- All segments of the Iowa Department of Transportation's (IDOT) new $1.2 billion Interstate 74 bridge over the Mississippi River are either on or ahead of schedule, according to the Quad-City Times.
- Crews are now underway with the second phase of the project, which is construction of the bridge and reconstruction of a portion of I-74. IDOT said that they have already drilled 239 shafts — up to 10 feet in diameter and 20 to 30 feet deep — and that footing construction was set to begin last week.
- The IDOT said that more than $500 million of bridge contracts have been awarded thus far but that funding for phase three has not yet been settled and that the work is not part of the agency's five-year plan.
In September, IDOT announced that it planned to use a Y-shaped pier to support the I-74 bridge. The pier type requires an intersection of reinforcing steel and concrete, a design that the agency has been testing for structural performance prior to building the 60 necessary for bridge construction.
Back in May of last year, IDOT proposed a five-year, $3.5 billion bridge and highway upgrade and repair program, which included $1.2 billion dedicated to bridge maintenance. The Iowa Transportation Commission approved the program in June 2016.
Although Iowa and other states have developed their own bridge and highway repair programs, the magnitude of the work that needs to be done is so large that it is unlikely that all states could find a way to afford it. According to the most recent American Road and Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) report, approximately 9% of all U.S. bridges are structurally deficient and it would cost $700 billion repair them all.
But Iowa has turned its data on the state of its bridges into a handy public tool. In October, Data-Smart City Solutions reported that the Iowa geographic information systems (GIS) workers created an interactive map — based on IDOT inspections — of the state's more than 24,000 bridges, emphasizing their condition and serviceability. Although the GIS team first produced the map so that Iowa lawmakers could get a better idea of the condition of the state's bridges, drivers can now use the map to keep tabs on bridge conditions and repairs. \