Heavy equipment began chewing away Monday at the former Big 10 Mart in downtown Bettendorf to pave the way for a new Interstate 74 bridge and the realignment of State and Grant streets.
The building at 411 14th St. became the latest to meet the wrecking ball in the downtown area. The demolition is being done by Holst Trucking and Excavating of LeClaire.
Doug Rick, the I-74 project manager for Iowa Department of Transportation, or DOT, said the company has 20 days, by contract, to complete the work, but "it probably will take less than that."
"There's not that many buildings left," he said, adding that the Big 10 Mart gas station is the 37th structure to be demolished on the Iowa side of the river as part of the I-74 project. When the work is completed, 42 buildings will have been removed to make way for the new bridge, interchanges and street realignment.
The contract for demolishing the nearby Q-C Mart, 1402 State St., likely will be let this fall or winter, Rick said. That structure, as well as the former Crescent Cleaners and a small machine shop at 329 11th St., will be included in the roadwork contract for realigning Grant and State streets. The contractor that gets the street realignment project also will have control over the demolition to control the schedule, Rick said.
The estimated $13 million project "brings Grant and State streets together for a few blocks so we can bring the future interchange to that site," he added.
Ross' Restaurant and its former drive-through, which is a separate restaurant, will be the last two to come down in downtown Bettendorf, he said. "But that won't be for another year."
According to Rick, the DOT plans to maintain traffic during the realignment and reconstruction of State and Grant streets between 10th and 17th streets.
"We're able to keep State Street open for most of the traffic because it is being realigned," he said. Grant Street is being slightly realigned, but traffic will be reduced to two lanes during the project.
"It's becoming real when you see the contractors doing the work," he said. In addition to demolition, Iowa American Water also is working on a related water main project.
Last month, the utility began the relocation of almost one mile of water main as part of the bridge and street realignment. The $2 million project will replace about 2,000 feet of aging water main along Mississippi Boulevard between 12th and 17th streets. It also includes system improvements to increase water flow for firefighters and other water main relocations along State, Gilbert, 13th and 15th streets.
"When we get this roadway project going early in the spring, that will really make it a reality," Rick said.