The Murray-Baker bridge was neither the longest nor tallest bridge spanning the Illinois River when it opened in 1958. It was still a big project however, containing thousands of tons of steel and cubic yards of cement, and costing $5.5 million for the bridge alone (not counting the approaches). It was also a big change for Peoria itself, bringing potentially 19,000 vehicles a day in and out of the city. The small, but growing, Midwest city was now connected to the promise of the US Interstate System.