Winona area businesses brace for bridge construction

Winona bridge closed
A Minnesota Highway Patrol car blocks the entrance to the Highway 43 bridge over the Mississippi River. MnDOT officials closed the bridge in June.
MPR Photo/Brandt Williams

Businesses in southeastern Minnesota and southwest Wisconsin are taking part in a survey on the future Highway 43 Bridge.

The Winona Area Chamber of Commerce and Winona city officials want to know what the new four-lane bridge could do for truck and boat commerce or traffic problems.

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Chamber president, Della Schmidt, said the chamber plans to put together a list of non-negotiables to present to the MnDOT engineers' consultants.

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Schmidt said an uninterrupted river crossing is one likely example.

"In other words, don't tear down the bridge that's there until you have a new one to put in its place. We found from the short closure that we had this past June that the economic disaster would be huge if we had to go without any bridge crossing," Schmidt said.

Some commuters had to drive an extra 60 miles while the current Highway 43 Bridge was closed.

Schmidt said the Chamber of Commerce is not looking for bridge designs or new locations.