Stillwater Lift Bridge should be open to public within weeks

Restoration is almost complete, but more unexpected problems are possible.

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Stillwater Lift Bridge, May 15, 2020 (Photo by Jon Van Zee, St. Croix 360)

The historic Stillwater Lift Bridge is nearly ready for pedestrians and bicyclists, and could open by the end of the month. That’s the latest message from the Minnesota Department of Transportation.

The Star Tribune reported earlier this week that more unforeseen problems could still come up, pushing back the reopening.

“Since this bridge is nearly 90 years old and we still could encounter issues, the best I can say with certainty is that we are tentatively hoping to be done with the majority of the rehab work before the end of May,” Kent Barnard, MnDOT spokesperson, told the paper.

One example of an unexpected challenge was the replacement of drums for the lift mechanism that caused some of the most recent delays. They were sent to Miami for repair, where it was discovered both needed to be completely rebuilt.

Barnard added that the bridge will open as soon as possible, even if minor work remains to be done.


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“This will forever change our downtown area in a very positive way,” Stillwater mayor Ted Kozlowski told St. Croix 360.

When it reopens, the bridge will be as close to its original 1931 condition as possible — from its color to the mechanisms that raise and lower it. The process of restoring the bridge has taken three years.

“The details they put into this,” Kozlowski told the Star Tribune, “it’s almost easier to find parts for a Model T Ford from the 1930s.”


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4 responses to “Stillwater Lift Bridge should be open to public within weeks”

  1. Nancy Voight Avatar
    Nancy Voight

    Well worth the trouble. Love that bridge.

  2. John Monson Avatar
    John Monson

    Anxious, very anxious to ride my bicycle across the bridge again. Used to bike across to the Beach at least 3 times a week during the summer, the last years of War II. Lots of memories and stories wrapped up in my home town and that bridge. At least the bridge now has more new parts in it than I do… and it’s only four years older than I am.

    I just hope MnDOT opens it as soon as it can! As an avid biker, I can barely wait to be able to ride the complete loop. There is no need to wait for the city to ‘Grand Open’ it. The town can declare festivities any time later… between now and Thanksgiving perhaps.

  3. Mike Paulson Avatar
    Mike Paulson

    Millions being spent to prepare it for people and bikes but it was fine for cars and trucks before closing, what a total waste of our taxpayer money !!! There is a bike and people lane on the new bridge.

  4. Ray Constantine Avatar
    Ray Constantine

    Can’t wait to run the loop trail.

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Stillwater Lift Bridge should be open to public within weeks