Originally Posted Online: Nov. 07, 2012, 6:42 pm
Last Updated: Nov. 08, 2012, 12:47 pm

Bids for I-74 Mississippi bridge corridor could be sought in 2014

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By Dawn Neuses, dneuses@qconline.com

More photos from this shoot
Photo: John Greenwood
A public meeting was held concerning the I-74 Bridge on Wednesday, November 07, 2012 at Bettendorf City Hall, Council Chambers. Engineers and project managers discussed the current status of acquisitons and demolition of property, the timing of scheduled construction and other items.
More photos from this shoot
Photo: John Greenwood
An artists drawing of the future Interstate 74 bridge is displayed on a screen as business owners and the general public study drawings during a public meeting concerning the I-74 Bridge on Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012, at Bettendorf City Hall Council Chambers. Engineers and project managers discussed the current status of acquisitions and demolition of property, the timing of scheduled construction and other items.
Photo:

BETTENDORF -- Road work related to the new Interstate 74 bridge is now scheduled to start sooner than previously expected in Moline and Bettendorf.

On Wednesday, officials from Bettendorf, the Iowa Department of Transportation andAlfred Benesch & Co., theI-74 corridor project consulting engineering firm, updated people on the proposal.The I-74 bridge and corridor project extends from Avenue of the Cities in Moline to north of 53rd Street in Davenport. The seven-mile stretch has an estimated cost of slightly more than $1 billion, with each state contributing to the project.

David Morrill, Benesch vice president and senior project manager, said seven blocks of Bettendorf's State Street -- from 10th to 17th streets -- will be realigned to Grant Street.

In Moline, River Drive will be widened from 19th to 22nd streets, raised three feet and have other improvements for the bridge ramps. Fourth Avenue also must be reconstructed.

The projects are scheduled to be let for bids on Sept. 16, 2014, with Mr. Morrill projecting construction in both cities would start in 2015 and be done in one construction season.

Local road projects were supposed to be completed when construction was underway on the corridor's central section, which stretches from 12th Avenue in Moline to Lincoln Avenue in Bettendorf.The central section includes the new bridge, ramp work and local road and interstate realignment.

Scheduled to start in 2016, construction of the central section had an estimated cost of $782 million in 2015 dollars. Iowa's share would have been $329 million and Illinois' share $453 million.

When Illinois didn't come up with funding to maintain the planned construction schedule for the entire central section, however, the Iowa Transportation Commission decided to move up the downtown Bettendorf road work and fund it with $13.7 million in 2015.

Mr. Morrill said among the many advantages to starting the local road work early is lessening the amount of work to be done and, therefore, lowering the cost. Excess property not used by the DOTs can be redeveloped sooner, too.

"The more you can get in place and started, the more advantageous it is," he said.

The local roadway design in Bettendorf is done, with the plans now under review by Iowa DOT, Mr. Morrill said. By the end of the year, the downtown work will be ready to go.

In Illinois, 90 percent of the roadway plans are complete. By early next year, Illinois DOT expects the River Drive and 4th Avenue plans to be ready.

After three years of work, Mr. Morrill said plans for the bridge are done, including the design of the ramps, arch and approaches. A demolition plan for the current bridges, under review by the U.S. Coast Guard, includes taking the bridge down with explosive charges.

The goal is to have all of the funding in place in 2019, Mr. Morrill said, to complete the corridor work and new bridge construction. The bridge is expected to take five years to build. One year after the work is completed on the new bridge, the current bridges would be removed.

Bridge construction could begin immediately, he noted, if the corridor project received an infusion of federal funding. Both DOTs continue to acquire right-of-way, he said, and adowntown Bettendorf landscape plan is under development.

"Things are moving forward across the corridor," he added.