Group: Stillwater Bridge Costing Taxpayers, Hurting River

STILLWATER, Minn. (WCCO) — A coalition went on the record Tuesday saying the new St. Croix River Bridge near Stillwater is expensive for tax payers and ultimately hurtful to the St. Croix River.

The group calls themselves the “Sensible Stillwater Bridge Coalition.” They’re made up of Stillwater residents, business owners and environmental advocates.

The coalition proposed an alternative plan to build a narrower three-lane bridge that would cost less than half of the current $690 million proposal.

“At this crucial time in our state’s history, we believe a quarter of a billion dollars of public funds can be better spent throughout Minnesota rather than for an oversized, unnecessary bridge,” said Peter Gove, board chair of the St. Croix River Association.

U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann introduced a bill in Congress that would pave the way for the current four-lane bridge proposal. Proponents of the initial bridge proposal say the new alternative plan will not solve traffic congestion issues.

“There were worst environmental impacts from a project like this. Their proposal is going to actually again build a traffic jam into future traffic patterns in the St. Croix Valley,” said Bill Berndt, consultant for the St. Croix River Crossing Coalition.

The new coalition said the money saved under the new bridge proposal would pay for repair of Minnesota’s other deficient bridges.

  • Jake

    What a load of RUBBISH. ZERO facts, all hype and emotion. So they say, “Let’s put up a flimsy, 3-lane bridge, that will ice over day after day in the winter, and there will be numerous head-on crashes because of it.” This idea is dumber than the “Let’s tunnel under the river” idea.

    • Swamp Rat

      Tunneling under the river might be the best idea of all especially when you make it a user ‘toll’ tunnel like other states have. This new tunnel would be out of sight, environmentally friendly, and cost effective in the long run. The Interstate 94 traffic would efficiently cover its appointed area while the St.Croix tunnel could cover the heavy through traffic heading to Wisconsin and visa-versa. Downtown Stillwater would then have its own commuter/visitors traffic for the downtown businesses etcetera.

      Oh, almost forgot, for the commercial traffic trying to avoid the [MN/WI DOT weight scales and inspection areas like I-94 has on both sides of the river. MN-36 and WI-35 would have commercial traffic scales and inspection areas for this highway region. This would keep through travel gypsy truckers and commercial vehicles from cluttering up this highway thoroughfare. Also, hazardous freight/material on trucks from using the tunnel. So, as you can see a tunnel would solve a lot of traffic problems as well as be beneficial to Stillwater for most of the 21st Century and beyond.

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