Winona, MN (WXOW)-- The Minnesota Department of Transportation has announced a recommendation regarding the Winona bridge.
The bridge connects Minnesota Highway 43 to Wisconsin Highway 54, and is currently in need of repair. The bridge has been closed multiple times in the last few years for repairs, causing commuters headaches.
Last August, the Minnesota Department of Transportation announced it would only consider rehabilitation projects to preserve the existing bridge. However the new plan includes construction of a new bridge.
The Minnesota Department of Transportation is recommending the construction of a new Highway 43 bridge in Winona and the renovation of the existing structure.
"You gotta follow the process, sometimes it's a bit frustrating as to how things move but the main thing is the end product," said Winona Mayor Jerry Miller. "And that all came about because of everybody's efforts."
Initially, the DOT was only considering proposal to repair the current bridge.
"When we looked at constructability, maintenance of traffic during the project, and looked at the long term needs in terms of traffic capacity, we just didn't feel that that was the best solution, nor did the community members and stakeholders that we were engaged with," said Jai Kalsy of the Minnesota DOT. "So we really looked harder at a two bridge solution and that's what lead us to this recommendation."
The DOT is also recommending the new bridge be constructed with pedestrian and bike accommodations. The walkway will be removed from the old bridge during its restoration.
"Which brings the bridge back to it's historic look," Miller said. "And it's a neat thing because they want to show off the historic bridge and have the new bridge along side. So it's going to be neat. I hope it all works out and the public supports it."
The total cost of the project is estimated between $150-$175 million. If plans stay on schedule construction will begin at the end of 2014 or the beginning of 2015.
The open house regarding the project will be held September 11 from 4 to 6 PM, at the Winona City Hall.
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