DRESBACH, Minn. (WKBT) - After four years of work, Wisconsin and Minnesota state officials came together today to celebrate the completion of the I-90 Dresbach bridge over the Mississippi River.
The new bridge consists of two separate bridges parallel and upstream from the previous bridge, which was built in 1962.
Sitting nearly 3,000 feet long and 60 feet wide between the Mississippi River bluffs, the bridge symbolizes both a connection between communities and political parties.
"Democrats and Republicans, senators and house members all sitting there side by side and being part of this project working together," said Tim Walz, a representative of the Minnesota Democratic Farmer Labor Party.
The original celebration of the I-90 bridge at the site took place 49 years ago, but the bridge lived beyond its lifespan and now, it is expected to stand for a century.
"This is a hundred year bridge, this thing will be there for the next several generations and the traffic counts that cross here and the commerce that goes through, absolutely critical to the vitality of both of our states," Walz said.
The $189 million project is now serving a multitude of purposes.
"Connectivity for other modes of transportation, particularly bike trails and pedestrians on the west side of the river, also to accommodate bat populations that live in the area so that they have a place to nest on the bridge as well so it's a transportation facility that's moving people and commerce through the state but also providing some other amenities as well," said Mark Gottlieb, WisDOT secretary.
The Wisconsin Department of Transportation is investing $130 million in transportation improvements this year and state officials say the bridge is just one of many.
"I-90 main corridor in Wisconsin, the exit 3 interchange, in La Crosse, we're about to open up a new visitor center for people coming into the state from Minnesota on I-90," Gottlieb said.
Contributing to the economic and social lives of both Wisconsin and Minnesota, the bridges' connection to Highways 61 and 14 is considered a transportation milestone.
"You think about the communities here, people that commute to La Crosse for work, there is some industries and businesses on the Minnesota side that people commute into so there is that daily travel back and forth just for your daily livelihood," said Mark Dougherty of MnDOT.
The new bridge is also expected to improve safety for motorists and ensure better traffic flow.
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