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Author Topic: Bison Bridge  (Read 1210 times)

andy3175

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Bison Bridge
« on: March 20, 2021, 07:32:16 PM »

A Quad Cities advocate suggests repurposing the Interstate 80 bridge over the Mississippi River.

https://www.wqad.com/amp/article/news/local/i-80-bridge-bison-wildlife-crossing-unveiled/526-073834aa-a302-46c6-833a-ed28592ce57b

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On Thursday, Quad Cities native, environmentalist, and president of Living Lands & Waters, Chad Pregracke, announced a new project, that would repurpose the I-80 bridge between Le Claire, Iowa and Rapids City, Illinois.

The current bridge is 55 years old, and the Illinois Department of Transportation is looking to build a new one somewhere along the river. Typically, they would destroy the old bridge once finished, but Pregracke has other plans.

He's created the Bison Bridge Foundation, and is proposing keeping the bridge, and transforming it into the world's longest wildlife crossing. One side would be for pedestrians and the other would be for bison to walk on.

The Bison Bridge Foundation is at https://bisonbridge.org/

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Repurposing of infrastructure is a trend in the United States and other parts of the developed world. What is deemed “old” becomes “new,” and in turn enhances quality of life, opens up investment opportunities, and transforms communities. The Bison Bridge is a concept like no other currently in the United States. It’s a land bridge, consisting of a wildlife and recreational crossing connecting the Illinois and Iowa riverfronts on the Mississippi River. With the right support, we hope to turn it into a National Park site for visitors to enjoy for generations.

The Bison Bridge Foundation has been established for the purpose of repurposing the I-80 bridge. How are we doing that? We are advocating at the local, state, and federal levels for support. We are engaging with community leaders, local elected officials, business owners, and stakeholders all over the country.

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Re: Bison Bridge
« Reply #1 on: March 20, 2021, 07:35:52 PM »

I assume I-280 will become I-80, but then what happens to current I-80 between I-280's endpoints?
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Re: Bison Bridge
« Reply #2 on: March 20, 2021, 07:48:49 PM »

I'm assuming this is just someone's pie in the sky idea and nothing will happen requiring I-80 to be rerouted.
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pianocello

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Re: Bison Bridge
« Reply #3 on: March 20, 2021, 08:00:39 PM »

Hoo boy. I heard a lot about this in my social media the past couple days. I'll be surprised if anything actually comes out of this. Seems like the guys behind the bison bridge failed to consider that if the roadway bridge becomes available for wildlife and park space, there will still be an Interstate highway adjacent to it.

IDOT and Iowa DOT are in the very preliminary planning stages for an I-80 bridge replacement. They seem to be even before the point of developing alternatives, or at least they were when they had their first public meeting a few months ago. Also, it's obviously entirely possible that the alternative chosen will be to make improvements to the existing bridge rather than replace it.

I'm all for a new park in the Quad City area, especially one that has so much tourist potential. But I'm hesitant to believe that this is possible.
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hobsini2

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Re: Bison Bridge
« Reply #4 on: March 20, 2021, 08:20:29 PM »

I got to imagine that all those homes within a 1/2 mile of the bridge along US 67, Canal Shore Dr and IL Route 84 would have to go.  I don't see where 80 could have a new crossing without taking large chunks of Le Clare out.
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SEWIGuy

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Re: Bison Bridge
« Reply #5 on: March 20, 2021, 08:23:20 PM »

Are there a lot of bison trying to cross the Mississippi these days? 
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SkyPesos

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Re: Bison Bridge
« Reply #6 on: March 20, 2021, 08:25:45 PM »

Can I do the same with the Brent Spence Bridge in Cincinnati, using the same "old bridge" reason, and repurpose it as a national park for dogs to cross over?
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hobsini2

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Re: Bison Bridge
« Reply #7 on: March 20, 2021, 09:24:02 PM »

Are there a lot of bison trying to cross the Mississippi these days? 
These days, no. However, there is a big try to have wild bison be repopulated in the Midwest. I know of a few places in Illinois, Wisconsin and Minnesota where this is happening.
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Re: Bison Bridge
« Reply #8 on: March 20, 2021, 10:05:42 PM »

I saw it on the news. They are assuming there will be a new bridge
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Lyon Wonder

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Re: Bison Bridge
« Reply #9 on: March 21, 2021, 01:57:13 AM »

There's also a proposal to turn the old I-74 bridge's toll plaza into a park and viewing area.

https://www.rcreader.com/commentary/fair-shake-for-I-74-pier-park-idea
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edwaleni

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Re: Bison Bridge
« Reply #10 on: March 22, 2021, 09:07:29 AM »

With infrastructure spending up nationally, and a lot of bridges starting to age out (the US built *a lot* of bridges from 1920-1960) there are efforts around the country to save certain old ones for alternative uses, including old railroad bridges.

Most DOT's take the same position, if the entity has the money and ongoing abilities to maintain said bridges, then they will let them transfer.  From what I have read the past 5 years, 95% of those trying to save them fail.

Most don't realize just how expensive certain bridges are to maintain, especially longer ones over rivers. Even most of the railroad bridges converted to trail use, still have to be maintained, just on a less rigorous schedule.

