Here's my contribution to your criticism of the Bridge conspiracy .
I have lived in Bayport for more than 30 years and am well aware of the problems the traffic causes in downtown Stillwater where the congestion and pollution are objectionable.
Probably the worse problem is caused by those who drive through residential sections to circumvent the backed-up traffic on highway 36/95 at the bridge. The real problem is not the bridge, the problem is Stillwater.
Driving through Stillwater it is obvious that the main cause of congestion are the various stop lights and sharp turns at the bridge.
With only 9,000 vehicles per day it is easy to figure that a two-lane bridge unobstructed at each end could carry the traffic and there would be no problem!!
If for example, the traffic moved slowly at 30 mph with a distance between cars of 50 feet, the bridge could handle 3000 cars per hour.
There might be a little slow-down during rush hour, during the periods that Andersen Windows has shift changes as many employees live in Wisconsin, or during the boating season when the lift bridge is raised during non-rush hours.
The need for a four lane $700,000,000 bridge at Stillwater is hard to justify.
The bridge primarily serves commuters from St. Croix County because Wisconsin east of this county is very sparsely populated.
The major cities serviced by the bridge are Holton, Hudson, Somerset, New Richmond and Boomer. These cities have a population of 30,000 people while the population of St.Croix County is 85,000 in the incorporated areas.
Looking at these numbers, it is hard to see how these few people would need such a big bridge. The prospect for St. Croix County to grow substantially is slim. In fact last year, the total bridge count dropped from 18,000 to 17,000 perhaps caused by the employment situation/economy.
At the expense of sounding heretical, I would propose that a similar lift bridge be constructed about a half-mile south of current site. With no obstructions it could handle the traffic very far into the future.
Ralph H. Larson, Bayport