Construction work on the St. Croix Crossing will go into the overnight hours, starting this week, according to Minnesota Department of Transportation. Crews will be working from 5 p.m. to 3 a.m. Monday through Saturday.
"I think the biggest issue with the overnight work will be the lighting," said Jessica Wiens, a MnDOT spokesperson for the St. Croix Crossing. "There won't be a lot of truck hauling or anything like that. [Construction workers] will be tying rebar. That's the steel skeleton for the bridge. The area will be lit up for their safety," said Wiens.
According to MnDOT, pile driving for the pier locations on the Minnesota side is nearly complete. Additional pile driving for the bridge falsework will commence later this month. Falsework is a "series of temporary structures that support the bridge spans during construction, until the bridge can support itself," according to St. Croix Crossing website.
For those living and working near the project, there's long-term benefits that come with the St. Croix Crossing and some short-term strains.
Rick Chapman, general manager of the Sunnyside Marina in Stillwater, overlooks the St. Croix from his office window.
"I've told my boaters for a very long time now, 'embrace the bridge.' It is going to be a beautiful bridge," said Chapman, who praises MnDOT for their communication.
"[MnDOT] have an office set up right here so you can go up and talk to any of the subcontractors, you can talk to the bridge project manager. The liaison does a great job," said Chapman.
However, Chapman added, there have been some bumps.
"The dust on the boats has been significant. Just in the number of times people have to wash boats, the traffic patterns has been affected, the number of lanes on Hwy 36 and Hwy 95, and just people getting down here on Friday afternoon and having to go through traffic to get here," said Chapman, who also added that for the first summer in three years, the Sunnyside Marina has vacant slips.
"I'm a little nervous about the fact that we've got 15 vacant slips out of 43. I'd like to see it better than that," Chapman added.
Still, Chapman is anticipating the new crossing, just like the hundreds who have signed up for the St. Croix Crossing Cruise, a special boat tour that takes passengers close to the project site. Each tour includes a MnDOT or WisDOT engineer who fields questions and discusses the project's progress.
MnDOT and WisDOT has partnered with a local Stillwater cruise company to offer paddleboat tours that take passengers up to the construction of the St. Croix Crossing. All tours from June through September have sold out.