Canada-U.S. border crossing bridge in Rainy River, Ontario to be replaced
Cross-border project will replace, update bridge between Rainy River, Ont. and Baudette, Minn.
A highway bridge connecting northwestern Ontario with northern Minnesota is slated to be replaced in the next few years, raising hopes that it will be easier to transport large cargo across the Canada-U.S. border.
The bilateral project between Ontario's Ministry of Transportation and Minnesota's Department of Transportation is expected to replace the bridge between Rainy River, Ont., and Baudette, Minn., — a bridge that represents more than just an access point between the two communities.
"There's relationships, there's marriages, there's families living on both sides [of the border]," said Rainy River Coun. Gordon Prost.
"There's people who work on one side, live on the other side. There's even some education, schooling and stuff going on."
"When you reach the halfway point, suddenly it was brighter, cleaner paint, and it was in nicer condition," he said. "So, you knew when you were going from one country to the other."
Prost added that "the Ontario side was the nicer side."
The bridge is being replaced to conform with new maintenance standards in Minnesota and calls for the new structure to be built south of the existing bridge.
When the bridge originally opened back in 1960, Prost said there were big celebrations, but he's not sure that will happen again.
"It was a pretty big affair," he said. "There were marching bands ... military fly overs, it was a whole big complete celebration all day long."
"I don't think this is going to be quite the same thing," he added. "Maybe a few fireworks."