Group: Stillwater Bridge Costing Taxpayers, Hurting River

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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.

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