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St. Croix 'Crossing Coalition' raps 'insensible' bridge plan

In a statement issued late Tuesday, members of the Coalition for for the St. Croix River Crossing said a new proposal for a scaled-down, three-lane bridge is a recycled project that has already been rejected by the National Park Service and wouldn't solve the region's transportation bottleneck.

"It is disappointing that the "Sensible Stillwater Bridge" partnership wants to spend more time reviewing a plan that has already been rejected when we as a community and a region need to come together to support a project and vision that can move forward," said Coalition co-chairs John Soderberg, a New Richmond banker, and Ken Harycki, the mayor of Stillwater in a press release.

The National Park Service rejected the plan proposed today because of its environmental impact on the bluff and the negative impact it would have on the view of the river valley from downtown Stillwater. "Calling for an additional review of a rejected plan and expecting a different outcome seems to be far from sensible," the men said.

The proposed St. Croix River Crossing plan has been thoroughly reviewed by the community and government agencies, has received two records of decisions, and has earned the support of Senators Klobuchar, Franken, Kohls, and Johnson; Congresswoman Bachman; Congressman Kind; and Governors Dayton and Walker, they stated.

"The Stillwater Lift Bridge is an 80-year-old bridge inside a major metropolitan area that needs to be replaced. Years of time and millions of dollars have already been spent reviewing every possible option to find the best way to deal with the fracture-critical structure. The St. Croix River Crossing is the best solution to balance the region's needs.

"The Sensible Stillwater Bridge partnership has referred to the St. Croix River Crossing as 'Congresswoman Michele Bachmann's bridge'.

"It's not Congresswoman Bachmann's bridge; it's the community's bridge. Area residents have been trying to find a solution to the 1931 lift bridge's daily congestion nightmare since the 1960s, long before Congresswoman Bachmann was first elected to Congress in 2006.

"After all the years and millions of dollars invested in the planning process, the time has come for action. We urge Congress to allow the best project for the region to move forward. This is one of the most studied and reviewed bridge projects in our area's history. It's time for all of us to move forward together to benefit the entire region," the men stated.