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Minnesota, Wisconsin governors request over $1B in federal funds to replace Blatnik Bridge in Duluth

MN, WI governors request over $1B in federal funds to replace Blatnik Bridge in Duluth
MN, WI governors request over $1B in federal funds to replace Blatnik Bridge in Duluth 00:30

DULUTH, Minn. — Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz and Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers say a critical bridge between the bordering states on Lake Superior needs to be replaced.

On Monday, both governors announced that their respective transportation departments have requested over $1 billion in federal funding to rebuild the John A. Blatnik Bridge, which connects Duluth and Superior, Wisconsin.

"The Blatnik Bridge is a critical connection point for transportation and commerce between Minnesota and Wisconsin — and it needs an upgrade," Walz said. "I'm proud to partner with Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers as we urge our federal partners to support this project that will foster regional economic growth, bolster our national supply chains, and strengthen the reliability of our transportation network that serves hundreds of communities between our states."

RELATED: Biden visits Duluth-Superior to tout infrastructure law set to bring billions to MN, WI

The total project cost is estimated to be $1.8 billion, with each state committing $400 million to the project this year. The federal funding portion would come from the U.S. Department of Transportation's Bridge Investment Program.

The Blatnik Bridge and Duluth/Superior Harbor at Sunset
A High Angle Telephoto Shot of a "Laker" Departing the Duluth Harbor Passing under the Blatnik Bridge on a Summer Evening Getty Images/iStockphoto

The bridge is more than 60 years old, serving as a vital link between the two cities via Interstate 535 and U.S. Highway 53.

"As the bridge reaches the end of its service life, its condition continues to deteriorate — and it's time for us to exhaust every opportunity to replace this crucial connector with a safer, more efficient, and more reliable structure for the next generation," Evers said. "This submittal is a major step forward for our two states, and I look forward to continuing to work with Gov. Walz and our partners in Minnesota and our federal partners to build the 21st-century infrastructure the people of our states deserve."

Officials say the project will improve safety and accommodate oversized and overweight loads. 

Last March, President Joe Biden visited the bridge with both governors to highlight a $1 trillion federal infrastructure law.

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