We Quad Citians can get pretty giddy about our bridges. Here's another reason to be happy. On May 5, I-74 Bridge crews lifted into place the final piece of the basket-handle arch on the Illinois-bound bridge.

According to an I-74 River Bridge news release, installing the last piece of the arch was a multi-step process. Two arch segments were delivered on site and assembled to form the keystone, weighing approximately 240,000 lbs. A work platform was installed below the gap in the arch along with temporary struts and jacks, allowing workers to spread apart the arches prior to setting the keystone.

On May 5, crews lifted into place the final piece of the basket-handle arch on the Illinois-bound bridge. We’re thrilled...

Posted by I-74 River Bridge on Wednesday, May 5, 2021

A crane lifted the keystone to the top of the arch while ironworkers guided it into place. Once the keystone was set, ironworkers and engineers took measurements and adjusted the position of the keystone to get the perfect fit. Then the bolting process begins. There are four connections on the keystone, each requiring over a thousand bolts. Working around the clock, crews will secure the keystone.

Additional work on the arch, including installing and tensioning the remaining bolts, is anticipated to take several weeks. After the arch is completed, the cable stays on either side will be removed and the arch will become free standing.

When fully opened to traffic, the Illinois-bound and Iowa-bound bridges will each provide three through lanes and one exit lane, along with full size shoulders. The Illinois-bound bridge will also have a bike and pedestrian path that is separated from traffic and will connect to existing paths in Bettendorf and Moline.

The project team continues to work towards the goal of opening Illinois-bound I-74 to traffic by the end of 2021.

The I-74 Mississippi River Bridge project is part of a regional strategy for improving access across the Mississippi River in the Quad Cities, between Iowa and Illinois.

One step closer to a new completely finished bridge. I can't even imagine how that will feel, but I think it's going to be nice!