STILLWATER, Minn. (AP) _ Hundreds of onlookers gathered to celebrate the opening of the new St. Croix River bridge connecting Minnesota and Wisconsin, an enormous project that was decades in the making.

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Traffic began streaming across the $646 million bridge Wednesday evening escorted by vehicles with flashing lights. Earlier Wednesday, Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker ceremoniously helped cut a red ribbon to officially open the four-lane bridge. Officials said the bridge is one of the largest transportation projects ever completed in Minnesota and Wisconsin.

About a mile upstream, the Minnesota Department of Transportation shut down the 86-year-old Lift Bridge to vehicle traffic. That bridge will later open to pedestrian and bike traffic.