Forty years after Peoria’s business and civic leaders promised that the Murray Baker Bridge would transform the city, it had. From sparking real estate booms to moving thousands of Caterpillar workers a day across the river, the life of the bridge had inarguably transformed the face of Peoria.

Most importantly, it connected Peoria to the coming of the US Interstate System — Interstate 74 running from Iowa to Ohio — and helped bring business and travelers to the city, as well as its products cheaply out to the rest of the world. In the grand balance, many continued to feel that the economic success the bridge brought outweighed its high construction costs and the displacement of families like the Pryors.