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Author Topic: Stillwater Bridge  (Read 96144 times)

invincor

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Re: Stillwater Bridge
« Reply #275 on: August 04, 2017, 09:34:54 AM »

As the day turned out, I ended up having to go into Minneapolis after work last night. 
On the way back to Wisconsin, I decided to detour north to try out the new bridge.  I ended up clinching the newly configured Minnesota 36. 

Traffic free-flows straight across the river now, and goes directly into the now-completed Wisconsin 64 expressway, which is now 4-lane all the way to New Richmond.  The speed limit on the bridge itself is 55, increasing to 65 once in Wisconsin.

The eastbound lanes on 64 were completely open.  Heading back westbound, the newly-opened part was fully open, however the part further back that was still 2-lane so that it could plug into old 35/64 to head to the lift bridge hasn't been re-lined and fully opened yet.  That was single lane until you were past the point where the new part took over. 

There are BEGIN 64/END 36 and BEGIN 36/END 64 signs in exactly the same place eastbound/westbound on the Wisconsin side of the bridge a little way past where you're on land.  I guess this technically means that Minnesota 36 is now signed about a half-mile into Wisconsin, since I know the state line is down the middle of the river channel. 

I did three trips over it... eastbound as far as the CTH V exit (4), then back across westbound, exiting into downtown Stillwater so I could drive through downtown to see what that looked like now the lift bridge was closed, then back eastbound exiting off on Exit 1 for Highway 35 south towards Hudson.  Getting on 35 south is more circuitous now, as you have to go through three roundabouts to do it, and backtrack a bit west to get to it.  At some point in the next week or two I need to go back to see what's being done with the old 2-lane alignment of 35/64 through there... is it becoming county road, and if so what letter, or is it just being dropped completely to township control? 

It was 7pm by the time I drove through downtown Stillwater, so I can't tell the change in traffic at rush hour, of course, but at 7pm it felt more like I was driving through downtown Hudson than the gridlock that Stillwater so often was.  Still busy, but not impossible anymore.  And the highway signage for the old crossing has already all been taken down. 

It occurred to me that if you could wave a magic wand and get rid of the 7 or 8 traffic signals on Minnesota 36 that you could almost have a full interstate highway now from New Richmond, WI to Minneapolis and 35W.  Wonder what number it'd get...

One last thing.  Highway 35 from there to Hudson is now even more heavily signed with ALT 64 and ALT 94 signage than it was.  The ALT 94 I get, but I'm slightly confused why they felt the need to further emphasize an Alternate 64 when they don't do that with any of the other river-crossing highways in the area, like US 10 in Prescott or 243 up by Osceola or US 8.  It made sense to do that for 64 when it still relied on the lift bridge because the bridge so often broke down or could be flooded over for weeks, but this new bridge shouldn't have those issues. 
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froggie

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Re: Stillwater Bridge
« Reply #276 on: August 04, 2017, 11:17:03 AM »

Quote
There are BEGIN 64/END 36 and BEGIN 36/END 64 signs in exactly the same place eastbound/westbound on the Wisconsin side of the bridge a little way past where you're on land.  I guess this technically means that Minnesota 36 is now signed about a half-mile into Wisconsin, since I know the state line is down the middle of the river channel.

This was documented previously by Monte, and I field-checked it myself last week.  The begin/end signs are on either side of the WI 35 overpass.  If we use the overpass as the "median location", then it's technically about 0.4mi into Wisconsin.  However, they're only a few hundred feet from the east end of the bridge.  Though I haven't seen anything official to confirm this, the placement of the begin/end signs suggests that MnDOT will own the bridge.

Another theory is that MnDOT and WisDOT preferred having those signs on land instead of the middle of the bridge, and it was easier to do so on the Wisconsin side given the MN 95 interchange location.

Quote
It occurred to me that if you could wave a magic wand and get rid of the 7 or 8 traffic signals on Minnesota 36 that you could almost have a full interstate highway now from New Richmond, WI to Minneapolis and 35W.  Wonder what number it'd get...

