Bridge construction continues to show progress
Construction progress continues on the St. Croix Crossing project into the fall of 2015.
The Minnesota and Wisconsin departments of transportation announced another construction milestone in mid-October as construction crews have now installed half of the bridge segments at piers 8 and 9. Pier 8 is closest to the MN shore. 15 of 29 segments were installed as of mid-October.
650 bridge segments are required for the project over the river. As of Oct 17, the production facility on Grey Cloud Island in Cottage Grove, Minn. hit the halfway mark with 325 segments cast. The segments are cast in a building that is the length of two football fields. The facility allows for year-round fabrication. Barges transport the segments about 30-miles up the Mississippi and St. Croix Rivers to the construction site.
At pier 8, crews started installing pipes that hold the stay cables during the first full week in September. The process was repeated at pier 9. Stay cables run inside the pipes and are attached to the pier tower and deck area to help support the weight of the bridge as it extends from the towers. Each pier location on the river will have eight sets of stay cables, and by mid-October, three sets were attached to pier 8.
An individual stay cable is made up of 76 strands bunched together. Construction crews place each strand by hand and use a hydraulic jack which applies 33,000 pounds of force to pull it tight.
Segment lifters were installed on pier 12 during the week of Oct. 5. They are used to lift multi-ton bridge segments from barges in the river. The first bridge segment at pier 12 was expected to be installed during the week of Oct. 19. Pier 12 is closest to the Wisconsin shore in the town of St. Joseph.
The new County Road E alignment in the town of St. Joseph opened to traffic on Oct. 8. Motorists can travel over the new County Road E interchange as part of the new alignment. County Road E connects to the State Highway 35 roundabout just south of Houlton. Drivers are not able to travel from the County Road E interchange onto the new part of State Highway 64 until the bridge is complete in 2017.
State Highway 64 remains accessible on the north end of the project from State Highway 35. The new westbound section of State Highway 64 opened to traffic in late September. Traffic will remain this way until the bridge opens.
Pier 13 is the only on-land pier in Wisconsin. Construction crews continue to make progress on pier 13’s foundation. Pile driving is expected to continue through October.