Minnesota Department of Transportation

511 Travel Info

Hwy 36 Stillwater Lift Bridge

Between Minnesota and Wisconsin on the St. Croix River

Traffic impacts

Learn more about this project.


Bridge closure

Aug. 2, 2017 through June 2019
  • The Stillwater Lift Bridge over the St. Croix River between Stillwater, MN and Houlton, WI is closed to ALL traffic
    • Traffic has been transferred to the new St. Croix Crossing bridge to the south in Oak Park Heights as the Stillwater Lift Bridge will be converted to a bicycle/pedestrian crossing. It will reopen for pedestrian and bicycle traffic only and lift for boats in June of 2019.

Lift schedule

Winter 2018/2019

The U.S. Coast Guard has approved a change in the Stillwater Lift bridge lift schedule which ended the official lift season on November 1, 2018. The season will resume in late April of 2019. However the lift bridge is currently being repaired and it is unable to lift and boat traffic has been moving up and down river through a gap in the bridge just east of the lift span.

Span #6, two sections east of the lift span was floated out of position and anchored parallel with the east bank of the river in late July to allow for repair work and repainting on the lift span. With the lift span closed the removal was needed to provide access for river traffic to move unimpeded up and down the St. Croix River through the rest of the boating season. 

Construction crews plan to replace the span to its original location before Thanksgiving and there will be no lifts until late April 2019. Repair work and painting on the lift span will continue after the lift schedule ends and will be completed before the start of the 2019 lift schedule.

Note: At that time, only smaller watercraft will be allowed to move up or down river beneath the bridge until the river freezes. Signs will direct those boats to the proper location to safely pass under the bridge since parts of the bridge will have scaffolding hanging underneath.


The 2018 lift schedule is suspended from Nov. 1, 2018 (see above) until April 27, 2019.

View the lift schedule page for complete details.


The U.S. Coast Guard conducted a test deviation for the Stillwater Lift Bridge's lift schedule during the 2017 boating season. During last year's season, the bridge opened daily, every 30 minutes from 8 a.m. until midnight, and upon two hour notice from midnight until 8 a.m. This test deviation was effective from 8 a.m. Aug. 23, 2017 through 11:59 p.m. Oct. 15, 2017. Public comment was accepted during and after the test schedule period. The comment period is now closed.

River traffic

During rehabilitation of the Stillwater Lift bridge, efforts will be made to minimize impacts to river traffic during the navigation season. During the summer of 2018, span six, which is located east of the lift bridge span, was floated out of its current location to provide an opening for boats to use while the lift bridge span is being repaired. The span will be floated back into place on Thu, Nov. 1, 2018.

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 1910. The cost was split evenly between Minnesota and Wisconsin. It has become the 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 Historic Stillwater Lift Bridge spanning the St. Croix River will undergo a transformation into a bicycle/pedestrian crossing. The lift bridge also will accommodate marine traffic during and after the project is complete. This conversion project is part of the St. Croix Crossing Project. The converted lift bridge will also become 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 Wed, Aug. 2, 2017 following the opening of the new St. Croix Crossing Bridge to the south in Oak Park Heights. During project work, the Lift Bridge will still operate to accommodate boat navigation. 

Summary of work

  • Repair steel connections
  • Restore mechanical and electrical components
  • Repair concrete railings
  • Reconstruct concourse
  • Paint lift bridge its historic green color
  • Replace lighting to replicate the original 1931 lights


Stillwater Lift Bridge - Animation of Final Design