The U.S. Department of Transportation has awarded a $1.05 billion grant to Wisconsin and Minnesota to replace the aging John A Blatnik Bridge, which connects the two states at the western tip of Lake Superior.
The funds are available through the Nationally Significant Multimodal Freight and Highway Projects program (INFRA) as part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. Wisconsin and Minnesota each have committed $400 million toward replacing the bridge, a project estimated to cost $1.8 billion.
The 8,000-foot Blatnik Bridge was built in 1961 and has reached the end of its service life.
More than 33,000 vehicles cross the bridge daily, and more than 265,000 trucks transporting nearly $4 billion in goods pass over the bridge every year. It is vital for reaching the Port of Duluth-Superior, the largest U.S. port on the Great Lakes, and it is one of the largest marine links for U.S. trade with Canada.
“This investment will make it possible for Minnesota and Wisconsin to rebuild a critical connection between our states that will foster regional economic growth, strengthen our national supply chains, and improve the safety and reliability of our transportation network,” Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz said.
Design work is expected to begin this year. Construction could begin as early as 2025.
Photo by Jakes18