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What’s the next step for the Red Wing bridge project?

A four-legged “jug handle” intersection will be built on the Wisconsin side for access to businesses. (Photo illustration via the project’s Visual Quality Manual)1 / 3
A pair of circular overlooks will give pedestrians crossing the new Highway 63 bridge a place to view the river and nearby piers.2 / 3
A “buttonhook” design on the Minnesota side of the Mississippi River will link the Highway 63 bridge with Highway 61 at a new intersection east of downtown Red Wing. Traffic from Wisconsin will be able to directly access the city and Highway 58 with a one-way slip ramp to Third Street. (Photo illustrations via the project’s Visual Quality Manual)3 / 3
RED WING -- With design work on the new Highway 63 river bridge winding down, Minnesota and Wisconsin transportation departments are looking for input on construction staging and timing.

Project representatives will be on hand to answer questions 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Thursday Feb. 18 in the Red Wing Public Library Foot Room. A presentation will be at 5 p.m., but residents are invited to come and go throughout the two-hour open house.

“We’re starting to look at what’s going to happen during construction,” said Chad Hanson, project manager with Minnesota Department of Transportation.

He said he is interested to hear people’s concerns and if there are timeframes that should be avoided.

The final design for the project is on track to be completed by the end of the year, with construction scheduled to begin in spring 2017.

“Right now we’re planning that construction would be four years,” Hanson said. “The bulk of the work would be done in three years, but there likely would need to be some work done in the fourth year as well.”

In addition to replacing the nearly 60-year-old Eisenhower Bridge, the project also includes redesigning approach roads on the Minnesota and Wisconsin sides of the Mississippi River.

A new “buttonhook” configuration will replace the existing Highway 63 bridge over Highway 61 and provide a ramp for traffic coming into downtown, while a four-legged “jug handle” intersection will be built on the Wisconsin side for access to businesses.

A mockup of the project created with a 3-D printer will be on display at the open house.

“It’s painted up in the exact colors the bridge will be when it’s all done,” Hanson said of the model. “It should give people a good idea of what it will look like.”

The current two-lane bridge carried an average of 13,300 vehicles per day in 2012. It is the only Mississippi River crossing from Hastings to Wabasha.

Information from the open house also will be posted on the project’s website,

Michael Brun

Michael Brun joined RiverTown Multimedia at the Red Wing Republican Eagle in March 2013, covering county government, health and local events.  He is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-River Falls journalism program.

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