Originally Posted Online: Jan. 24, 2013, 7:06 pm
Last Updated: Jan. 24, 2013, 7:53 pm

Bettendorf buildings torn down in preparation for I-74 work

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By Dawn Neuses, dneuses@qconline.com

More photos from this shoot
Photo: Todd Welvaert
A wrecking crew demolishes a building at 1326 State St., Bettendorf, just west of the I-74 bridge Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2013.
More photos from this shoot
Photo: Todd Welvaert
A wrecking crew demolishes a building at 1326 State St., Bettendorf, just west of the I-74 bridge Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2013.

BETTENDORF -- Six Bettendorf buildings will be demolished this month as the Iowa Department of Transportation continues to prepare for construction of a new Interstate 74 bridge over the Mississippi River.

The Illinois DOT is acquiring property and planning demolitions in Moline.

The I-74 corridor project extends from Avenue of the Cities in Moline to north of 53rd Street in Davenport. All of the work planned within the seven-mile stretch has an estimated cost of slightly more than $1 billion, with each state contributing to the project.

The corridor is divided into sections, with the central section stretching 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.

The Iowa DOT has spent nearly $7 million since 2009 on 27 properties, said Doug Rick, the I-74 project manager. At the end of the month, a total of 20 buildings will have been demolished.

Iowa DOT plans buy 47 whole parcels. It also needs a number of partial lots, and expects to begin purchasing those this spring, Mr. Rick said.

Iowa DOT plans to begins the realignment of seven blocks of State Street, from 10th to 17th streets, in 2015. The department's goal is to have all the property it needs purchased the end of the year so utility relocation work can begin.

"Then, in 2015, we will be ready to go and get the roads built. There is not a lot of extra time. There is a lot of work to do," Mr. Rick said.

Local road projects were supposed to be completed when construction was under way on the corridor's central section, which at one time tentatively was scheduled to begin in 2016.

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

The State Street realignment design work is complete and under review by Iowa DOT, Mr. Rick said. It is likely the project would be let for bid in the fall or winter of 2014.

Illinois DOT project implementation engineer John Wegmeyer said the state estimates it will need to acquire 36 whole parcels and 44 partial lots between the Mississippi River banks and Avenue of the Cities.

Many of the whole parcels are vacant lots or parking lots and will not require demolition, he said.

So far, Illinois DOT has spent about $2.7 million on eight properties, which includes business relocation costs, Mr. Wegmeyer said. He said the department plans to let a contract for demolition of numerous buildings this spring and continues to work on the purchase of the remaining properties.

Illinois expects to spend $6 to $10 million more on property and hopes to have all land purchased within two years, he said.

Illinois DOT is considering starting local road work before bridge construction is funded. The department has identified three possible projects: reconstructing 4th Avenue, 12th Avenue and 19th Street intersection improvements, and widening and raising River Drive.

Mr. Wegmeyer said a consultant is working on those plans and Illinois DOT will determine if it is best to do the work in 2015. "At this point, no final decision has been made," he said.

"We are continuing to move forward," Mr. Wegmeyer said. "The key is getting everything ready to go and completed so when they find a way to fund the bridge, other things are not holding up construction," he said.

Mr. Rick said it is still unknown when the main bridge construction would begin. While 2019 or 2020 are target years, it will be up to the Iowa Transportation Commission to look at the five-year transportation program and create a plan to fund construction, he said.

TBD: To Be Demolished

The Iowa Department of Transportation has the following Bettendorf properties under contract for demolition this month:
1326 State St.
1416 State St.
1504 Grant St.
1516 Grant St.
1529 Grant St. 
1215 Brown St.