VIDEOS: St. Croix River Crossing Supporters Celebrate Legislative Victory
Klobuchar, Bachmann and Duffy were among those who delivered remarks about the federal legislation and next steps for the St. Croix River Crossing project. Patch provided a live webcast of the event.
U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar was joined in Stillwater Saturday, March 3, by U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI), Minnesota Transportation Commissioner Tom Sorel, Stillwater Mayor Ken Harycki, and other local community and business leaders to discuss the next steps for a new St. Croix River bridge between Minnesota and Wisconsin.
The celebratory event came after this week’s final passage of federal legislation that clears the way for construction of the bridge. The U.S. Senate unanimously approved the legislation in January. On Thursday, the U.S. House approved the legislation with a 339 to 80 vote. It now awaits President Obama’s signature, which is expected soon. Klobuchar led efforts in the Senate to pass the legislation, while Michele Bachmann led efforts in the House.
- VIDEO: Remarks by Stillwater Mayor Ken Harycki
- VIDEO: Remarks by U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar
- VIDEO: Remarks by U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann
- VIDEO: Remarks by U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy
- VIDEO: Remarks by Minnesota Transportation Commissioner Tom Sorel
- VIDEO: Remarks by St. Croix County Supervisor Daryl Standafer
- VIDEO: Multimedia Recap of the event
The legislation provides the new bridge with an exemption under the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. Included in the legislation is a package of mitigation efforts to protect the St. Croix River that were developed by consulting the U.S. Department of Transportation and National Park Service. The mitigation measures were agreed to in 2006 by the National Park Service, the Federal Highway Administration, and the Minnesota and Wisconsin Departments of Transportation and Natural Resources. The mitigation plan would help promote scenic and recreational values of the St. Croix River by eliminating existing man-made structures, protecting river bluff lands, restoring park land, and ensuring public boat access.
The current St. Croix River crossing is at the historic Stillwater Lift Bridge. As the bridge has aged, closings for structural and vehicle collision repairs and maintenance inspections have increased. In addition, the bridge’s unique function as a lift bridge, which lifts frequently to allow boats to travel the river, is a source of severe traffic congestion.
The new bridge will be built a few miles south of the current bridge, and it will connect Oak Park Heights in Minnesota with St. Joseph in Wisconsin.