The new bridge over the St. Croix River is slated to open to traffic in August, weather permitting, MnDOT has announced.
Previously the timeframe for opening was simply fall of 2017.
“It’s exciting news,” MnDOT spokesperson Kristin Calliguri said. “They’ve done a lot of hard work this winter, and things have gone well.”
On Feb. 9 crews completed the final closure pour between Piers 8 and 9, the two river piers closest to the Minnesota shoreline. The pour filled the final gap where sections of the bridge meet between river piers. Crews jacked apart the two sections, poured concrete and then released the jacks to ensure proper compression.
“With this final closure pour we now have a complete bridge deck structure from the Minnesota abutment to the Wisconsin abutment,” said project manager Michael Beer.
In addition to closure pours, winter work on the bridge has included pouring concrete where stay cables meet the bridge deck, installing electrical systems, removing temporary supporting structures, smoothing bridge surfaces and installing a drainage system.
When finished, the drainage system will direct snow melt and storm water runoff into a holding pond on the Minnesota shore, where it will be filtered to remove salt, sediment and other materials before the water enters the river.
Some of the winter work will continue into the summer, Calliguri said.
Once it gets warmer, crews will begin installing an expansion joint between Pier 7 (on the Minnesota shore) and Pier 8 (in the river) to allow the bridge to expand and contract without cracking when the temperature changes. Workers will also install barriers between the eastbound and westbound lanes.
One of the final steps before the bridge opens to traffic will be applying a chip seal coating to the driving surface to protect the concrete. Calliguri said this is one of the processes most susceptible to delay due to unfavorable weather.
The bridge will also be painted beige, but painting will likely continue after the bridge is open, possibly into October.
Calliguri said Robin Anthony of the Greater Stillwater Chamber of Commerce is assembling a committee to coordinate a grand opening ceremony in August.
MnDOT expects the bridge to be ready for vehicles to cross the bridge as part of the ceremony. However, since it’s nearly impossible to predict the exact date the bridge will be complete, it may not open to general traffic for a few weeks after the ceremony.
Contact Jonathan Young at [email protected]