PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Local officials said the Murray Baker Bridge is set to reopen by the end of the week.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker made an appearance in Peoria Monday to announce the news alongside elected State Rep. Jehan Gordan-Booth (D-Peoria), State Rep Ryan Spain (R-Peoria), State Sen. Dave Koehler (D-Peoria), Congresswoman Cheri Bustos (D-IL), and Omer Osman, the acting secretary at the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT).
Pritzker said the project to finish the bridge is one of the first major success stories of his bi-partisan Rebuild Illinois program. With a $45 billion Rebuild Illinois capital plan, the largest infrastructure plan in the state’s history, Pritzker said there’s more work to be done.
The $42.2 million project aimed to remove and replace the bridge deck, fix the foundational steel, put a fresh coat of paint on lower portions of the bridge, and new lighting.
They said the bridge is expected to open by Oct. 31, and after being closed for seven months, local leaders said it’s about time.
“The revitalization of the Murray Baker Bridge is a long time coming,” Koehler said. “The peace of mind that comes with regular maintenance of our roads and bridges cannot be understated and the newly installed lights add to the already magnificent Peoria skyline.”
“When I ran for governor, I promised that I would pass a robust capital bill to fix roads and bridges across the state so we can again create jobs and grow our economy,” Pritzker said. “State representatives and senators from both sides of the aisle worked with me last year to create the bipartisan Rebuild Illinois capital plan – the largest infrastructure investment in our state’s history.“
“Do you know how you finish a project on time and within budget? You use organized labor to get the job done,” Bustos said. “Do you know how you rebuild Illinois? You dream big, and the only way you can complete dreaming big is what you have behind us — democrats, republicans, the house, the senate, federal, local, state — everybody coming together to make that happen.”
“The job opportunities that come not just from the bridgework, but when you think about the economic development opportunities that come from having literally one of the most beautiful bridges in the country, I think we should also be thinking about the tourism dollars and the other tertiary benefits of having something that is so unique and so very much ours,” said Gordon-Booth. “This is not just about those of us standing up here at this microphone today, but this is about our community. This is something that we can all lay our names on and claim because that bridge belongs to us.”
“The refurbishment of the iconic Murray Baker bridge is important for the future of the Greater Peoria region,” Spain said. “Improving system reliability for commercial travel as well as commuters is tantamount. This is a testament to the power of bipartisan cooperation, as well as the benefits that come from investing in the transportation infrastructure of our state.”
(PREVIOUS) –In his first order of business touring Peoria Monday, Gov. J.B. Pritzker and local leaders are gathering to give an update on the reopening of the Murray Baker Bridge.
The press conference will take place at the 200 block of Northeast Water St.