The Minnesota Department of Transportation announced the management team for the construction efforts on the St. Croix Crossing that will connect Oak Park Heights with St. Joseph, Wis.
The project cost estimate is between $571 million and $676 million and once underway will take three years to complete.
The legislation to exempt the project from the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act still awaits President Barack Obama's signature.
MnDOT said today that there have been no indications that Obama plans to veto the bill. Obama has until March 17 to sign or veto the bill, if no action is taken the bill becomes law by default.
MnDOT officials said they are currently in talks with the city of Oak Park Heights regarding right of way, utility relocation and the cost impact to the city. WisDOT still needs to aquire a portion of right of way on the Wisconsin side of the approach, as well.
The major project goals include:
- Restore the Stillwater Lift Bridge and convert its use to a bicycle/pedestrian crossing
- Build a new bridge to increase traffic capacity between Minnesota and Wisconsin
- Construct roadway approaches on both sides of the river
- Protect historic, cultural and environmental features along the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway
MnDOT is reorganizing staff into a St. Croix Crossing project office led by Jon Chiglo.
Chiglo, an engineer who led the successful completion of the Interstate 35W bridge in 2007, will manage a staff of engineers and other specialists including community relations and an ombudsman to help resolve issues. Incorporating disadvantage business enterprises is another key priority.
“This project is complex and calls for collaboration among many organizations and individuals,” MnDOT Commissioner Tom Sorel said. “We intend to achieve nothing less than a legacy of sound construction, responsible stewardship of the St. Croix River Valley’s resources and successful community participation.”
“I am honored to be doing this work and look forward to keeping the community involved with and aware of our efforts,” Chiglo said.
Construction of the new bridge is expected to begin in 2014 and take about three years to complete. Beginning in summer 2012, crews will conduct foundation load tests at the new crossing site and provide bridge designers with critical information about soil conditions under the river to determine how to design the bridge’s foundation.
MnDOT is the lead agency on the project and is coordinating with the Wisconsin Department of Transportation as well as sharing in the cost of the bridge. Both states will also work with the Federal Highway Administration.
This post will be updated later today.
UPDATED From Monday 10:30 p.m.
A news conference introducing the project leadership team will begin at 11 a.m. An open house will follow the news conference from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
MnDOT will be talking about how the project will proceed and include information including bike and pedestrian elements, historic and scenic protections and employment and commercial opportunities.
Legislation passed through the U.S. House of Representatives earlier this month.
The bill .
“The hallmark of the St. Croix Crossing has been, and will be, cooperation and collaboration,” according to a MnDOT news release. “We intend, with your help and support, to continue that tradition as the work proceeds.”
A new website dedicated to the project was also recently launched and will be updated as the project moves forward.
The Washington County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday morning will vote on a resolution of appreciation to community members and legislative leaders on the passage of approval for the St. Croix River Crossing Project.