I-74 bridge construction means new water routes needed for river boaters

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MOLINE — A lot has been written about how the long-awaited Interstate 74 bridge project will impact traffic on both sides of the Mississippi River.

But what about boat traffic?

The Iowa Department of Transportation has released a document detailing how river traffic and routes will change as construction gets underway on the massive construction project. Work in the river is expected to begin as soon as Monday, DOT officials said.

According to the DOT, all river traffic will need to use an alternate route away from the river banks on both the Iowa and Illinois sides of the river to avoid the construction zone. Construction crews will be in the river soon and will be installing “silt curtains” to catch sediment.

Danielle Mulholland with the DOT said copies of the navigation documents will be distributed to area marinas and other places boaters congregate in the next week or so. The changes primarily impact recreational boaters and the Channel Cat Water Taxi, she added.

Buoys and warning signs will be installed to warn boaters navigating the river near the current bridge.

The bridge portion of the I-74 construction project is anticipated to last about three-and-a-half years. The project is estimated to cost around $1 billion and is being paid for by a combination of federal and state funding.

Updates on construction can be found at I74RiverBridge.com.

Map courtesy of Iowa DOT.