MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Supporters of the St. Croix River bridge aren’t waiting for the president’s approval to start planning for the new overpass. The $700 million project to replace the aging Stillwater Lift Bridge passed Congress last week, and President Obama is expected to sign off on the measure.

The Stillwater lift bridge has served as the backdrop of the river front town for decades, but longtime resident and business owner Meg Brownson is seeing it with new eyes.

“It’s a really exciting time for Stillwater,” Brownson said.

From her Main Street business, Alfresco, Brownson watched mile-long traffic jams in the summer months from drivers stopped by the lift bridge. For years, talk of a solution went nowhere.

“My husband’s family moved here in ’62, and the bridge was going to be any day in 1962,” Brownson said.

Fast forward 50 years and any day finally came. Congresswoman Michele Bachmann and Sen. Amy Klobuchar led the effort to secure the bi-partisan new bridge.

“We knew if it was going to get done we had to do it now, and the window of opportunity was short,” Bachmann said.
For business owners, a new bridge means new opportunity.

“We’ll gain customers from Wisconsin that would never come across the bridge because of the traffic,” Brownson said.
The diversion of traffic away from their business is a welcome change for many.

“I’ve often wondered how much business I’ve lost throughout the years from people who don’t want to fight the traffic in Stillwater,” Brownson said.

With construction still two years away, the lift bridge will still be a major connection between Minnesota and Wisconsin.

And there’s one big change. What was once a source of frustration will become a symbol of cooperation.

“Finally politics were set aside and we got it done,” Klobuchar said.

Opponents of the bridge worry about the environmental effects. Public meetings will be held in the coming weeks to discuss the construction.

Comments (11)
  1. Brett says:

    Thank goodness for Michele Bachmann.

    Ok all you haters, commence your vile insults and bile comments.

    1. You're The Greatest, Michele Bachmann says:

      We really appreciate you, Michele Bachmann. You are a voice of reason in congress. Thank you for all of your hard work in getting this bridge passed by congress.

      1. Exp says:

        Ahhh… So despite the fact that the articles said that BOTH she and Klobuchar pushed for it, you only she her as the one who did it all, eh?

        Typical… Only see what you want to see, truth be darned.

    2. blah blah Bachmann says:

      Truth be told if Klobuchar, Franken and others had not been onboard and taken care of the legislation and paperwork it wouldn’t have gotten done. Michele as usual, when she was even around, just moved her lips and spewed forth her hateful rhetoric.

      1. Karen says:

        Right. Bachmann is the one with the hateful rhetoric.

        Did you even read your own post?

        1. blah blah Bachmann says:

          Please, every time she opens her mouth all you can see is hair roots.

  2. If You Can't Say Anything Nice says:

    Don’t say anything at all.

  3. Bob says:

    The bridge was held up these many years because the whackos from the Sierra club were so afraid of “Urban Sprawl.” But people have to live SOMEWHERE. The delay in building a bridge cost the area billions in potential economic development.

    The reasons the bridge bill finally made it through:

    1. The old bridge is so darn bad no one can deny it any more, not even the democrats and the Sierra Club
    2. Michele Bachmann
    3. Amy Klobachchar wanted something on her resume so she can get re-elected. In her entire political life she has never done a darn thing.
    4. Scott Walker.
    5. Al Franken knew enough to shut up for once in his life.
    6. Obama does not want to lose MN in 2012

  4. EB says:

    It was only a good idea after Klobuchar supported it. Until then it was an environmental nightmare and Bachmann was a hypocrite for wanting it.

  5. The Crux of the Buscuit says:

    Bachmann is an idiot.

  6. KEVIN says:

    Wcco, seams like if it’s a liberal comment you post it. Otherwise you sensor it.You are the phoniest news agency in the US. Mabe you should bring Walter Cronkite back on board.