As early as tomorrow, Wednesday, February 29th, a bill approving the construction of a massive freeway-style bridge across the St. Croix River in Stillwater could come up for passage in the U.S. House of Representatives. The proposed bridge is unnecessarily large, intrusive, and expensive. With a price tag of $690 million, it would break the record for the most expensive ever built in Minnesota.
The St. Croix River Valley is a federally protected watershed, but the U.S. Senate recently passed a bill to essentially remove these protections to make way for the behemoth bridge. The Sierra Club supports a smaller, cheaper, and more environmentally responsible crossing. One that addresses the concerns of residents such as congestion and safety, but also respects the fragile environment of the St. Croix River Valley and costs only a fraction of the current larger bridge proposal.
Governor Mark Dayton has imposed a deadline of March 15th, after which the money delegated to the Stillwater bridge will be obligated to other critical transportation projects across the state. The next few days and weeks will be crucial in deciding the debate over the bridge in Stillwater.