Biden talks infrastructure, federal grant for Blatnik Bridge during Twin Ports visit

Biden talks infrastructure, federal grant for Blatnik Bridge during Twin Ports visit

Biden talks infrastructure, federal grant for Blatnik Bridge during Twin Ports visit

President Joe Biden visited the Twin Ports area on Thursday to highlight federal funds that will help with replacing the Blatnik Bridge, which connects the cities of Duluth, Minnesota and Superior, Wisconsin.

U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) was among those welcoming Biden to the region on Thursday and released the following statement about the federal money that will help replace the bridge.

“For over 60 years, the Blatnik Bridge has been a critical travel and trade link between Minnesota and Wisconsin, but it’s in serious need of a replacement. That’s why I fought for this federal grant that will increase safety and reliability for the thousands of people who use the bridge every day.”

Sen. Klobuchar

The 60-year-old bridge will cost $1.8 billion to replace. While both states have committed $400 million to the project, the remaining $1 billion will come from the federal government.

According to the White House, due to its poor condition, the current Blatnik Bridge is expected to close by 2030.

Last year, Klobuchar, as well as fellow U.S. Senators Tina Smith (D-Minn.) and Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) and Congressman Pete Stauber (R-Minn.) asked Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg to award funding for the project. The same legislators also asked Biden to award federal funds for the project.

RELATED: Walz, Evers ask federal government for more than $1B to replace Blatnik Bridge

The federal grant was awarded through the United States Department of Transportation’s Nationally Significant Multimodal Freight & Highway Projects program.

Early Thursday morning, the White House announced $5 billion dollars will be awarded to infrastructure projects across the country, which includes $1.06 billion for the Blatnik Bridge. The other projects include $600 million for the I-5 Bridge between Vancouver, Washington and Portland, Oregon; $95 million to replace 10 miles of I-10 through the Gila River Indian Community and Pinal County in Arizona and $150 million for improvements on the Cross Bronx Expressway in New York, among others.

Thursday’s visit is the second time the president has been in Superior within the last two years – in March of 2022, the president, as well as First Lady Jill Biden, visited Yellowjacket Union at the University of Wisconsin-Superior to discuss their plans for infrastructure laws.

First Lady Jill Biden speaks as President Joe Biden listens March 2, 2022 in Superior, Wis. (ABC News)

In addition to expanding weight capacity, the White House adds other improvements the new bridge is expected to have will be wider shoulders, increasing accessibility for pedestrians and bicyclists.

As reported earlier this week, design work for the project – which will determine specifications and the shape the final project – is expected to begin this year. Once a final design is selected, construction could begin as early as next year.