During a press event at the Earth Rider Brewery in Superior, Wis., President Joe Biden highlighted a $1 billion grant award to the Blatnik Bridge project, which will replace the original structure built in 1961 with a new design that will not only handle higher volumes of motor vehicle and freight traffic but more safely accommodate bicyclists and pedestrians as well.
For more than 60 years, the Blatnik Bridge has served as a vital link between Duluth and Superior via Interstate 535 and US 53.
Jointly owned and managed by the Minnesota Department of Transportation and Wisconsin Department of Transportation, the Blatnik Bridge is an important freight and commercial connection between the Duluth-Superior Twin Ports, with more than 33,000 vehicles traversing the structure per day, and more than 265,000 trucks transporting nearly $4 billion in goods crossing it every year.
The total cost for rebuilding the Blatnik Bridge is estimated to be $1.8 billion, with Wisconsin and Minnesota each committing $400 million toward the project in 2023. With the $1 billion federal grant now in hand, design work for the project, which will determine specifications and shape the final project, is anticipated to begin in 2024. Once a final design is selected, construction could begin as early as 2025.
Read the full story from the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials.