QC can help I-74 Bridge capture another excellence award

The public can vote for the Interstate 74 Bridge in the American Council of Engineering Companies Engineering Excellence Awards. CREDIT ACEC

The award-winning Interstate 74 Bridge recently called “an engineering marvel” by the National Council of Structural Engineers Association is vying for more top-level engineering excellence awards.

Quad Citians and others who have traveled across or walked over the unique structure that has connected Moline to Bettendorf since Dec. 1, 2021 can help make it happen.

Voting opened on Sunday, Jan. 26, for the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) 2023 Engineering Excellence Awards. It closes on Thursday, Feb. 16. A winner will be selected after the votes are tallied. To see photographs and vote for any of the projects, go to the dedicated voting website.

The awards are designed to honor the best infrastructure projects in Illinois and the engineering companies behind their design and construction. The winner will be honored at the ACEC Awards gala.

“The scope and variety of projects nominated for this award demonstrates the extraordinary commitment by state agencies and local engineers to the development and modernization of our state’s most important road and transportation infrastructure,” Illinois Secretary of Transportation Omer Osman said in a news release. 

 “We commend ACEC Illinois for this initiative to promote excellence in the engineering community and look forward to seeing the projects and teams that will emerge as winners to be celebrated at the awards gala,” added the secretary who was on hand to celebrate the  I-74 Bridge’s 2021 ribbon cutting.

The awards are designed to showcase completed projects, encourage public engagement and appreciation and promote excellence among Illinois’ engineering industry as well as companies who bring infrastructure projects, the news release said.

“Infrastructural development has always been vital for job creation and transportation of goods and people and crucial to improving the quality of life of residents and boosting our state’s economy,” said Kevin Artl, president and CEO of the ACEC of Illinois. “Our intention is to use this contest to promote a competitive spirit among our members so they continue to put in their best as they work with our public and private partners on transformative projects such as roads, bridges, railroads, universities and other critical infrastructure across the state.”

That includes the I-74 Bridge, which the engineering group described this way:

“Spanning the Mississippi River, this $1 billion complex, mega-project owned by both the Iowa and Illinois DOTs was borne out of the need for increased capacity and structural improvements along a 7.8-mile stretch of I-74 in the Quad Cities. 

“With the existing infrastructure no longer meeting the current needs and functionally obsolete, an I-74 Iowa-Illinois Corridor Study was undertaken by the (Iowa and Illinois departments of transportation) with input from other local agencies and local officials.

“The signature elements of the project consist of two, basket-handle, through-arch structures that carry four lanes of traffic and full shoulders in each direction, more than doubling traffic capacity. A multi-use path was also incorporated into the project to promote multi-modal transportation and recreation.”

In addition to the Iowa and Illinois DOTs, the ACEC also singled out in the I-74 Bridge entry the firms of the Alfred Benesch & Company and Modjeski and Masters.

The other nominated projects vying for ACEC top honors are:

  •  Gantry Erection of the Mile Long Bridge on Interstate 294.
  • Wells/Wentworth Connector.
  • Wheaton Downtown Streetscape.
  • I-294 and Interstate 57 Interchange.
  • Jane Bryne Interchange.
  • Lakefront Trail Widening at DLSD Bascule Bridge. 
  • Pavement Assessment and Management for the Village of Schaumburg. 
  • Phillips 66 Dock Lines Replacements.
  • Tri-State Tollway (I-294) BNSF Railway Bridge. 
  • Waukegan High Service Pump Improvement for the City of Waukegan.

Among other notable awards the I-74 bridge has received are a National Award in the Major Span category of the 2022 Prize Bridge Awards, presented by the American Institute of Steel Construction and the National Steel Bridge Alliance. It also won top honors among Midwest states in the 2022 America’s Transportation Awards. In December, the bridge also was the Top Bridge of 2022 by Roads & Bridges magazine, and is featured on a 2023 U.S. Postal Service stamp, as one of four river crossing of note to be included in a four-pack of Presorted First-Class Mail stamps. 

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