Projects create commuter headaches

MnDOT begins Lift Bridge repairs; I-694 work reaches MN 36

Gazette photo by Erik Sandin
The lift section of the Stillwater Lift Bridge begins lowering Monday afternoon after a boat passed under it. MnDOT closed the span was closed to all traffic early Monday as workers continued a repair and rehabilitation project on the bridge that is expected to be done in late November.

St. Croix Valley commuters said their travel headaches became more painful Monday as the Stillwater Lift Bridge was closed for three months of repair work and the Interstate 694 resurfacing project reached the Minnesota Highway 36 overpass in Pine Springs.

MnDOT closed the Lift Bridge at 12:01 a.m. Monday and crews started repair and rehabilitation work on the two-lane span. The project, which started in July, should be completed by the end of November.

Downtown Stillwater traffic was noticeably lighter Monday with the Lift Bridge closed to motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians.

Bridge repairs focus on the steel connections, concrete surfaces, floor beams, repairing and replacing mechanical and electrical components, replacing guardrails, curb and gutter and painting portions of the span.

Meanwhile, motorists on MN 36 and I-694 were dealing with lane closures that started late last week to allow crews to continue repaving I-694 and repair freeway overpass at MN 36.

The right lane of westbound MN 36 between State Highway 120, Century Avenue and Hilton Trail was closed Friday morning and the right eastbound lane of MN 36 between MN 120 and Hilton Trail closed at 11 p.m. Friday. The lane also closes at this time through Thursday.

Westbound MN 36 reopens Friday afternoon and eastbound MN 36 reopens by noon Saturday. Next week, the right lane of eastbound MN 36 reopens by noon each day.

Crews are also continuing grading work on eastbound-southbound I-694 and signal work on Century and White Bear avenues.

Traffic will be reduced to a single lane in both directions on I-694 through the end of October for resurfacing. Clean-up and temporary lane closures during non-peak times will continue into early November.