County backs river permits

The Washington County Board of Commissioners approved a letter Tuesday supporting the state Department of Natural Resources issuing the necessary permits for the St. Croix River Crossing bridge project.

The County Board joins the Stillwater City Council in sending letters to the DNR supporting the state Department of Transportation’s request for DNR permit allowing MnDOT to work in the St. Croix River.

The city council and county board sent letters supporting MnDOT’s permit request after the Oak Park Heights City Council acknowledged receiving MnDOT’s permit documents without making a recommendation on the request.

The board letter reads, in part, “The Washington County Board of Commissioners has strongly supported the construction of this new river crossing for decades, and our support today remains strong. We applaud the involvement of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) in the project to date, including participation in the stakeholder group that ultimately chose the location and design of the bridge.

“We support the MnDOT plans to protect the river during construction. Their performance during the bridge pier testing project underway this past summer shows a strong commitment to protecting the environment during all phases of project construction. Additionally, the project itself will improve water quality in the region by reducing phosphorus runoff into the St. Croix River to 20 percent less than current levels.”