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Group wants to turn old interstate bridge into wildlife crossing, pedestrian walkway – Kansas City, Missouri

Kansas City, Missouri 2021-07-16 14:33:19 –

The bridge over the Mississippi River from Iowa to Illinois is getting old. Instead of breaking it, Chad Preglacke has another idea.

“Talking about something is one thing, doing it, and doing it aggressively with a bigger purpose in mind, and that’s one of the things we’ve been working on,” Pregracke said. -80 I said when I drove across the bridge.

This is just another bridge for many drivers, but for Pregracke it symbolizes much more.

“I grew up right next to the bridge,” he said. “And when I was a kid, I spent a lot of time fishing and swimming around the bridge.”

The team behind Pregracke and the Bison Bridge Foundation wants to turn the bridge into just that bridge, a bridge for bison, pedestrians and cyclists.

“I came up with the idea of ​​a bison bridge, but it didn’t happen overnight. It really happened in the last two decades,” he said.

“When you first hear about it, you think it’s a pretty wild project, and some say it’s crazy, but that’s okay, but it’s necessary,” he explains. Did.

Pregracke has planned to give the general public an accurate picture of what the final product will look like.

“It’s not just Bison, and if not more, it’s about the Mississippi River and celebrating it,” he said.

He started the project two years ago, but there’s still a long way to go.

“Infrastructure diversion is new and unique. It’s rewarding and different from what you would normally see in an infrastructure project,” said Kevin Marchek, a former Illinois Department of Transportation engineer.

He recently retired there almost 40 years later.

“The bridge has been around for about 55 years and was part of the Interstate Highway during the Eisenhower era,” Marchek said.

According to Marchek, the bridge is co-owned by both the states of Iowa and Illinois and the federal government. The department is considering building a new bridge at that location. It is still unknown where the bridge is exactly.

“It’s combined with age because it’s too small for the amount of traffic it has,” he said.

“We see about 42,000 cars traveling on Interstate 80 a day,” says Pregracke.

But this dilapidated bridge still has life.

“The really important thing here is to be able to reuse and divert the structure and save the Department of Transport money,” says Marchek.

“I’m not building a bridge, I’m just trying to do something positive with something that will pay me about $ 20 million to maintain and blow up the bridge,” explained Pregracke. ..

The idea of ​​crossing wildlife is becoming more and more common.

“The more our natural habitat develops, the more fragmented it is, the natural process of humans living in the landscape,” said a licensed landscape architect and member of the American Landscape Architects Association. One Paul Dramondo says.

Dramondo said the bridge helps connect these fragmented areas for animals.

“Wildlife crossings benefit everyone. They benefit people, but they also benefit wildlife,” he said.

Pregracke’s ideas are starting to gain momentum, with over 30,000 signatures on petitions, Bison signs beside local streets, and even statues appearing at local events.

The only major concern he raises is about money.

“Most people are worried about taxpayers’ money,” Pregracke said. “We aim to do this personally.”

The final product is still a few years away, and many decisions must be made along the way, as government agencies have to decide where to go for the new bridge and what will happen to this bridge.

“We fully respect the process and try to work with it,” says Pregracke.

“You are looking ahead about seven years before you see the new bridge installed,” Marchek said.

Group wants to turn old interstate bridge into wildlife crossing, pedestrian walkway Source link Group wants to turn old interstate bridge into wildlife crossing, pedestrian walkway

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