for demolition in 2021. The year of expenditure cost for the entire 7.8 mile corridor is $1.42 billion, which includes $220 million in reserves and the $130 million already spent on engineering, ROW acquisition, demolition, and portions of the project corridor previously completed. The remaining costs for the expanded central section are estimated at approximately $910 million. The yet to be programed north section in Iowa is estimated at approximately $160 million.The reconstructed I-74 Bridge will have increased protection for seismic occurrences and barge collisions and is being built to last 100 years. The reconstructed I-74 Bridge will have full shoulders allowing for a pull-off area for disabled vehicles and emergency vehicle access in the event of an incident. It will also include a rare interstate multi-purpose trail along the downstream side with Mississippi River Trail access on each side and an elevator in Bettendorf.
While the project is listed in current Iowa and Illinois DOT Transportation Improvement Programs, additional discretionary funding could be used for the final year of bridge construction, FY 2021. In addition, the northern section of the corridor from Middle Road to 53rd Street is an independent project to be constructed following the bridge completion. The northern section has not been funded and has an estimated cost of $160 million.
Funding could be available through a new multi-year surface transportation act that provides multi-year funding for transportation infrastructure including a discretionary fund for construction-ready bridge projects. The work of the entire federal delegation to previously obtain over $88 million is greatly appreciated by all Quad Cities leaders.