New Bettendorf Bridge Forcing Business's Hand - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

New Bettendorf Bridge Forcing Business's Hand

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The new bridge will effectively redevelop the downtown areas of Bettendorf and Moline adding lanes to improve traffic flow and connect Illinois and Iowa with a pedestrian bike path. 

Last fall, construction on the Grant Street Corridor was moved to 2015 in preparation for the I-74 bridge. The project will shift US Highway 67 to meet up with I-74 rather than having ramps split between Grant Street and State Street.
     
The earlier start date will allow access to Grant and State during bridge construction but several businesses have to move out for that to happen. 

About 38 businesses here need to go for the future bridge. Bettendorf's city administrator says most businesses affected found out last fall they'd have to move but two more were recently added to this list when project managers figured out they'd be affected too, giving them 90 days to get out. 
    
Now they're scrambling to find a new place.

Rose Mohr and her husband Bob have owned 'Chocolate Manor' in Bettendorf for 12 years. 

"It was great, I loved my location, I love Bettendorf," Mohr said.
    
But earlier this year she found out she had 90 days to leave because of the new bridge.

"I was not supposed to be affected by it," Mohr said. "It was a great surprise. Kicking and screaming I moved."
     
After two months of searching she decided on Downtown Davenport. 

"Because of all the new revitalization going on down here, I think it's not only have my old customers, but bring me some new customers," Mohr said.

Next door to Chocolate Manor's old location, L and W Bedding has been selling mattresses for over a decade.

"Two months ago or so they roughly came in and said this is going to be torn down and you've got about 3 months to figure out what you're doing," L&W Owner John Wheatley said.
    
With time ticking down, they haven't found a new place yet.

"We've been real busy and now all of a sudden, we're kind of OK, time to move, but we don't know where yet," Wheatley said.
    
The city and state have offered up relocation options and packages of up to $20,000 to cover remodeling or new construction costs but with not enough spots to choose from.

"With them taking so many of the buildings, there just ain't much down here to be had," Wheatley said.  
     
At least two, including Chocolate Manor, have chosen to move to Davenport or away from the riverfront leaving empty storefronts downtown.

"It's going to be pretty dead down here."
    
And while they're unhappy to leave where they've been for years, business owners say it may be for the best in the end.

"It's progress, and it's the bridge. It's great, we need a new bridge."