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Old 06-06-2008, 03:53 PM
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Is the Winona bridge closure going to be a nightmare? I'm not familiar with Winona, but I have to assume it's a heavily traveled bridge.
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Old 06-06-2008, 07:59 PM
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I believe it will be a nightmare for some people. To drive across the river without that bridge means driving all the way up to Wabasha or down to LaCrosse. They have a ferry now to take people across but I don't think it takes vehicles across. I'm pretty sure they've arranged for buses to take people to and from the ferry as well. The bridge is also closed to pedestrians but emergency vehicles can use it.

Here's from the newspaper here in Rochester.

WINONA -- The Winona city council approved this afternoon a system of shuttles and ferries that will cost $85,000 per week to operate beginning Monday, as the community continues to struggle with the closure of the Minnesota Highway 43 bridge across the Mississippi River.
It's uncertain how many people will use the service, but a survey by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development found 2,800 people, who live in Wisconsin, but work in Winona, and use the bridge to get to their jobs. And city officials discovered a number of Winona residents who commute to Wisconsin for work.
Minnesota Department of Transportation officials closed the bridge over the Mississippi River Tuesday night for an indefinite period after inspectors found rusted and corroded gusset plates in several locations.
The shuttle system will run Monday through Friday, but there might be providers working on weekends.
Monica Hennessey Mohan, the Winona city clerk, said the system will cost $17,000 a day or $85,000 per week. MnDOT will at a minimum pay for half, but city officials are hoping the state agency will cover 80 to 100 percent.
Commuter passes will be passes are $5 daily and $15 weekly.
They expect the heaviest traffic to be from 5:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. The first ferry will go at 5:30 a.m. Travel across the river is up to the determination of the captain, who will gauge the weather and water conditions.
Judith Bodway, community development director in Winona, outlined the options that will include four places in Wisconsin for commuters to board buses that will take them to the landing area where they'll board the ferry boats.
MnDOT will complete its inspections of the bridge today, but it will take two weeks to finish its analysis of the information and determine the next step. So the commuter system will be in place for at least two weeks.
The bridge was slated for replacement in 2017 on MnDOT's schedule.
"But I think this development will make a huge difference (in speeding things up) and all of that will be reanalyzed," Bodway said.
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