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I-74 Bridge Aesthetics Final Design

Challenge

A 7.8 mile stretch of the Interstate 74 corridor that passes through Bettendorf, Iowa, and Moline, Illinois, will be replaced and rebuilt, allowing for more efficient travel throughout the area. Increasing the capacity for traffic by increasing the interstate from two lanes to four lanes in each direction; replacing the existing bridge across the Mississippi River; reconstructing six interchanges; enhancing the arterial roadways; and improving overall transit, bike/pedestrian, and intermodal travel established a highly involved project, requiring effort from several entities. Along with these massive changes came the need for improvements to enhance and visually connect the natural surroundings of the Mississippi River to the existing bridge and surrounding cities.

Solution

Regular interactions between the lead project management team, design teams, various local stakeholders, and government agencies is critical in a project of this capacity. Maintaining open lines of communication on this level is achieved through accurate documentation of meetings and correspondence; information sharing with those involved; and assuring clear messages create general understanding for all parties. Some of the groups include the Local Governments of the cities and communities surrounding the project, Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce, Quad Cities Convention and Visitors Bureau, local Rotary Clubs, Economic Development Groups, US Army Corps of Engineers, US Coast Guard, and several more.

Preparation of informational materials that are made available to the local communities plays an important role in the process of knowledge sharing. Along with these materials, meetings that are open to the public offer a platform where voices can be heard and intentions can be known. By taking on the responsibility to keep the public aware through meetings, project website updates, newsletters, and other media outlets, Shive-Hattery keeps all parties involved and informed as needed.

Refining existing styles to implement the new design of this project required Shive-Hattery to focus attention on many aspects including pedestrian railings, bridge abutments, bridge piers and lighting, fences, barriers, retaining walls, sound walls, and color treatments. While these features seem small on their own, together the character of the entire project is visible. Creating renderings of lighting effects; vehicle and pedestrian bridge views across the river; overpasses from different angles; a letdown elevator structure and plaza space; bike/pedestrian paths along the river’s edge; and natural spaces produces a strong visual interpretation before the project construction even begins.

With limits as to what landscape features could be included, concepts had to be refined and analyzed. This led to the arrangement of a plant palette to be used throughout the corridor; design of appropriate layouts, details and special provisions; development of parks and greenspaces under the bridge on both sides of the river; and extension of the bike trail on the Iowa side. As this entire project continually required coordination among many, the landscape design was reviewed and refined between the Shive-Hattery team, Iowa DOT, Illinois DOT, Federal Highway Administration, and representatives of the railroads.

Impact

By creating an aesthetic and pleasing identity for the Interstate 74 Corridor and Bridge the natural beauty of the surrounding area will be emphasized. Shive-Hattery played an important role in establishing designs that will unify the Quad Cities corridor, creating a welcoming environment for the surrounding communities as well as interstate travelers.
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