The historic Lift Bridge crossing the St. Croix River between Stillwater, MN and Houlton, WI is one of three still remaining in the country. Built in 1931 to replace a swing bridge, it is on the National Register of Historic Places and one of Stillwater’s most well known icons. In 2013, a new bridge was approved to better accommodate the 18,000 vehicles that cross it daily. Years in the making, this Historic Stillwater Lift Bridge is finally moving to the future with Minnesota and Wisconsin departments of Transportation collaborating to construct the St. Croix Crossing bridge superstructure. Upon completion of this $580-$676 million project in summer of 2016, the existing Lift Bridge will be exclusively for pedestrians and bikes.
The project includes seven miles of expressways on either side of the bridge in Minnesota and Wisconsin, as well as an extensive trail facility for pedestrians and bicyclists and historic/environmental mitigation efforts. The extradosed bridge design is a hybrid of a concrete box girder structure—like the I-35W St. Anthony Falls Bridge in Minneapolis—and a cable-stayed structure—like the Hennepin Avenue bridge in Minneapolis. It is lower in height than a typical cable-stayed bridge. The bridge design minimizes environmental impacts by keeping tower heights below the river bluffs and reducing the number of piers in the river to five. When completed, the St. Croix Crossing will be the second extradosed bridge in the United States; the first extradosed bridge is located in Connecticut.
In preparation for the high tourism season, visitors should be aware that there are NO expected closures of Highway 36 or Highway 95 into downtown Stillwater; however, they need to be prepared for delays and safe travel through the construction zone which will be single lane throughout the summer. If you’d like an alternate route to downtown, exit off highway 36 just before Stillwater (we website for map). Wisconsin travelers can get updates from the WI DOT. There is a short detour on hwy 35 headed north out of Hudson to Houlton through July, but the lift bridge is OPEN to connect to Stillwater.
Curious about what the new bridge will look like? Watch video of the new bridge design, view progress from Scenic Overlook webcam, find maps and renderings, or take a tour by boat of the construction site www.dot.state.mn.us/stcroixcrossing/meetings.html. Frequent travelers to Stillwater may want to sign up for ‘St. Croix River Crossing’ updates to stay informed of construction updates. Contact MNDOT St. Croix Crossing 1-855-GO-CROIX (462-7649) or http://www.dot.state.mn.us/stcroixcrossing/index.html for questions.
Stillwater is excited to welcome this new architectural icon and welcome travelers this season! For more information on events and fun in the historic rivertown, visit www.DiscoverStillwater.com. We are open and you CAN get to downtown easily!