BETTENDORF, Iowa (AP) — Authorities are warning recreational boaters on the Mississippi River to remain vigilant amid the ongoing construction of a new Interstate 74 span linking Iowa and Illinois.
Danielle Alvarez, the project manager for the Iowa Department of Transportation, said boats should slow to a crawl when in and near the work zone, the Quad-City Times reported . Boaters should also keep a safe distance from the project's tow boats as they constantly deliver workers and supplies.
"Unfortunately, we have had occasions where recreational boaters get too close for comfort to our tugs, which are servicing all construction activities within the project site," Alvarez wrote in an email to the newspaper.
Excursion boat captain Scott Schadler noted that some boats are getting close to barges so occupants can look at the bridge construction. He said that can be dangerous, as barge operators sometimes can't see the boaters because their barges are loaded with equipment.
"My advice is: Be aware of your surroundings, mostly. If you go real slow, nothing bad will happen," he said.
Schadler said he hopes to see more recreational boaters become aware of the dangers in the construction zone. Various agencies have posted information at area marinas, he said. But the information hasn't been posted at a couple of boat-launch sites.
Alvarez said the Iowa DOT is working with local parks departments to make sure the River Traffic Advisory posters are placed at all launch sites.
"It's really not much different out there than traveling through a construction zone on the interstate in that you need to slow down and be aware of what's around you," Schadler said.
Information from: Quad-City Times, http://www.qctimes.com