Gov't shutdown in Minnesota will close Stillwater lift bridgeRivertowns Area News
-- Wisconsin residents may not be too concerned about the possible Minnesota state government shut-down that could occur July 1 without a budget compromise.
STILLWATER - Wisconsin residents may not be too concerned about the possible Minnesota state government shut-down that could occur July 1 without a budget compromise.
But there appears to be at least one negative impact from such a shut-down that could make local commuters squirm.
Stillwater's lift bridge, which carries approximately 18,000 vehicles across the St. Croix River each day, could be closed to motorists if government workers are laid off. The mechanical lift requires a state employee to operate it.
Minnesota Department of Transportation spokesman Kevin Gutknecht said it's too early to sweat over the possible closure of the bridge.
Gutknecht said the state's essential services will still operate during a government shut-down, and the Stillwater bridge could be designated as such an essential service.
Gutknecht also noted that there's still plenty of time for the Minnesota Legislature and Gov. Mark Dayton to reach a budget compromise and avoid a shut-down.
"The key message of the day ... a government shut down is not a certainty," he said.
If the bridge is closed, Minnesota Department of Transportation officials would lift the bridge and leave it there, so boats can pass underneath.
Stillwater lift bridge would close in state shutdown
"The Coast Guard, which oversees waterways, requires that if the bridge is not operating, it must be set in a position that allows for navigation on the waterway," Gutknecht said.
The lift bridge workers who lift the bridge to let big boats pass are state employees and would be laid off in a shutdown.