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Winona officials ask MN and WI businesses what they want in new bridge

In Winona, Minn., officials are asking businesses in both the Gopher State and Wisconsin what they want in a new bridge over the Mississippi River.

The current two-lane span is scheduled to be replaced with a four-lane bridge in 2014.

Winona Chamber president Della Schmidt says they're looking for input on issues like vehicle and barge traffic, tourism and truck commerce.

Among other things, officials want to know how important it is to have an uninterrupted river crossing during the construction.

The Winona bridge was shut down for 11 days in June, after Minnesota inspectors found problems with gusset plates.

About 2,800 Wisconsinites who work in Winona had to drive hundreds of miles to use another bridge for three days, until a temporary ferry could open on the Mississippi.