The almost-$700 million replacement bridge would be built connecting Oak Park Heights in Minnesota to St. Joseph in Wisconsin. (MPR Photo/Jessica Mador)

by Jessica Mador

“We’ve had traffic, a truck, tear off our awning in front of our restaurant. I’ve seen multiple accidents right out in front in our intersection,” Buettner said. “I’ve seen close calls with children involved, and frankly, I think for the safety of the people and the visitors of Stillwater the new bridge will be the best solution to that problem is to move the traffic out of town.”

When the lift bridge raises to let boats pass, traffic in downtown Stillwater comes to a standstill and often backs up for miles. The bridge also closes regularly for repair and maintenance.

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