BETTENDORF – The Iowa Department of Transportation said Wednesday it has funding in place to help build a new I-74 bridge in its five-year program.
Bettendorf held a meeting Wednesday afternoon to answer questions about the situation. The Iowa Department of Transportation has already started to buy land near the river to make way for the new construction.
“Many more of the buildings that have been in the way of the bridge will be demolished,” Bettendorf Mayor Bob Gallagher said.
The Iowa Department of Transportation has already bought 13 properties to demolish. It says it plans on buying another 20 to clear land for a new bridge.
Business Owner Scott Jacobs owns a scuba diving shop at 11th and State Street. He says he lives far enough away from the I-74 construction that he won’t have to move his business.
“Customers will still be able to get to me and to get out through 12th and 13th Streets,” Jacobs said. “Customers will be able to get out no problem.”
Bettendorf also plans on curving State Street north to where Grant Street is. That would take out part of the current State Street that’s just two blocks east of the current I-74.
“If you think about how you travel, you avoid curbs and stop lights.” Scrub Pub and Bar Owner June Miller said. “This is going to cause people to avoid the downtown.”
The city is giving out $150,000 a year to businesses that stay downtown. Bettendorf says that six businesses have already taken advantage of that funding.
In the meantime, Illinois has to approve $73 million in funds in 2013 for construction. Moline says that the Illinois Department of Transportation has already purchased two buildings on its side of the river. State Street construction is not supposed to start until 2015. I-74 construction is not supposed to start until 2018 or 2019.