If you enjoy driving over the Stillwater Lift Bridge, you better go make one last joy ride.
That's because next month the historic lift bridge will close to traffic. The last vehicle will cross the 86-year-old bridge sometime on Wednesday, Aug. 2 – the same day the new St. Croix Crossing Bridge will officially open.
And the city can't wait.
Right after the 10 a.m. ribbon cutting ceremony at the new bridge, Mayor Ted Kozlowski and city leaders will head over to Stillwater’s Lowell Park for a short public ceremony to commemorate the bridge's history, a news release says. Federal, state, and local officials will be invited.
Then the city will get the party started at the Cruisin' on the Croix classic car show in Lowell Park later that night. That event was already scheduled, but it has been re-dubbed "Cruisin' to Closure," because the city expects large crowds for the final closure of the bridge, the release says. It starts at 6 p.m.
"We don’t know what time MnDOT will throw up the ‘Bridge Closed’ sign and do the permanent traffic shift, but we’ll be downtown celebrating until they do," Kozlowski said in the release.
"This is a significant moment in the history of our town, and we know people are going to want to get together and be part of it. It’s going to be one of those events that you’ll tell your grandchildren you attended."
The Stillwater Current says city council also just approved another event celebrating the bridge closing, which will include a polka street dance, food and a beer garden on Saturday, Aug. 12. A city employee told GoMN that event is still in the planning stages.
Lift bridge transformation
After it's rehabilitated, the lift bridge will be turned into path for bicycles and pedestrians only – part of a five mile long loop trail between Minnesota and Wisconsin that includes the new St. Croix Crossing.
Here's what it will look like:
Closing the bridge to cars is something the locals have been looking forward to for quite some time, because the bridge crossing brought a lot of traffic to Stillwater's downtown.
Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) says the new crossing will provide a better, larger route between Minnesota and Wisconsin, helping to ease congestion in downtown Stillwater.
“Over its history, the lift bridge has become more than just another river crossing. It’s an iconic structure that has been a part of our lives for generations. We’re so excited to see that it will get a second life," Kozlowski said in the release.