Iowa-bound portion of I-74 Bridge scheduled to open Friday

Workers were putting some finishing touches to the westbound portion of the I-74 bridge on Wednesday ahead of its anticipated opening this week.
Published: Nov. 11, 2020 at 6:56 PM CST|Updated: Nov. 12, 2020 at 6:50 AM CST
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QUAD CITIES, Iowa (KWQC) - Workers were putting some finishing touches to the westbound portion of the I-74 bridge on Wednesday ahead of its anticipated opening this week.

“By rush hour Friday morning we will have westbound traffic on the new westbound river bridges,” said George Ryan, the I-74 Corridor Manager. “Travel on the new bridge will be much safer than they’ve had in the Quad cities traveling across I-74 because of the new modified interchanges and the ramps and because of the room that there is upon this bridge.”

Ryan said the new bridge has more room with its 72ft width in comparison to the older bridges' 30ft width. He said some of the finishing touches that they were working on as of Wednesday morning included striping, roadway grooving, touch up paint on the arch, and electrical connections. In addition to the aforementioned, they’re also placing a barrier for east and westbound traffic, where they plan to put Illinois-bound traffic in a two-way configuration this winter.

Motorists heading to Iowa from Moline will be able to access the I-74 Bridge at Avenue of the Cities, 6th Avenue, and River Drive. Officials said although there were many challenges while building the bridge, from floods to a cold winter, everyone stepped up.

“Weather was certainly a factor. Just the uniqueness of the bridge was a factor, but what I can say is the contractor stepped up, figured it out, and has done a good job and we’re seeing the benefits of the learning curve as we continue to build the eastbound structure,” Ryan said.

In regards to the budget, Ryan said they’re well below it as far as the total budget that was allocated for the project. When asked about the status of any disputes with the contractor, he said issues aren’t uncommon.

“There’s always issues on a job like this between contractor and DOT and we just continue to work through those and do what’s right and be fair. [In] a project like this, you anticipate issues. You anticipate problems. If you come into something like this not anticipating that you’re going to have to deal with those types of issues then you’d be sadly mistaken and so it’s just part of the business but we’re handling those the way that we typically would so there’s nothing out of the ordinary [on] how they’re being handled,” he said.

The speed limit will be 55 miles per hour because the interstate will still be considered a construction zone. Everyone is asked to continue driving with caution.

“It’s just a great time for the Quad Cities. There’s a lot of excitement in the Quad Cities about the opening of this and about the project and what you have here is just a beautiful iconic structure that’s designed to last over a hundred years with minimal maintenance,” Ryan said.

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