Update: Stillwater Lift Bridge Closes Due to Flooding

The Stillwater Lift Bridge is closed due to flooding.

MnDOT closed the Lift Bridge on Monday morning.

The closure begins at 10 a.m. Monday. Motorists are directed to use Interstate 94 as a detour.

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MnDOT crews add 84 concrete barriers to the Stillwater Lift Bridge before closing it. The extra weight will keep the bridge in place as water and debris add extra pressure. (Photos courtesy of MnDOT)

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After loading the concrete barriers to the Lift Bridge, MnDOT put it in the “up” position so the electrical system will be protected from getting wet. It also allows flood debris to get through.

During the Lift Bridge closure, Lakeview EMS will have an ambulance staffed on the Wisconsin side of the river in case of emergencies 24/7 until the bridge reopens. 

Last weekend the city of Stillwater also took steps to control a swollen St. Croix River.

City crews set Jersey Barriers at Nelson Street between the Dock Café and the lift station, and built an earth berm, City Administrator Larry Hansen said. Today, city crews will protect Myrtle at the entrance to Lowell Park and Mulberry at Lowell Park with sand bags and Hesco Barriers.

Crews also installed fence as a barrier and signs along the east side of the parking lots from Nelson to Mulberry, and as well as set up pumps at Mulberry.

“Because of flood work completed by the Army Corps last year, we have a 4 foot start on things, but now it’s time to get down to action,” Hansen said.

City officials are asking people to stay behind the fencing and away from the flooded river.

“You don’t have to walk out too far before you’ll be up to your neck in water,” Hansen said. “We want people to stay behind the fencing.”

As of Monday morning, the river was at 685.97 feet. The river is expected to crest later this week above 687 feet.

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Updated From:

Washington County is in a Flash Flood Watch until 7 a.m. on Friday, June 20, and many areas in the south metro area are under Flash Flood Warnings.

As of 12:15 p.m. Thursday, the St. Croix River water levels were at 684 feet. The National Weather Service is predicting the river to rise to “minor flood” levels by next Thursday, at 687.5 feet.

If that happens, it would mean the Stillwater Lift Bridge would close. MnDOT has not yet confirmed if the bridge will close, but this post will be updated soon.

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Stillwater City Administrator Larry Hansen said city staff is monitoring the river, and is currently discussing plans to possibly build a dike and take action to protect the Lift Bridge control room.

More information about the city’s response to flooding will be available later this afternoon.

Water Levels

The average water level in Stillwater is 675 feet. The following are elevations (in feet) of various impacts due to flooding:

  • Stillwater Riverwalk becomes inundated: 678
  • Minnesota and Wisconsin may impose a no wake zone on the river: 683
  • Due to safety issues, the Stillwater lift bridge will close: 686
  • Approximate 100-year flood stage: 692.5

Flood Categories

  • Action Stage: 680
  • Flood Stage: 687
  • Moderate Flood Stage: 688
  • Major Flood Stage: 689

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Things to know during potential flash flooding, according to the National Weather Service:

  1. Do not drive through flooded areas. If you see a flooded-out road ahead, turn around. Find another route to your destination.
  2. If there is no other route, get to higher ground and wait for the waters to subside.
  3. Even if the water appears shallow enough to cross, don’t try it. Water hides dips in the road. Worse yet, there may be no road at all under the water. Flooding can scour away the entire road surface and a significant amount of ground beneath.
  4. If your car stalls, abandon it immediately and climb to higher ground.
  5. Six inches of water will reach the bottom of most passenger cars, causing loss of control or possible stalling.
  6. One foot of water will float almost many vehicles.
  7. Two feet of rushing water can sweep away most vehicles — including SUVs and pick-ups.

 

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