MOLINE, Ill. — As you merge onto I-74 from John Deere Road, you make your way through the clover interchange. The multi-circle ramp system allows drivers to get on and off of the interstate mostly with ease, but with a new interchange system in the works, that clover system would be completely removed.
Denise Bulat works for the Bi-State Regional Commission and has been monitoring the project for years. This upgrade will help eliminate the quick merging process.
"Whether you're going east or west, it's very narrow. You have a very short period of time to merge into the flow of traffic, and that will all change with the improved interchange," Bulat said.
The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) is finishing up phase one of the project, evaluating the area and what potential changes are best. Right now, that includes changing the interchange to a diverging diamond system.
IDOT Public Information Officer Paul Wappel said the study is wrapping up, leading to the point in the process where funding for construction and plans for construction are explored.
"It increases capacity and reduces crashes by flipping the traffic pattern through the interchange, and allowing left turning traffic to flow freely without the hindrance of opposing traffic," Wappel said. "So, in this case, Illinois 5 eastbound and westbound traffic will be redirected to the north side of the road through the interchange."
It would also create an option for pedestrian traffic to cross over the interstate safely.
"What they're also doing is that grade separation for pedestrian and trail access. That matters from a safety perspective obviously, and allows for that access," Bulat said.
It's a change that fits very nicely with the I-74 corridor project, but it isn't officially a part of that.
"It's been a major corridor for many many years," Bulat said. "And these improvements help all the commercial development in all of those communities."
IDOT says they hope this project starts construction in the next five years — making it a short-range plan.