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Stillwater Lift Bridge: It's Open

The Stillwater Lift Bridge opened Friday afternoon, just in time for the evening commute.

The Stillwater Lift Bridge opened Friday afternoon, thanks to favorable weather conditions this week.

The Stillwater Lift Bridge rehabilitation project began July 9. The bridge itself has been closed to traffic since Sept. 10.

Due to nice weather, electrical crews were able to get the final portion of the project completed ahead of schedule.

The project focused on repairing steel connections, replacing and repairing mechanical and electrical components, repairing concrete surfaces, repairing floor beams, painting portions of the bridge and replacing guardrail, curb and gutter.

Related: 

 MnDOT: Stillwater Lift Bridge On Track to Reopen Next Month

Open House to Discuss Stillwater Lift Bridge Closure is Feb. 22

Stillwater Lift Bridge to Close Sept. 10; Enter 'Townie Tuesdays'

 

Susan December 08, 2012 at 07:28 PM
There are homes selling every month in Stillwater in the range of $150,000 - $250,000 (less for town homes and condos). Rent is comparable to that in Hudson. Again, if you choose not to live here, it's hard to have sympathy for you in regards to your difficult commute.
Amy December 08, 2012 at 07:29 PM
Susan, I see from your profile you are a business owner. What business do you own? I would like to know so I, as a WI resident who frequents downtown Stillwater businesses, can take my business to other shops in town. If my car coming through your downtown is such a burden to you I'm sure I can find a business owner who doesn't.
Susan December 08, 2012 at 08:48 PM
Sorry to disappoint you Amy, but I don't have a storefront or a walk in business. Yes, the extra traffic is a "bother". Sorry if my honesty on the subject (complaining about heavy traffic...blasphemy!) has so offended you
Amy December 08, 2012 at 09:28 PM
It's not your honesty that is offputting it's the way you are coming across. You certainly come across as someone who dislikes people from WI not just the extra traffic. I could be wrong, but you seem to be offended as well. Also, you did not answer my question.
Susan December 08, 2012 at 09:40 PM
How on earth have I come across as someone who doesn't like people from Wisconsin?...I grew up over there! Then, I moved Stillwater because I didn't want to deal with lift bridge. so no, I do not have sympathy for people who choose to live on one side, work on the other side, and then complain about it....it's just silly, but that doesn't mean I don't like them. You're reading way too much into the written word. I also pointed out that I find it a bit ridiculous that people complain about all the extra traffic in Hudson, yet take shots or judge people from Stillwater who complain because we have dealt with the same traffic (mostly Wisconsin plates in the morning and evenings) for decades. It's a bit hypocritical on their part, but I don't dislike people who do it. I didn't realize that I was required to answer your questions.
Randy Marsh December 08, 2012 at 09:48 PM
The real problem Amy is all of the commuters who bought homes in Wisconsin and work in MInnesota to create this problem and then demand a $700 million bridge solution to a problem that doesn't need to exist in the first place. You seem like a smart gal, why don't you add up the number of actual people who use the bridge in a year or 40 years and divide that by $700 million and see if this bridge makes sense.
Randy Marsh December 08, 2012 at 09:50 PM
Teri, I have a hard time believing that with gas $3 to $4 a gallon it doesn't cost you practically the same as it would to live in Minnesota, especially when it requires a $700 million bridge.
Susan December 08, 2012 at 10:02 PM
I wondered if you were lurking, Randy. I stole your interjection, it seemed appropriate, and I didn't think you'd mind.
yomammy December 08, 2012 at 10:05 PM
as opposed to 250 million for a train station remodel or a billion for a stadium... you would have to "deal" with the traffic if there were a new bridge...
yomammy December 08, 2012 at 10:06 PM
sorry- meant wouldnt...
Amy December 08, 2012 at 10:22 PM
What would happen if all these commuters moved to MN? Where would they go? If all those people moved across the bridge that would mean more housing developments, more apartment complexes, and even more crowding in the suburbs. Instead of still seeing the beautiful scenery that Stillwater, North Stillwater, and Lake Elmo obviously offer ALL of us we may see some of that land start to be lost to development. Don't misunderstand I do realize how much will be lost by building this new bridge, but the suburbs of the cities have so much less open space than WI does already. As far as the cost of living, yes, it would be less expensive at this point in time to live on the other side of the bridge. Wisconsinites pay in to the MN gov. every tax season because of the reciprocity deal. Please remember though some people bought homes before the economy changed or when they did work in WI, and they may not be able financially to move. Now I understand where you are coming from Susan. People, however, will complain no matter what. I'm sure if this new bridge really does get built (which I am still skeptical that it won't be roadblocked at every turn) people will still complain on both sides. Similar to the Packer - Viking rivalry neither side will ever completely agree.
