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River threatening Stillwater bridge (UPDATE)

STILLWATER, Minn. (AP) — The Stillwater lift bridge remains open, but the St. Croix River keeps rising and officials may need to close the bridge eventually.

Minnesota Department of Transportation spokesman Kevin Gutknecht said the department is evaluating the situation Monday morning.

Minnesota's Stillwater Lift Bridge, near the border with Wisconsin, is under a threat of flooding from the rising St. Crioux River. (AP Photo/St. Paul Pioneer Press, Chris Polydoroff)

Minnesota's Stillwater Lift Bridge, spanning the border with Wisconsin, is under a threat of flooding from the rising St. Croix River. (AP Photo/St. Paul Pioneer Press, Chris Polydoroff)

The National Weather Service reports the river was at 85.11 feet early Monday. According to the weather service, the bridge may be become inoperable at 88 feet.

The river is now expected to hit 86 feet by early Tuesday morning on a way to a crest of 87 feet on Thursday morning.

The bridge is part of a well-traveled route between Minnesota and eastern Wisconsin.

Stillwater has already built a 2,000-foot temporary levee to protect downtown.

Meanwhile, seven western Wisconsin counties are under flood warnings as the Mississippi River rises.

Buffalo, La Crosse, Pepin, Pierce, St. Croix, Trempealeau and Vernon counties all are under warnings. State Emergency Management spokeswoman Lori Getter said the Mississippi is expected to hit flood stage later this week or this weekend.

She said only minor flooding is expected, though, and no homes should be threatened. She adds meteorologists expect dry weather for much of this week, which should help matters.

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