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Three-month shutdown of Stillwater bridge is glimpse of future

The Stillwater lift bridge is shutting down Monday for three months of repairs. Many in the city find it a relief to be freed from the traffic congestion of Wisconsin commuters. Some consider it a preview of what life will be like once a new St. Croix River bridge opens in Oak Park Heights in another four or five years.
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The Stillwater lift bridge is shutting down Monday for three months of repairs. Many in the city find it a relief to be freed from the traffic congestion of Wisconsin commuters. Some consider it a preview of what life will be like once a new St. Croix River bridge opens in Oak Park Heights in another four or five years.

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Stillwater Lift Bridge about month from reopening

Drivers will once again be able to cross the Stillwater Lift Bridge in about a month. The bridge, which connects Minnesota and Wisconsin across the St. Croix River, closed Sept. 10 for the rehabilitation project.

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.

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President Barack Obama signed the bill authorizing a $690 million bridge near Stillwater. He signed it over the objections of some federal officials who worry exempting the St. Croix from the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act sets a bad precedent.

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The Stillwater Lift Bridge will close Monday for four months while MnDot crews make repairs. The bridge will not reopen until late December. The lift span will open to boat traffic on Sundays from Oct. 15 through Nov. 5 and will also not open again until late December.

Governors meet in Stillwater to celebrate future St. Croix River bridge

Gov. Mark Dayton and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker held a joint celebration Friday afternoon near the 81-year-old Stillwater Lift Bridge. It comes after President Obama signed the bill to exempt the new crossing from the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. Construction on the $675 million four-lane bridge is likely to begin in early 2014 and take three years to complete.

St. Croix River bridge supporters celebrate long-awaited legislation

U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar and U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann were among those in Stillwater at the Saturday morning event. After decades of debate, lawmakers voted Thursday to exempt the proposed St. Croix River crossing from the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. President Obama is expected to support it. The new four-lane bridge will replace the 80-year-old Stillwater Lift Bridge.

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After months of investigation, David Eckberg, 61, was charged with 10 felony counts -- five of theft by check and five of issuance of a dishonored check -- in Washington County District Court on Thursday, the Star Tribune reports. Eckberg, the former organizer of Stillwater's now defunct Lumberjack Days festival, is accused taking $41,000 from the festival and writing nearly $55,000 in bad checks.