DULUTH (WJON News) -- Minnesota has secured one billion dollars in federal funding to replace the aging Blatnik Bridge between Duluth and Superior, Wisconsin.

This topic will likely come up when Governor Tim Walz visits Duluth on Tuesday to spotlight his request to the Minnesota Legislature for other infrastructure projects around the state.

MN-DOT says federal funding approval for the Blatnik allows an accelerated schedule: design work starting this year and construction beginning as early as 2025, with traffic detoured when that ramps up.

Major Projects Engineer Pat Huston...

"We will try to minimize that full closure, however, it's a big project... it's four to five years. So the detour will be on U-S Highway 2 over the Bong Bridge, and of course that ripples with issues through Superior, Wisconsin."

Huston says the new bridge will have a "shared-use path" for pedestrians and bicyclists -- which will accommodate big-boom "snooper" trucks during inspections to avoid traffic lane closures.

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Democrats accuse 8th District Republican Congressman Pete Stauber of trying to take credit for the bridge that he doesn't deserve. Stauber says he's consistently advocated for the funds, sending several letters to the U-S transportation secretary and President Joe Biden. But Minnesota DFL Party Chairman Ken Martin says Stauber voted against the major Infrastructure Package that's making the bridge replacement possible.

President Joe Biden is scheduled to visit the Twin Ports on Thursday. The White House press secretary told reporters that President Biden is coming to Superior, Wisconsin to highlight the administration's economic plans.


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