WASHINGTON - Legislation that authorizes building a new bridge over the St. Croix River was signed by President Barack Obama on Wednesday.
Construction of the new four-lane bridge that will connect Oak Park Heights, Minn., and St. Joseph, Wis., is expected to begin in 2014 and take about three years to complete. It's estimated to cost between $571 million and $676 million.
Senator Amy Klobuchar drafted the legislation which had the support of a bipartisan group of lawmakers from both Minnesota and Wisconsin.
Sen. Klobuchar released this statement after President Obama signed the bill:
"After thirty years of debate and delay, we finally got it done. This is a victory for the residents and businesses along the St. Croix River Valley who have waited long enough for a safe, new bridge. This effort is an example of what can get done when people put politics aside and do what is best for our state. I appreciate the work of my colleagues in the House and Senate as well as Governor Dayton who helped get this project over the finish line."
The project also will convert the historic Stillwater Lift Bridge to a bicycle-pedestrian bridge and protect sensitive resources along the federally protected St. Croix National Scenic Riverway.
The U.S. House approved the bill March 1 to exempt the bridge under the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. The Senate approved the legislation in January.
(Copyright 2012 by KARE. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)