The I-74 Mississippi River Bridge historically has provided an important east-west link in the nation's transportation network. The I-74 bridge crosses the Mississippi River on two separate structures. The westbound bridge, Illinois to Iowa, was completed and opened in 1935. The eastbound bridge, Iowa to Illinois, was completed in 1959 and opened in 1960.
In 2016, traffic on the I-74 bridges across the Mississippi River exceeded a 74,000 average daily traffic count. It is estimated that traffic volumes will rise to approximately 99,900 vehicles per day by 2035, according to traffic projections endorsed by the Bi-State Regional Commission. Growing population and employment during the past several decades have led to increased traffic volume. The Iowa and Illinois departments of transportation joined forces with other agencies and local officials to conduct the I-74 Iowa-Illinois Corridor Study.
This study evaluated transportation issues and recommended solutions to improve traffic flow and complement community goals and plans, with respect to the environment. A solution for the I-74 corridor was achieved by working collectively and communicating with concerned parties. The Iowa Department of Transportation, Illinois Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration worked closely with a committee composed of transportation and community officials throughout the development of the project. In addition, the Bi-State Regional Commission, the Metropolitan Planning Organization for the Quad Cities area, adopted the project as their top transportation priority and included it in its long-range transportation plan. Communication with all interested parties was maintained through a series of public hearings to present the findings in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement and Final Environmental Impact Statement. The Record of Decision which gave the project federal approval to proceed, was signed in 2009.
The I-74 Mississippi River Bridge project is part of a regional strategy for improving access across the Mississippi River in the Quad Cities. It includes the replacement of the I-74 twin bridges over the Mississippi River, interchange ramp reconfigurations, and interstate and local roadway improvements. Construction began in July 2017 and is anticipated to be completed in 2021. The new bridge will be more than twice as wide as the existing bridge, providing four lanes in each direction. A multi-use path on the bridge will connect to paths in Bettendorf and Moline. 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.