- The Red Wing Bridge Project is currently underway.
- The Project includes the Highway 63 (Eisenhower) Bridge over the Mississippi River and the Highway 63 Bridge over Highway 61, as well as the highway connections to Highway 61, Highway 58, and approach roadways in Wisconsin.
- MnDOT is currently in the preliminary phase, which includes gathering data and reviewing options, to determine if the bridges should be rehabilitated or replaced.
- Work is currently underway to identify a preferred alternative concept.
- City of Red Wing
- Current preliminary design phase will be complete in 2014
- Final design will be completed between 2014 to 2017
- Multi-year construction project will begin in Summer 2018 (proposed).
Frequently Asked Questions
About the Project…
What is being proposed?
The Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT), in cooperation with the Wisconsin Department of
Transportation (WisDOT), the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), and the City of Red Wing, has
initiated the Red Wing Bridge Project. The Project includes the Highway 63 (Eisenhower) Bridge over the
Mississippi River and the Highway 63 Bridge over Highway 61, as well as the highway connections to
Highway 61, Minnesota Highway 58, and approach roadways in Wisconsin. The Eisenhower Bridge
provides the only regional crossing of the river for approximately 30 miles upstream and downstream for
several communities on both the Wisconsin and Minnesota sides of the river.
MnDOT is working through a study process that includes consideration of a range of alternatives for
rehabilitating or replacing the river crossing as well as the Highway 63 bridge over Highway 61. A
preferred improvement alternative is expected to be identified in 2013 and the environmental impact
review process should be completed by the end of 2014. Final design is scheduled to be conducted
between 2014 and 2017. Construction is proposed to begin summer 2018.
Why consider a major project now?
Laws passed by the Minnesota legislature following the I-35W Bridge collapse provide funding for
rehabilitation or replacement of certain types of bridges in the state. The Eisenhower Bridge is “fracture
critical” by nature of its truss design and therefore is eligible for funding through the new State funding
What is the process – who decides?
Decisions regarding the project will be made by MnDOT as the agency responsible for the bridge, in
consultation with WisDOT and FHWA. MnDOT will also obtain approval (municipal consent) from the City
of Red Wing for the project as required by state law.
MnDOT must also obtain a number of other approvals for the project, such as river navigation,
environmental impacts, and land acquisition.
MnDOT is moving forward in a collaborative process involving City and County staff, state and federal
permitting agencies, and representatives from the Red Wing area, to identify and evaluate alternatives,
leading to selection of a preferred alternative that best balances the many factors associated with the
If the decision is made to rehabilitate the river bridge would it need to be closed to traffic?
One of the project goals is to keep the bridge open to traffic as much as is feasible. MnDOT understands
the communities on both sides of the river rely on the crossing, and area residents and business owners
do not want a long term closure.
What is involved in rehabilitating a bridge?
A rehabilitation project could range from fairly minimal repairs and painting, to a major overhaul such as
disassembling the bridge and rebuilding it with partially new materials. A range of options is under study
to identify which types of rehabilitation would provide the needed structural repairs.
What is the plan for the environmental review?
An Environmental Assessment/Environmental Assessment Worksheet (EA/EAW) complying with State
and Federal guidelines will be prepared and distributed for comment. An EA/EAW provides background
- Need for the proposed project
- Alternatives considered
- Environmental impacts and mitigation
- Agency coordination and public involvement
A public hearing will be held as part of the formal comment period for the EA/EAW.
What is the Section 106 Process?
This refers to Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966. The purpose of this Act is to
protect significant historic properties from unnecessary harm through a process of cultural resource
identification and consultation early in the planning/environmental process.
Steps in the Section 106 process include:
- Identify and evaluate cultural resources within the project’s area of potential effect (APE)
- Assess effects to historic properties
- Consult with the State Historic Preservation Office, Indian tribes, and other agencies and
members of the public throughout the process to find ways to avoid, minimize, or mitigate
- Prepare a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) to outline necessary mitigation for adverse effects
- Proceed with the project under the terms of the MOA
Regarding the alternatives…
Why were new bridge location options dismissed?
The study is currently focused on rehabilitation and replacement options at the existing crossing location.
New river crossing location options were considered and have been dismissed given the increased costs
and environmental impacts associated with constructing a major river crossing in a new location. For a
complete description of the process followed in considering new crossing location options, please click on
the “New Bridge Location Feasibility Assessment” memorandum under the “Documents” tab.
I’m concerned about impacts to my neighborhood, parks, community facilities, etc. How does
MnDOT plan to prevent or address impacts?
Regardless of whether a rehabilitation-only option is selected, or a new bridge is part of the solution,
MnDOT is evaluating the alternatives based on potential impacts to the community and the environment,
as well as how well the alternatives meet the project purpose and need. Broad assessment of potential
impacts will be used to select a preferred alternative. Once a preferred alternative is selected, a more
detailed analysis will determine how potential impacts can be avoided or minimized. This analysis will be
documented in an environmental document and made available for public input prior to project approvals.
Will there be a bike path on the river bridge crossing?
If a replacement bridge is chosen as part of the preferred alternative it will include separate trail
accommodations. MnDOT and WisDOT are currently reviewing the feasibility of adding bicyclist and
pedestrian accommodations to the existing crossing.
About next steps in the process…
When and how will a preferred alternative be selected?
MnDOT is currently studying and evaluating rehabilitation and replacement options, including assessing
the physical, community and environmental impacts as well as the cost and transportation benefits of the
The decision regarding a preferred alternative will involve input from all stakeholders. Due to agency
involvement with the rehabilitation process, the precise schedule for making project decisions is currently
unknown however a decision is expected in the second half of 2013.
An important part of the decision process will be input from the community. Business representatives,
local government officials, and the Project Advisory Committee will be part of a collaborative and open
process. MnDOT will also present the alternatives analysis and gather input from the public at open
house meetings to be scheduled.
When a meeting date is set, MnDOT will work with City officials to get the word out to the community
through news releases and notices to community organizations. Meeting notices will also be placed on
the MnDOT website. Your input is important to this process. Please provide comments to the MnDOT
Project Manager, Chad Hanson (email@example.com or 507-286-7637).
Right of way assumptions – When will you let property owners know? We need to make decisions
MnDOT follows strict regulations about property acquisition to ensure fair and equitable treatment of
property owners. Once a preferred alternative concept has been determined, MnDOT will begin to talk
with property owners potentially affected by the project about anticipated impacts to their property. These
impacts could range from temporary construction easements or purchases of small strips of property at
the roadway edge, to a purchase of the entire property. Individuals with specific concerns should speak
with the MnDOT Project Manager, Chad Hanson (firstname.lastname@example.org or 507-286-7637).