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Stillwater Bridge

Started by on_wisconsin, August 21, 2011, 11:31:32 PM

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Quote from: Mdcastle on June 08, 2012, 07:58:27 AM
County Road 64 was the old alignment. It's kind of hard to see on inset maps, but it looks like MN 96 came in at angle, the went straight south, probably on Owen, then straight east, probably on Myrtle, to line up with the existing bridge. My 1949 official map shows the old alignment and my 1953 official map shows the new alignment.

When I went to Century College we had a bike trip that way and had to ride up the Myrtle Street Hill.  I remember it turned into 64 and then angled into 96.  Never occurred to me back then it was likely an old alignment.  Funny how ever since Stillwater hasn't tried to get traffic out of town :P


Monte's correct.  96 was rerouted onto its current alignment east of today's Gateway Trail (the old Soo Line tracks) in 1950.  It's also possible that, for about a 2-3 year period in the mid-1930s, that 96 even used Kimbro Ave N and 88th St N in the area immediately east of the Gateway Trail, and was realigned in 1936 to avoid 2 crossings of today's Minnesota Zephyr tracks when the old Soo Line overpass was built


It's worth noting that if the Zephyr tracks aren't gone already they will be soon. After the operation shut down a few years ago the Minnesota DNR got a right of first refusal for the track ROW and closed on it this Feb, and they plan to remove the track as fast as possible. The train itself is still for sale and the DNR wants it off what is now their property by the time the track removal reaches the Stillwater.


Went to the open house today. A few things of note:

*No NIMBY/Environmentalist types to be seen. A few people a bit concerned about impacts to their propery and a contractor interested in bidding.

*Minnesota approach will be design-build. The bridge proper and the Wisconsin approach will not be.

*The interchanges on the Minnesota side were dropped both because of cost and direction from Oak Park Heights. My suggestion that this would turn into another US 169 in Bloomington was not well received.

*The extradosed design was not, in an opinion of one of the chief engineers, extravagant. It might cost a bit more to build, but besides looking cute there are also good engineering reasons to use that design, mainly the difficulty in building piers at that particular location and the traffic calming effect of the cables on the sides. He didn't want to comment on my question about how much a box girder or cable stayed bridge would have cost, but seemed impressed when I had mentioned I had been over the old Pearl Harbor bridge, the Zakkim Bridge, Sunshine Skyway, and Great River bridges- he said most drivers don't take note of what kind of bridge they're driving over. He wasn't allowed to say exactly who was involved, but said they visited the new Pearl Harbor bridge and are using some of the people involved as resources.

*Got copies of the overall project and loop trail animations. They're available online, but the versions on disc are 720P high def.

*The barges are out doing test borings. Also visited the Oak Park Heights "ghost neighborhood" where the houses have been bought out years ago and removed for the MN 95 interchange. It's wildly overgrown, most of the streets are blocked off and decaying and only the Shoddy Mill is left.

*The curve in Wisconsin will have a 70mph design speed. Posted speed on the bridge itself will be 55mph.


Mdcastle, the interchanges on the Minnesota side that you mention, does that include the MN 95 interchange or is it just the ones proposed west of there on MN 36?
I knew it. I'm surrounded by assholes. Keep firing, assholes! - Dark Helmet (Spaceballs)


West of there.  The interchange at MN 95 is included either way.  MnDOT looked earlier at a couple of local interchanges in the section between MN 95 and MN 5...this is what was dropped.


This is yet another example of Mn/DOT doing something right (the bridge) and lousy (the approach roads) due to funding problems and local interference.

I don't think the MN 95 junction could have been an at-grade intersection even if they wanted to cheapen the project or the city wanted it due to the substantial grade difference. In fact I find the choice of a standard diamond odd since the east ramps will have to be on bridges connecting to the main bridge, MN 95 will go under the main bridge, not a seperate structure. I'm not sure if these ramps count as the bridge or the Minnesota approach.

The Shoddy Mill and warehouse. Myself and a lot of people think paying several hundred thousand dollars to move it is a waste of money, but it's a requirement for getting the bridge built.

Area of Oak Park Heights near the mill already bought out and removed for the new mainline and MN 95 interchange.

Soil testing

Where the new WI 35 interchange will be. Wisconsin Dot already owns this land but is apparently leasing it back to farmers for the time being.


I am assuming that WI-35 will be routed with WI-64 to bypass...St. Joseph?


The Wisconsin interchange location is about a mile east of Houlton on County E. That road will be bypassed slightly south of a built up area, going north WI 35 will cross over WI 64, than take a right turn at the new "T" instersection south of Houlton, taking over County E until the interchange.

Also of note, Wisconsin still has ROW to acquire between the interchange and the bridge, the ROW they acquired previously reflected the Braun alignment which is about a half mile north or where the bridge will be now, and some of it will be sold back to the land owners at the conclusion of the project.


Omaha firm wins bridge contract
June 26, 2012 - 8:54 PM
The national engineering firm HDR has been selected to lead the design effort for a new St. Croix River bridge, the Minnesota and Wisconsin state transportation departments said Tuesday.

