One Person Killed on Pedestrian Portion of Iowa-Illinois Bridge Over Mississippi River
When a new pedestrian bridge opened on a new bridge over the Mississippi River in the Quad Cities a few weeks ago, it was met with great excitement. This past weekend, a tragic accident happened on that same bridge.
Three people were struck by a vehicle on the pedestrian and bike portion of the new I-74 bridge early Sunday morning. One of those people has died. The big question is how this could have ever happened?
After five years of construction, the I-74 bridge connecting Iowa and Illinois opened to vehicular traffic on December 2, 2021. The bike and pedestrian path on the bridge, just over a mile long, opened on April 27. The ribbon-cutting was actually held last Wednesday, May 18.
One of the first things you'll notice in the video below is a pickup sitting in the pedestrian portion of the bridge. According to the Quad-City Times, the pedestrian/bike part of the bridge is 14-feet wide... unfortunately, plenty wide for vehicles. There were no barricades or obstacles to prevent vehicles from getting onto the pedestrian and bicycle portion of the bridge before Sunday's accident.
According to the Quad-City Times, a woman driving an SUV drove onto the walking/biking path on the Bettendorf side of the I-74 bridge and traveled to nearly the Illinois side before striking three people on the bridge at around 2 a.m. Sunday morning. They were hit about 200 yards from the entrance on the Moline side of the bridge.
One person was killed and the other two suffered severe injuries in the accident on the bridge, which is illuminated at night. WQAD reports the two injured victims are in critical condition. The driver has been identified as 46-year-old Chhabria Harris of East Moline, Illinois. WQAD says she has been charged with "with 3 counts of Aggravated DUI Causing Death or Great Bodily Harm, 3 counts of failure to Stop at the Scene of an Accident Involving Death or Personal Injury, 3 counts of Aggravated Reckless Driving, and one count of Reckless Homicide." She is being held on a $2 million bond.
The Quad-City Times reports that a Bettendorf city official recently said both the Iowa Department of Transportation and Illinois Department of Transportation "wanted the path to remain closed until construction and demolition were complete, which could take up to three more years." City officials from Bettendorf and Moline pushed for its opening now.
The pedestrian portion of the I-74 bridge had reopened by mid-morning on Sunday.