QC leaders celebrate the new I-74 bridge
DAVENPORT, Iowa (KWQC) - A decades-long process nearly came to a close on Wednesday, as Quad Cities leaders reacted to the new I-74 bridge.
The mayor of East Moline looked back to where it all started with the old bridge.
“From 4,000 vehicles going across that bridge when [the old bridge] was first built,” Reggie Freeman said. “To somewhere around — they’re saying — 80,000 cars a day. We’ve come a long ways, baby.”
The $1 billion bridge will carry 45% of the QC’s river traffic, according to the Iowa Department of Transportation.
The mayor of Rock Island recognized getting there was a monumental effort.
“The optimal word is we,” Mike Thoms said. “That’s really what it’s about, it’s we. We the Quad cities, the citizens of quad cities, have made this happen”
In the next couple of weeks, the bridge will open to traffic. It will open to pedestrians by the end of the year.
All five mayors applauded the planning and work it took to finish the project. The mayor of Bettendorf brought up the challenges that came along the way.
“All of whom worked through record-setting events,” Bob Gallagher said. “Like a record-setting flood, a derecho, a polar vortex, not to mention a pandemic.”
With the bridge aiming to bring more traffic, the mayor of Moline looked to the future.
“[The bridge is] opening a new era of commerce, housing and tourist experiences that will redefine what it means to live or visit the Quad Cities,” Sangeetha Rayapati said.
Dave Herrell, President and CEO of Visit Quad Cities, also envisioned what this means for everyone.
“I think 10 years down the road, I don’t think the Quad Cities is going to look like what it currently looks like,” Herrell said. “I think it’s going to be bigger and better than it’s ever been before.”
With the future in mind, the mayor of Davenport poked fun at a city down the river.
“There’s a state south of here that thinks they set the standard for an arch,” Mike Matson said. “I think we now have the standard to set for arches and iconic things along the Mississippi.”
Both the cities of Bettendorf and Moline will operate the lights on the bridge.
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