Given MnDOT, it wouldn't.  Furthermore, 36 is not Interstate-grade where it is freeway.  Shoulders, most ramps, and the interchange spacing through Roseville are all substandard.  There are also a couple at-grade intersections on 64 between Somerset and New Richmond.
« Last Edit: August 04, 2017, 11:19:36 AM by froggie »
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MNHighwayMan

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Re: Stillwater Bridge
« Reply #277 on: August 04, 2017, 01:19:23 PM »

Quote
There are BEGIN 64/END 36 and BEGIN 36/END 64 signs in exactly the same place eastbound/westbound on the Wisconsin side of the bridge a little way past where you're on land.  I guess this technically means that Minnesota 36 is now signed about a half-mile into Wisconsin, since I know the state line is down the middle of the river channel.

This was documented previously by Monte, and I field-checked it myself last week.  The begin/end signs are on either side of the WI 35 overpass.  If we use the overpass as the "median location", then it's technically about 0.4mi into Wisconsin.  However, they're only a few hundred feet from the east end of the bridge.  Though I haven't seen anything official to confirm this, the placement of the begin/end signs suggests that MnDOT will own the bridge.

Another theory is that MnDOT and WisDOT preferred having those signs on land instead of the middle of the bridge, and it was easier to do so on the Wisconsin side given the MN 95 interchange location.

I saw those on the shuttle ride, and thought they were really strange. I don't know that I've ever seen another state line crossing signed like that before.
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J N Winkler

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Re: Stillwater Bridge
« Reply #278 on: August 04, 2017, 02:11:45 PM »

This was documented previously by Monte, and I field-checked it myself last week.  The begin/end signs are on either side of the WI 35 overpass.  If we use the overpass as the "median location", then it's technically about 0.4mi into Wisconsin.  However, they're only a few hundred feet from the east end of the bridge.  Though I haven't seen anything official to confirm this, the placement of the begin/end signs suggests that MnDOT will own the bridge.

I think the bridge is primarily MnDOT's responsibility, though any major changes will doubtless require the concurrence of WisDOT in respect of actions within Wisconsin or effects on infrastructure there.

The plans for the extradosed bridge (which has MnDOT bridge number 82045, the first two digits referring to County 82, Washington County) are sealed by two professional engineers registered in Minnesota.  However, they also bear the signatures of the state bridge engineers for both Minnesota and Wisconsin, and have both MnDOT (8221-82045) and WisDOT (8110-02-70) project numbers.

The state line falls in the St. Croix River just to the east of Pier 10.  Piers count up from the west abutment, just on the west side of TH 95, and the east abutment is just east of Pier 13.  Piers 8-12 carry the cabling for the extradosed spans.

Another theory is that MnDOT and WisDOT preferred having those signs on land instead of the middle of the bridge, and it was easier to do so on the Wisconsin side given the MN 95 interchange location.

I think this theory applies.  Another factor is that, in general, WisDOT does not consider END assemblies to delimit actual jurisdictional boundaries, and often posts them well in advance of end of route or end of state maintenance, quite often just past the JCT assembly for routes which end at tee intersections.

In any discussion of whom is responsible for what, paperwork--and not the signing in the field--will almost certainly be referred to.

Edit:  If you have an opportunity to inspect the bridge on foot, there should be a stateline marker on the north side, just between the centerline of Pier 10 and the first cable touchdown as you go east.
« Last Edit: August 05, 2017, 02:07:00 AM by J N Winkler »
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hobsini2

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Re: Stillwater Bridge
« Reply #279 on: August 06, 2017, 04:44:07 PM »

This was documented previously by Monte, and I field-checked it myself last week.  The begin/end signs are on either side of the WI 35 overpass.  If we use the overpass as the "median location", then it's technically about 0.4mi into Wisconsin.  However, they're only a few hundred feet from the east end of the bridge.  Though I haven't seen anything official to confirm this, the placement of the begin/end signs suggests that MnDOT will own the bridge.

I think the bridge is primarily MnDOT's responsibility, though any major changes will doubtless require the concurrence of WisDOT in respect of actions within Wisconsin or effects on infrastructure there.

