Western Wisconsin Roundup: The new St. Croix River bridge passes another hurdleWisconsin News
-- Another hurdle has been crossed in building a new four-lane bridge over the Saint Croix River near Hudson.
Another hurdle has been crossed in building a new four-lane bridge over the Saint Croix River near Hudson. Local officials on the Minnesota side of the project had objected, saying it would cost them almost three-million dollars to relocate existing utilities. Minnesota lawmakers recently approved one-million-dollars of bonding for the utility work. And last night, the City Council in Oak Park Heights Minnesota voted 4-to-1 to end its objection to the new bridge. That was after Governor Mark Dayton promised to seek one-and-a-half million dollars in federal funds to move the utilities – and if Washington says no, Dayton said he would try to secure additional state bonding. That would leave about 350-thousand-dollars for Oak Park Heights to cover, and the Council agreed to that. The four-lane Saint Croix bridge had been debated for years until Congress and President Obama agreed to exempt the project from the federal Wild-and-Scenic Rivers Act. Construction is scheduled to begin next May, and the new bridge between Hudson and Stillwater Minnesota is due to open in the fall of 2016.
Transportation officials announced plans yesterday to build a second two-lane bridge over the Mississippi River that links Winona Minnesota to western Wisconsin. The Gopher State’s D-O-T had initially talked about upgrading the current two-lane bridge that was declared structurally-deficient a few years ago. But local, state, and federal officials said Winona needs another two lanes of bridges – and the D-O-T agreed that a separate structure would meet traffic needs while preserving historical features of the original 70-year-old bridge. The new bridge would be built upstream from the old one, and both would continue to be used. Winona Mayor Jerry Miller calls it a “win-win” for everybody concerned. U-S Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota said she would work with federal-and-state officials to keep the new bridge project moving forward. Under the D-O-T’s initial plans, the design and property acquisition would be finished by late 2014 – and construction would begin in ’15. Miller says he’ll push to have it done sooner. The old Winona bridge was closed for part of 2008 after gusset plates were found to be corroded. Hundreds of Wisconsinites who work in Winona had to drive for miles out of their way until a temporary ferry was put into place.
A 74-year-old man has died from a farm accident in northwest Wisconsin. Barron County authorities said William Brenizer of Cumberland was backing a tractor into a ditch when it lost control and rolled over twice. The machine rolled on top of Brenizer. He was taken to the Cumberland hospital, where he was pronounced dead. The accident occurred on Wednesday afternoon.