Replacing the Blatnik bridge

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The Blatnik bridge between Duluth and Superior carries more than 30,000 vehicles per day.

It was built in the late 1950s and opened to traffic in 1961. Now, MNDOT and WISDOT are working together to replace the massive span and that process ramped up in Superior on Tuesday night as transportation officials from both states jointly hosted a public hearing at the Superior public library.

MNDOT Major Project Engineer for District 1, Patrick Huston said, “We’ve been at this since August of 2020, looking at the world of possibilities on where a new bridge relocation or a new bridge project would go. So what began as a big funnel looking at everything that’s possibly feasible, we filter that down through our purpose and needs assessment looking at all the impacts. And tonight we’re down to presenting our recommended alternative.”

Huston said the Blatnik bridge replacement project will be the largest project ever undertaken by the Minnesota department of transportation, and possibly by WISDOT too.

“The bridge will be demolished and reconstructed. So the focus tonight is not on what is the bridge, or what’s it going to look like? This is about where where is it located, the bridge itself, the roadway and what are the social, economic and environmental impacts?”

Funding still needs to be finalized between Wisconsin, Minnesota and federal transportation monies. But Huston says once funding is secured, construction is expected to begin in 2026 and take four to five years to complete.