I-74 runs north-south in Iowa despite being marked as an east-west route.
The exit signs along I-80 (at exit #298) list Peoria as the destination
for I-74, with Bettendorf and Moline as secondary destinations. Never mind
that, if heading eastbound, I-80 and I-74 meet again in Illinois -- and
you can keep driving straight if you're actually heading toward Peoria
and points to the east. The segment through Iowa is more suitable for local
Confused? Well, Illinois tried to remedy this problem around 1991 by
proposing a re-routing of I-74 through the Quad Cities. I-74 would have
follow the current I-80 from the cloverleaf junction in Colona (known as
the "Big X") to the exit with I-280 in Davenport. I-80 would
have replaced the current I-280, and the present I-74 would have become
I-174. Iowa leaders, concerned that some of the businesses along the present
I-80 would lose money if I-80 was re-routed, balked at the idea. In July
of 1993, the Federal Highway Administration intervened and rejected Illinois'
proposed Interstate renumbering. Now Illinois is currently re-constructing
the "Big X" by replacing some of the ramps with new high-speed
and flyover ramps so you won't have to slow down if you are "staying"
on I-80 or I-74. Kurumi's I-280
page has more information on the renumbering controversy.
The Iowa-Illinois Memorial Bridge (now known by locals as simply the
"I-74 bridge") actually predates I-74 itself; it was first built
as a single span for US 6 in 1935, while the second span dates back from
1960. Tolls were collected here until 1970, and I-74 was connected onto
this bridge (which does not meet modern Interstate standards due to its
lack of shoulders and 50-mph speed limit) in 1974. A live shot of the I-74
bridge, from atop the Le Claire Hotel in Moline, IL, can be seen here.