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Demolition or wildlife crossing? Illinois DOT wants your input on I-80 bridge plans

The Illinois Department of Transportation is asking for public input on what it should include in bridge replacement plans.

MOLINE, Ill. — Update 5/12: The Illinois Department of Transportation is looking for your input on the I-80 bridge project. Between now and May 25 you can submit your comments, questions and concerns over the seven newly-proposed designs for the new Mississippi River crossing. You can give your feedback here

The Interstate 80 Mississippi River Bridge is over 50 years old, dangerously narrow, too small to support daily vehicle traffic and in need of rebuilding. Now, through a series of public commentary meetings, the Illinois Department of Transportation is asking for input from Quad Cities area residents on what it should include in bridge replacement plans.

A meeting will take place online from 4-5:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 11. Register in advance to attend the virtual meeting here or on the I-80 Mississippi River Bridge website.

Typically, an old bridge would be destroyed when a new one is built, but one local group proposed a different option: a wildlife crossing.

RELATED: What does the I-80 construction timeline look like?

The Bison Bridge Foundation received nearly 40,000 signatures on a petition that suggests repurposing one side of the bridge between LeClaire, Iowa, and Rapids City, Illinois, as a bison crossing and the other as a park-like setting for foot traffic.

“These meetings are our best hope of delivering the message that the Quad Cities overwhelmingly supports the Bison Bridge, as do our friends in the Illinois General Assembly,” Illinois transportation consultant and Bison Bridge Foundation member Matt Hughes said in a statement.

Illinois lawmakers on April 5 passed a bill asking Gov. J.B. Pritzker and the Department of Transportation to include a bison crossing in I-80 bridge plans.

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