MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The four U.S. senators from Minnesota and Wisconsin have introduced legislation to move forward on a new four-lane bridge over the St. Croix River designed to ease the frequent traffic jams at the Stillwater crossing.

It was the first time that Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., has endorsed the plan.

“While I don’t think the proposed four-lane bridge is a perfect bridge by any means, the people of Stillwater and the St. Croix Valley need a new bridge and one that can be built without further years of delay,” he said in a news release.

The bill includes the first exemption for a bridge covered by the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, Franken said.

“I certainly don’t want this to signal an open season on the act,” he said.

Opponents of the more than $600 million plan, including U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum, D-Minn., say the proposed bridge is too expensive and unsuited to the scenic river.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota led the effort to draft the bill, which she said was introduced Thursday night.

“From my perspective, it was important to have a bipartisan bill,” Klobuchar said. “This is great we have all four senators and that is significant.”

However, in a prepared statement, Kohl said, “St. Croix County has been growing faster than any other place in our state. That kind of growth necessitates investment on a similar scale.”

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker support the project.

Klobuchar said the bill includes a package of mitigation efforts to protect and promote the scenic river by eliminating existing man-made structures, protecting river bluffs and ensuring public boat access. She said the Anterior Department, which is in charge of National Parks, actually worked with them on this legislation.

Klobuchar also said she worked closely with Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., who has introduced similar bipartisan legislation in the House.

The two-lane Stillwater Lift Bridge is 80 years old, and bridge traffic often spills into downtown Stillwater, resulting in miles-long traffic tie-ups.

“We hope it will be maintained as a beautiful little bridge for people to walk on, but we do need a new bridge,” said Klobuchar.

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Comments (26)
  1. OMG says:

    “Rep. Michele Bachmann, D-Minn.” – Are you serious??? How can you make THIS mistake???

    1. Richard in Minneapolis says:

      ‘CCO is intentionally baiting her.

  2. kevin says:

    I am waiting for the Sierra club to pay for all the additional costs that have taken place over the last 15 years while this bridge has been in limbo while we all know it’s needed and will happen.

    1. Good Ol Boy says:

      Why would the Sierra Club pay for any “additional costs?” It isn’t their fault there isn’t a new bridge there.

      You should at least get a clue before spouting off.

  3. paulc says:

    can we make it a toll bridge to be revenue neutral?

    1. Jeanco says:

      think of the back-up that would bring!!
      Cost should be spread out over many agencies.
      But then think of all the business that could be lost with no traffic through Stillwater!!

    2. St Paul says:

      Not a bad idea, paulc!!!!! Great thinking. Ever thought of running for a seat??

    3. SG says:

      I actually like this idea. Let those who use it contribute to its up keep.

  4. SG says:

    This has been needed for far too long.

  5. Dave L says:

    Sad that this kind of bi-partisan cooperation is almost a thing of the past thanks to the tea-party types and tree-huggers. You have nuts on one side of the spectrum trying to save the view of the “beautiful” Allen S. King powerplant and nuts on the other trying to turn the clock back to 1789.

    1. Good Ol Boy says:

      “You have nuts on one side of the spectrum trying to save the view of the “beautiful” Allen S. King powerplant”

      Umm, NOPE, there are no “nuts” fighting for that at all. What are you even talking about?

  6. Do not build says:

    “The bill includes the first exemption for a bridge covered by the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, Franken said. “I certainly don’t want this to signal an open season on the act,” he said.” –I thnk that is what you are doing…if this can be excempt other areas will say what about us that have even larger traffic jams or population. The “miles-long traffic tie-ups” are due to people wanting to go to Stillwater to shop, eat and drink not because of the current bridge taffic.

  7. KEVIN says:


  8. Really! says:

    Why should Minnesota pay any money to build a bridge that Let WI residents cross the river to work in MN and pay all their tax dollars to WI? I don’t see MN residents flocking over that bridge to go to work. Let WI pay for the damn bridge as they are the only people that will benefite from the bridge.

    1. Pegeen Lawrow says:

      Get real. Really!
      Plenty of Minnesotans drive into Wisconsin. Ever heard of the Apple River or the numerous music festivals that take place in the area?

      It might not be for work but there are plenty of benefits on both sides.

    2. Good Ol Boy says:


      Not a very intelligent comment. How old are you?

    3. janejane says:

      I know of many people who drive from MN to Wi to work, although it is more common for the reverse to be true. Only WI benefits? Seriously? Where do you think most of the WI people who cross that bridge shop. I don’t mean little purchases, I mean cars, boats, all sorts of big ticket items. I wish I was able to put a number to the amount of purchasing dollars that WI spends in Minnesota. Blame the Sierra club for this becoming a spending project from hell – they’ve fought it for FORTY YEARS – it would have been smaller and much less expensive if they would have just left it alone.

    4. Dan says:

      Just so you aware Really!!

      Wisconsin residents that work in Minnesota are paying Minnesota Income Tax, many are also filling up at the vehicles at gas stations in Minnesota, paying Tax on that as well..

      1. Good Ol Boy says:

        Also, Wisconsin residents who lose their job in MN get MN unemployment benefits.

        And blaming the Sierra Club is like blaming your neighbor for the rain splashing off his grass and onto yours. Get a clue.

        1. Ron says:

          yes they do But the MN company that employed them is forced to pay into the MN system so it is only right. OR do you want it so Wis res get Unemployment benefits from Wis and the MN company to pay Wis instead Or do you want that cash to say in MN for a surplus. You make it sound like Wis Res are ripping off the State of MN.

    5. Ron says:

      Your are wrong… Any wis res that works in MN pays MN tax’s Gov P canceled the reciprocity deal two years ago.

      Stillwater and Oak Park Hts stand to loose a great deal of money if traffic is interrupted over the lift bridge for an extended amount of time. Figure 18k cars cross that bridge everyday of the week. Now If half the people stop in Stillwater or Oak Park Hts and spend 5 buck that is 40K a day and 14 million a year and that is on the low end. The local economy will start to fail businesses like Lowe’s, Menards,Cub and Walmart will downs size or close and leave depending on how the PNL reads. This is more than an issue about a bridge this is also about a couple of great community’s that could be severely impacted by small thinking.

  9. tesser says:

    Make the bridge fit the scenery – with some earthtone colors and not some white concrete monster. I’m a liberal, and I know the bridge is needed. Just do it right.

  10. JLgolfer says:

    Its about time that logic took over this need for a replacement bridge over the St. Croix. Saying that, however, the reported price tag of near $700 million makes me take pause. Last October a new 4 lane bridge and rerouting of Hwy 93 bypassing the Hoover Dam was completed. Not only was this a far more complicated engineering project, but it was done for the projected cost of $241 million and came in finished right on schedule. Now if this bridge could be built for that figure, what is it that makes the St. Croix project cost nearly 3 times the cost. What gives???

  11. Sharon Bowers says:

    I love that the loudest ones griping about the bridge won’t even be using it.

  12. Former Franken Supporter says:

    Hey Al, you’re no longer funny. You won’t be seeing a nickle from me in the future either. Nor Lamy. Maybe you can borrow from your new BFF Michele when you come looking for re-election.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Watch & Listen LIVE