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The St. Croix River bridge won't open next year as planned

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The brand new road bridge being built over the St. Croix River won't be ready in 2016 as originally planned.

The Minnesota and Wisconsin departments of transportation said Friday the opening of the St. Croix Crossing to traffic will be delayed into 2017.

The exact date isn't know yet, but they hope to announce one by the end of the year. MnDOT and WIsDOT, along with the construction company, are working on a new timetable. Work on the bridge began in April of 2013.

"This is a very complex engineering project," MnDOT Commissioner Charlie Zelle said in the news release. "This is only the second major bridge of its type built in the U.S., and the methods of construction are taking longer than anticipated."

For an explanation of the construction process, click here.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R5_WSWmvYiA

The delay isn't expected to impact traffic in any new way, and Zelle noted roadwork on the Minnesota side (Highway 36) is finished, while progress on the Wisconsin side (Highway 64) is in progress and on schedule. You can see traffic impacts here.

The bridge will connect Oak Park Heights, Minnesota, with St. Joseph, Wisconsin, according to MnDOT. The objectives are to provide a safer and more reliable crossing while improving traffic flow and congestion in the St. Croix Valley.

The St. Croix Crossing project, once it's complete, will move vehicle traffic off of the existing Stillwater Lift Bridge – that will then become part of a 4.7-mile pedestrian and bike pathway called The Loop Trail.

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MnDOT: Construction on new St. Croix River bridge to begin next spring

MnDOT officials tell MPR that foundation work on the new bridge crossing the St. Croix River downstream from Stillwater will begin next spring, rather than in 2014. The proposed four-lane bridge connecting Minnesota and Wisconsin will replace the 80-year-old Stillwater Lift Bridge. The entire project is estimated to cost up to $676 million and take about three years to complete.