A tug boat is breaking ice in the St. Croix River to allow construction crews to continue work on the new St. Croix River Crossing during the winter months.
Crews are currently breaking ice within and downstream of the bridge construction zone, according to a MnDOT news release. Crews are breaking ice as far south as the overhead power lines coming from the Xcel Energy Allen S. King Power Plant near Bayport.
With the warm water from the power plant this effort helps prevent ice from building up near the bridge construction site by creating a channel for it to disperse and flow downstream. This can cause thin, irregular and dangerous ice conditions on the river.
MnDOT is asking snowmobilers and other outdoor recreationalists to use extreme caution on the river between Stillwater and Bayport, and to stay away from the construction area.
Thin ice signs have been placed at public boat launches. MnDOT plans to post additional signage on the river when the ice thickens.
The contractor will continue to break ice on the river just north of Bayport until it becomes too thick to manage.
Crews plan to regularly break ice within the bridge construction zone throughout winter.
Crews will be working at Piers 10 and 11 in the middle of the river, so they need to keep the majority of the waterway open to access these pier locations by boat.