Public Meeting to Discuss Possible Changes to Stillwater Lift Bridge Schedule is April 16

 

The U.S. Coast Guard is hosting a public meeting Wednesday, April 16 to discuss the the possibility of temporarily changing the Stillwater Lift Bridge Schedule.

The meeting is open to the public and will be held from 6 – 8 p.m. at Stillwater City Hall.

According to a post on St. Croix 360: “The Stillwater Lift Bridge would go up two fewer times a day during the week, and timing for a couple other scheduled lifts would be moved by a half-hour.” (Correction: One version of this post inaccurately reported this was proposed by the Minnesota Department of Transportation and the U.S. Coast Guard. It was not.)

The proposed changes would alter the schedule to enable longer closed-to navigation periods during peak evening commute hours and longer open-to-navigation periods during non-commute hours, a statement about an upcoming meeting on the proposal reads.

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During the workweek, St. Croix 360 reports that the Lift Bridge schedule would change from 21 lifts per day to 19 lifts per day.

  • The new schedule eliminates lifts at 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.
  • The new schedule adds a lift at 3 p.m.
  • The new schedule moves the 5:30 p.m. lift to 6 p.m.
  • The new schedule eliminates the 6:30 p.m. lift

Last June the Stillwater City Council sent a formal proposal to the United States Coast Guard requesting a temporary change to the Lift Bridge schedule. At the time, the proposal drew opposition from some marina owners, and others in the local boating community.

“We can’t accept this proposal,” Randy Boler said last summer while speaking on behalf of the Mulberry Point Yacht Harbor Board of Directors. “Other marinas in the Stillwater area agree with our position on this issue.”

As the process goes, after receiving the city’s request, the Coast Guard reviews the proposal, holds public meetings and then determines whether or not to make changes.

The city council’s proposal would change the number of lifts from 21 to 16 during weekdays. There were no changes requested for weekends and holidays.

The goal of changing the schedule is to ease traffic congestion in downtown Stillwater during construction of the St. Croix River Crossing. The current Stillwater Lift Bridge schedule has been in place since 1994.

Last June, the Mulberry Point Yacht Harbor Board of Directors—representing the interests of 157 slip owners—unanimously voted to oppose the proposal.

“We understand the complexity of the issue and that there are multiple opinions involved, but we feel that reducing the frequency of lifts, including those at the rush hours, will cause hardship on our boating community,” the Board of Directors’ letter to the City Council read. “The schedule, as it has stood since 1994, has well served our boating community. We feel that altering the schedule will have little impact on the vehicle traffic, but a large impact on the marine traffic.”

Stillwater City Council members have said the idea is not to inconvenience boaters, but an attempt to mitigate traffic issues during construction of the St. Croix River Crossing Project.

In addition, MnDOT also posted this new video about the Stillwater Lift Bridge’s transformation to a pedestrian bridge.

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