MOLINE, Ill. — Students from River Bend Middle School made the hour long drive from Fulton, Illinois to be the first community members to walk across the new I-74 River Bridge.
On top of that students got an inside scoop from those closest to the project. Starting their day at the Stern Center in Rock Island, students met with construction superintendent Scott Dekeysar, who works for Phoenix Corporation, the construction company in charge of the project.
Dekeysar talked with the students about the building of the on-ramp in downtown Moline.
"Dirt work was our main thing. We did over 45,000 loads of dirt, gravel and rock," says Dekeysar.
He says it's also an opportunity to show students how many different jobs there are to pursue in the construction industry.
"There is a career in construction because there is a lot of construction going on and some kids might like that and that's why were here," says Dekeysar.
For eighth grade student Mason Keubel, it's a glimpse into his potential future.
"I want to go into construction when I'm older," says Keubel, "I've always been one to help my dad just building stuff out in the garage and figuring out how it's all put together."
For STEM teacher Jarek Leonhardt, it's exciting to see the students explore the field as well.
"This project was really awesome in showing them college careers, high school careers, careers you don't even need a diploma for, a little bit of everything," says Leonhardt.
In addition to speaking to those with Phoenix Corporations, kids got to talk with engineering project manager George Ryan. Ryan walked kids over the bridge giving facts about it as they walked.
"These new bridges are 72 feet wide and have four lanes and two shoulders," says Ryan.
For other students it was exciting to check out the view and learn about the work that went into everything.
"I think it would be cool to learn about how they actually constructed it and all the different parts that went into it," says eighth grade student Lauren Guenther.