A ribbon cutting ceremony was held by the Iowa and Illinois departments of transportation, the
Federal Highway Administration, and the Quad Cities communities on Wednesday, Dec. 1, to celebrate
opening the new I-74 Mississippi River Bridge.

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (who had a previous family commitment) provided an official statement and Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker was joined by federal, state and local officials in making public remarks celebrating the opening of the iconic structure, as well as the future of the QC region.

A view of the crowd Wednesday morning on the just-completed Illinois-bound bridge span for the $1.2-billion I-74 bridge (photo by Bryan Bobb).

“This new bridge will serve as a vital east-west link for the Midwest. It provides exceptional opportunities to strengthen the economies of Iowa and Illinois and improve regional and global options for moving goods produced in each of our states,” Gov. Reynolds said in a statement. “The I-74 River Bridge illustrates the promise of our states and the Quad Cities communities to all who travel across it. I am thrilled that this majestic bridge will be here for generations to come, helping to bring that promise to fruition.”

Gov. Pritzker pointed to the collaboration between neighbors, communities, and states in delivering a
$1.2-billion transformational project.

A view of the new I-74 bridge Wednesday, Dec. 1, from the Illinois-bound span (photo by Jonathan Turner).

“The I-74 River Bridge is a testament to what is possible when we work together to build a better Midwest,” Pritzker said. “These improvements will support safer and shorter commutes, connect economies across the Mississippi, and spark opportunity across the Quad Cities. I’m proud to celebrate our partnership with the Iowa Department of Transportation and thank them for their leadership.”

The completed I-74 Bridge is anticipated to open to traffic in early December, delivering four lanes in each direction and providing improved safety for commuters. The bridge includes a 14-foot wide bike and pedestrian path with a scenic overlook and connections to existing paths in both Bettendorf and Moline, and is anticipated to open by the end of December.

The project is the largest in Iowa state history and includes twin river bridges, new interchanges,
ramps, and local road reconfigurations to improve mobility and operation, delivering safer and more reliable travel for motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians alike. The project is approximately 88.5% federally funded with Iowa and Illinois DOTs funding their land-based contracts, respectively, and splitting the cost of the river bridge.

Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker speaks at the opening of the new I-74 Bridge on Wednesday (photo by Jonathan Turner).

“This new I-74 Mississippi River Bridge will join our states and communities, will strengthen our region, and will stand tall in welcoming new hope and opportunity to the Quad Cities and beyond for many years to come,” Iowa DOT Director Scott Marler said.

Illinois DOT Transportation Secretary Omer Osman said, “The I-74 Bridge is yet another example of bold leadership delivering the type of improvements in infrastructure that will keep this region competitive for many, many years to come. This beautiful new structure is especially meaningful because of our partnership with Iowa and our work with federal, state and local stakeholders.”

Bettendorf Mayor Bob Gallagher, left, and Davenport Mayor Mike Matson celebrate the ribbon-cutting for the new bridge Wednesday.

Connecting Iowa and Illinois, I-74 serves as an important east-west link in the nation’s transportation
network. The I-74 corridor serves as a primary crossing of the Mississippi River in the QC area, carrying more than 45% of total vehicular traffic across the river. The I-74 River Bridge project is part of a regional strategy for improving access across the Mississippi River.

Facts on the new bridge:

  • Construction of the new I-74 River Bridge began in July 2017.
  • The basket-handle arch on the Iowa-bound bridge was completed in May 2020.
  • The Iowa-bound bridge opened in November 2020.
  • The arch on the Illinois-bound bridge was completed in May 2021.
  • The old suspension bridges are anticipated to be removed in 2022.
  • Contractors on the project include Lunda Construction Co., Helm Group, McCarthy Improvement, Kraemer North America, Walsh Group, Valley Construction, and Langman Construction.
  • The design firm of the original I-74 suspension bridges (built in 1935 and 1959), Modjeski and Masters, was also on the design team for the new structure.
  • The new river bridge is approximately 3,464 feet or 0.66 miles in length.