Ribbon cutting marks completion of new Bielenberg Bridge in east metro

Date: Monday, November 27, 2023

Not even the chilly temperature could dampen the spirits at this morning’s ribbon-cutting event at the new Bielenberg Bridge over I-94. Metropolitan Council, local, state, and federal officials were on hand to celebrate the new east metro bridge, which connects the cities of Oakdale and Woodbury and will have dedicated lanes for the METRO Gold Line bus rapid transit corridor scheduled to open in 2025.

The bridge opens to vehicle, pedestrian, and cyclist traffic this week. Local officials say they’re happy to see the new structure in place, serving as a large and very real sign of continuing progress on the first-of-its-kind bus rapid transit project in the region.

“It’s long been a goal of the east metro to have frequent, fast, and reliable transit service, seven days a week in this part of the region,” said Met Council Chair Charlie Zelle. “Transit connects people to the places they want to go. It gives people independence and means mobility for people who don’t have a car, who need to get to a job or school, doctor appointments and other destinations. It truly is a public service designed to meet the needs today and into the future as our communities continue to grow.”

“The Bielenberg Bridge is an important connection between two communities, and Gold Line brought an opportunity to bring this infrastructure to life. We are already seeing the economic development from this connection and future transit in both Oakdale and Woodbury,” Washington County Commissioner Stan Karwoski said.

“This is an exciting piece of infrastructure for our community that will provide a safe regional, multi-modal connection for pedestrians, bicyclists and drivers crossing I-94 to the east and help relieve traffic congestion on major roads like Radio Drive,” Washington County Commissioner Michelle Clasen said.

“The Gold Line isn’t just about transportation; it’s about economic empowerment. By providing reliable mobility options, we are empowering residents to access opportunities that contribute to their economic stability and strengthen the fabric of our community,” Ramsey County Commissioner Rafael Ortega said.

The METRO Gold Line is a 10-mile BRT line serving Saint Paul, Maplewood, Landfall, Oakdale, and Woodbury with dedicated bus-only lanes (PDF) being constructed generally north of and near Interstate 94. The Gold Line will provide frequent, all-day service in both directions. There will be 16 stations with enhanced features, four park and rides, and connections to new upgraded trails and sidewalks.

The corridor’s western terminus will be across the street from Saint Paul’s Union Depot Station served by METRO Green Line light rail, which shares trackage with Blue Line light rail in downtown Minneapolis. The eastern terminus will be Woodlane Drive Station in Woodbury, with the cities of Maplewood, Landfall, and Oakdale in between.

Project officials say federal funds paid nearly $7 million of the cost of building the $9.5 million bridge. Construction on the Gold Line began in late 2022. It is part of a growing network of bus rapid transit, light rail transit, and bus routes that connect people to destinations throughout the Twin Cities metro.

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