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Road builders from Wisconsin and Minnesota to work on new St. Croix bridge

HUDSON - Two road builders from Wisconsin and Minnesota will work together to build the main part of a new four-lane bridge over the St. Croix River north of Hudson.

Transportation departments from both states awarded a $332 million contract Thursday to Lunda Construction of Black River Falls and Ames Construction of Burnsville, Minn. They'll build the part of the bridge that folks will drive on -- plus support elements and connections to a four-lane Hwy. 36 on the Minnesota side.

The original cost estimate ranged up to $310 million. The final contract is $22 million more than that. Project manager Jon Chiglo said that is because the final design included more steel than originally planned.

Crews will start pile-driving work at the site a week from Monday. The new bridge is expected to open in 2016.

Environmentalists in both states fought the project for 50 years until Congress and President Obama agreed a year and a half ago to exempt the bridge project from the St. Croix's protections under the federal Wild and Scenic Rivers Act.