6th Street Bridge project receives federal funding

(ABC 6 News) – Rochester city leaders have been discussing a proposed bridge downtown for years, but now, that project has been given a major boost, thanks to some money from the federal government.

U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar visited Rochester to highlight $19.9 million in federal funding that will help construct a new 6th St. bridge over the Zumbro river downtown.

"There has been talk about a bridge for a long time," says Rochester Mayor Kim Norton. "Bridges are expensive and we are really lucky to have the funding."

City officials say the new bridge will reduce emergency response times, create economic opportunities, and connect downtown as a whole.

"This is what we’ve needed for this community and this part of town to make the changes that will be great for southeast Rochester and will also connect them to downtown," says Norton.

The money is coming from the RAISE grant program, which provides funding to community infrastructure projects.

"To keep things moving we need transportation, and we need infrastructure that works," says Klobuchar.

Senator Klobuchar was an advocate for the bipartisan infrastructure law, which increased funding for RAISE grants by 50% in 2021.

"Basically, the project is funded," says Klobuchar. "We have a plan, it is done. This is a grant you don’t have to apply for again, and you don’t have to wait for some budget to pass in eight years. It is done."

Now that the funding has been approved, the next step is for the city council to vote on designs and greenlight construction.

If that happens, Klobuchar and city leaders agree that this bridge will make a big difference.

"It’s not just about a bridge, or a street, or a sewer; it’s about a place," says Executive Director of Destination Medical Center Patrick Seeb. "We have systems in place to ensure we achieve sustainability objectives, and we have systems in place that ensure that we are strategically looking at infrastructure to stimulate further economic development."

If approved by the city council, construction of the bridge is expected to take three years, with hopes of the project being complete in 2025.