STILLWATER, Minn. (AP) — A decades-old debate over a new St. Croix River bridge is drawing U.S. Sen. Al Franken to Stillwater.

The Democrat from Minnesota visits the city on Saturday to meet with local officials and tour the 80-year-old lift bridge.

Franken hasn’t taken a position on a long-delayed proposal from state transportation officials for a new four-lane bridge opposed by environmental groups.

Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton teamed up with Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann last month to show support for the state Transportation Department proposal to span the river between Minnesota and Wisconsin. It could cost as much as $690 million.

U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar also has visited the bridge and said she supports a new one.

Elected officials aren’t unanimous on the issue — Democratic Rep. Betty McCollum opposes the proposed bridge.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Comments (10)
  1. The Crux of the Biscuit says:

    The bridge is 80 years old. Rebuild it before ot colapses. Make it two lanes in each direction with an arch tall enough to allow the paddle wheels under it. Make it look old-world and cool. Get it over with.

      1. truth hurts says:

        Where is the money gonna come from…your proposal is too costly in this budget crisis unless this budget crisis talk is just b.s.

        If the bridge is gonna colapse, close it down and wait until you have the money to repair it or build a new one. Your tea is not free…

        1. Needs before wants says:

          Where is the money going to come from? This bridge is a vital link between the states, both states pay a good deal of money in taxes to maintain and replace things of this nature. That is where the money is coming from.

  2. Norge says:

    Someone will have to lose their life because of a bridge failure fefore a new bridge is built. Very very sad.

  3. Omar says:

    Maybe after that Obama should visit and inspect it. The bridge has been inspected to death, hopefully one of these political photo ops will collapse the thing and it will be built.

  4. flyonthewall says:

    Get the fool Franken involve. Yeah, that’ll work

  5. Victim Du Jour says:

    The Federal “Stimulus” was not used to stimulate the economy, if it had been, the construction of this new bridge would be in progress.

    They should build something a little nicer than a plain Jane bridge, perhaps make it a tourist attraction.

  6. Sick of Bridge says:

    People have already died because of that unsafe old bridge. Several women (I think 4) died when their brakes went out and they drove off the bridge when it was up.

    I wonder how many other people died or suffered damages as a result of the ambulance not being able to get through when the bridge was up (and they were diverted to another hospital).

    One life lost is too many but it will take another I35 bridge tragedy before they take it seriously.

    At this point the cost should not be the main concern – it is inevitable that a new bridge will have to be built. It is because of the frick’n lawyers and “tree huggers” that it will cost so much (if they would have stayed out of it the bridge would have been rebuilt years ago a fraction of the cost).

    It’s called progress. As Spock said “the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the one”.

  7. DFL Comic Relief says:

    Franken will have to ponder whether a new bridge would “welcome terrorists” before he can make a final decision.

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