During this holiday season, when will the new I-74 bridge be lit up?

Local News

Testing of LED lighting for the new I-74 bridge done in November 2021 (used with permission, courtesy of Iowa Department of Transportation).

In this holiday season, when so many area homes and businesses are decorated with twinkling lights to pierce the night, one new Quad Cities landmark remains conspicuously dark.

The $1-billion I-74 bridge – which fully opened to eight lanes of traffic the night of Dec. 2 – has not yet been lit permanently, save for the blinking red aviation safety lights at the top of the arches.

“At this time, we are just testing the lights,” George Ryan, I-74 Corridor Manager, said Thursday. “We anticipate having the Iowa-bound color-changing lighting on and fully operational by the end of this year, and Illinois-bound late spring next year.”

Testing of the new I-74 bridge lights during construction in March 2021 (used with permission, courtesy of Iowa Department of Transportation).

The bridge’s LED lighting controls are located in Bettendorf. The cities of Bettendorf and Moline have shared responsibility for the LED aesthetic lighting, Ryan said, noting tests of the new lights have been sporadic throughout 2021.

The LED lighting is set up to offer a variety of colors and scenes on the new bridge, and Ryan isn’t sure if Christmas colors are in the offing by Dec. 25.

“There are a number of scenes already programmed and they will use a variety of color palettes to wash the arches with light every night,” he said. “Special scenes will be scheduled to mark holidays and events throughout the year, too. The cities will also have the ability to program additional scenes on their own if new events are scheduled in the future.

A rare sighting of a lit Iowa-bound span of the bridge in November 2021 (photo by Jonathan Turner).

“So the possibilities are nearly endless!” Ryan said. “It’s a very exciting feature on the new bridge.”

Lighting for the upcoming holidays is pending availability of the lighting this year, he noted.

To learn more about the new bridge, visit the project website.

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