Q: It appears that the narrow bridge over the Mississippi River between Savanna, Ill., and Sabula, Iowa, will be destroyed after a replacement bridge is built if no one wants it. A wider, modern bridge is needed, but couldn’t the existing bridge be saved for bicycling and other recreation? Currently there are few safe routes for a bicyclist to cross the Mississippi River. Before removing this bridge, please look into the feasibility of preserving it for recreational use.
— Lawrence, Port Byron
A: Illinois DOT project engineer John Wegmeyer says that isn’t possible, unfortunately, for several reasons.
First, the new U.S. 52 bridge will have full-width shoulders that can be used by pedestrians and bicycles.
Second, to fix up the existing span to accommodate bicycles, it would need a new deck, which would be very expensive.
And third, the new bridge being built 100 feet away from the existing one is designed for a wider, realigned navigation channel for Mississippi River traffic. That will require the piers of the old bridge to be removed soon after the new bridge opens to make way for the wider channel.
Wegmeyer said the DOT has received a couple of inquiries after advertising the availability of the historical bridge, built in 1932, for free to be moved to a new location. But those were from parties interested in salvaging the steel. The state wants someone to preserve it as a historical site at another location. If it’s to be demolished and salvaged, that will be done by the DOT’s contractor.
Q: What’s the one-day snowfall record for the Quad-Cities? One Connecticut town got as much as 40 inches with the latest East Coast blizzard.
— John, Davenport
A: We’re nowhere near that, thankfully.
Two whoppers are in a tie for the record snowfall in the Quad-Cities at 18.4 inches — the Groundhog Day storm of Feb. 2, 2011, and the memorable dumping of Jan. 13, 1979.
“We do get big snow once in a while, and it comes with wind,” said meteorologist Andy Ervin of the National Weather Service, who looked up the stats for Ask the Times.
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He notes that the record storm totals likely span more than one date, because the storms don’t start and stop at midnight, when the daily weather stats do.
Follow-up on pill bottles
We wrote the other day about recycling pill bottles. Bottles with Nos. 1 and 2 on the bottom can be recycled curbside in Davenport and Bettendorf. Those with other numbers can be taken to drop-off sites in Rock Island County.
From time to time, Usable Reusables Creative Arts Center, a nonprofit at 322 N. Cody St., LeClaire, that uses all manner of cast-offs for crafts and art projects, accepts pill bottles, but right now it has an abundance of them. Usable Reusables is a good source to keep in mind, though, especially for art supplies. For more information, go to the website reusableusables.org, call 563-289-3946 or email to info@Reusableusables.org
Several readers also said their veterinarians use empty, recycled pill containers for dispensing prescriptions for pets. Just remove the label first. So you might want to check with the closest veterinarians to see if they are accepting empty containers. One that does for sure is Joe Seng’s St. Francis Veterinary Hospital, 702 Fillmore St., Davenport.
(Answers provided by Times community editor Linda Watson and reporter Alma Gaul.)