STILLWATER, Minn. (WCCO) — It’s quiet along Stillwater’s Main Street on Monday, just how Bebo Youseff likes it.
His family has owned The Main Cafe for 23 years, watching the traffic crossing the Lift Bridge steadily increase.
“In the summer, it’s really bad,” Youseff said. “Sometimes it will take 30 minutes or more just to get across.”
Starting Monday, Stillwater residents get a three-month break from the traffic and parking headaches as the bridge closes for a $3.5 million renovation project.
The repairs include gusset plates, steel connectors and beams and concrete surfaces.
“We’re going to lose some of our Wisconsin business but for my regulars (on the Minnesota side) they’re going to really enjoy it. It kind of evens out,” he said.
The temporary closure is a sign of things to come. In 2016 or 2017, a new, four-lane bridge opens in Oak Park Heights, closing the Lift Bridge.
“I’m just going to miss my Packer fans,” said Youseff, a Minnesota Vikings fan. “They’re always a lot of fun to pick on.”
The bridge is scheduled to reopen Dec. 9.