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Corps issues permit for St. Croix River Crossing

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has given its blessing to a new four-lane bridge over the St. Croix River near Stillwater.

The Corps has issued a permit that includes required authorizations under the federal Clean Water Act and the Rivers and Harbors Act. The approvals were granted about a year after Congress and President Obama granted an exception from the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act to allow the new structure.

Foundation work will begin next month and will be completed by the summer of next year. That's when the main structure will start being built. It's expected to be completed in 2016.

The bridge was subject of debate for about a half century due to environmental concerns. It replaces an 80-year-old lift bridge and will prevent thousands of Wisconsinites from having to drive through Stillwater, Minn., each day to get to and from their jobs in the Twin Cities area.