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Home arrow Working with Section 106 arrow ACHP Case Digest arrow Fall 2004 arrow Minnesota and Wisconsin: Construction of a New Crossing Over the St. Croix River
Minnesota and Wisconsin: Construction of a New Crossing Over the St. Croix River

Agencies: Federal Highway Administration and National Park Service

As reported in the Spring 2004 and Summer 2003 ACHP Case Digests, the ACHP began working with the Federal Highway Administration and others to consider a new crossing over the St. Croix River between Stillwater, Minnesota, and Houlton, Wisconsin.

The current Stillwater Lift Bridge, which is 70 years old and listed in the National Register, will not be able to accommodate projected traffic demands, and its future is in question.

Numerous Federal and State agencies, local governments, and organizations such as the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the Sierra Club, have consulted with each other regularly to consider project alternatives. Although much remains to be done, they have reached preliminary agreement on using a new corridor, the type of new bridge, and the future use of the Stillwater Lift Bridge.

In August 2004, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) published a Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement that evaluated project alternatives.

Consulting parties met in October 2004 as part of the Section 106 review process for the Stillwater Lift Bridge, Minnesota/Wisconsin (staff photo)

 

 

Consulting parties met in October 2004 as part of the Section 106 review process for the Stillwater Lift Bridge, Minnesota/Wisconsin (staff photo)

 

During an October 2004 stakeholder meeting, consulting parties reached preliminary agreement on the future use of the Stillwater Lift Bridge, a “B-1 alternative” as the compromise solution, and the type of new bridge.

For the B-1 alternative, FHWA has made a preliminary finding that several historic properties, including the Stillwater Lift Bridge and the Stillwater Cultural Landscape District, would be adversely affected.

Progress in resolving adverse effects has been encouraged by the National Park Service’s (NPS) reconsideration of its position supporting no proliferation of transportation crossings over the Lower St. Croix Riverway.

NPS now maintains that, should a new bridge be constructed, conversion of the lift bridge to a pedestrian/bike facility would satisfy the spirit of its Lower St. Croix Cooperative Management Plan.

The State of Minnesota’s offer to retain ownership and assume liability of the lift bridge upon its conversion to a pedestrian/bicycle facility also has been critical to achieving resolution.

Although the last facilitated stakeholder meetings were held in October 2004, Section 106 consultation will continue in order to expand and refine mitigation, with the hope the long-term preservation of the Stillwater Lift Bridge can be fully assured.

For background information on this case, see the Spring 2004 and Summer 2003 ACHP Case Digests.

Staff contact: Laura Henley Dean

Posted December 17, 2004

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