University News

WIU-QC SHA to Host I-74 Suspension Bridge Demolition Presentation April 6

April 3, 2023

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MOLINE, IL - - The Western Illinois University-Quad Cities Student Honors Association (SHA) will host a presentation from George Ryan and Tom Schebler on the demolition of the I-74 Suspension Bridge at 4:30 p.m. Thursday, April 6 in WIU-QC Riverfront Hall, room 111.

"The new I-74 bridge is an iconic landmark and engineering marvel that required decades of planning and five years to build. But the job is not finished until the historic old bridge is demolished," said SHA advisor Jim Rabchuk. "This job has required significant planning and careful engineering in its own right, both to protect the Mississippi's ecosystem and shipping channel. The Helm group from East Moline has taken up this task, and will share with us how they secured this job, and the challenges they have overcome in carrying it out. Everyone who cares about the QC's past and future should come and hear this special presentation on the demolition of the old I-74 bridge."

I-74 Corridor Manager George Ryan and Helm Civil Engineer Tom Schebler will discuss the planning and process for demolition of the I-74 suspension bridge (Iowa-Illinois Memorial Bridge) in the Quad Cities.

George Ryan is the corridor manager for the $1 billion construction of the new river bridges and reconstruction of I-74 in Bettendorf, IA and Moline, IL. Before joining WSP, he performed multiple roles for the Illinois Department of Transportation during a 34-year career. His expertise includes facilitating communication and cooperation in the design, construction and maintenance areas while achieving and preserving the best highway system possible within available resources. He has been involved in the preliminary design, design and construction of numerous major projects. Ryan oversaw all phases of the largest downstate roadway reconstruction ever undertaken in IL, the $500 million reconstruction of I-74 through downtown Peoria, IL.

Tom Schebler is a project engineer with Helm Civil, located in East Moline, IL. Helm Civil is the contractor awarded the demolition of the old I-74 suspension bridge. Tom is a native of Davenport, IA, and continues to reside in town. He has worked for Helm Civil since 2018, first as an intern and then moving into his current role after graduating with a degree in Civil Engineering from Iowa State University in 2020. Schebler has helped manage numerous bridge replacement, bridge repair and marine construction projects throughout the area in his time with Helm Civil. He is currently working full-time on the I-74 Bridge Demolition Project, where he assists in overseeing daily operations, completes project planning tasks, facilitates Helm Civil's Safety Program and supports project coordination efforts.

For more information on the event, contact Rabchuk at

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