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A Quad Cities replacement for the 55-year-old Interstate 80 bridge over the Mississippi River will stray from the span’s current site – but not far from the existing span formally named the Fred Schwengel Memorial Bridge. Officials revealed Thursday, Oct. 27, that three of the seven potential locations identified in May for the new bridge have been ruled out. The announcement came during the latest online public meeting for the project. Included was a consideration to replace the bridge on the existing alignment -- which would require demolition of the current structure before a new bridge could be built. Also wiped off the list of proposals was alternatives to move the new parallel spans either 600 feet upriver – thus closer to the downtowns of LeClaire, Iowa, and Port Byron, Illinois, – or 2,100 feet downriver to affect surrounding residential areas. Replacing the bridge on the existing alignment was eliminated, the virtual meeting panelists explained, because doing so would close that portion of the interstate for an estimated four years. That would force traffic to be re-routed to another crossing downriver – at the Interstate 74 or Interstate 280 bridges – as well as require neighboring residents to travel roughly 40 minutes roundtrip to go between the cross-river communities of LeClaire and Port Byron. After reviewing an environmental study for the meeting’s participants, Tony Pakeltis, an engineer from national project consultant Parsons, Corp., explained the two farthest options also were removed because they were the “most impactful” by a wide margin – both in terms of the relocations necessary for residences or businesses, and the right of way required on prime farmlands. Hosted by the Illinois Department of Transportation (DOT) – and in conjunction with their counterparts at the Iowa DOT -- the meeting included more than 400 registered participants. The webinar also featured nearly 80 minutes of questions and answers following a detailed 35-minute review of alternatives for both the new bridge and improvements to the I-88 interchange a few miles to the east. Besides representatives from the DOTs of both states -- Becky Marruffo and Mike Kuehn from Illinois, and Phil Mescher from Iowa -- Thursday’s six panelists included Parsons engineers Pakeltis, Mark Peterson and Todd Ude.