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Reps Debate How To Replace Stillwater Bridge

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Stillwater Lift Bridge

Stillwater Lift Bridge (credit: CBS)

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By Adam Thomas, NewsRadio 830 WCCO

STILLWATER, Minn. (WCCO/AP) –The back and forth continues over how to replace an aging lift bridge in Stillwater. The bridge is a critical link between Minnesota and Wisconsin, connecting a pair of four-lane roads across the St. Croix River.

“So in order to avoid a bottleneck, the appropriate bridge to have to carry the current and prospective future traffic would be a four lane highway,” said Rep. Michele Bachmann.

WCCO’s Esme Murphy Interviews Michele Bachmann

On the other side of the debate is Rep. Betty McCollum, who is for a replacement of the bridge but on a smaller scale.

“Are we building another mega bridge like I-94 within a ten mile span of the river?” McCollum asked.

WCCO’s Esme Murphy Interviews Betty McCollum

McCollum is also concerned that without a weigh station, truckers with heavy loads could use the Stillwater Bridge instead of I-94.

Gov. Mark Dayton joined Rep. Bachmann today in pressing for the four-lane plan.

The Democratic governor and GOP representative held a joint news conference Friday to boost the project before helping volunteers fill sandbags to prepare for flooding.

Dayton says the Minnesota Department of Transportation proposal is the only way to get a new span built in the next decade, despite opposition from environmental groups. The project could cost as much as $690 million, shared by Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Bachmann is predicting the House will pass her bill to move the project forward after the National Park Service reversed itself last year to find the proposal in violation of the federal Wild and Scenic Rivers Act.

(TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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