Lane closures begin Friday for Dresbach Bridge project

I-90 will be single lane traffic in each direction

A four-year construction project connecting Minnesota and Wisconsin has reached its halfway mark.

With construction season just getting under way the I-90 Dresbach Bridge replacement project is moving full-steam ahead.

The I-90 Dresbach Bridge replacement project started in spring of 2013 and is on schedule to be completed by fall of 2016. Then the following year, in 2017, the old bridge will be torn down.

It’s a long process with traffic delays, detours and multiple lane closures, but contractors say it’s going to be well worth the wait.

Every day, an estimated 20,000 vehicles make the trip across state lines.

“It’s about 50 years old. We call it functionally obsolete because it has narrow shoulders. If there is any incident on the bridge, there is no room for traffic to get around,” said Mark Anderson, project manager for the Dresbach Bridge project.

That is why the Wisconsin and Minnesota Departments of Transportation are teaming up to replace it.

“The river bridges will be two separate structures, wide shoulders for maintenance,” said Anderson.

“The improvements as part of the project will make the traffic flow better and safer for the traveling public,” said Alex Carlin, project manager for Ames Construction.

The four-year construction plan is divided into six different stages. This year the contractors will be focusing on stage 4.

“One of our main objectives this season, the 2015 construction season, is to complete the I-90 bridge spanning the Mississippi River in the East bound direction. Our goal is to have that open for the fall of 2015,” said Carlin.

To stay on track, traffic patterns will change by Friday. Traffic will go down to one lane, each direction on I-90.

“Not a whole lot that changes from how traffic control was set up last year to this year,” said Anderson.

But there are other areas to watch out for as well.

“Along with the River Work, we are working on the Minnesota land side on reconstruction of I-90 and Highway 61 Intersection,” said Carlin.

“We’ve just started construction on I-90 from the state line to almost exit 5,” said Rob Winterton, project manager for Wisconsin Department of Transportation. “We are reconstructing the westbound lanes this year, next year will be the eastbound lanes and the following year will be Rose Street.”

There is a lot of work ahead and it’s going to be highly congested for the next several months but it’s important to be patient and safe while traveling through road construction.

The more than $187 million project is being paid for by both Wisconsin and Minnesota Departments of Transportation. Minnesota is paying for construction on its side, Wisconsin is paying for construction on its side and they are splitting the cost of the two river bridges.   

If you would like to stay up-to-date on construction and road closures during the Dresbach Bridge project, you can sign up for email alerts on the Minnesota DOT website.