A team from the Minnesota Department of Transportation continues working to decide on a new design for the Highway 243 bridge, which crosses the St. Croix River at Osceola. The 70-year-old bridge is scheduled to be replaced in 2025.
The agencies involved accepted public input on the project last year. MnDOT reports receiving a total of 95 comments, with more than 62 percent highlighting the need for a bike and pedestrian path on the bridge.
Details about the process and updates on progress are available on MnDOT’s website.
After an initial review of the options, they have settled on a few possibilities, reports the Osceola Sun:
“Local, state and federal transportation officials who are part of a project advisory group for the bridge recently eliminated the idea of a tunnel and a handful of other project alternatives. Removing the bridge entirely, rehabilitating the existing bridge, or moving it north and aligning it with Second Avenue—the stop-lighted intersection in Osceola—were all considered, but rejected due to costs and other design impacts. The advisory group includes MnDOT, WisDOT, Federal Highway Administration officials, and local representatives from Osceola and Franconia Township.– Bridge rebuild options identified for Hwy 243, Osceola Sun, Feb. 10, 2022
The team anticipates the bridge will be entirely closed for construction for between nine and 24 months. The agency also says it recognizes the importance of river access at the adjacent Osceola Landing and is committed to minimizing disruption for river visitors.
Next, the committee will consider social and environmental factors before decided on a final design.
MnDOT stresses that despite its age and poor condition, the bridge is inspected regularly and is safe to use.