EAST PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Neighbors shouldn’t have to worry about longer emergency response times while the Murray Baker Bridge close for construction.
Lane closures have begun on the bridge amid the upcoming deck replacement. The Illinois Department of Transportation said the bridge is shutting down March 29, but East Peoria Assistant Fire Chief Kim Riggenbach said he doesn’t expect increased traffic to impact emergency response time.
“I don’t really anticipate any need for concern at this time. The main thing for us is awareness, time of day or traffic and the level of traffic we have in making our decisions obviously,” Riggenbach said. “Depending on the time of day, it’s going to affect how many cars we have.”
Currently, 90% of calls made to the department are for medical transportation, but he said it currently takes about 10 minutes for engines in East Peoria to reach Peoria hospitals. Lane closures began Monday with outside westbound lanes closing from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
IDOT said those times will expand closer to the end of the month and the rehabilitated bridge is expected to reopen on Oct. 31, 2020.