Stillwater Lift Bridge Restoration Technical Tour Recap

Dec. 2, 2018

By Nick Egger, Co-chair, Membership & Special Events Committee

Earlier this fall, a small but fascinated group had the pleasure of getting an intimate, up-close look at the restoration efforts being made on the historic Stillwater Lift Bridge.
 
Originally built in 1931, this classic piece of historic infrastructure has been a symbol for the City of Stillwater, and icon of the scenic St. Croix Valley. Its last day of service to motor vehicle traffic was Aug. 2, 2017, when the monumental, four-lane St. Croix Crossing opened for the first time just a few miles to the south. This has given the Lift Bridge a chance at starting a new chapter, and taking on a different, but very useful role. As part of the St. Croix Crossing project, and in mitigation for allowing that structure to be built in the scenic and natural St. Croix Valley, a 4-mile long recreational loop trail is being constructed, with crossings of the river by way of the Lift Bridge and the new bridge. Work on the loop trail has been ongoing since 2017, with the project scope including a complete replacement of the paint coating on the Lift Bridge that will protect it for years to come, and returning it to its original dark green color. The restoration work also includes a thorough look at structural connections, rehabilitation of mechanical components, and replacement of lighting facilities. With the restoration requiring the lift span of the bridge to be stationary during the work, one of the unique aspects of the construction staging includes removal of a different span so that recreational navigation can continue unimpeded. The project is on schedule to wrap up and the bridge open for use in the early summer of 2019.
 
The Chapter wishes to extend its gratitude to MnDOT for allowing the tour to take place and especially to our wonderful hosts and tour facilitators, MnDOT’s Eric Rustad and Todd Clarkowski, who did an excellent job explaining the background of the project, technical details and construction challenges, and answering the group’s questions. Thank you!
 
For more fun facts and construction updates, visit: https://www.dot.state.mn.us/metro/projects/liftbridge/
 
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