St. Croix River Crossing

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Mdcastle
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Re: St. Croix River Crossing

Postby Mdcastle » February 11th, 2014, 1:18 pm

Beside having stoplights remaining on our expressway system, I recall the idea of a one-way couplet didn't go over too well because they'd have to remove parking on the main street to keep traffic moving. The Stillwater Bridge you have an expressway on the Minnesota side and freeway on the WI side, Prescott you only have a expressway on the MN side, and it doesn't dead-end at the river but goes to Hastings, so it's not an obvious gap like Stillwater.

The two lane road with the high AADT is on the Minnesota side of Prescott.

I guess everyone has their own opinion of what a bridge should look like. Based on the renderings I'd take the new Stillwater Bridge over any others in the Twin Cities, except maybe the Mendota Bridge and the now defunct Hastings bridge.
Here's my photo of the Sunshine Skyway
https://scontent-b-ord.xx.fbcdn.net/hph ... 3798_n.jpg

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Re: St. Croix River Crossing

Postby mattaudio » February 11th, 2014, 1:40 pm

Mdcastle wrote:Beside having stoplights remaining on our expressway system, I recall
We'll still have stoplights on the Hwy 36 Stroad between Washington and Osgood Aves.

This actually highlights a fundamental problem with the way we build our roads. We build expressways, let them suburbanize by encouraging "growth" at intersections, and then when things get congested we either pay out big or cave in because we can't bear to think of the SuperAmerica or Taco Bell losing their auto-dependent customers along the stroad.
Mdcastle wrote:expressway on the Minnesota side and freeway on the WI side
It was premature for Wisconsin to build a freeway on their side. They wanted growth rather than value. Not sure how it's Minnesota's job to pay for a bridge so that Wisconsin's isolated rural freeway feels less lonely. Also, from a regional perspective, Interstate 94 covers any mobility need quite well. Except for peak hour commuting between New Richmond subdivisions and Minnesota jobs.

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Re: St. Croix River Crossing

Postby Mdcastle » February 12th, 2014, 6:48 am

My only comment is just because Oak Park Heights won't let Mn/DOT get rid of some of the lights on an expressway doesn't mean that getting rid of others (as is happening elsewhere along the corridor) that we can get rid of isn't worthwhile. Maybe they''ll change their mind in 15 years when there's the same traffic inferno as occurred when Eden Prairie insisted on lights on the US 169 expressway. As far as Minnesota shouldn't be paying $370 million for what I admit is primarily Wisconsin commuters to get to Minnesota, I can't argue with opinion even if I don't share it. I'm not sure just shutting down the bridge and making much cheaper improvements to I-94 instead would hurt downtown Stillwater that much. From personal experience if I spend money anywhere it's going to be a fast food or gasoline station along the expressway section, not anywhere in downtown Stillwater.


My favorite extant bridges based on aesthetics only, all of which I've been over personally:
Verrazono Narrow Bridge and Sunshine Skyway (Even with two very different designs, they both have an awe-inspiring grandeur to them)
Mendota, Robert Street and 3rd Street Bridge: I like something about concrete arches. (IRC the Braun proposal, being closer to downtown Stillwater, was a more traditional looking concrete arch design).
Savannah-Sabula, Julien Dubuque, Big Blue, Deception Pass, Centennial bridges- exposed steel in what I consider aesthetically pleasing proportions.
East Span Bay Bridge- just cool with the lights at night in the fog. I also drove over it twice in the day, and the view of San Francisco was pleasing.
I-35W Bridge- innovative use of LED lighting and an sleek design save what could have been an aesthetic disaster based on some of the other submissions.
Golden Gate and Illinois-Iowa Memorial Bridge- classical looking suspension bridge.
Seven Mile Bridge Not the bridge structure, but the view.
Zakim Bridge- impressive by itself even without the Big Dig.

Probably my top five would be Sunshine Skyway, Golden Gate, Savannah-Sabula, East Span Bay, Verrazano Narrows.

My least favorite Bridges:
Fort Madison Bridge- ugly old steel bridge that looks like it's going to fall apart.
Fred Schwengel Bridge- ugly even by freeway standards in a city where all the other major river bridges are notable.
Hennepin Ave Bridge- Even if people think it looks cute as a flunked out Civil Engineer wanna-bee I can't get over the inappropriateness of a suspension bridge for such a short span, IRC it was 3X the cost of a functionally equivalent girder bridge.
Hastings and Lowry Bridges- I just don't like these variations of tied arch bridges. Hastings would have looked better if the arches were extended below the deck and had some cross-members. I also think they should have kept the sodium lights on the Hastings Bridge rather than swapping them out for LED fixtures as soon as the contractors left.
Goethals Bridge. Maybe it looked nice, but I couldn't tell because I felt I was taking my life into my hands driving it at rush hour with 10 foot lanes and a truck to the left of me and a steel barrier to the right. Interesting that I've been to 4/5 Boroughs excluding Manhattan.

