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122818-74bridgeelevator

A conceptual photo of the new Interstate 74 bridge shows a Bettendorf elevator at left offering access to the multi-use trail on the bridge.

Things are looking up for anyone interested in getting on to the new Interstate 74 bridge’s multi-use trail when it opens in 2020.

While it’s been in the plans about five years, the bridge’s Twitter account this week posted a photo rendering of the tinted-glass, eight-story tall elevator right up against the west side of the bridge on a newly landscaped Bettendorf riverfront.

The structure will allow pedestrians and bicyclists easy access to the 14-foot-wide concrete trail on the Illinois-bound side of the bridge.

The city of Bettendorf is funding the elevator construction, Danielle Alvarez, I-74 bridge project manager with the Iowa Department of Transportation, said Thursday. She could not share the estimated cost of the structure since it hasn’t been put out to bid.

“The structure is not something needed for transportation,” Alvarez said, noting a similar elevator is not planned on the Illinois side of the river. “It can accommodate two directions of pedestrian traffic.”

The recreational trail — to be separated by vehicular traffic on the bridge by a six-foot-high concrete and steel barrier, and 12-foot-wide shoulder off the main lanes — will reflect the downward slope of the vehicle off-ramps, down to ground level on both ends of the bridge, she said.

It will end at River Drive in Moline and on U.S. 67 in Bettendorf.

“This is something that connects the trail system in both downtown areas,” Alvarez said. “This is an important aspect for the multi-modal structure, to connect both downtown communities.”

The multi-use path also will have a glass bottom at the center of the bridge for people to watch the water.

Bettendorf city engineer Brent Morlok could not be reached Thursday for comment on the project.

The elevator can seen in artwork on the home page of i74riverbridge.com. Also online is a downtown “flyover” video created in early 2018, which shows the finished development, at youtube.com/watch?v=048neHYT2MI. A good look at the elevator structure starts around 5:40.

Other parts of the flyover show:

  • The Bridge Lofts, a pair of new five-story apartment buildings on the site of the former Twin Bridges Motor Inn. The $22-million, 132-unit apartment complex is expected to be completed soon.
  • Updates to Bettendorf City Hall, the Bettendorf Fire Station and an adjacent City Hall Plaza incorporating landscaping and fountains.
  • Ascentra’s new headquarters currently being built between 20th and 21st streets and State and Grant streets.
  • Jetty Park, a $1 million park area beneath the new I-74 bridge featuring fishing piers, docking access for pleasure boats and a bike path connection.
  • Water features, including fountains, adjacent to the new road configuration leading into downtown.

Construction for the $1.25-billion I-74 project began in July 2017. The new bridge will be more than twice as wide as the existing bridge, providing four lanes in each direction.

Between Middle Road in Bettendorf and Avenue of the Cities in Moline, I-74 will be expanded to three lanes in each direction with additional lanes at select locations.

Through winter and spring 2019, construction crews will work on some of the most complex aspects of the project, according to i74riverbridge.com. Sections of the arches will be placed on the arch piers by a 350-foot tall, 740-ton crane. Temporary towers will support the steel segments as each piece is placed, forming a basket-handle arch that will stand 164 feet above the new roadway.

People can follow live construction of the bridge at bettendorf.org.

New I-74 bridge construction: Hundreds of images

The Quad-City Times has been following construction of the new I-74 bridge across the Mississippi River since day 1 capturing hundreds of images. Take a look. 

Work continues on a new bridge just east of the twin spams of the I-74 Bridge over the Mississippi River in Bettendorf, Iowa Friday November 1…

Workers are at the site of a new bridge that will replace the twin spans of the I-74 Bridge over the Mississippi River in Bettendorf, Iowa Mon…

Workers at the site of a new bridge over the Mississippi River near the twin spans of the I-74 bridge in Bettendorf, Iowa Thursday September 2…

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