STILLWATER, Minn. (AP) — A bridge connecting Minnesota and Wisconsin will be closed indefinitely starting Monday because of high water, officials said Sunday, as authorities around the state braced for flooding from bulging streams and rivers.
The Stillwater Lift Bridge over the St. Croix River, which joins Minnesota Highway 36 and Wisconsin Highway 64, will be closed to traffic in both directions from Monday morning until further notice, the Minnesota Department of Transportation announced. Drivers are being told to use Interstate 94 or Highway 243 instead.
Meanwhile, officials across Minnesota are preparing for high waters to crest in the coming days.
“Right now what we’re seeing is a statewide disaster, really,” U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar said Sunday. “From International Falls on the Canadian border down to Luverne on the Iowa border, it really covered the whole state.”
The Free Press of Mankato reported that Klobuchar visited an apartment complex in the city, where 39 families were displaced when lower-level units flooded, as part of her tour to survey flood damage around the state.
Many cities are waiting to see if sandbags and levees can hold back more rain. But it’s already too late for some. A handful of homeowners in Henderson had to evacuate on Saturday after a landslide. The Minnesota River has surpassed flood stage there, heading toward a Monday crest.
On the edge of town, a hill slid down into a farm field.
“It just brought everything with it,” Henderson Mayor Paul Menne told the Star Tribune.
Most routes into the town are closed. About 20 National Guard troops are in Henderson, while more troops are helping sandbag the Rainy River and Rainy Lake in northern Minnesota’s Koochiching County.
In St. Paul, the Mississippi River is expected to crest later this week at just under 20 feet, but rising waters already have closed Harriet Island and many roads.