MOLINE, Illinois -- Interstate 74 construction was a hot topic at Moline's State of the City address.
The address was given Monday, March 18, the same day that major detours were set in place to navigate traffic around I-74 Bridge construction.
With the construction of the new bridge, there's an impending destruction of the current bridge. Alexandra Elias with Renew Moline explained what's to come with the space the current bridge is taking up. She said the Moline City Council had agreed to look into developing a riverfront park in that space. There will be 13 acres of public land available, three which are directly on the riverfront.
"As a point of reference, three acres is about two football fields," she said. "It's very big and we have a great opportunity."
The hope is to offer more access to the Mississippi River, while commemorating the 100-year-old bridge that once stood there. Public meetings will be held as the planning discussions begin.
Mayor Stephanie Acri brought up challenges that this $1.2 billion project may cost local businesses downtown Moline.
"We are especially concerned about the impact that the challenging congestion will have on our downtown businesses," said Mayor Acri. "In fact this motivated the city team to look at how we support our downtown and how we could re-prioritize and enhance these efforts."
The City Clerk, Janine Hollembaek Parr, shared ideas that may help alleviate frustration as drivers navigate through downtown Moline.
"We think we can have some fun with it," she said. Hollembaek told the crowd to watch for some posts coming up on their social media platforms, as part of a campaign called "Pardon Our Progress." Some of the posts will include "74 things to do while you wait in traffic" and "Carpool karaoke."
Another way local businesses are poking fun at the construction woes will be with a craft brewer competition. Brewers from the area will have the opportunity to create an "I-74 Beer," and compete for the label. That competition will be in April.
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