Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker cut a ribbon Aug. 2 to mark the official completion of the
$646 million bi-state project to put a new four-lane bridge across the St. Croix River between Oak Park Heights, Minn., and St. Joseph, Wis.
The project replaces the Stillwater Lift Bridge, which was dedicated more than 80 years ago and carried traffic on Minnesota Highway 36 and Wisconsin Highway 64. "Over the years, as traffic increased, travelers faced mounting congestion because the bridge periodically needs to lift to accommodate boat traffic on the St. Croix River," the announcement said.
The new structure, located about a mile downstream, is designed to carry more than twice the 18,000 vehicles a day that used the Lift Bridge and is high enough to allow boat traffic to freely move beneath it.
The new bridge is a hybrid design structure combining both a cable-stayed and segmented concrete box design that ensures the cable towers would not be higher than the bluffs along the river, so that the bridge would fit into the river gorge as naturally as possible.
"This project provides a sorely needed new connection between Minnesota and Wisconsin," said Minnesota Department of Transportation Commissioner Charles Zelle. "It has been a monumental effort and one that will serve the citizens of Minnesota and Wisconsin for generations."
Zelle also said that "this project is a testament to what strong cooperation between states can do. The bridge is a work of art and it is also a technological marvel. Citizens in this region will be well-served for decades to come."
Dayton said the new structure "reinforces the strong economic ties between Minnesota and Wisconsin, better connecting people with jobs, families and better opportunities on both sides of the river." He thanked "the strong bipartisan leadership from both states that has made this project a success, supporting jobs for more than 3,000 people from Minnesota and Wisconsin over its four-year construction."
Walker said: "This outstanding bridge I call 'Cooperation' is the product of a lot of hard work and dedication by those who built it, and it is the product of hard work and bipartisan cooperation between officials in our two states."
He also said that "the St. Croix Crossing greatly eases traffic congestion and provides an uninterrupted flow of commerce for the benefit of the people, and I thank Gov. Dayton and his team, our team at the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, and those at every level of government who worked on this project for sharing our commitment to getting this decades-long project done."
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