The State of Wisconsin Building Commission has approved a resolution, granting the Department of Transportation authority to finance the St. Croix Interstate Bridge project. Wednesday’s action by the panel will allow construction of the bridge, connecting expressways in Wisconsin and Minnesota, to proceed.
The bridge will replace a two-lane, eighty year-old lift bridge. Plans to build the new bridge have been in the works for at least 30 years, with opponents twice going to court to block the project due to concerns over the environmentally sensitive St. Croix River. A bill passed by the U.S. Congress earlier this year exempts a new bridge on the federally protected St. Croix from the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act.
The Minnesota Department of Transportation is lead agency on the bridge project, which is currently projected to cost from $571 million to $676 million. Construction of the new bridge is expected to begin in 2013 and take about three years to complete.