I-74 Bridge construction will divert boaters away from the shoreline

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MOLINE, Illinois -- Boaters will need to be on the lookout for buoys and detours when construction starts on the new I-74 Bridge.

Beginning in July, construction crews will install silt curtains in the river to catch sediment.

All Mississippi River traffic will be diverted away from the river banks in order to avoid the construction zone. Instead, buoys and warning signs will direct boaters into the main channel.

Stephen Bein, flotilla commander for the Coast Guard Auxiliary in Moline, says that will mean changes for boaters who like to hang out near the Moline shoreline.

"Getting into the slough by the iWireless Center, they'll have to take a different route there. It will probably be up through what's called the old locks, based on Arsenal Island," said Bein.

Bein says it's a tight passage, where boaters will need to stay alert.

"It's narrow, the water runs through there pretty hard, and like I say, the downbound boat has the right-of-way. So, they'll have to remember that," said Bein.

The Channel Cat water taxi will also adjust its route on the Moline side, adding about 10 minutes to the trip.

"I think people just need to be a little flexible in terms of when the Channel Cat might arrive," said Jennifer Garrity with MetroLINK. "It's hard to say how much traffic there will be on the river."

The Channel Cat route and schedule is changing on Monday, but bridge work may not be underway yet. The U.S. Coast Guard has not yet approved a construction plan for the bridge project.

A pair of public meetings is scheduled for next week for community members who want to learn about the I-74 construction schedule, road closures and environmental efforts. On Wednesday, July 19, an open house will be held from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the RiverCenter in Davenport. On Thursday, July 20, the same content will be presented at the iWireless Center in Moline from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m.