1. Enter Your Information:
(This section is selfexplanatory)
2. General Information about your project:
St. Croix River Crossing
Type of project:
Best Worst X
Transportation Mode (auto, freight, transit, bicycle, pedestrian, mixed, place making, etc.):
(e.g. a 10-lane freeway extension OR Complete Streets Implementation in X town).
A brand new, nearly $700 million, high-speed freeway bridge over a federally designated Wild and Scenic Riverway.
3. Reason for Nomination:
Please tell us why you are nominating your project by answering the following questions as concisely as possible, though it's okay if you can't answer every question fully. Please provide citations** wherever possible; providing citations will better allow us to consider your nomination.
How does this project influence how much people drive or use oil on an everyday basis?
The new bridge would only serve 18,400 people a day. The new St. Croix River Crossing Bridge would encourage low-density development rural, western Wisconsin, causing people to rely more on their cars. Over 80% of the gasoline consumed in Minnesota comes from the dirtiest oil on Earth, the tar sands of the boreal forests of Alberta, Canada. Sprawling development fueled by this project will increase oil consumption by encouraging longer commutes and poorly planned zoning in a rural, undeveloped region. Public transit and other more sustainable transportation solutions have not been seriously considered as potential solutions to the problems with the current bridge.
What kinds of environmental impacts does this project have? (e.g. pollution, development of natural areas, etc.)
St. Croix is a nationally designated Wild and Scenic River. Two Federal Court decisions and two National Park Service decisions have rejected the St. Croix River Crossing’s Environmental Impact Statements because the National Park Service decided the project would have direct and adverse effects on the scenic and natural value for which the river was protected by congress. Several federally listed species found in the area could be impacted by the bridge including the federally endangered Higgins eye pearly mussel, the federally endangered winged mapleleaf mussel, and the federally threatened bald eagle. 7.71 acres of wetland will also be destroyed to make way for the bridge. The bridge will increase air and water pollution due to a massive increase in the number of trucks and cars moving though the area.
How does this project impact land use and development? (e.g. Does it encourage sprawl or high-density, mixed-use and transit oriented communities? Does it retrofit existing development? etc.)
This project will directly impact 140 acres of rural farmland for construction and open up the area to development on agricultural lands and scenic blufflands along the river. The project serves the needs of sprawl. Instead of investing in sustainable land use development and alternative transportation choices, this bridge keeps people stuck in their cars and forced to fill up on more on dirty tar sands oil at the pump.
What kinds of economic impacts will this project have? (e.g. cost of the project, taxpayer subsidies vs. private investment, number of businesses attracted to the area, job opportunities, increase/decrease in tax base, etc.)
The project will cost up to $690 million depleting valuable resources for much needed funds that are needed to fix existing infrastructure. MN Department of Transportation’s projects a $270 million annual repair and maintenance shortfall in coming years. Fix-it-first projects generate more jobs than this megabridge will generate. MnDOT’s own reports project increased traffic over time in downtown Stillwater after the proposed bridge is constructed and therefore will not relieve congestion in the area where the existing bridge is located. An alternative to the megabridge, called the Sensible Stillwater Bridge would cost more than 40% less and would not divert traffic away from downtown Stillwater.
In what way does your project affect public health in the area? (Will it increase or decrease air pollution? Will it encourage healthy lifestyles by making walking or biking to everyday destinations easier? Will it decrease crashes or their consequences? Will it affect road safety for cars, pedestrians or bikes? etc.)
The bridge will increase air pollution in the area, especially diesel particulates. This kind of pollution has been linked to increased occurrences of asthma and stroke. The level of noise pollution the bridge will exceed Minnesota’s daytime and nighttime standards by 2030 and there is no way to mitigate the impact. The project also encourages passive transportation (automobile) instead of active transportation choices, such as walking or biking, which help keep people in shape and healthy.
Anything else we should know about your project?
There is another bridge on I-94 that is only seven miles south of the existing bridge. Congestion issues surrounding the existing lift bridge could be addressed by a much smaller bridge near downtown Stillwater, called the Sensible Stillwater Bridge, which does not have the same environmental and visual impacts on the St. Croix River. This alternative option would be much cheaper and the money saved on the project could go towards repairing 1,100 other bridges and roads in the area that are considered structurally deficient by federal and state standards.
Here are some other useful links:
Sensible Stillwater Bridge Partnership: http://www.sensiblestillwaterbridge.org
MN Department of Transportation website: http://www.dot.state.mn.us/metro/projects/stcroix/
**Wondering where to find this information? A great place to start is your state's Department of Transportation (DOT) or your city's Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) websites. The US DOT site
is another good place to start. When looking for environmental impacts check out your project's Environmental Impact Statement
(EIS) or Environmental Assessment (EA). News articles and reports by non-governmental organizations are also good places to find information.