Minnesota (WQOW) - Dozens of officials and community members gathered for the official opening of the St. Croix Crossing bridge on Wednesday.
Gov. Scott Walker, along with Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton, were present for a ribbon cutting ceremony of the bridge. Officials said the $646 million project was a joint effort between the Wisconsin and Minnesota departments of transportation. A federal legislation was passed and signed into law in 2012 to allow for the construction of the bridge. The St. Croix Crossing serves as the primary connection between Oak Park Heights, Minnesota and St. Joseph, Wisconsin.
According to a press release, the St. Croix Crossing stands about 110 feet tall, is about one-mile long and was built to replace the 85-year-old Stillwater Lift Bridge. About 42 million pounds of concrete and more than 22,000 gallons of paint were used to make the bridge. More than 400 men and women from Wisconsin and Minnesota worked on the project.
The new crossing is designed to handle 36,000 vehicles a day, which is twice the amount carried by the Stillwater Lift Bridge. It will also allow marine traffic to move beneath it without interruption.
According to the Minnesota Department of Transportation's website, the Stillwater Lift Bridge will be converted to a bicycle/pedestrian crossing and will also become part of a five-mile "loop trail" system connecting the new river bridge with the historic bridge. Project work is scheduled to be completed by spring 2019.