3-D View of Future I-74 Bridge
The Iowa Department of Transportation and Iowa State University recently collaborated to create a virtual reality video that provides an up close view of what driving across the new I-74 Mississippi River Bridge will be like, and what the span will look like from a distance.
The video also dives into the aquatic life under the bridge, where both Iowa and Illinois departments of transportation led a large-scale mussel relocation. In the virtual reality display, the user interacts with mussels by “picking them up" as information is provided by a U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service biologist.
Alfred Benesch & Co. engineering consultant team created the models shown, and new 3-D content was developed by the Iowa DOT’s Office of Bridges and Structures and Iowa State University.
The virtual reality experience will be available to the public through May.
Mississippi River Bridge
The new Mississippi River Bridge—actually twin basket-handle arch spans—is part of the larger I-74 corridor project that’s been in the works since 2000 and, according to the Quad-City Times, is estimated to cost nearly $1.2 billion overall.
The project, spearheaded by the IOWA DOT, is the largest the agency has ever undertaken. Iowa and Illinois will share most of the cost of Phase 2 of the I-74 project, which includes the bridge. Illinois is expected to shoulder more than $400 million for this phase of the project, which also includes approach spans and ramps, while Iowa will pay just under $300 million, and the cities of Bettendorf, Iowa, and Moline, Illinois, will pay about $10 million and about $5 million each.
The current bridges carrying I-74 across the Mississippi, opened in 1935 and 1960, are twin suspension bridges, designed by Ralph Modjeski. The decades-old spans aren’t built to handle the approximately 74,000 vehicles crossing the river between Bettendorf and Moline daily; according to Iowa DOT, traffic is expected to rise to nearly 100,000 crossings daily by 2035.
The I-74 Mississippi River Bridge is not slated for completion for another three years.