The $14.2 million contract will refine the extradosed-type design selected by a community stakeholder group for construction, the agencies said. An extradosed bridge is a hybrid of a concrete box girder structure and a cable-stayed structure.

The four-lane bridge will span the St. Croix River between Oak Park Heights and St. Joseph, Wis., and will retire the Stillwater Lift Bridge, built in 1931. Both bridges will become part of a loop trail for pedestrians and cyclists.

When complete, the St. Croix Crossing will be the second extradosed bridge in the United States. The first is being constructed in Connecticut.

One of the four unsuccessful design bidders was URS Corp., which paid a $54.2 million settlement after the Interstate 35 bridge collapsed in 2007. The company settled a lawsuit in 2010 after victims alleged that URS had failed as a consultant to detect the bridge's structural flaws. URS also had designed the Martin Olav Sabo Bridge in Minneapolis where cables broke in February.

The new St. Croix bridge, estimated to cost between $280 million and $310 million, will be part of a larger project that will include the trail, expressways on either end of the bridge, and historic and environmental mitigation efforts. The total cost, shared by both states, is estimated between $580 and $676 million.

Design work will take about a year with construction anticipated to begin in fall 2013. Assisting HDR will be the firm Buckland and Taylor, the agencies said. HDR, with headquarters in Omaha, employs about 200 people in Minneapolis, St. Paul, Rochester and Thief River Falls, Minn.

HDR is also designing the Cayuga Bridge on Interstate 35E in St. Paul.

A second major contract -- for peer review of HDR's design -- will be awarded next. The URS firm is one of seven finalists for that contract.
"Speed does not kill, suddenly becoming stationary... that's what gets you" - Jeremy Clarkson


QuoteStillwater bridge open house tonight in New Richmond
By Andy Rathbun Press

An open house about the St. Croix River Crossing Project will be held Monday, July 9, in New Richmond, Wis.
Representatives from the Minnesota and Wisconsin departments of transportation will be on hand to answer
questions and listen to concerns.

The event is from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. at New Richmond City Hall, 156 E. First St.
The open house is the seventh to be held recently.

The project will replace the aging Stillwater Lift Bridge with a new river crossing connecting Oak Park Heights,
Minn., and St. Joseph, Wis. The lift bridge will be converted to a pedestrian and bicycle crossing.
For more information, visit or the project's facebook page,

To request an American Sign Language or foreign language interpreter, or to request other accommodations, call
715-833-9814. Hearing- or speech-impaired individuals can call the Wisconsin Relay Service toll-free at 711 or
Andy Rathbun can be reached at 651-228-2121. Follow him at
"Speed does not kill, suddenly becoming stationary... that's what gets you" - Jeremy Clarkson


It should be noted that HDR was involved in the Q-Bridge, the only other extradosed bridge in the US, as well as several Canadian ones. Since URS didn't get the contract presumably it'll stand up to the wind blowing on the cables.

I read the proposal last night, one of the instersting things was they brought up the idea of splitting the construction contract between the foundations and the bridge proper. That would allow more MN companies the opportunity to bid on them, and speed construction since they could start building the foundations before every last detail of the bridge design was finalized.

Per the visual quality manual, the piers will be lit with LED floodlights, though more subtly than the I-35W bridge, and the roadway will also have LED lighting. The cables will not be explicitly lit, but on the south cables the spill from the roadway lighting will illuminate them. Most of the visualizations show the bridge a stark white, but it's more likely to be a muted off-white.


"Speed does not kill, suddenly becoming stationary... that's what gets you" - Jeremy Clarkson


It was just announced today that the bridge construction is going to start a year earlier than originally planned. Construction on the piers will start in Spring 2013 instead of Spring 2014.


Quote from: tchafe1978 on October 09, 2012, 10:39:06 PM
It was just announced today that the bridge construction is going to start a year earlier than originally planned. Construction on the piers will start in Spring 2013 instead of Spring 2014.

(Imagining the collective snot snit from the enviro-wacko crowd....)




 Now if we can get the Willits Bypass built...

I'm presuming the enviro-wackos have run out of legal options with respect to Stillwater, I've heard absolutely zero rumors floating around about any future legal action. I still try to comment every time the story comes up in the Strib, though I think I'm wasting my time. There was one reader that objected to spending a fraction of the money on the Hastings Bridge because "he'll never use it". I told him to find an island to move to if he doesn't want to be part of society.


