March 25, 2015 – Doug Rick of the Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) and Rebecca Marruffo of the Illinois DOT provided an update on the I-74 Mississippi River Bridge Corridor Project. The Interstate 74 Bridge Corridor project involves the replacement of the I-74 Bridge and over six miles of corridor improvements. 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.
There are two projects currently underway that will prepare the streets in downtown Bettendorf and Moline for the new bridge. Grant Street in Bettendorf will be reconstructed over the next two years. During this time State Street will remain open, and two lanes of Grant Street will be maintained.
In Moline, the River Drive project between 19th and 23rd streets, which began in fall 2014, will be completed in June 2015, and River Drive will be reopened. There will also be work on the I-74 Bridge itself this year, but day time lane closures will be avoided until late summer when projects on the Centennial and Government Bridges are finished.
The number one transportation priority in the Bi-State Region is the replacement of the I-74 Bridge. The I-74 Mississippi River Bridge Corridor project is positioned to receive significant additional federal funding. The project is included in the Transportation Improvement Programs for both the Iowa and Illinois DOTs. All National Environmental Protection Act requirements are complete, and final design of the central section will be completed in 2015.
Pre-construction elements of the project along with right-of-way acquisition and demolition are nearing completion. Funding could be available through a new multi-year surface transportation bill that provides long-term certainty and increases 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 dollars is greatly appreciated by all Quad Cities leaders.
The I-74 Bridge Corridor project has been value engineered to reduce costs and the construction period from 8 to 3.5 years or less. Plans for the Iowa portion of the bridge are 100% complete and are nearing completion for the Illinois portion of the project, which will be completed this summer. 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 Iowa, and all properties that required total buyouts are done in Illinois. Illinois DOT will be continuing with partial property buyouts over the next two years.
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 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.
Construction on the project will begin in the river in late 2017 and all of 2018. The approaches will be constructed in 2019 and 2020 with the old bridge set for demolition in 2021. The total cost for the entire six-mile corridor is $1.25 billion, which includes $250 million in reserves and the $88 million already spent on engineering, ROW acquisition, demolition, and portions of the project corridor previously completed. The remaining costs for the central bridge section are estimated at approximately $750 million in the year of expenditure. While the project is listed in current Iowa and Illinois DOT Transportation Improvement Programs, additional discretionary funding would 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 a cost of $115 million.