2018 is going to be a busy year for crews building the new I-74 bridge.
Right now, there are about a dozen cranes in the Mississippi River creating the center portion of the bridge. In 2018, they'll start pouring concrete.
That's according to Moline's Planning and Development Director, Ray Forsythe, who told Good Morning Quad Cities on December 14th that the Illinois side is going to see a lot of activity in the new year.
"In six months, they’ll start building that structure out of the ground, but at the same time there’s a contract from the Mississippi River to 7th Avenue and then in March there’s going to be a project from 7th Avenue to Avenue of the Cities," he explained.
Forsythe said all the bridge work in 2018 shouldn't impact drivers. However, 2019 could be a little tricky:
"In 2019, they're actually going to dismantle part of the old bridge, so everybody will be on the new portion of the bridge going in two directions, but they'll have to get off of Avenue of the Cities, come down 19th Street and then get back on at River Drive," he described. "2019 is going to be the hardest year but it's going to be the most exciting year, because you're really going to see the activity going on."
Also exciting - 19th Street, south of downtown, reopens to drivers Friday, December 29. Only one northbound lane of 19th Street will reopen while both southbound lanes reopen Friday. Forsythe said this project is really important to the new bridge project:
"The limits of the bridge go south of Avenue of the Cities, so that whole corridor is going to be rebuilt anew," he explained. "The intersection of 7th Avenue and 19th Street has been closed for about five months while they’re rebuilding that portion, because in 2019, when they dismantle part of the existing bridge and connect the new bridge, that’s going to be a really critical intersection."
Once the new bridge is built and the old bridge is gone, Forsythe said Moline has an idea of what to put in its place. Click here to see both concepts.