On August 2nd, the bridge was closing forever to vehicles.
Every day, over 18,000 cars would travel on this bridge. It was never meant for this much traffic.
Now that the bridge is closed, it will be improved and rehabbed. Over the next 18 months, it will be restored to its original 1931 appearance. The familiar gray paint - the color we have always seen the bridge as - will be covered with a “federal green" paint - the color of the bridge when it opened.
Lampposts that once stood along the bridge many years ago will be installed which will change the look of the bridge as it transitions to becoming a pedestrian trail that goes from Minnesota to Wisconsin.
The bridge will still function as a lift bridge to allow larger boats passage. The only difference will be that the red and white striped bars will go down to block people and pets rather than vehicles when the lift portion of the portion is in use.
While the bridge is being restored, the lift section will be removed and improved. It will be reinstalled when the bridge is nearing completion.
Vehicles now can cross between Minnesota and Wisconsin on a new bridge that is about a mile and half south of the Stillwater Lift Bridge. It is the St. Croix Crossing Bridge that is a hybrid bridge that combines two different bridge designs. I guess it's only the second of its type in the country (maybe the world).
The girls and I drove across this bridge on Monday, August 7th. It's a beautiful bridge, and much larger than I thought it would be in terms of the number of lanes on each side. There's even a sidewalk for people to cross. We saw people, pets, and bicyclists on the sidewalk.
Perhaps some day we'll walk across both bridges. What a difference in experience both will be - one an historic and quiet walk...almost a walk back in time. The other walk will be a look to the present and future. Two diverse types of walks to marvel at nature and engineering - both in the past and present.