The Stillwater Lift Bridge would go up two fewer times a day during the week, and timing for a couple other scheduled lifts would be moved by a half-hour, under a new plan being discussed at an upcoming meeting hosted by the U.S. Coast Guard. [An earlier version of the story stated that the plan originated from the Minnesota Department of Transportation and the Coast Guard; the plan is not being proposed by either agency, and a MnDOT representative asked for the agency’s name to be removed.]
The reductions are intended to help improve rush-hour traffic flow. “Proposed changes would alter [the] schedule to enable longer closed-to navigation periods during peak evening commute hours and longer open-to-navigation periods during non-commute hours,” a statement about an upcoming meeting on the proposal reads.
The public is invited to a meeting on the plan at Stillwater City Hall on April 16th, starting at 6 p.m. Comments can also be sent to EricWashburn@uscg.mil, or by mail to Commander (dwb), Eighth Coast Guard District, 1222 Spruce St., Room 2.107F, St. Louis, MO 63103-2832.
“The meeting will be used to inform the public of the [proposed] scheduled temporary deviation and to discuss potential future changes to the drawspan operations once the bridge is converted to non-vehicular use,” Peter Sambor, Coast Guard Bridge Management Specialist, wrote in an email to St. Croix 360. [A MnDOT spokesperson asked that “proposed” be added to this quote.]
During the workweek, the Lift Bridge schedule would change from 21 lifts per day to 19 lifts per day.
- The new schedule eliminates lifts at 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.
- The new schedule adds a lift at 3 p.m.
- The new schedule moves the 5:30 p.m. lift to 6 p.m.
- The new schedule eliminates the 6:30 p.m. lift
According to Stillwater Current, a similar plan last year was the result of a city request, but fought by local marinas and boaters. “Last June the Stillwater City Council sent a formal proposal to the United States Coast Guard requesting a temporary change to the Lift Bridge schedule. At the time, the proposal drew opposition from some marina owners, and others in the local boating community.”
New video shows Lift Bridge future
What will happen after the bridge carries its last car is the subject of a new animated video from MnDOT.
“Starting in fall 2016, Historic Stillwater Lift Bridge spanning the St. Croix River will undergo a transformation into a bicycle/pedestrian facility. This conversion project is part of the St. Croix Crossing Project. The converted lift bridge will also become part of a 5-mile ‘loop trail’ system connecting the new river crossing bridge up with the historic bridge. The Lift Bridge will still operate to accommodate boat navigation,” MnDOT says.