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River Drive closes for new I-74 developments

MOLINE, Illinois-- Today, workers started placing around 15 million pounds of steel girders on the Illinois side of the new I-74 bridge.  But to keep the project on track, traffic will have to be re-routed.

Starting September 5, travelers on the Illinois side of River Drive will have to find a different route.

“Best thing for everyone involved was a complete closure and using other routes,” J.D. Schulte, Public Works director for the City of Moline, said.

But the closures shouldn’t last for long.

“We’ll have this open by the 21st (of September), no doubt about it,” Ryan Hippen, construction field engineer for Illinois Department of Transportation, said.

Although it may not look like it, the Illinois side of the new bridge is more than 36% complete from the river’s edge to 7th Avenue.

But now the DOT said closures are necessary to keep the project on track.

“It’s safer for the traveling public,” Hippen said. “Safer for the construction workers, safer for the inspectors doing the work out there.”

About 77,000 drivers travel across the bride from Illinois to Iowa every day.  Therefore, some people are wondering why the Iowa side of the bridge seems so much further along.

“The perception may be that things with our neighbors in Iowa and that may be progressing more rapidly,” says Schulte, “but this is a different kind of construction that we are doing in Illinois with the viaduct in combination with the piers.”

Although River Drive will be closed completely, Iowa-bound traffic can still turn onto the bridge coming from the east, and traffic exiting the bridge can take a right on River Drive. There will also still be access to I-74 from 7th Avenue.

The next phase of the bridge project will be preparing for the steel arch.