The plans for the extradosed bridge (which has MnDOT bridge number 82045, the first two digits referring to County 82, Washington County) are sealed by two professional engineers registered in Minnesota.  However, they also bear the signatures of the state bridge engineers for both Minnesota and Wisconsin, and have both MnDOT (8221-82045) and WisDOT (8110-02-70) project numbers.

The state line falls in the St. Croix River just to the east of Pier 10.  Piers count up from the west abutment, just on the west side of TH 95, and the east abutment is just east of Pier 13.  Piers 8-12 carry the cabling for the extradosed spans.

Another theory is that MnDOT and WisDOT preferred having those signs on land instead of the middle of the bridge, and it was easier to do so on the Wisconsin side given the MN 95 interchange location.

I think this theory applies.  Another factor is that, in general, WisDOT does not consider END assemblies to delimit actual jurisdictional boundaries, and often posts them well in advance of end of route or end of state maintenance, quite often just past the JCT assembly for routes which end at tee intersections.

In any discussion of whom is responsible for what, paperwork--and not the signing in the field--will almost certainly be referred to.

Edit:  If you have an opportunity to inspect the bridge on foot, there should be a stateline marker on the north side, just between the centerline of Pier 10 and the first cable touchdown as you go east.
Wisconsin is also in the habit of signing the real Welcome Signs a bit further inside of the state boundary. I-39/90 at Beloit is one of the few exceptions because it is at State Line Rd with a cheap green sign. But the huge redish/brownish wood sign is about 3/4 of a mile north of that bridge. Same on I-94 in Pleasant Prairie and US 151 north of Dubuque.
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TheHighwayMan394

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Re: Stillwater Bridge
« Reply #280 on: August 07, 2017, 01:34:33 AM »

I figured the END/BEGIN signs were WISDOT's simply because of the wooden posts, which MnDOT does not use anywhere.
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peterj920

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Re: Stillwater Bridge
« Reply #281 on: August 07, 2017, 02:12:08 AM »


I think the bridge is primarily MnDOT's responsibility, though any major changes will doubtless require the concurrence of WisDOT in respect of actions within Wisconsin or effects on infrastructure there.

The bridge is MnDOT's responsibility and the project website was hosted on there, but costs are split between the states.  You can tell by the light pole and fixture style as well as the bridge parapet style.  I-94 is WISDOT responsibility, while in Superior/Duluth I-535 is MnDOT and US 2 is WISDOT. 
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Re: Stillwater Bridge
« Reply #283 on: July 17, 2018, 09:25:06 PM »

A new color emerges.

IMG_1504 by North Star Highways, on Flickr

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mgk920

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Re: Stillwater Bridge
« Reply #284 on: July 18, 2018, 10:54:44 AM »

Will there be any bridge structure left there when that sandblasting is completed?

 :wow:

Mike
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MNHighwayMan

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Re: Stillwater Bridge
« Reply #285 on: May 08, 2019, 12:04:48 PM »

I got an email from MnDOT today about a new book that they and WisDOT have put out about the old Lift Bridge. You can find a .pdf copy of the book here. Hard copies can be bought here.
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DaBigE

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Re: Stillwater Bridge
« Reply #286 on: May 08, 2019, 04:35:58 PM »

I got an email from MnDOT today about a new book that they and WisDOT have put out about the old Lift Bridge. You can find a .pdf copy of the book here. Hard copies can be bought here.

I especially like the 1920s Wisconsin highway map on page 23:
Quote
You Cannot get Lost in Wisconsin If You Get a Reliable Map and Follow The Official Markers
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Roadguy

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Re: Stillwater Bridge
« Reply #287 on: May 09, 2019, 08:27:43 AM »

I got an email from MnDOT today about a new book that they and WisDOT have put out about the old Lift Bridge. You can find a .pdf copy of the book here. Hard copies can be bought here.

