A four-year, $1.2 billion project to build a new I-74 bridge over the Mississippi River between Illinois and Iowa is finally finished.
The new bridge features two stunning basket-handle arches, and it will be twice as wide, with four lanes in each direction, as the old bridge, which will be demolished.
The Bettendorf, Iowa-bound (westbound) bridge opened in November 2020. On December 1, the Moline, Illinois-bound bridge is scheduled to open.
The bridges’ first 236-high arch was completed in May 2020. Check out this time-lapse video of its construction below:
Construction began in 2017 on the $1.2 billion project to replace the old bridge, which was overcapacity and frequently required repairs. The new bridge is designed to last 100 years, according to the Iowa DOT.
The project involved constructing the two bridges, with main spans of 795 feet, east of the current bridge. The bridges also provide pedestrian and bicycle access to 14-foot-wide paths. An elevator will be built on the Bettendorf side of the Illinois-bound bridge for walkers and bikers to get to the path. The path will also have a glass bottom at the center of the bridge for people to see the water.
The new bridge is designed to improve rush-hour traffic flow, replacing the narrow width and shoulders of the old bridge that contributed to congestion. Improvements to interchanges and intersections were also part of the project, as well as new landscaping and lighting.
The old bridge also has two spans. The westbound bridge was opened in 1935, and the eastbound bridge opened in 1960. It had exceeded average daily traffic counts of 74,000 vehicles. It is estimated the new bridge will see 100,000 vehicles a day by 2035.
The Illinois and Iowa departments of transportation collaborated on the project, with Lunda Construction of Wisconsin as the contractor.