Minnesota Department of Transportation

511 Travel Info

Stillwater Lift Bridge

Between Minnesota and Wisconsin on the St. Croix River

Updated: Stillwater Lift Bridge grand opening celebration postponed for 2020

The Stillwater City Council has postponed any celebration of the Stillwater Lift Bridge this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Tentative plans call for a celebration on the first anniversary of the St. Croix River Loop Trail opening on June 1, 2021. All money paid for tickets to the Lift Bridge dinner planned for May 15, 2020 have been refunded. For more information about postponed events, please visit the metro public involvement website.

Project complete

About this project

The iconic Stillwater lift bridge was built in 1931 at a cost of $460,174 to replace a swing bridge dating to 1875. The cost was split evenly between Minnesota and Wisconsin. The lift bridge has become a much-loved symbol of the city of Stillwater, nestled on the west bank of the St. Croix River. The vertical lift highway bridge formerly connected Minnesota Hwy 36 in Stillwater and Wisconsin Hwy 64 in Houlton. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1989.

The lift bridge, spanning the St. Croix River, was transformed into a bicycle/pedestrian crossing. The lift bridge continues to serve marine traffic.

The circular concourse, located at the east end of the lift bridge between the bridge and Chestnut St., was originally a spot for people to gather. The concourse/plaza is surrounded by concrete railings, sidewalks and curb, adorned with decorative lighting. Concrete steps and a roadway provide access to Lowell Park that stretches along the western shore of the St. Croix River in Stillwater. The concourse is listed on the National Register of Historic Places (1992) due to its location within the Stillwater Commercial Historic District and the Stillwater Cultural Landscape District (eligible since 1998).

This conversion project is part of the St. Croix Crossing Project. The converted lift bridge also became part of a 5-mile “loop trail” system connecting the new river crossing bridge up with the historic bridge and other local trails.

The lift bridge closed to all traffic on Aug. 2, 2017 following the opening of the new St. Croix Crossing Bridge in Oak Park Heights. Motor vehicle traffic has been transferred to the St. Croix Crossing bridge.

Summary of work

  • Repaired steel connections
  • Restored mechanical and electrical components
  • Repaired concrete railings
  • Reconstructed concourse
  • Painted lift bridge its historic green color
  • Replaced lighting to replicate the original 1931 lights