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Re: St. Croix River Crossing

Postby David Greene » February 12th, 2014, 8:10 am

Mdcastle wrote:My favorite extant bridges based on aesthetics only, all of which I've been over personally:
Nice list, but no Mackinac bridge?

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Re: St. Croix River Crossing

Postby min-chi-cbus » February 12th, 2014, 8:41 am

Mdcastle wrote:
Hennepin Ave Bridge- Even if people think it looks cute as a flunked out Civil Engineer wanna-bee I can't get over the inappropriateness of a suspension bridge for such a short span, IRC it was 3X the cost of a functionally equivalent girder bridge.
It's funny you mention that, because as a never-has-been-and-never-will-be architect/civil engineer, I noticed that too and thought the same thing! There is something similar that was done in Columbus on Lane Ave (aka "Champions Way" or something like that) over the Olentangy River, called the "Lane Avenue Bridge": http://www.cjmahan.com/static/laneave.php


Like the Hennepin Avenue Bridge, it's a suspension bridge over what is an even shorter span....so short that you could probably pole vault across it (a 370 foot span vs. Hennepin Ave's 1,037 feet, with 690 feet being its largest single span). The even more amazing part of the Lane Avenue Bridge is that it was constructed when I was in school at OSU.........in 2003! At least the Hennepin Avenue Bridge was built closer to the "City Beautiful" movement and during a time when things were all built to look spectacular (the one built in the 1890's, not the replacement built in 1990).

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Re: St. Croix River Crossing

Postby RailBaronYarr » February 12th, 2014, 8:59 am

Even though it's off-topic, Larry Millett's "Lost Twin Cities" has some good history on the Hennepin Ave bridges we've had. I believe the previous iteration to our current structure (perhaps the one before? the book's at home..) was a suspension bridge as well, chosen against the recommendations of a bunch of civil engineers because the private financier liked the look. The new one was a nod to the design/history. Obviously came at a price, even if it does look cool.

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Re: St. Croix River Crossing

Postby FISHMANPET » February 12th, 2014, 9:22 am

Isn't the Hennepin Ave bridge not an actual suspension bridge? We just put up towers and cables to make it look that way?

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Re: St. Croix River Crossing

Postby mister.shoes » February 12th, 2014, 9:24 am

David Greene wrote:
Mdcastle wrote:My favorite extant bridges based on aesthetics only, all of which I've been over personally:
Nice list, but no Mackinac bridge?
That's one of my favorites, if only because it means I'm on my way to my grandparents' lake cabin.
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Re: St. Croix River Crossing

Postby mulad » February 12th, 2014, 11:06 am

FISHMANPET wrote:Isn't the Hennepin Ave bridge not an actual suspension bridge? We just put up towers and cables to make it look that way?
It's a real suspension bridge as far as I can tell -- the main span is 620 feet, and the deck appears to just be I-beams with cross-bracing. The crossing is obviously doable with something less flashy -- the previous bridge had multiple shorter spans. The current bridge is able to stay out of the water completely by having towers on the shores. A box girder could make the crossing without getting its feet wet, though I'm not sure how far the underside of the box would need to droop down on each end of the span (potentially causing conflicts with boat/barge traffic below). By comparison, the center segment of the new I-35W bridge is 504 feet across.

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Re: St. Croix River Crossing

Postby bubzki2 » February 12th, 2014, 11:14 am

http://www.johnweeks.com/bridges/pages/ms19.html

" Interestingly enough, the resulting bridge is the shortest pure suspension bridge to carry highway traffic built in modern times. "

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Re: St. Croix River Crossing

Postby woofner » February 12th, 2014, 11:44 am

As long as we're thunderously off-topic, I'll add that I've always liked the "cute" Hennepin Bridge, but what really bugs me about it is that it ruins the viewshed for the Grain Belt sign down Hennepin Ave. I can't believe how square the officials must have been to not consider the importance of that sign, and doubled when they put the Block E and State Theater skyways in.
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Re: St. Croix River Crossing

Postby Mdcastle » February 12th, 2014, 12:44 pm

David Greene wrote:
Mdcastle wrote:My favorite extant bridges based on aesthetics only, all of which I've been over personally:
Nice list, but no Mackinac bridge?
I've never been over the Mackinac Bridge so I can't judge it.

