Construction on the new Interstate 74 bridge between Moline, Illinois, and Bettendorf, Iowa, has been suspended for at a week after a worker for contractor Lunda Construction Co. tested positive for COVID-19. A second worker is in quarantine awaiting a test result.
Announced Monday, March 23, the decision to halt work on the $322-million Mississippi River crossing is a precautionary measure, according to a statement by Iowa Dept. of Transportation project manager Danielle Alvarez. The statement added that as of that time, Lunda plans to resume work the week of March 30.
“The state DOTs and contractors are monitoring the situation day by day and continue to make adjustments as needed to continue work while protecting the safety of our workers,” Alvarez said in the statement. Though it has yet to be determined if and how COVID-19 will affect the bridge’s current 2021 completion schedule, Alvarez noted that each contractor has been responsible for implementing safety measures consistent with state and federal guidelines.
“Lunda continues to monitor the construction sites and crews and will make adjustments as needed for the safety of their workers,” she said.
Lunda Construction, based in Black River Falls, Wisc., declined to comment, referring inquiries to the Iowa DOT, the bridge project’s lead agency.
Begun in July 2017, the new eight-lane twin-span structure is part of a $1.2-billion program to improve the seven-mile I-74 corridor between Bettendorf, and Moline. Progress has been slowed in recent months due to weather conditions and a reported dispute between the Iowa DOT and Lunda over compensation for erecting the structure’s signature, technically complex basket-handle arches.
According to Alvarez, 24 of 30 arch segments on the westbound span have been erected, and a significant portion of the deck is also complete. The current schedule calls for opening of the westbound span to traffic in the second half of 2020.