St. Croix Crossing construction is officially underway
STILLWATER, Minn. (May 28, 2013)—The Minnesota and Wisconsin departments of transportation today broke ground for the St. Croix Crossing project in Oak Park Heights. The ceremony marked the final phase in a decades-long effort to replace the aging Stillwater Lift Bridge.
“After years of study, we are confident that this design will be the best fit for the environment and the best fit for the community,” said MnDOT Commissioner Charlie Zelle. “The extradosed bridge has a longer bridge span, which reduces the number of piers in the water. It also has a lower tower height, which allows us to keep the silhouette below the bluff line.”
The new crossing will be a state of the art extradosed bridge, a design that combines the girder bridge and cable-stay bridge models. The project includes a rebuild of Highway 36 through Oak Park Heights on the Minnesota side, and a new alignment of Highway 35 on the Wisconsin side. Zelle said this design was the result of a collaborative effort to eliminate environmental impacts of the project.
In addition to minimizing environmental impacts, MnDOT Project Director Jon Chiglo said the new crossing also will improve overall safety.
“This bridge will provide a safer, more reliable crossing. It will improve traffic safety and ease congestion in the St. Croix Valley. It will be structurally sound and well-lit for anyone crossing over or under it—including drivers, pedestrians and boaters.”
The bridge will connect Oak Park Heights, Minn., and St. Joseph, Wis., which Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker said will help to create jobs and improve commerce.
“Creating a safer, more reliable method of transportation between our neighboring states encourages interstate travel and opens the door for new economic opportunities. At a time when jobs are of the utmost importance, I am excited to see this project moving forward, and I am confident it will have a positive impact on our local workforce,” he said.
The St. Croix Crossing is scheduled to open in 2016.