Right on time for the snowmobile season, the Gandy Dancer Bridge across the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway, east of Hinckley, has reopened, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
The bridge restores use of the Gandy Dancer Trail – a popular multi-use trail connecting the St. Croix and Nemadji state forests in Minnesota with communities along the trail in Wisconsin.
“The bridge provides important connections to a wide range of motorized and nonmotorized recreational uses and is an economic driver for many communities along the trail,” said Martin Torgerson, DNR Parks and Trails area supervisor. “It took a cooperative effort between organizations on both sides of the border, and I couldn’t be more pleased with the new bridge to serve our recreational users and the partnerships formed between the states and counties involved.”
The month-long reconstruction project included new decking and railings, along with improvements to the bridge’s substructure.
Named for the crews that built and repaired the historic railroad grade, the 98-mile Gandy Dancer Trail begins in St. Croix Falls, Wis., crosses the river into Minnesota and runs north for 32 miles. It then crosses back into Wisconsin and continues north, where it connects with the Saunders State Trail near Superior, Wis.
Minnesota’s funding for the $820,000 project came from a federal Recreational Trail Program Grant and the Legacy Parks and Trails Fund, created after voters approved the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment in November 2008. The Parks and Trails Fund receives 14.25 percent of the three-eighths percent sales tax revenue that my only be spent to support parks and trails of regional or statewide significance.
Wisconsin’s funding included ATV recreational trail aids, snowmobile recreational trail aids, and the Recreational Trails Aids Program.