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Survey Says 'Majority' of St. Croix Valley Voters Support the Four-Lane River Crossing

According to the two surveys conducted by Myers Research and Strategic Services and American Strategies Incorporated from of 400 registered voters who live in the St. Croix River Valley, say replacing the Stillwater Lift Bridge is the top priority.

As the U.S. House of Representatives prepares to take up legislation that would allow the St. Croix River Crossing to move forward, a new survey indicates that 86 percent of voters in the St. Croix River Valley support the proposed project, according to a news release from the Coalition for the St. Croix River Crossing.

A significant majority of voters (85 percent) believe that the four-lane bridge needs to be built now, and that the states should not delay construction to review other proposals, the release states. Last week the on a new four-lane bridge over the river.

According to the two surveys conducted by Myers Research and Strategic Services and American Strategies Incorporated from Jan. 18-22 of 400 registered voters who live in the St. Croix River Valley, replacing the 80-year-old Stillwater Lift Bridge is the top priority.

Those surveyed include residents living in: Stillwater, Stillwater Township, Grant Township, Oak Park Heights, Bayport and West Lakeland Township, as well as Hudson, North Hudson, Houlton, Boardman, Burkhardt, Jewett, Somerset and New Richmond in Wisconsin.

The overall margin of error was +/- 4.9%.

Results of the survey state that overall, 92 percent of residents are familiar with the issues surrounding the decades-long debate about replacing the bridge. According to the survey, a majority of the 400 voters (79 percent) are concerned about the safety of the fracture-critical Stillwater Lift Bridge.

Voters overwhelmingly believe that the new bridge will make it safer to cross the St. Croix River, shorten travel time between Minnesota and Wisconsin, and result in less traffic in downtown Stillwater.

“This survey proves what we have known for years – St. Croix Valley residents overwhelmingly support the St. Croix River Crossing,” Stillwater Mayor Ken Harycki said in a statement. He is also the co-chair of the Coalition for the St. Croix River Crossing.

“The public is saying that it is time to build the bridge, he said. "We are thankful that our elected officials both at home and in Washington are listening to their constituents and taking the final steps to make this bridge a reality.”

