[PHOTOS] New I-74 Bridge Opening Ceremony, Opens To All Traffic Soon
It's been an exciting week for the Quad Cities. After almost four and a half years of construction, lane changes, and road closures, the new I-74 River Bridge between Bettendorf and Moline is ready. Officials and dignitaries from the Quad Cities, Iowa, Illinois, and the federal government, joined together on Wednesday for a special opening ceremony.
On Wednesday, December 1st, 2021, Quad City Mayors (past and present), Governors, traffic department officials from Iowa, Illinois, and the federal government, along with 2,000 plus Quad Citians, came together for the official opening ceremony of the new I-74 River Bridge. An official ribbon-cutting ceremony took place at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, but an event for the public happened from 1-4 p.m.
During that afternoon time, more than 2,000 Quad Citians on both the Iowa and Illinois side were able to walk up the new off-ramp onto River Drive in Moline and onto the Illinois eastbound side of the I-74 River Bridge.
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 percent federally funded with Iowa and Illinois DOTs funding their land-based contracts, respectively, and splitting the cost of the river bridge.
Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker was joined by federal, state, and local officials in making public remarks celebrating the opening of the iconic structure, as well as the future of the Quad Cities region. Gov. Pritzker said,
“The I-74 River Bridge is a testament to what is possible when we work together to build a better Midwest. 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.”
Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds was not in attendance but made an official statement regarding the bridge. Gov. Reynolds said,
"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. 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.”
I-74 River Bridge officials said on Thursday that the Illinois-bound portion of the new I-74 River Bridge is anticipated to open to traffic this week. All new ramps, including the on-ramp at Grant St/US 67 in Bettendorf and the off-ramp to River Drive in Moline will be open. There will be overnight work as crews begin to shift barrier walls and re-striping. Officials remind motorists to drive with caution and watch for changing traffic patterns.