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MnDOT ready to roll on new St. Croix River bridge

A rendering shows one of the proposals for the Stillwater Lift Bridge connecting Minnesota and Wisconsin. (Rendering courtesy of the Minnesota Department of Transportation)

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — If Congress approves a bill this fall, the Minnesota Department of Transportation says it’s ready to begin work immediately on a new St. Croix River bridge south of Stillwater.

MnDOT Commissioner Tom Sorel told the St. Paul Pioneer Press his agency is closely watching developments in Washington. He said a Sept. 30 deadline could be extended if progress continues.

The $690 million project requires an exemption from the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., have both introduced legislation to grant it, and they express optimism. MnDOT officials say $363 million in state and federal money is at risk if the legislation fails.

The new bridge would replace the aging Stillwater Lift Bridge to divert traffic from Stillwater’s historic downtown and accommodate growth in western Wisconsin.

Information from: St. Paul Pioneer Press, http://www.twincities.com

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