It's John Soderberg Day in St. Croix County as new bridge opens
HOULTON — The man credited for shepherding the St. Croix River Crossing project from the beginning and through countless struggles was honored on the day the bridge was opened to the public.
The St. Croix County Board proclaimed Wednesday, Aug. 2, as John D. Soderberg Day.
“John D. Soderberg never lost his enthusiasm in championing a new bridge across the St. Croix River,” the proclamation states.
Soderberg, a New Richmond-area resident, said at Tuesday’s County Board meeting that bringing Minnesota and Wisconsin officials together was instrumental in making the project a reality.
Soderberg was also recognized at Wednesday’s ribbon-cutting ceremony
“We have a beautiful bridge,” he told the board. “You’re going to like it.”
Soderberg served a vital role throughout the project, beginning with advocacy for a replacement for the Stillwater Lift Bridge and and serving as the first chairman of a two-state advocacy group called the St. Croix Alliance for an Interstate Bridge.
He was a key participant in the 2003-2006 process that led to a recommendation for a bridge to be sited a mile south of the existing Stillwater bridge.
Soderberg’s leadership continued “when progress toward a new bridge waned,” according to the declaration, which goes on to note how he re-assumed a leadership position, becoming chairman of the Coalition for the St. Croix River Crossing. He attended several meetings in Washington, D.C., where he met with congressional leaders and committees.
Those efforts helped toward the key exception to the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act granted in 2012 by President Barack Obama, that allowed for construction on the project to begin a year later.
Officials at Wednesday’s ribbon-cutting event said the bridge will be open to traffic at 8 p.m.