The driving surface for the new Iowa-bound span of the I-74 bridge is a wrap.
Final loads of concrete were poured this week, completing the deck.
While the project manager for the bridge referred to the deck completion as "a major accomplishment," she also warned it does not yet signal the opening of the span.
"There is still a lot of work required prior to putting traffic on it," said Danielle Alvarez of the Iowa DOT. "Next, we’ll be pouring concrete for expansion joints and barrier wall, as well as installing lighting and utility connections and striping the roadway."
The signature arch also must be painted.
Finishing the deck advances the goal of permitting motorists on the new bridge by the end of this year. Meanwhile, work continues on the arch segments for the Illinois-bound span.
Bridge watchers may have noticed most of the progress on the arch is on the Illinois side of the Mississippi River, whereas the Iowa-side progress was more swift with the westbound span.
"The first segments on the arch piers require a lot of finishing work before additional segments can be installed," Alvarez said. "This finishing work happened to be completed faster on the Illinois side, so it made more sense to continue installing segments on the Illinois side, rather than break the 'rhythm' of the arch progress."
She also thanked the multitude of ironworkers, boat and tow operators, finishers and other workers who have been "working around the clock" to help reach the goal of opening the bridge within the next few months.
"We’re really pleased with the ongoing progress and appreciate all the enthusiasm from the public," she said.
The westbound span will at times accommodate two-way traffic. Those shifts in traffic will be announced in stages as the project continues to reach milestones.
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