PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD)– Traveling across the river? The Interstate 74 bridge in Peoria is closing Sunday for seven months as planned, the Illinois Department of Transportation announced today.

The closure of the Murray Baker Bridge carrying I-74 over the Illinois River will take place, as scheduled, at 12:01 a.m. Sunday, weather permitting.

While the bridge is under construction, a detour will direct motorists to use Illinois 40 or Interstate 474.

The closure is necessary to complete a $42.2 million rehabilitation of the bridge over the next seven months, a project made possible by the Rebuild Illinois capital program.

By completely closing the Murray Baker Bridge to all traffic, IDOT says the repairs can be done cheaper, faster and safer, allowing all lanes to reopen by November 1, weather permitting.

The safety risk to workers and motorists also is reduced by eliminating live traffic moving through an active construction site.

The project involves removing and replacing the existing bridge deck, completing structural steel repairs, painting the lower portions of the bridge and upgrading existing lighting as well as installing new decorative lights.

Leading up to the closure, motorists can expect work to be taking place with lane reductions starting at 7 p.m. tonight in both directions of I-74, from Washington Street in East Peoria to University Avenue in Peoria. Until the bridge is closed, lane configurations will vary while temporary lane markings and signs are put in place to accommodate the detour.

The start of the project coincides with federal and state executive orders that infrastructure maintenance and construction continue as essential public functions during the COVID-19 pandemic. Throughout the project, IDOT and contractors will be implementing recommended public health measures to protect the health and the safety of the public and workers.