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Crews pour in concrete, install first arch piece on Illinois side of I-74 bridge

The Iowa-bound side of the new I-74 bridge is expected to open to traffic by the end of 2020.

BETTENDORF, Iowa — From hundreds of feet up the air, you can't miss the progress being made on the Interstate 74 bridge project. 

"Now (everyone can) notice the floor system is in on the arch and we've got some adjustment of that floor system to do," I-74 Bridge Project Manager George Ryan says. 

Crews are hard at work on the Iowa-bound bridge deck and approaches, pouring in concrete to get it open to traffic by the end of 2020. 

"It'll be four lanes across the river on the bridge," Ryan says. "There'll be a lot of room to shift traffic around."

Drivers headed into Iowa will get to use the bridge first, then it'll open up to traffic in both directions which Ryan says will give crews complete access to the Illinois-bound side of the bridge.

"Some of the work on the eastbound side is impossible until we get traffic on the westbound side," he says.

Now, 48 anchor rods and more than 2,000 bolts are holding the first piece of the arch on the Illinois-bound bridge in place. The rest of that bridge depends on that arch.

"It's going to be the guide to how soon we can get eastbound bridge open, and how quick we can get the arch up and how soon we can get the floor up," Ryan says. 

The project is still under its $1.2 Billion budget, and despite the COVID-19 pandemic, work isn't slowing down.

 "We've got to be over halfway done if you start looking at dollars," Ryan says. 

He says the community's enthusiasm is palpable on social media and their website. 

"I'm under the impression that the public is interested in seeing it done and excited about the iconic river bridges," Ryan says. 

The U.S. 67 and Grant St. exit will be temporarily closed for Illinois-bound drivers starting July 29th. 

The entire Interstate 74 project is expected to be complete by the end of 2021.