QuoteMnDOT prepares Stillwater office for St. Croix bridge work
By Mary Divine Press

State workers plan to move to Stillwater soon to oversee construction on the St. Croix River bridge and Minnesota 36.
About 15 Minnesota Department of Transportation employees are expected to move to 1862 S. Greeley St. on March 1. The  one-story office building -- one of three former UFE Inc. manufacturing company buildings -- also will house
outside employees, said Mary McFarland, a spokeswoman for MnDOT.
"It will be home base for everybody working on the project," McFarland said Tuesday, Jan. 29. "They are painting it
now and setting up cubicles. The idea is to have contractors and consultants along with all the MnDOT staff there."
The 14,000-square-foot building is being sold to the Washington County Historical Society for use as a heritage
center. The society, which is paying $795,000 for the building, expects to take possession at the end of February,
said Brent Peterson, the society's executive director.
MnDOT is expected to rent the building from the society for almost four years; rental income will help pay for the
purchase, Peterson said.
The building formerly housed part of manufacturing company UFE, which was founded in 1953 as United
Fabricators and Electronics. UFE moved to Osceola, Wis., in 2009 and was sold in 2011.
The site was eyed by the Stillwater Area School District in 2010. The district agreed to pay $3.2 million for the three
buildings on the UFE site, with plans to create an Early Childhood Family Center there, but backed out after PCE
contamination was found.
The 1862 building is south of where the contamination was found, Peterson said.

The St. Croix bridge project, which includes building three miles of four-lane highway on Wisconsin 35 and
rebuilding about three miles of Minnesota 36 and 95, is estimated to cost $580 million to $676 million. The bridge is
expected to open to traffic in fall 2016.
Crews will begin building the bridge piers in the water in the spring; the foundation work must be done by June 2014
and may be done earlier, McFarland said.
Work on Minnesota 36 and 95 will start in April. MnDOT crews will be rebuilding and moving frontage roads,
adding turn lanes at Oakgreen/Greeley and Osgood avenues along Minnesota 36, and improving stormwater ponds.
They also will create a bike trail along the south Minnesota 36 frontage road to connect with a new 4.7-mile loop
trail that will cross the Stillwater Lift Bridge once it's closed to vehicle traffic.
In addition, the Beach Road bridge over Minnesota 36 will be replaced; the new bridge will be located a little to the
west of the current bridge and will include two lanes and a bike trail, McFarland said.
Plans also call for three signals to be added to Minnesota 95 -- one near the Allen S. King plant at Sixth Street
North/Pickett Avenue in Bayport
"Speed does not kill, suddenly becoming stationary... that's what gets you" - Jeremy Clarkson


About 15 Minnesota Department of Transportation employees are expected to move to 1862 S. Greeley St. on March 1.

Sounds like a great reality show 15 DOT employees sharing a house


Quote from: texaskdog on February 08, 2013, 08:18:31 AM
About 15 Minnesota Department of Transportation employees are expected to move to 1862 S. Greeley St. on March 1.

Sounds like a great reality show 15 DOT employees sharing a house

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"That's just like... your opinion, man."

John Madden

go to this link for a description of the project by the way if anyone knows how I can get this application let me know!  :biggrin:


^ You are a little late on that one:

Anyway, there has been some rumbling out of the MN Capitol that the Legislature may try to turn this into a toll bridge.
"Speed does not kill, suddenly becoming stationary... that's what gets you" - Jeremy Clarkson


I have a feeling that this rhetoric will calm down. Also, tolling the bridge would require Wisconsin to agree and may even require new environmental studies. If anything should be tolled, which I don't agree on, an extremely expensive bridge that has real traffic benefits isn't a bad place for to do so, but I don't see this one happening.


Which is kinda too bad.  IMO, this bridge is an excellent candidate for tolling.  It's a freeway facility (at least across the river).  There are nearby alternative routes (I-94 for cars, the old bridge for bikes/peds).  It's a VERY expensive project that overwhelms the more traditional funding streams.  Plus it saves Chapter 152 Program funds for other needed bridges, which is important because if the Legislature doesn't pass additional transportation revenue this session, I can easily see MnDOT diverting more Chapter 152 Program funding from other (and arguably more important) bridges to the Stillwater bridge.


Quote from: on_wisconsin on February 19, 2013, 11:02:30 PM
^ You are a little late on that one:

Anyway, there has been some rumbling out of the MN Capitol that the Legislature may try to turn this into a toll bridge.

In Texas we'd make it toll and the money would go to Spain

The High Plains Traveler

There is a bill in the Minnesota Legislature this year to create a new Legislative Route (339, the next number in sequence) that looks like it is for the St. Croix River bridge. I wondered why, since this would simply replace the existing crossing in the trunk highway system, but then I looked at the description for Constitutional Route 45 (which is carried by MN-36 west to the junction with MN-5). The description reads:
QuoteRoute No. 45. Beginning at a point on the west bank of the St. Croix River at Stillwater and thence extending in a southwesterly direction to a point on the easterly limits of the city of St. Paul, affording Stillwater, Lake Elmo, St. Paul and intervening and adjacent communities a reasonable means of communication, each with the other and other places within the state.
Turns out the new bridge is in Oak Park Heights, not Stillwater, and thus can't be the eastern terminus of Route 45. Descriptions of Constitutional Routes can't be amended, so it is necessary to create the new route. I wonder whether MnDOT will continue to maintain Chestnut Street up to the old lift bridge or whether MN-95 is close enough to the river to be that aforementioned point on the west bank of the river.
"Tongue-tied and twisted; just an earth-bound misfit, I."

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