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Dayton, Bachmann: Time For A New Bridge

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By Dennis Douda, WCCO-TV

STILLWATER, Minn. (WCCO) –- Gov. Mark Dayton and Rep. Michele Bachmann are teaming up to push for a new bridge over the St. Croix River.

Friday the two got a first-hand look at the Stillwater lift bridge, and both said it’s time to build a new one.

The 80-year-old bridge is showing signs of decay.

“We were able to look at surface corrosion and also one of the piers closer to the Wisconsin side has quite a bit of cement flaking coming off that pier,” Bachmann said.

Bachmann has introduced legislation and is trying to get a new bridge built soon.

“I’m concerned about the delay in the bridge and I believe absolutely without a doubt the people of this area deserve a new bridge,” Bachmann said.

Dayton agreed. He said Minnesota and Wisconsin are prepared to provide funding for a new bridge, if Congress clears the way.

“There needs to be a modern crossing that’s aesthetically compatible with this wonderful river,” Dayton said.

Summer repairs are scheduled for the Stillwater lift bridge, but some say the bridge needs more than improvements — it needs to be torn down.

“Some people like to drive on the bridge with their windows down because they’re concerned that it’s an unsafe bridge and when they hit the water they want to have their windows down,” said Stillwater resident William Hieb.

The bridge was inspected in June and was found to be safe. But another concern is heavy traffic. About 18,000 vehicles cross this bridge everyday and some say that is way too many cars.

“There needs to be a modern bridge that can absorb that traffic safely,” Dayton said.

If approved the new bridge would be built about one mile south of the existing bridge.

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