Count the closing of the Stillwater Lift Bridge among the unintended impacts if Minnesota state government shuts down. The state Department of Transportation has told city officials the bridge will be closed if the state budget impasse sends workers home in July.
MnDOT spokesman Kevin Gutknecht said Coast Guard regulations require the bridge must be left in a raised position to allow river traffic if it is not being actively operated. Papers filed by the Dayton administration don't list operating the bridge as an essential service.
Stillwater Mayor Ken Harycki said his city would likely welcome the closure.
"You know, having less traffic downtown, we've seen more people coming downtown to enjoy the setting. So, when the bridge closes, it's a good thing for the community," Harycki said.
State officials say a judge will decide whether the bridge closes. A Ramsey County judge is scheduled to hold a hearing next week on the state services that may continue in the event of a shutdown. The public can petition for changes to the official state list of essential services.