Saturday, January 22, 2011

Ice Road Commuters

We live in the smallish historic town of Stillwater, MN. The welcome signs proclaim it as the "Birthplace of Minnesota" because it was in this Minnesota / Wisconsin border town that early
pioneers met to plan for statehood. Our deed shows the land originally being in the Wisconsin territories. Abraham Lincoln signed off on the land.

The beautiful St. Croix river forms the border between states. Residents living on the opposite bank mostly work and shop on our side of the river. They cross the historic lift bridge, dealing with slow rush hour traffic that stops at a red light and when the bridge is lifted for boats. Plans to built a bigger bridge has been going on since the early 60's. I am not hopeful I will ever see it built in my lifetime. The river is designated as a national scenic river and anything constructed must comply with restrictions.

The fight goes on. The Sierra Club had held up construction with a lawsuit. Numerous other challenges were raised. It will now take an act of congress to build it. Literally and I mean LITERALLY, it will take an act of congress. Frankly I don't see them spending 2/3 of a billion on a new bridge anytime soon, do you? It doesn't personally affect me. Maybe we should just let everyone drive six miles downriver to cross.

For years some ingenious brave folks have found a way to cope with the congested bridge. In winter months there is an ice road that some employees of Andersen Windows in nearby Bayport, Mn use as a shortcut to work from Wisconsin. It's been cold enough to make thick ice this year. You don't see any "ice road truckers" on this road, only personal vehicles saving a few minutes on their commute. Another advantage of this road is that it is easier to fix potholes than on a blacktopped highway.

You haven't seen me doing this and you won't. I cringe just watching the TV show about the truckers.

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