RAPIDS CITY, Ill. — The Bison Bridge Foundation announced Monday that it is receiving a $4 million donation for its plans.
The project was unanimously passed in March following a 9-0 vote in the Illinois House Transportation Committee. The new Bison Bridge would see the current I-80 repurposed into a pedestrian and wildlife crossing. The Bison group said the ultimate goal is to eventually create a state or national park at the site.
Of the $4 million contributions, $2 million is coming from an anonymous donor and an additional $2 million is from the same donor's family foundation, the Bison Bridge Foundation said. The anonymous donor is in the transportation industry with personal roots and a "deep appreciation" for the Mississippi River.
The announcement comes just a few days before an online public meeting, which will be hosted by the Illinois Department of Transportation at 4 p.m. on Wednesday.
The Iowa Department of Transportation will also be at the meeting with stakeholders present to describe potential alignments for the new I-80 bridge.
More information on Wednesday's meeting can be found here.
The Bison Bridge Foundation said the group has not been officially fundraising yet despite receiving a 501(c)3 status earlier this year.
"We are waiting for a green light from IDOT to start fundraising at large and this commitment was the first ask I made," said Chad Pregracke, Founder and Chairman of the Bison Bridge Foundation. "We are hoping that this financial commitment in addition to the nearly 40,000 signatures of support we have collected will strengthen our case to the DOTs."
The current I-80 bridge over the Mississippi River is 56 years old. IDOT previously determined a new bridge was needed due to it being dangerously narrow, with no shoulders for vehicles to pull onto. With only two lanes on each side, the bridge is too small for the amount of traffic it holds. Over 40,000 cars, trucks and semis cross daily.
Additional information on the Bison Bridge Foundation and the proposed project can be found here.