William Pappas January 31, 2012 at 01:12 PM
The Coalition should be embarrased by this shameless predetermined survey paid for by one of the few beneficiaries of the 700million dollar bridge: The National Association of Realtors. 238 Wisconsin residents from Houlton, Somerset and New Richmond (another of the few beneficiaries of the bridge) dominated the poll and only 162 Minnesotans were included even though Minnesota pays more of the cost. The survey questions were biased and designed to get support. The Coalition will stop at nothing to mischarcterize the facts surrounding this massive expenditure that benefits such a small and parochial segment of Minnesotans and Wisconsinites while jeapordizing the protections afforded by the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. In reality this bridge will drive Wisconsin business from both downtown Stillwater and especially the HW 36 business district. In reality, traffic drawn to the bridge will congest 36 even more and produce a need for more infrastructure upgrades the public cannot afford and will be a legacy cost of this megabridge sprawl producer. Yes, developers in Wisconsin loved the concept of this pole paid for by fellow realtors. The accompanying picture in the strib should be a who's who of those willing to bury the facts and play loose with the public's scarce transportation dollars. This survey might be even be a better piece of misinformation than the MNDOT simulation videos on Johnny's donated TV's around town. Unvelievable.
rwilliams January 31, 2012 at 02:37 PM
@William Pappas. I would think you are correct. I have received statement from Franken, saying that while he would like to see a smaller project, he still supports the St. Croix Crossing. I do not understand it. I cross Chestnut every morning. Just this morning I checked again, traffic coming only from WI. Who benefits? Minnesota? No. Stillwater? No way.
DMJ January 31, 2012 at 05:57 PM
I would bet that most of people in East metro and Western Wis. support a new bridge crossing! If the oid bridge falls down in the mean time! Who cares! It's been in the planning stages for more than 30 years! Come on people! Let's get it done!
country boy January 31, 2012 at 06:25 PM
WP; Good grief. Your narrow-minded view of the river crossing project smacks of me,me,me. Get over the fact that the bridge needs replacement. Complaining about the cost to MN just shows your ignorance on how the 2 states plan and build bridges. Where were you 2 when the Hudson and Prescott bridges were built. No whining then huh? WI picked up a majority of the tab for those 2 projects. rw; Why don't you go downtown on a weekend and look at the license plates streaming across into WI to enjoy their "weekend warrior" status in our state. It is too bad that MNDOT did little maint. on this structure for the amount of use that it receives. I was on the river this summer after the bridge inspectors went through. Looks like almost every major/minor piece of supporting structure has been in dire need of maint. for a long time. Get over your sniveling about paying for it....its' your turn!
Thurston Howell III January 31, 2012 at 06:50 PM
CB, Darn you stop using common sense. Politicians may start copying you :-) LOL I can't believe I'm agreeing with you but I am.
rwilliams January 31, 2012 at 06:56 PM
I wasn't born yet, when those bridges went up. And yes, I do agree that maintenance need to be done on the lift bridge- no question. The question is how big, location, and who benefits. I would like to see the metrics on traffic across the bridge, from a Sunday to Saturday. But my guess (and its only a guess) is that commuter traffic originating from Wisconsin is the biggest burden on the bridge. And also, this plan is not to just build a new bridge, but contains miles of extraneous "improvements" (porkbelly, really) . I would think WI residents would not want to pay for that either.
Jim Bob January 31, 2012 at 09:11 PM
As a Wisconsin resident who uses the bridge daily, I don't want to pay for any improvements related to the old bridge. Any care, feeding and/or alternations on the old bridge should be paid for by the historic preservations and the Stillwater Chamber of Commerce. If the old bridge stays, I'm in favor of the smaller new bridge that will cut across and meet up with the old bridge. That would provide Stillwater a view of two bridges. It will be like a "double icon." If one rusty old bridge brings in the tourists, just think of what two bridges will do. Keep in mind, the reason this legislation is in Congress is because Stillwater wants to keep the old bridge. If the decision to remove the old bridge on completion of a new bridge was made, we'd already have a new bridge.
country boy January 31, 2012 at 09:57 PM
TH3, Thanks. Common sense has gone out the window along time ago on this issue. JBN, Totally agree with your view. WP,rw: If you want traffic metrics got to MNDOTs'/WISDOTs websites. You will find the information you should know before postulating in your posts. There was previous threads on this a couple of months ago on Hudson/Stillwater Patch. Research is the key if you want to back up your points. Otherwise guessing ("I would think") is just non-credible hearsay.
rwilliams January 31, 2012 at 10:05 PM
CB, this is a place for civil comments, not vitriol. If anyone can point to the location of the metrics on MNDOT or WISDOT, I would be much obliged. I can't find anything of relevance on those sites!
Alex Mundy January 31, 2012 at 10:09 PM
Bill, you obviously don't know anything about survey methodology. Interesting that the Patch's own non-scientific poll above shows about the same level of support (83% as I write this comment), and the question is very straightforward: "Do you support the four-lane St. Croix River Crossing Project?" I suppose it's because we're all brainwashed by the misinformation put out by the bridge supporters over the last three or four decades. After all, we're just a bunch of parochial rubes who can't see how moving the choking traffic out of downtown Stillwater and preserving the river view could possibly benefit anyone.
country boy January 31, 2012 at 11:03 PM
rw; Is your idea of civil comments using hearsay without research? WISDOTs' site has an area called projects. Click there and look for northwest or western district for bridge info. As far as MNDOTs', I have not been on their site for a few months. Google "Stillwater Bridge". There should be a boatload of info you could look for.
William Pappas February 01, 2012 at 01:11 PM
The new crossing is not common sense. The bridges built in Prescott and else where were not designed as 700 million dollar "signature" bridges and were built with a fraction of the cost. The traffic loads for the existing bridge do not justify a 700 million dollar infrastructure investment. That robs MNDOT of money that could be spent on bridges with more traffic and in worse condition. We need a new bridge but one that is in line with the size of this transportation corridor. And of course, destroying the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, which contrary to Amy, Ken and others, is what her legislation will do, is a horrible approach to a new bridge for Stillwater. Sorry, everybody, I'm not selfish. I want a new bridge, but like many of the stakeholders and Stillwater residents and most Minnesotans we are fiscally conservative and want rational transportation policy consistent with our state's transportation visison for the next half century. Building a bridge that comes with future infrastructure costs, is too large and invites sprawl while depleting a good chunk of the transportation budget for Minnesota is simply bad policy. Considering the costs, the impact the new bridge will have in directing business AWAY from Stillwater and the damage to the WSRA the mega bridge couldn't be more inappropriate. I want to preserve Stillwater's heritage with smart policy. This bridge does neither.