I forgot about the Chesapeake Bay Bridge too, that should be on my list of favorites that I've been across. Like the Seven mile bridge the structure itself is nothing special but it's the experience of driving over water, and the tunnels are fun too even if they scare my sister being underwater.

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Re: St. Croix River Crossing

Postby seanrichardryan » February 12th, 2014, 10:02 pm

woofner wrote:... I can't believe how square the officials must have been to not consider the importance of that sign, and doubled when they put the Block E and State Theater skyways in.
Skyways ruin all the downtown view-sheds, and that's why they should all be torn down. 8-)
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Re: St. Croix River Crossing

Postby Mdcastle » February 13th, 2014, 7:30 am

Weren't they talking about converting the Grain Belt sign to LEDs and lighting it up again?

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Re: St. Croix River Crossing

Postby MNdible » February 13th, 2014, 11:43 am

I certainly hope so. (Although some of it really wants to remain old school neon).

I think "they" have been talking about refurbishing the sign forever, but I haven't heard anything that makes me more hopeful.

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Re: St. Croix River Crossing

Postby mplser » February 13th, 2014, 12:34 pm

I really hope they can relight the sign, but i could see knee-jerk backlash coming from Delasalle staff "They're trying to get our students to drink beer!" or "It's making our school look trashy!" they like to think they control the whole island

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Re: St. Croix River Crossing

Postby Mdcastle » March 20th, 2014, 11:27 am

Summary of what's going on this year:
*A contract was let by Wisconsin to grade the new freeway from the bridge touchdown to County E, including the WI 35 bridge. WI 35 is closed and detoured.
*The first river pier/tower of the bridge structure on the Minnesota side is being built with a temporary causeway. Work on the other piers will start as soon as the river thaws and barges can be moved into position
* Pile-driving for the piers on land on the Minnesota side was started this winter when residents would have windows closed, and work on the foundations and piers is ongoing. All piers/towers will be completed to their full height.
* Casting for the precast segments will begin on site and at a remote location at Gray Cloud Island. The first couple of segments will be attached to the piers/towers late in the season.
* The approach work on the Minnesota side will be completed. To start with there will be two lane two way traffic in the eastbound lanes while the westbound lanes are built, then switching to the westbound lanes when they're finished to rebuild the eastbound lanes. There will be two lane traffic through 3 traffic signals throughout the summer, but I don't think traffic will be too bad because local traffic bound for Stillwater can get off at Hwy 5 and disperse.
* Bicycle trails will be worked on throughout the summer. Beach Road is currently closed to pedestrians, but I "snuck" on to get pictures. I'm going to bring my bicycle on the next trip since some areas are too far to walk to from legal parking spots.

2015: Work on the attaching the precast deck segments to the new bridge continues, including those stiffened by the cables. Work on the Wisconsin approach is continues with all grading being completed and the County E bridge being built.
2016: Work is on the bridge structure completed late summer, but there are incentives if the contractor can open two lanes earlier. Wisconsin freeway is paved in time to open with the new bridge.
2017: Landscaping, punch list items, finishing up the loop trail on the Wisconsin side, and rehabilitation of the closed bridge.

There seems to be very limited interest in my pictures here, so I won't post them, I'll just point out that if anyone wants to see them I'll be uploading them to my Flickr account, St. Croix Crossing set, usually about the end of every month.
Last edited by Mdcastle on March 21st, 2014, 4:22 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: St. Croix River Crossing

Postby HuskyGrad » March 20th, 2014, 11:58 am

Mdcastle wrote:There seems to be very limited interest in my pictures here, so I won't post them, I'll just point out that if anyone wants to see them I'll be uploading them to my Flickr account, St. Croix Crossing set, usually about the end of every month.
Could you post a link to your Flickr account in your profile?

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Re: St. Croix River Crossing

Postby Suburban Outcast » March 20th, 2014, 3:28 pm

Regardless of the disagreements against the bridge, if you have pictures and want to share them, feel free to post them :)

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Re: St. Croix River Crossing

Postby MNdible » March 20th, 2014, 3:43 pm

Agreed. Just because I think this is a poor investment doesn't mean I'm not into construction porn.


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