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New St. Croix bridge to finish sooner than first planned

The new four-lane bridge over the Saint Croix River near Hudson will be completed a year earlier than expected. That's what Minnesota transportation officials told city officials in Oak Park Heights, where the new structure will be connected to the highway 36 roadway into the Twin Cities.

Project manager John Chiglo says construction is expected to start next spring, and the new bridge is due to open in 2016 instead of 2017 as previously planned. Oak Park Heights is looking for state-and-federal aid to provide required utilities to the new bridge connection.

Officials say the federal government will pay 80 percent, and the cost to the city might be as low as a million dollars - depending on what utilities are required. Wisconsin and Minnesota are splitting the price-tag for the new bridge, which is expected to be around $620 million dollars.

The first town hall meeting on the project was held the night of Wednesday, April 11. Three more are planned the next two months in Oak Park Heights and Stillwater, Minn.