State agencies in Minnesota and Wisconsin approved a $332.5 million contract this week to build the main portion of the St. Croix Crossing bridge.
The contract was awarded to Lunda/Ames Joint Venture, which is already building the Minnesota approach to the bridge. It includes the construction of the bridge's deck and other elements across the river, the ramp from Highway 95 and the approach bridge and connection from Highway 36.
St. Croix Crossing Project Director Jon Chiglo said this is the largest contract included in the project, whose total estimated cost is between $580 million and $676 million.
"This is what will allow us to open this new bridge to traffic in 2016," Chiglo said. "There are other smaller elements of the project that will be let or constructed either parallel to this project or after the bridge is opened to traffic, but this is the most substantial piece of the project at this point."
The company will start to drive piling for the seven piers on the Minnesota side of the bridge in mid-December. Construction crews will work six days a week until May. The state agencies warn that nearby residents might hear banging noises and feel vibrations while the work is being done.
Chiglo said the contract requires the company to drive piling during the winter to reduce noise for nearby residents.
"When there are fewer people out and about and windows are closed, we'll be able to drive that piling and try to reduce impact to people and our neighbors," Chiglo said.
Chiglo said the next contract awarded will cover the Wisconsin approach, which they expect to announce next week.
The four-lane bridge is expected to open in late summer or early fall of 2016. The project will connect Oak Park Heights on the Minnesota side with St. Joseph on the Wisconsin side of the St. Croix River.