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Demolition of old I-74 bridge to begin next month, landscaping underway

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Gov. J.B. Pritzker, Illinois Department of Transportation officials, Federal Highway Administration officials and community leaders celebrate the upcoming completion of the new Interstate 74 Mississippi River bridge, one of the biggest projects in state history.

A contract has been awarded for demolition of the old Interstate 74 bridges between Bettendorf and Moline, and it calls for work to begin next month.

Helm Civil, which built the viaducts for the new bridge in Bettendorf, was awarded the demolition contract, totaling $23,298,854. The second-lowest bid was more than twice as much, with Walsh Construction coming in at nearly $50 million, according to Iowa Department of Transportation, or DOT, records.

The low bid exceeds last year's demolition estimate of $21.6 million but is well within the updated $34.9 million budgeted estimate.

It will be up to Helm to decide the process for removal of the old twin spans and their related infrastructure, including whether to seek permits for the use of explosives.

Work is to begin Sept. 12, and Helm has 300 days to complete demolition, the contract states.

Now underway at the new bridges, McCarthy Improvement has until the end of the year to complete landscaping under the spans in Bettendorf and Moline, George Ryan, I-74 corridor manager, said.

Bike and pedestrian paths and decorative elements are being added along and under the new I-74 spans in Bettendorf, and planting and other landscaping features will be added as part of the $2.7 million contract with McCarthy.

The new park in Bettendorf connects the riverfront with businesses and apartments on Grant Street, City Administrator Decker Ploehn said.

“It’s exciting to see it all get started,” he said.

The contract for the elevator off the new pedestrian and bike path on the bridge to the riverfront park in Bettendorf is to be let early next year. The city sought and was granted a waiver from the Buy American requirement for the I-74 project because some elevator components are not made in the U.S.

In Moline, city planners have for several years been considering uses for riverfront and downtown land that is becoming available for redevelopment with the removal of the original twin spans. The riverfront bike path already is connected to the bike and pedestrian path on the new bridge.

"There is a detailed landscaping plan for Moline, similar in nature to the work underway in Bettendorf," City Administrator Bob Vitas said. "It includes the decorative rock and other features."

By the beginning of this week, rolls of straw mulch had been rolled out in what appears to be several acres of land in the bridge's downtown corridor in Moline.

Reporter Sarah Watson contributed to this report.

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