New boat ramp at St. Croix Crossing bridge site should open next year

Several years after planned opening, state in final phase of deal with railroad for access to site.




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The St. Croix Crossing bridge connecting Oak Park Heights, Minnesota, and St. Joseph, Wisconsin, over the Saint Croix River. (Tony Webster/Wikimedia Commons)

The new boat landing planned as part of the St. Croix Crossing bridge project may be available next year, six years after the span opened. The $1.2 million project has been delayed for several reasons, with the last and most difficult being negotiations with the Union Pacific Railroad over crossing its tracks.

Mary Divine in the Pioneer Press reports:

The road leading to the boat launch is a private access road that serves the St. Croix Valley Wastewater Treatment Facility, Xcel Energy’s Allen S. King plant and Sunnyside Marina. The railroad tracks that cross the road are a spur used to assemble and disassemble freight trains filled with coal going to Xcel Energy’s Allen S. King plant in Oak Park Heights.

In order for the crossing to be deemed “public,” a road authority must own it, and MnDOT is in the process of acquiring an easement from Union Pacific for the crossing — all part of the process to make it a public crossing, Josephson said.

Railroad officials have requested that the access road to the boat launch be moved off railroad land to property owned by the Metropolitan Council and MnDOT. State and Met Council officials have agreed to do so, and the road will be moved about 25 to 30 feet off railroad land, Skaar said.

Progress made on promised St. Croix River boat launch, Pioneer Press, Oct. 24, 2022

The new boat landing will have double ramps and parking for 35 vehicles with trailers. It will not have parking for single vehicles and is not intended in for carry-in watercraft like canoes, kayaks, and paddle boards. The landing will be the most significant new access in decades, though it has raised concerns about a continued increase in the number of boats on an already busy stretch of river.


2 responses to “New boat ramp at St. Croix Crossing bridge site should open next year”

  1. Ric Avatar

    Should’ve just built a ramp down from the bridge and bypass the railroad all together.

  2. Brigid Ryan Avatar
    Brigid Ryan

    Please hurry up & build this boat ramp before William O Brien State Park closes its boat ramp for one year. If these major projects are not coordinated you will be denying recreational boat access for an entire season for all those who rely on the St. Croix River as their primary source of recreation from April through October.
    If the new boat ramp cannot be completed before Sept. 2023, when William O’ Brien is closing its ramp for one year, then please work to push back the closing date for William O’Brien until the new ramp is open. If the “promise” of a new boat ramp can be delayed for 6 years, then surely the William O Brien State Park prokect can be delayed a few months to prevent cutting off access to the St. Croix River, to the many locals for whom this is their primary Spring, Summer & Fall recreational resource.
    The failure to do this will only highlight & worsen the loss of trust experienced by those who were promised a new ramp upon completion of the bridge.


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New boat ramp at St. Croix Crossing bridge site should open next year