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Column: Winter won't stop Red Wing Bridge project

Mark Anderson

Mark Anderson is the MnDOT construction project manager for the Red Wing Bridge project. He can be reached at 507-205-6402 or

At this time of year, we often pause to give thanks. We're no different on the Red Wing Bridge project.

We continue to make progress toward opening the new bridge to traffic in 2019. The weather and the river have created some challenges for us this year, but we're thankful for the workers who've put in the time and effort to get the project back toward the original timeline. We'll continue to do that as we enter into 2019.

We're thankful for the workers who will be out at the construction site each day as the winter cold swirls around. It's tough, challenging work, so we're especially thankful for those iron workers and others working on bridge piers No. 1 and 2, the two that are in the river and at the edge on the Minnesota side.

The piers are where you will see much of the work occurring through the winter months as we get ready them to place the tub girders in early spring. You've seen the bridge approaches take shape on the Wisconsin side with the placement of the beams and then the pouring of the concrete.

In late October, one of the deck pours for half of the back approach spans in Wisconsin went for 6.5 hours. Our contractor. Zenith Tech Inc., poured 580 cubic yards of concrete or about 2.1 million pounds of concrete.

You'll see the bridge piers closer to the Minnesota side take shape this winter and it will set the stage for the eventual connection of the bridge next year. It's a gradual process that unfolds daily, so if you haven't watched the bridge progress for a while, it might seem like it happens quickly.

It's similar to the transformation of the ramps and connections on the Minnesota side. If you leave Red Wing on Highway 61, you might see the changes, but even then it's hard to see all of it. Some folks who did get to see more of it were on tours coordinated by our partners with the Red Wing Area Chamber of Commerce this past fall.

We're past the tour season this year, but keep an eye out for tours in the spring or have your group contact me in the spring to see if we can coordinate with your schedule.

And that's where our thanks wraps up. We're thankful for the public and your participation in this project. We enjoy the feedback, and many of the comments on Facebook have helped alert us or confirm issues that we can address. We aren't perfect, but we do better work when you are involved and engaged. You help us and you can help others become aware of traffic changes or developments on the project. Thank you!

This $63.4 million project is a strong partnership that includes the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, the city of Red Wing, the Federal Highway Administration and our contractor, Zenith Tech, Inc.

As part of team's efforts, you will see Red Wing City Engineer Jay Owens and me together at various community events or on a bridge tour. We'd be happy to visit with your group or provide your organization or business with the necessary information about the project so you can keep your employees informed. We've found that if you know more about the project, you can help others understand it and minimize any possible disruptions it might cause. We do regular updates on the Community Access Channel 6, so you can catch us there as we provide updates and field questions.

We have a lot of good information that can help explain the project. You can learn more about the project or sign up for email updates by going to MnDOT's project web site or you can follow us on Facebook at