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St. Croix bridge project speeded up

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STILLWATER, Minn. -- The Minnesota and Wisconsin departments of transportation announced they are accelerating the St. Croix Bridge project by starting construction on the river piers for the bridge foundation in 2013.

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The $50 million contract will open for bids in late-winter 2013. Construction is anticipated to begin on the bridge foundations in late-spring 2013. Previously, construction was planned to begin in spring 2014.

The St. Croix Crossing project replaces the 80-year-old Stillwater Lift Bridge with a safer, more reliable four-lane bridge that will connect expressways on both sides of the St. Croix River in Stillwater and Oak Park Heights, Minn. and St. Joseph, Wis.

The project adds extensive trail systems, including converting the Stillwater Lift Bridge to a bicycle and pedestrian crossing, and highway construction on each side of the river.

The four-lane St. Croix Crossing Bridge is estimated to cost between $280 million and $310 million. The total cost for the entire St. Croix Crossing project is estimated to cost between $580 million and $676 million.

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