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.”