Randy Marsh December 08, 2012 at 10:27 PM
Clearly you come from the two-wrongs-make-a-right school of thought, but a billion dollar Vikings stadium looks like a bargain compared to a bridge that without the exemption would violate federal law. The fact that Minnesota is actually paying more than Wisconsin for this bridge makes it even more laughable.
Carbon Bigfuut December 09, 2012 at 03:34 AM
You're correct, Amy. If all of the commuters from WI moved to MN, you'd see Woodbury-type neighborhoods from Stillwater to Mahtomedi and all through Lake Elmo.
Carbon Bigfuut December 09, 2012 at 03:36 AM
Susan, you just got a glimpse of what it may be like after the new bridge is built. I bet you liked it.
Carbon Bigfuut December 09, 2012 at 03:41 AM
Not true, Randy. Both states pay equally for the bridge. Each state pays for their their highways that approach to the bridge. WI built part of their approach highways 10 years ago, with the understanding that the new bridge would be built. They didn't build the last section because they didn't know exactly where the bridge would end up.
Susan December 09, 2012 at 04:04 AM
I loved, loved, loved it, CB! I never said that I wanted to keep the traffic in downtown Stillwater. What I was opposed to was spending nearly 3/4 of a billion dollars to move 9,000 commuters a day (yes, I know...future growth). For me it came down to cost vs. benefit. Truth be told, now that all the decisions are made, my preference would have been for Wisconsin to take it's $300 million and build a larger highway from Somerset (to the east of Burkhardt and Hudson) down to 94, and then close the Stillwater Bridge.
Randy Marsh December 09, 2012 at 05:51 AM
You're right, CB, Minnesota is contributing a similar amount for a bridge that it doesn't need half as much as Wisconsin. Minnesota is paying significantly more for the approaches and other necessities that would not be needed at all if not for this unnecessary bridge that primarily benefits Wisconsin commuters. Thank you for setting me straight.
Randy Marsh December 09, 2012 at 05:57 AM
Actually Carbon, assuming 9,000 commuters and one residency or so for each and also tossing in some additional growth is the perfect number that the Met Council has demanded Lake Elmo grow by in the next 15 or so years. Stillwater won't need to develop beyond what it is comfortable with, you can build out the Inspiration development in Bayport and Lake Elmo will be able to meet the growth goals required. Seems like a win-win to me.
TP Jr December 09, 2012 at 01:37 PM
*yawwwwn* Whatever Susan's business is, assuming she even has one, Randy is her ONLY customer.
Susan December 09, 2012 at 03:41 PM
I have a business with many wonderful customers. I have never met Randy (that I am aware), we just happen to agree on this subject.
limeex2 December 09, 2012 at 05:29 PM
Someone mentioned that people avoid downtown Hudson during the bridge shutdown. During those three month's I tried getting into various Hudson restaurants only to find over a hour wait to get seated. I recall it being busy, but not quite like that. Time will tell. I wish Stillwater had some GOOD mid priced eateries in town.
Susan December 09, 2012 at 06:08 PM
I went to Pier 500 within the first couple weeks of the bridge being closed. It was a Thursday night and pretty busy but we were seated right away. Great food!
Carbon Bigfuut December 09, 2012 at 10:06 PM
Randy, obviously, I'm pro-bridge, but I do see ways they could cut the costs. Instead of separate bridges for the on and off-ramps on the MN side of the bridge, they could move those ramps into cloverleaf-type loops on the west side of hwy. 95 - there is room for it. It was also decided long ago to go with the extruded/extradosed bridge instead of the more conventional girder-type bridge like that used in Hudson. That is another added cost.
Teri Larsen December 09, 2012 at 10:09 PM
When we moved to Wisconsin, it was for a variety of reasons, including its proximity to the university my husband attended at the time. Gas, at that time, was a non-issue - way under $2/gallon. Also, at that time, we couldn't afford a home in MN or even Hudson - so we moved further to the east to accommodate our budget. Today, we'd love to be closer to jobs, but houses aren't selling and jobs are hard to come by. It isn't any different than people living in Burnsville and working in Roseville. Or, people living in Maple Grove with a commute to St. Paul. Yet, everyone pays for those River bridges without comment - whether they use them on a regular basis or not. Duluth has 2 major bridges over to Superior, and I don't hear a peep about those. These projects require cooperation, and this bridge is sorely needed by those on both sides. Stillwater's downtown will benefit - I know I will spend more time there when it's not such a hassle, as will others. I don't think it needs to be a competition. Each town has great features, residents and businesses and we can all benefit from this bridge.
