Some call it flip-floppinng, as I'm not a politician (yet), I'll call it being open minded...
I went into the interview with Ripple in Stillwater's Karl Bremer feeling that it may be unrealistic to preserve the beauty of the St. Croix river valley in the Stillwater area, as the need to replace the lift bridge, to accommodate the ever increasing level of traffic.I came out believing that a potential solution does not need to be an eyesore.
Here is my logic...
It's about a 7 mile drive, via MN 95, from downtown Stillwater to the junction with I-94. A drive that should take about 12 minutes. Taking WI 35, through Hudson, might take about 20 minutes, due to the residential speed limits. As I assume the ultimate benefactors of a new river crossing would be Wisconsinites commuting into Minneapolis and St. Paul, maybe the logical answer would be some sort of north-south expressway that would bypass the Hudson residential area.
Up in my neck of the woods, It's about 7 miles between downtown Anoka, where the US 169 bridge crosses into Champlin, and the relatively new MN 610 crossing, between Brooklyn Park and the Blaine-Coon Rapids area. Most motorists opt to use 610 to cross the river when they commute back and forth to Minneapolis.
Something I hadn't heard much in this debate is how Stillwater, much like Anoka, has a bustling downtown area, which benefits from a scenic river crossing. In my opinion, an expressway type bridge, that would bypass downtown Stillwater, would do, at the very least, moderate damage to that city's economy. Having attended a couple of city council meetings in my home town, I know they would raise holy hell if MN DOT wanted to somehow route 169 around the city.
As was discussed yesterday, something will eventually have to be built to replace the aging lift bridge. But why not a nice unassuming arch bridge that would accentuate the beauty of the area, and not affect the regional economy.