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Celebration Belle offers up close river views of the I-74 bridge construction

The Celebration Belle gives riders an exclusive up-close view to the I-74 bridge project from the water.

MOLINE, Illinois – The Celebration Belle is back on the river after being held back on cruising due to the flooding.

For 36 years, the Celebration Belle has been known for its scenic views of the Mississippi River, but this season it’s all about the progress of the I-74 bridge project since the flood.

The Mississippi River in the Quad Cities is making history.

“The river gets in your blood,” says Susan Yarolem, Celebration Belle Marketing. “The flood did hurt us for the April and May months.”

After what felt like a never-ending flood season, the Celebration Belle is back on the water to give riders an up-close view of the I-74 bridge construction.

“From the water you can really see what’s going,” says Laney Ralston, a 4th grade student from Waterloo.

Captain Patrick Kroeger has the front row seat to what’s really going on.

“The most interesting part is that massive crane they have out there,” comments Kroeger. “It’s really fun to watch them try and get the angles right before they lift that final piece.”

Cranes, the first pieces of the arches, and even seeing who’s out everyday making the green bridge a thing of the past.

“I tell everyone they can tell their friend they saw the old bridge while the new bridge was being constructed,” says Mike McKean, a park ranger.

Even in high flood waters, there were no days off.

“It’s amazing to see what they are able to do with the river at all different levels,” comments McKean.

It’s safe to say progress is being made to make the project of today soon part of the past.

“It’s history, so you get to see that part of the history,” says Yarolem.

The Celebration Belle offers a variety of cruises Tuesday through Saturday.  They are beginning their all-day cruises at the beginning of June.