January 25, 2017 – 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 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 are complete for the entire central section, which includes the entire Illinois portion of the project. The Iowa portion of the project north of Middle Road to 53rd Street is 3.5 miles in length and is an independent project. The design for the North Section started in 2016 and should be completed by 2018.
The 4.3-mile Central Section of the project, including the new bridge and the entire Illinois portion of the project, will be let for bids beginning in 2017. Construction on the new bridge will begin in the water in summer 2017. Work in the river will continue throughout the project. The approaches will be constructed in 2019 and 2020 with the old bridge set for demolition in 2021. The Illinois and Iowa Departments of Transportation have hired a general engineering consultant to oversee the various contractors and provide timely information regarding various project issues during the construction of the Central Section including expected changes to traffic routing and ongoing construction updates.
The year of expenditure cost for the entire 7.8-mile corridor is $1.17 billion, which includes $72 million in contingency and the $152 million already spent on engineering, Right-of-Way (ROW) acquisition, demolition, and portions of the project corridor previously completed. The remaining costs for the Central Section from south of Avenue of the Cities to Middle Road are estimated at approximately $863 million. The yet-to-be-programed independent North Section in Iowa is estimated at approximately $152 million.
Two projects that were recently under construction involve preparing the streets in downtown Bettendorf and Moline for the new bridge. In Moline, the River Drive project between 19th and 23rd Streets was completed in summer 2015. Grant Street and State Street in Bettendorf are being reconstructed through 2016 with completion early 2017. In the recent years, maintenance work on the I-74 Bridge itself has been completed to ensure that the existing bridge can continue to handle traffic during construction of the new bridge.
The reconstructed I-74 Bridge will have three lanes in each direction with an additional auxiliary lane between the first ramp in downtown Bettendorf and the first ramp in downtown Moline. It will also have full shoulders allowing for a pull-off area for disabled vehicles and emergency vehicle access in the event of an incident. The reconstructed I-74 Bridge will have increased protection for seismic occurrences and barge collisions and is being built to last 100 years. Additionally, it will include a rare interstate multi-purpose trail along the downstream side with access to the Mississippi River Trail in Moline and Bettendorf and an elevator to access ground-level recreational facilities in Bettendorf.