joe February 01, 2012 at 03:37 PM
The opponents will slyly tell you that they agree that a new bridge is needed, but just want a cheaper one that would not hurt the scenic river. (What they really want is no new bridge at all.) They also say it’s not fair that MN must pay for the bridge when WI benefits. The reason the bridge is expensive is not the cost for the bridge structure but because of related costs that would not necessarily change with a supposedly smarter and cheaper a 3-lane bridge. The opponents know this but dishonestly say their bridge would only cost $300 million, which is untrue. Also, the costs are equally shared between MN and WI: This is from a Mpls. Star Tribune article dated Dec. 30, 2011: Costs for the project are to be shared by Wisconsin and Minnesota. The estimated price tag is $292 million, with an additional $340 million for a range of other expenditures, such as preserving historical landmarks. Secondly, there is no “scenic” river at stake. Anyone who thinks that the river in this area is scenic should drive along highway 95 past the prison, window manufacturing plant (loading docks, trucks, etc.), power station transmission lines, giant smokestack, and other commercial and residential structures (some might say eyesores, but I would not). Then look at the old unused cement barge pylons in the river itself. After that you won’t want to argue that we are destroying a pristine landscape.
rwilliams February 01, 2012 at 03:53 PM
@joe Thanks, joe. That is good information. Do you know which state is covering the additional $340 million? Or is that a shared expense too? As for what opponents of the St. Croix Crossing think? Your characterization does not apply to me. Thanks.
Alex Mundy February 01, 2012 at 04:10 PM
Bill, first of all, let's stop calling it a $700 million bridge when the cost of the actual bridge is only $292 million and the Minnesota share of the total project is between $320 - $380 million. If, given the facts, you still find this fiscally irresponsible, then why didn't one U.S. senator oppose the recently approved bill? Are there no fiscal conservatives in the Senate? Any bridge, even the existing Lift Bridge, comes with future infrastructure costs because, like it or not, this area of the metro that extends into western Wisconsin is going to grow over the next 50 years. Regarding a new bridge directing business away from Stillwater, you should talk to downtown business owners including Cory Buettner, co-owner of Leo's Grill & Malt Shop. The current traffic levels downtown are an irritant to residents and tourists alike and drive business away. By reducing that traffic (and the subsequent noise pollution) to a more tolerable level and preserving the historic Lift Bridge, Stillwater will be a more pleasant, pedestrian-friendly town, making it more of a tourist destination than it already is. Remember, we still have a major north-south thoroughfare running through town, which will be easily accessible from the new $292 million bridge.
joe February 01, 2012 at 05:08 PM
I don't know how the $340 million is apportioned. The Strib article has good information on the cost of the 4-lane bridge compared to the 3-lane proposal, and shoots holes in the idea the the three-lane alternative is cheaper or better for the environment. It's neither. Are you an opponent? What is your reason? Also on cost , when the bridge was being discussed 10 and 20 years ago the prices in the news were under $100 million. Even more delay from now will add still more to the ultimate cost.
rwilliams February 01, 2012 at 06:16 PM
@joe No, I do not support thsi St. Croix Crossing project. I support a fixing of the bridge. I also support other alternatives, such as toll and, and changing the times the Lift Bridge goes up. I do this because the MNDOT plan is too big and too expensive for the State. This is not just a St. Croix valley issue, it involves the whole state issuing bonds, federal money, and local tax levys. This is not just a bridge, it stretches miles into both states. Why are other intersections and other bridges not being addressed like the Lift Bridge is? I do not know. However, I have been taught to follow the money. And there is a large concentration of money along the St. Croix river. Coincidence? Maybe. But let's look at another pet project Sen. Franken and Klobuchar sponsored -PIPA. There is plenty out there on its dangers so I won't repeat it here. Who would benefit from that? Consumers? Again, follow the money. Franken's largest campaign donors were Time-Warner and GE (part owners of NBC). All conjecture? Maybe, but its worth a step back. Mayor Beaudet estimates that it would cost his city $7 to $18 million in costs. And finally, I personally drive across Chestnut every morning. The traffic from Wisconsin is backed up for miles. Me? I zip right on through. coming home on 36 I usually use Manning. I often visit River Market in downtown on my way home. Its a straight shot down Myrtle. My traffic problem is on 695 from 120 to Rice. So yeah, lets fix the bridge and be done with it.
Thurston Howell III February 01, 2012 at 06:42 PM
@rwilliams You must one of those folks that still has a Rotary phone. Jeez!
rwilliams February 01, 2012 at 06:46 PM
LOL - I have not idea what that means, but its going on my Twitter feed! That's gold!
rwilliams February 01, 2012 at 06:58 PM
Hey, we're just venting here right? I mean, its not like we're going to change anything anyway. You are welcome to come on over to my house. I'll have a fresh growler of Chestnut hill ale from Lift Bridge!
joe February 01, 2012 at 07:01 PM
@rwilliams. I don't see any debate about fixing the 80-year old bridge. I'm not sure if it can be done but it wouldn't fix the congestion. Are you saying that your solution is to give a new same-sized same-place bridge so we can endure 80 more years of daily traffic congestion and noise and air pollution downtown? A new bridge would get rid of that and make downtown a better place to visit.
Thurston Howell III February 01, 2012 at 08:29 PM
rwilliams, "Hey, we're just venting here right? I mean, its not like we're going to change anything anyway. You are welcome to come on over to my house. I'll have a fresh growler of Chestnut hill ale from Lift Bridge!" That's pretty generous of you. It seems however, that almost everyone wants a new bridge and believe it's necessary. Would you fix a 50 year old telephone? That was my point. Even make the comparison to renovating a house. Sometimes its just better and even cheaper to start over. Fixing a 100 year old bridge would pretty much mean rebuilding it. Why bother, you still spend a lot of money and the only think you gain is that it won't collapse. Don't know about you but I think the traffic congestion in Stillwater is awful. It has been since the 80s.
Micheal Foley February 01, 2012 at 08:29 PM
I would think that a heavy inflow of out-of-state residents would benefit Minnesota and Stillwater.

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