If you’ve traveled during the day along River Drive from the Interstate 74 Bridge in Moline to The Bend in East Moline the past two years, you’ve likely seen your share of dump trucks.
That’s because the area on the easternmost edge of The Bend is being utilized as a dumpsite for the I-74 Bridge project, including the dirt hauled from I-74 extended out to Avenue of the Cities and beyond.
“I would say the last two years have been a banner year for trucking,” said Deb Wernick, president/owner of Dan Ash Trucking of Silvis, the main hauler in the project on the Illinois side.
“We are usually busy, but of course this one project, both sides of the river, has just taken (a lot). We are doing a lot of hauling on it.”
Wernick estimates that over the past two years business is up 25 percent.
She has about 20 trucks directly involved hauling about 12 loads a day over a 9- to 10-hour period that might begin as early as 7 a.m. and end as late as 6 p.m. Each load, she said, has about 14 tons of dirt.
Dan Ash Trucking and others are hauling for Walsh Construction, which likely included the price of the hauling in its bid for the bridge project. Dan Ash Trucking is hauling mainly dirt to the far east side of The Bend, behind the old McLaughlin factory building.
Other trucking companies involved in the haul include Wildermuth Farms, Musgrove Trucking and Miller Trucking, as well as others that might be subcontracted by any of them.
Often the dirt is free as a construction company is just happy to have a place to haul it.
In this case, The Bend and Walsh Construction have a deal where The Bend gets the dirt and, in turn, gives some materials to Walsh Construction.
“It’s good for everybody,” Mike VanDeHeede, developer of The Bend, said. “We both use recycled material.”
Such deals are common in the construction world.
“Sometimes they are just happy to get rid of it,” David von Kaenel, project implementation engineer for the Illinois Department of Transportation, said of the extra dirt. “I don’t think most contractors have to pay for a dumpsite because they are able to find somebody who needs to fill in a certain area.”
In the spring, when there was plenty of rain, it slowed down the hauling. But with the dryer weather as of late things have really picked up.
“The first phase was last year, but it really picked up in April-May of this year,” Wernick said. “Where it was four or five or six trucks, it’s 20 trucks now.”
The recycling is encouraged by IDOT, von Kaenel said, but not required. “It’s kind of a green construction method,” he said.
For Wernick, the entire project is something to behold.
“It’s neat if you can just go up to Avenue of the Cities overpass there over I-74 and look a couple of directions and just see. It is amazing just to see how this all comes together.
“The rain was a huge factor early on,” Wernick said. “And we weren't able to truck like we normally do. But now, as you can see, there’s trucks going in every direction.”