Photo: MnDOT

The Minnesota Department of Transportation spent years building the new St. Croix River Crossing and all that is left before traffic flows is a ribbon cutting and dedication ceremony.

Officials will hold a grand opening at 10 a.m. Wednesday on the west end of the bridge connecting Oak Park Heights with St. Joseph, Wisconsin. Speakers include Gov. Mark Dayton from Minnesota and Gov. Scott Walker from Wisconsin. Others who will give remarks include Oak Park Heights Mayor Mary McComber and Wisconsin congressmen Sean Duffy and Ron Kind.

The public is invited to attend the ceremony, but no parking will be available at bridge. Shuttles will run from the following locations in Minnesota:

  • Fury Motors (old car lot) located at the corner of Osgood Ave. and Hwy 36.
  • Stillwater Middle School – 523 West Marsh St. (north of Hwy 36 at Osgood/4th Street and west of Orleans)
  • Stillwater Area High School – 5701 Stillwater Blvd. N, Oak Park Heights.
  • Somerset School District Campus, 645 Sunrise Dr, Somerset, Wis.

The new mile-long $617 million to $646 million crossing built in conjunction with the Wisconsin Department of Transportation is expected to carry 30,000 to 40,000 vehicles each day. It will open within 24 hours of the dedication, MnDOT said.

The new crossing is meant to reduce congestion in downtown Stillwater and is anticipated to be a boon to economic development in the region, MnDOT authorities said.

The crossing will replace the more than 80-year old Stillwater Lift Bridge, which will close sometime Wednesday night. So today's is your last chance to take one last joyride by car over the iconic bridge. The bridge will be repurposed and become part of a five-mile bicycle and pedestrian trail.

Once the bridge closes, Stillwater will observe the permanent closing of the Lift Bridge Wednesday with a celebration in Lowell Park. The Lift Bridge opened in 1931.