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A cheaper Stillwater bridge proposal floated

Almost everyone agrees that the current Stillwater Lift Bridge is inadequate, aging and the cause of traffic tie-ups in downtown Stillwater. But many worry about the $700 million cost of the proposed freeway-style bridge south of town, and there are environmental concerns with that plan, too.

Now a group has proposed another solution, a bridge that would be lower, narrower and cost only $283 million, says the Pioneer Press.

Supporters of the new plan say its lower cost would free up hundreds of millions to repair other aging bridges in the state.

The proposed cheaper bridge would have three lanes and cross the river diagonally from near the existing bridge on the Wisconsin side, and end up near the Oasis Cafe on the Minnesota side, further south of the downtown’s existing bridge.

Stillwater Mayor Ken Harycki, however, doesn’t like the new plan.

“This is definitely not a new proposal,” Harycki said. “It’s one that has been looked at — and discarded. This thing has been studied to death. We still feel (the current MnDOT proposal) is the right bridge at the right place.”

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