Big Pour represents progress on new I-74 Bridge project on Mississippi River

BETTENDORF, Iowa - As two barges pass in the fog, a big pour is underway along the Mississippi River on Thursday, February 15.

It represents a milestone for the massive $1.2-billion project.

"The cornerstone of this project is that hard structure across the Mississippi River," said George Ryan, a consultant with the project.

Crews will be pouring more than 900 cubic yards of concrete.  They'll continue for about 15 hours.

"I love watching it and talking about it," said Deere & Company retiree Dick Curry.

Curry stops by most every day to follow the progress.  He marvels at moving all that concrete.

"To get it out here, of course, it has to be hauled on the ready-mix trucks on these barges," he said.

It's quite a process. Each barge carries five trucks that each unload about 10 cubic yards of concrete.  That adds up to more than 20 round-trips.

"The choreography of getting the trucks here at the right time," Ryan continued.  "Getting them on the barge, out here, pumped into the footing and back off to make another round."

All this work fascinates Dick Curry.

"They're working every day and all day on it," he said.

It's rewarding to see visible results as the new bridge begins to take shape.  On Saturday, workers are expected to move girders into place in Bettendorf.

"Here, a lot of what's gone on so far has been under the water," Ryan said.  "But that'll change soon."

Progress could allow the new bridge to open to traffic by late 2020.

Curry expects to be there for the ribbon-cutting.

"I plan on being here to see it," he chuckled.

For both spectators and participants, local history that's designed for the future.