The Iowa-bound span of the new Interstate 74 bridge now carries Illinois-bound vehicles, too.
Dividers have been in place since the new westbound span opened in November in anticipation of two-way traffic. The one finished bridge is wider at 72 feet than both spans of the old bridge combined.
The old Illinois-bound span still will be used for those heading downtown.
Beginning last Friday, Iowa motorists who wish to get to downtown Moline will use the old bridge from ramps at State and Grant streets in downtown Bettendorf.
Vehicles heading for Avenue of the Cities, John Deere Road and Interstate 280 in Moline will use the new bridge from Middle Road and north of Middle in Iowa.
The head-to-head traffic on the new westbound span will continue until the new eastbound span opens in late 2021, though the Iowa DOT indicates some access changes are likely in early 2021.
Meanwhile, traffic counts on the new bridge appear to reflect changes in traffic volume that likely are the result of ongoing construction (a natural deterrent for many motorists) and pandemic-related decreases in overall traffic volume.
"We did not have specific projections for traffic when Iowa-bound opened because the majority of motorists who use the bridge travel it in both directions," said Danielle Alvarez, project manager for the Iowa DOT. "With Illinois-bound still detoured, motorists may prefer to continue using I-80/280. I think we’ll have a more accurate representation after both bridges are complete."
For its first month in operation, traffic on the westbound span hit its peak on Friday, Dec. 11, Alvarez said, with a little more than 30,000 vehicles.
In 2016, daily traffic on the old spans exceeded 74,000 vehicles a day. Transportation officials expect to see both new spans carry nearly 100,000 vehicles a day by 2035.