Really enjoy the nice reminder where the Sierra Club got owned in their wasted effort to stop the bridge with numerous lawsuits with the passage of the bill authorizing the bridge in congress.  It just shows how NEPA and the wild and scenic rivers act needs revisions, one key revision being they should have been responsible to put up collateral for the additional costs for the project that their lawsuits caused due to delays.  It's just as satisfying as watching the 1000 friends of Wisconsin lawsuit get dropped so four lane Hwy 23 construction between Fond Du Lac and Plymouth in Wisconsin could proceed (and while the project got delayed many people continued to get injured or died in crashes on the old two lane road).  These groups need to be held responsible for their actions and the consequences that they create as well.
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SEWIGuy

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Re: Stillwater Bridge
« Reply #288 on: May 09, 2019, 09:43:20 AM »

I got an email from MnDOT today about a new book that they and WisDOT have put out about the old Lift Bridge. You can find a .pdf copy of the book here. Hard copies can be bought here.

Really enjoy the nice reminder where the Sierra Club got owned in their wasted effort to stop the bridge with numerous lawsuits with the passage of the bill authorizing the bridge in congress.  It just shows how NEPA and the wild and scenic rivers act needs revisions, one key revision being they should have been responsible to put up collateral for the additional costs for the project that their lawsuits caused due to delays.  It's just as satisfying as watching the 1000 friends of Wisconsin lawsuit get dropped so four lane Hwy 23 construction between Fond Du Lac and Plymouth in Wisconsin could proceed (and while the project got delayed many people continued to get injured or died in crashes on the old two lane road).  These groups need to be held responsible for their actions and the consequences that they create as well.


Yeah it's so cool that these groups who try to save our environmental resources lose in court so people can save 10 minutes of their time driving places.   :-/

And that revision in the law would make it absolutely impossible for these suits to move forward.  And that would be terrible.  Yeah the process can be streamlined but your idea is a non-starter.
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MNHighwayMan

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Re: Stillwater Bridge
« Reply #289 on: May 09, 2019, 09:53:15 AM »

Yeah it's so cool that these groups who try to save our environmental resources lose in court so people can save 10 minutes of their time driving places.   :-/

At least in the case of the St. Croix crossing, it was about way more than just ten minutes of travel time savings, so I don't know what you're talking about there.
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SEWIGuy

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Re: Stillwater Bridge
« Reply #290 on: May 09, 2019, 10:22:41 AM »

Yeah it's so cool that these groups who try to save our environmental resources lose in court so people can save 10 minutes of their time driving places.   :-/

At least in the case of the St. Croix crossing, it was about way more than just ten minutes of travel time savings, so I don't know what you're talking about there.


Hyperbole is lost on many....
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froggie

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Re: Stillwater Bridge
« Reply #291 on: May 09, 2019, 01:02:15 PM »

^^ Unless/until the signals between 694 and Stillwater get removed, 10 minutes really is around the average time savings.  Less than that for those who live between 94 and 64.
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MNHighwayMan

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Re: Stillwater Bridge
« Reply #292 on: May 09, 2019, 01:10:14 PM »

^^ Unless/until the signals between 694 and Stillwater get removed, 10 minutes really is around the average time savings.  Less than that for those who live between 94 and 64.

That wasn't my point. The time savings, regardless of the amount of time saved, isn't the only benefit to the new crossing.
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Mdcastle

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Re: Stillwater Bridge
« Reply #293 on: June 03, 2019, 08:47:53 PM »

So the Lift Bridge is going to reopen "Late Fall", instead of "June" as originally planned. I was going to see if anyone might be interested in a mini-meet of some kind this summer, but obviously that's not a feasible now.

The middle of last summer the lift span was disabled so the mechanism could be rehabilitated and the structure shrouded, blasted, and repainted, and one of the fixed spans was removed and put on a barge so boats could get through. At the end of the official operating season the fixed span was put back into place. In the past Mn/DOT would lift the bridge outside of the season if given 24 hours notice, but that wasn't the case the last off-season, the river was simply closed.

The plan was to finish work on the lift span enough to get if functional this spring, but then we had one of the three wettest springs on record, with the flooding they had to pull their equipment off the bridge and demobilize. The lift span was manually raised (with a crane or something) and bolted into the up position to let boats through and protect it from debris. As soon as they can work on it again a fixed span will again be removed to allow boats through and the lift span manually lowered so rehabiltation can proceed.

All the other trail work is done, although Wisconsin closed off the trail-head and WI 35 underpass and the trail down to the bridge is also closed.
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