This will be my last column with updates on the Red Wing Bridge project. Crews are in the final stages of work that can be completed this year before winter sets in and that work happens to be the final elements of the project, which started in the summer of 2017.

Thank you for following along on this journey. You’ve been witness to a project that happens in a community about once in a generation or two. Building a bridge across the Mississippi River is a monumental chore and you’ve had a prime viewing opportunity of how it slowly, but surely happens.

Thank you, too, for your patience. None of us enjoy the inconveniences of construction, but we try to keep an eye on the end result and the improvements that will come with it. If you’ve traveled across the bridge, you begin to see those improvements. Thank you for working with us in the design stages and as construction progressed to address any issues that came up. Communication is key and we’re glad you shared your thoughts with us.

As the construction crews leave next week, there will be some small work remaining that needs to take place next spring. We’ll be back, but the disruption will likely be brief and uneventful to make sure we’ve completed everything on our punch list ensuring that the work meets ours and the contractor’s standards.

Some of the last work of the season is occurring now. Perhaps you’ve seen some of the recent testing of the lights as we ensure the coverage is good and everything is operating as we expect it.

Newsletter signup for email alerts

It was a little less than a year ago when we all stood out at the approach to the bridge shivering in the cold November wind to celebrate the opening to traffic. Since then, the old bridge has been removed and the roads connected to the bridge on both sides of the river have been completed.

This was a good partnership between MnDOT and the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, the city of Red Wing, the Federal Highway Administration and our contractor, Zenith Tech Inc. We experienced challenges along the way, but were able to talk and work through each one.

We especially appreciate our work with Red Wing City Engineer Jay Owens, who is a good advocate and engineer for your community. We worked on many elements and you perhaps saw us in our monthly updates on the Community Access Channel 6. You can watch the replays on the city of Red Wing’s YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/user/CityofRedWing.

We’ll plan to keep our MnDOT project website www.dot.state.mn.us/d6/projects/redwing-bridge active for a while and you can follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/RedWingBridgeProject.

Look for an interactive map coming soon that highlights many of the features of the bridge. You’ll see folks introducing some of those features, telling some details about it and helping you learn some of the stories behind the bridge and the land it sits on.

The community would like to have some type of celebration of the bridge, but given the restrictions created by COVID-19, they have postponed that activity until next year at some time. Keep an eye out for details once the plans become clearer on when larger gatherings can again be safely held for all to participate.

Thank you, and stay safe.

Mark Anderson is the MnDOT construction project manager for the Red Wing Bridge project. He can be reached at 507-205-6402 or mark.w.anderson@state.mn.us.