St. Croix Bridge work relying a lot on local labor

Hard hat and safety glasses
File photo.

STILLWATER, Minn. (AP) – The construction of the new St. Croix River bridge is relying heavily on local labor, a strategy that officials say keeps money in the community and takes advantage of well-established relationships.

The cement is from Grey Cloud Island, the American steel will be installed by a contractor in Hudson, Wis., and painting will be done by a New Hope-based business, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reported.

The bridge project includes a new span across the river between Oak Park Heights, Minn., and St. Joseph, Wis.

Jon Chiglo, a project director with the Minnesota Department of Transportation, said it made sense for the main contractor to use local labor. Workers from the area are familiar with the region and they also have relationships with the other subcontractors already, he said.

MnDOT said at least $88 million will go to local subcontractors.

The Minnesota and Wisconsin departments of transportation announced a $332.5 million contract in December with Lunda/Ames Joint Venture to build the new bridge. Lunda/Ames is a partnership between Ames Construction of Burnsvillve, Minn., and Lunda Construction in Black River Falls, Wis.

Chiglo said the contracts lead to jobs, as well as ripple effects for the local community.

“At our peak, we’ll have a couple hundred people working on the site, just on the bridge, and a couple hundred working on the approach project, as well,” he said. “Some of those people go home at night, some stay at hotels. All of them eat lunch, so there’s some advantages to having all those folks working in this area.”

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