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kphoger

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Re: Bison Bridge
« Reply #11 on: March 23, 2021, 12:52:30 PM »

Are there a lot of bison trying to cross the Mississippi these days? 

Hard to tell.  A lot of times, the drowning victims are never recovered.
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Re: Bison Bridge
« Reply #12 on: March 23, 2021, 03:49:12 PM »

Weird idea.  Especially since there are no large areas of land on either side of the crossing that could support a herd of bison.  It's all farm fields and subdivisions.  What are they gonna do? Buy up hundreds of acres of land on both sides of the river to make this gimmick work?

Doesn't seem like a wise use of conservation resources to me.

I do now want to see that scene in some sort of post-apocalypse movie/show.  A couple hundred bison ambling across a disused and overgrown freeway bridge spanning the Mississippi River.  Even better if it has a crumbling skyline in the background like St. Louis or Memphis.
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aboges26

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Re: Bison Bridge
« Reply #13 on: March 28, 2021, 08:30:07 PM »

Weird idea.  Especially since there are no large areas of land on either side of the crossing that could support a herd of bison.  It's all farm fields and subdivisions.  What are they gonna do? Buy up hundreds of acres of land on both sides of the river to make this gimmick work?

Doesn't seem like a wise use of conservation resources to me.

I do now want to see that scene in some sort of post-apocalypse movie/show.  A couple hundred bison ambling across a disused and overgrown freeway bridge spanning the Mississippi River.  Even better if it has a crumbling skyline in the background like St. Louis or Memphis.

And yet that is exactly what the Nature Conservancy does.  I doubt there is a formal plan to acquire large inter-state swaths of land that would accommodate large scale free range of bison and other wild animals, but there are focused efforts to have a couple thousand acres here and there to support hundreds of bison in most states in the center and west of the country, and the Bison Bridge folks say that they have / would have 100 acres on both sides of the bridge to accommodate such a herd: https://bisonbridge.org/why-bison

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The Nature Conservancy (TNC) has reintroduced bison to over a dozen nature preserves around the United States. In October 2016, TNC established the easternmost bison herd in the country, at Kankakee Sands Nature Preserve in Morocco, Newton County, Indiana.[54] In 2014, U.S Tribes and Canadian First Nations signed a treaty to help with the restoration of bison, the first to be signed in nearly 150 years.[55]

Illinois
https://www.nachusagrasslands.org/bison.html
https://www.nationalforests.org/get-involved/returning-to-the-prairie-bison-at-midewin

Wisconsin
https://dnr.wisconsin.gov/topic/Lands/WildlifeAreas/sandhill/bison.html

Indiana
https://www.southshorecva.com/discovernewtoncounty/bison/
https://returntonow.net/2019/02/10/bison-are-roaming-free-in-indiana-for-the-first-time-in-200-years/

Minnesota
https://www.dnr.state.mn.us/state_parks/minneopa/bison.html
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The Ghostbuster

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Re: Bison Bridge
« Reply #14 on: March 28, 2021, 09:35:26 PM »

What did the buffalo mother say to the little buffalo as he left for school?
Bison!

That joke is probably lame, but I just thought I'd add it.
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kphoger

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Re: Bison Bridge
« Reply #15 on: March 30, 2021, 10:37:16 AM »

the Bison Bridge folks say that they have / would have 100 acres on both sides of the bridge to accommodate such a herd: https://bisonbridge.org/why-bison

100 acres is less than a quarter-section.  In a city with eight blocks to a mile, that's an area the size of two blocks by five blocks.

That hardly seems 'free range' to me.
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Lyon Wonder

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Re: Bison Bridge
« Reply #16 on: April 29, 2021, 06:10:38 PM »

Maybe they should make the new bridge a little wider by adding a "bison" lane that's separated from the traffic lanes.
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Re: Bison Bridge
« Reply #17 on: May 03, 2021, 09:41:02 AM »

Can I do the same with the Brent Spence Bridge in Cincinnati, using the same "old bridge" reason, and repurpose it as a national park for dogs to cross over?

In some parts of the world, dog meat is a popular source of protein.

If the Brent Spence Bridge gets re purposed as a dog park, maybe an aspiring restaurant owner will start an establishment called "Don's Dogmeat Diner" next to the bridge, to introduce Americans to this protein source. Some of the dishes sold there could include:

Breaded Bulldog
German Shepherd Schnitzel
Chihuahua tacos topped with cilantro and guac

Okay, now let's try to get back on topic.....
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Rick Powell

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Re: Bison Bridge
« Reply #18 on: May 03, 2021, 11:28:20 AM »

Part of the argument is that the cost of the repurposing the existing I-80 bridge could be partially or wholly offset by saving money from not having to demolish the old bridge. Of course, somebody will need to continue to maintain it, as well as do whatever needs to be done to make it suitable for a bison crossing and park. The studies up to date are not favoring rehabbing the existing bridge for auto and truck traffic even though it's a likely option to be considered.
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Re: Bison Bridge
« Reply #19 on: May 03, 2021, 05:27:16 PM »

Can I do the same with the Brent Spence Bridge in Cincinnati, using the same "old bridge" reason, and repurpose it as a national park for dogs to cross over?

Are we neglecting the Purple People Bridge?
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