*Update* $750K for Snake River Bridge Improvements
The deterioration of the Snake River Bridge in Pine City has disrupted activity for several businesses who rely on the bridge for train service. But, that problem will soon be no more.
The Minnesota Department of Transportation announced the St. Croix Valley Railroad will receive $750,000 from federal stimulus money to repair the railroad bridge.
Earlier this year, the railroad bridge was closed due to its condition. As a result, the Horizon Milling Flour mill, which relies upon rail service, was forced to shut down. The mill will reopen when the bridge is repaired later this year. The piers and timber foundation were originally constructed prior to 1906.
Chisago County HRA/Economic Development Executive Director, Chris Eng, says three businesses in the county, including Horizon Milling Flour, are suffering due to the shut down of the bridge.
Eng adds that 40 people worked at Horizon Milling Flour mill before the shutdown and have been out of work since. He says no cuts were made at ZinPro nor Peterson’s Mill in North Branch.
Eng hopes the project finishes in the fall so those who are temporarily laid off can get back to work.
This is one of three projects receiving a total of $6.25-million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds to improve the state’s freight transportation infrastructure.
In a press release, Minnesota Transportation Commissioner Tom Sorel said, “Mn/DOT received favorable and competitive bids on many of the ARRA projects that have already been let for construction.” He add, “As a result, we are able to make some of the funds originally allocated for those projects available for other multimodal projects.”
“Mn/DOT is excited to see these additional funds go to much-needed port and rail projects,” Sorel said. “Mn/DOT has now obligated half of its ARRA allocation in half the time mandated by the federal government, making Minnesota eligible for any additional federal funding.”