Bison could roam above the Mississippi River in national park vision

The wheels have been quietly turning for years.

On Thursday, the time finally came for Quad-City environmentalist Chad Pregracke to reveal what he’s been working on: A bid for a national park that would place a small herd of bison atop the Interstate 80 bridge.

As Pregracke warned, the Bison Bridge idea is “way outside the box.”

This is not to say it’s a pipe dream.

Behind-the-scenes progress is real. Funding is partly in place. Many of the governmental powers-that-be either endorse the idea or have helped work on it. And the timing is right, they say.

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Here is the plan:

The current Interstate 80 bridge (Fred Schwengel Bridge) between LeClaire and Rapids City is being replaced. The Illinois DOT has budgeted $17 million this fiscal year for engineering studies.