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Published March 15, 2013, 08:47 AM

Land purchases for St. Croix bridge beginning

ST. JOSEPH, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin transportation officials will begin negotiating to buy land needed for the new St. Croix bridge as early as next month.

ST. JOSEPH, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin transportation officials will begin negotiating to buy land needed for the new St. Croix bridge as early as next month.

The first purchase offers involve six parcels of land. In some cases, the property owners' land has been in the family for generations. The land is need for a highway leading to the Wisconsin side of the new bridge.

WisDOT real estate acquisition supervisor Troy Stapelmann says the goal is to reach a compromise on the land purchases. Stapelmann says a last resort is eminent domain, in which the state would seize the property without the owner's consent.

The Star Tribune says the highway is a key piece of the $675 million bridge project connecting Wisconsin and Minnesota. The new bridge is expected to open in late 2016 or early 2017.

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