Minnesota is leading a joint project with Wisconsin to address concerns about the bridge, which carries the I-535 highway over St Louis Bay to link the two states.
The structure has been closed to heavy traffic since 2019. It has suffered significant deterioration in its truss elements and requires an inspection every year, which results in lane closures for one to three weeks. Additional maintenance work causes further lane closures several times a year and structural repairs have been needed every four years. In 2016, significant steel and cable repairs were carried out after inspection revealed increased deterioration.
The purpose of the Blatnik Bridge project is to provide an interstate highway connection over the St Louis Bay that does not restrict the movements of freight and provides local, regional, and international movement in a reliable and efficient manner.