ST. CLOUD -- Local transportation organizations are reviving their plans to create a new Mississippi River crossing in south St. Cloud.

Brian Gibson is the Executive Director of the St. Cloud Area Planning Organization. He says the idea of an urban beltline has been around for over 30 years, but it lost steam back in 2008 during the Great Recession. He says it is time once again to consider connecting 33rd Street South on the west side of the river to Highway 10 on the east side.

And allow people who want to get through the St. Cloud metro but not necessarily go into the St. Cloud metro to just more easily get around the urban area.  But also allow residents who just want to get from one end of town to the other without going through the middle of town.

Gibson says the southern portion of the metro area is outpacing the growth of the remainder of the region, and employment in the southern area grew almost 40 percent from 2010 to 2018.

The St. Cloud regional transportation model projects that by 2045 total traffic in the region will increase by more than 50 percent with an increase of 60 percent on the six Mississippi River bridge crossings.  The model projects the new 33rd Street bridge would carry about 42,500 vehicles a day.  All six current bridges would still be operating over capacity, but it is estimated the new bridge would remove about 35,000 vehicles from these bridges.

The city of St. Cloud, Sherburne County, Stearns County, Haven Township, and MnDOT will all have a say in this potential project.

There is a survey you can take to give your input on the idea. The deadline to fill out the survey is Friday.

A planning study is expected to be completed by the end of this year which will then be followed by an environmental assessment, and then a final decision can be made on exactly where the bridge would go and would it would look like can be made.

A cost estimate for the project could be anywhere from $100 million to $200 million.

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