TP Jr December 09, 2012 at 11:52 PM
Teri Larsen, I applaud you! Your comment might the best, most insightful, refreshing, commonsensical, yet neutral comment I've ever read on this topic; EVER. I'm so tired of the same whining & complaining over & over, yr after yr by all the "extremists" that think this is all for WI commuters. Your Burnsville-Roseville & Maple Grove-St Paul comment is spot on. If the state "border" separated either of those commute examples you mentioned, these "extremists" would focus all that animosity there instead. I've never understood why there's so much bitterness w/MN against WI since I've lived in both Stillwater, & now Hudson. If you read the 3rd post in this comment sect, it talks about "all the WI traffic clogging OUR streets", or "YOUR (Wisconsin drivers) traffic that we have had to deal with for decades." The same person said it's our CHOICE to live in WI and commute to MN. Your latest post explains it perfectly why we live in WI. It's one of the main reasons why I moved to WI; Then you've got the same people complain about the $700mil price tag. This bridge could've/should've been built 10-15 yrs ago for a fraction of the cost. But it was the same 'extremist nazis', along w/frivilous lawsuits that prevented it. All preposterous! Fact is, the bridge IS going to be built like it or not, and I happen to like it! Let the haters continue to hate, whine & complain. I love WI since that's where I'm from originally, & I love Stillwater for all the obvious it has to offer.
Susan December 10, 2012 at 12:08 AM
TP Jr, I stuck with you all the way to 'extremist nazis"...too darn funny, and sooo civil and neutral. I bet you're one of the crowd that call President Obama a Nazi too? Thank goodness that extreme group has been proven to be nothing more than raving fools. I understand your situation Teri and respect your comments. One important factor that you may be forgetting is the law that forbid this bridge from being built. Congress saw fit to bypass it, so I accept that. It seems that I am to be vilified for pointing out the hypocrisy of those complaining about the traffic in Hudson without considering what Stillwater residents have dealt with. It's a shame, but says more about those not willing to look at this from both sides, than it does about me. With that, I will sign off. Well, unless someone decides to attack me again...I just can't leave that alone. Good luck with that long, slow commute tomorrow morning, at least the bridge has opened back up for you.
Randy Marsh December 10, 2012 at 12:39 AM
Don't let Teri's example cloud some obvious facts that you apparently neglect to consider, TP. All those bridges mention combined probably did not cost what this new bridge will and do you want to take a wild guess at how many commuters use those bridges on a daily basis. You can look it up, but I will tell you flat out it is significantly more than use the lift bridge or will use the new bridge. Yes, the bridge could have been built less 10 years ago, but that doesn't ignore that today's cost is $700 million and yet nobody bothered to consider other design options AFTER the costs had grown to such a ridiculous total. And if you can't see or realize that the majority of people using this bridge are from Wisconsin then you are beyond clueless.
mainstreet December 10, 2012 at 01:56 AM
I'll remember that next time I'm at my cabin in WI and I see all those MN plates!
Randy Marsh December 10, 2012 at 03:51 AM
How many Wisconsin commuters do you think work in Minnesota and use the bridge five days a week? How many Minnesotans with cabins use the bridge only several weekends per year that couldn't also use the bridge in Osceola or Taylors Falls? Just how many cabins do you think there are in Somerset and New Richmond? I'm not a mathematician, but it can't be more than a small fraction.
mainstreet December 10, 2012 at 05:16 AM
How many Minnesota commuters do you think work in Wisconsin and use the bridge five days a week? How many Wisconsin residents with cabins use the bridge only several weekends per year that couldn't also use the bridge in Osceola or Taylors Falls? Just how many cabins do you think there are in Forest Lake or Lino Lakes? or maybe Ely? I'm not a mathematician, but it is more than you think. Use your brain. Yeah. It benefits all whether you want to believe it or not.

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