Illinois impasse could stop current work on Interstate 74 by Friday

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MOLINE, Illinois -

Daily drives on the Interstate 74 bridge could become more complicated by Friday.

That's when maintenance work will shut down on Illinois highways and streets without a budget deal.

"Hopefully, that won't happen," said Bettendorf Mayor Bob Gallagher.  "Hopefully, the folks in Illinois will get a budget for that state this week."

But the uncertainty forces regional decision-makers to race the clock for short-term solutions.

"Every other state project will be shut down," warned Gena McCullough. Bi-State Regional Commission.

The delays could make it tough on commuters and community events like the John Deere Classic.

"Work stops, and the construction is still out there waiting to get done," she continued.

When it comes to long-term transportation plans, 20% of the funding for the new I-74 bridge remains locked in the stalemate.

Timeline for the $1.2 billion project includes pier installation in 2017.

But it's too early to tell if Illinois delays will slow engineering and construction.

"We've been assured by both Democrats and Republicans and the Illinois Department of Transportation that replacement of I-74 bridge will take place as scheduled," Gallagher said.

For now, plans remain on track for a 2020 opening.

In the short term, though, there are plenty of obstacles.

"It's impacting jobs," McCullough concluded.  "It's impacting projects that we'd like to see accomplished, and it will affect our economy."