Attractiveness,  Illinois,  Quality of Life Benefits of Transportation

New life for an iconic Illinois structure

An important connection between Peoria and East Peoria will continue to serve people and the local economy thanks to the work of the Illinois Department of Transportation.

The Murray Baker Bridge is a cantilevered truss bridge built in 1958, accommodating more than 67,600 vehicles per day. A community focal point for one of the great Midwestern cities, it spans the Illinois River between Peoria and East Peoria, carrying both eastbound and westbound Interstate 74 and serving a familiar, beloved vista for local residents.

Over seven months, a $42.2 million rehabilitation project was completed cheaper, safer, and quicker by closing the work zone to all traffic versus staging the work over several construction seasons. The work consisted of concrete deck removal and replacement, structural steel repairs, painting, improved lighting throughout the bridge, scour countermeasures, and related collateral work. The deteriorated bridge joints known for a bumpy ride are gone, with the new deck ground smooth to provide a safer, more comfortable trip.

As part of a joint effort with the City of Peoria, the included energy-efficient LED decorative lighting system is capable of displaying several color schemes and dynamic light scenes to celebrate and observe various causes dear to the community. The decorative lights demonstrated that the bridge was not only an investment in transportation but also a commitment to the riverfront area of Peoria and East Peoria.

The Murray Baker Bridge project was made possible by Gov. JB Pritzker’s historic, bipartisan Rebuild Illinois capital program. Before its 2020 rehabilitation, the bridge saw upgrades in 1984 and 2005. The bridge is now on its third deck and poised to keep serving Peoria and East Peoria for decades to come.

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