‘We made it’: Ribbon cutting held Wednesday for new I-74 Bridge

Officials say bridge will open to traffic in early December
Published: Dec. 1, 2021 at 10:50 AM CST
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(KWQC) - Local, state and federal officials gathered Wednesday to celebrate the new I-74 Mississippi River Bridge with a ribbon-cutting right on the bridge.

“We made it!” Iowa Department of Transportation Director Scott Marler said. “Today we celebrate nearly 25 years of planning, coordination, and hard work that made this river bridge project a reality.”

Wednesday’s ceremony included remarks from Marler, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker, U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos, Illinois Transportation Secretary Omer Osman and several Quad Cities mayors.

“The I-74 River Bridge is a testament to what is possible when we work together to build a better Midwest,” Pritzker said. “These improvements will support safer and shorter commutes, connect economies across the Mississippi, and spark opportunity across the Quad Cities. I’m proud to celebrate our partnership with the Iowa Department of Transportation and thank them for their leadership.”

“This new bridge will serve as a vital east-west link for the Midwest. It provides exceptional opportunities to strengthen the economies of Iowa and Illinois and improve regional and global options for moving goods produced in each of our states,” Iowa Gov. Reynolds said in a written statement read during the ceremony. “The I-74 River Bridge illustrates the promise of our states and the Quad Cities communities to all who travel across it. I am thrilled that this majestic bridge will be here for generations to come, helping to bring that promise to fruition.”

The new bridge is expected to open to traffic in early December, delivering four lanes in each direction and providing improved safety for commuters.

The bridge includes a 14-foot wide bike and pedestrian path with a scenic overlook and connections to existing paths in both Bettendorf and Moline and is anticipated to open by the end of December.

Construction began in July 2017. The basket-handle arch on the Iowa-bound bridge was completed in May 2020 and the Iowa-bound bridge opened in November 2020.

The arch on the Illinois-bound bridge was completed in May. The old suspension bridges are anticipated to be removed in 2022.

According to a media release, the approximately $1 billion project is the largest in Iowa state history and includes twin river bridges, new interchanges, ramps, and local road reconfigurations to improve mobility and operation, delivering safer and more reliable travel for motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians alike.

The project is approximately 88.5% federally funded with Iowa and Illinois departments of transportation funding their land-based contracts, respectively, and splitting the cost of the river bridge.

“This new I-74 Mississippi River Bridge will join our states and communities, will strengthen our region, and will stand tall in welcoming new hope and opportunity to the Quad Cities and beyond for many years to come,” Marler said.

Added Osman, “The I-74 bridge is yet another example of bold leadership delivering the type of improvements in infrastructure that will keep this region competitive for many, many years to come.”

“This beautiful new structure is especially meaningful because of our partnership with Iowa and our work with federal, state, and local stakeholders.”

Connecting Iowa and Illinois, I-74 serves as an important east-west link in the nation’s transportation network. The I-74 corridor serves as a primary crossing of the Mississippi River in the Quad Cities area, carrying more than 45% of total vehicular traffic across the river.

The I-74 River Bridge project is part of a regional strategy for improving access across the Mississippi River.

Following the ceremony, the public was able to walk across the bridge.

Watch the full ceremony:

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