Stillwater Lift Bridge is stuck, blocking motorists

  • Article by: PAUL WALSH , Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 26, 2008 - 1:46 PM

To borrow a line from the script of flight attendants: The Stillwater Lift Bridge is stuck in the upright and locked position this afternoon.

The lift for the 77-year-old bridge became stuck shortly after noon, said state Department of Transportation spokeswoman Mary McFarland, who added that she is hopeful that crews will fix the problem in time for the evening rush hour.

McFarland said there's no word yet on why the lift is stuck, leaving motorists to find another way to cross the St. Croix River between Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Drivers wishing to cross the river should use Interstate 94 to the south, McFarland said. Navigation on the river is unaffected.

The bridge has had a series of unanticipated closings in recent years.

It was closed for much of July for repairs to cross braces and vertical supports after it was struck by a lumber delivery truck heading westbound into Minnesota. The driver was cited for inattentive driving.

In April, the bridge was stuck for more than three hours. A faulty computer mechanism caused that problem, McFarland said.

In 2005, the bridge was closed for three months of major repair work.

In 2002, it was closed a couple of days for emergency deck repairs; later that year, it was shut down for more than a week after trucks nicked some bracing.

The bridge, designed in the late 1920s and opened in 1931, features a 140-foot-long vertical-lift span that can be raised 48 feet for boat traffic.

Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482

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