Recovery site status
Please note: Pedestrians and bicyclists are not permitted in the closed lanes or fenced areas. Please be respectful of the recovery effort and cemetery and use alternate routes.
In mid-May 2017, the Minnesota Department of Transportation began work on a project to replace the highway 23 Bridge over Mission Creek to allow for a larger waterway.
Due to the inadvertent discovery of a Native American burial site in June 2017, the Mission Creek Bridge Replacement project was placed on hold. The project will remain on hold indefinitely so cemetery recovery and restoration efforts can be completed.
MnDOT is currently working in conjunction with the Fond du Lac band of Lake Superior Chippewa, Minnesota Indian Affairs Council, Office of the State Archeologist, and contractors from Hamline University to recover disturbed remains and restore the historic cemetery site.
Periodic emails will be sent out with updates about the status of ongoing recovery work. To receive email updates please sign up by clicking on "Sign up for email updates" beneath "Connect with us" in the lower right corner of this page.
Traffic is restricted to two-lane, two-way sharing on the eastbound side of Hwy 23 and will stay in this configuration until recovery and restoration efforts have been completed. A dynamic warning sign is in place and the speed limit has been reduced to 30 mph.
Hwy 23 Updates
- Presented updates at the FDL Community Club meeting on Sept. 11.
- Hamline University increased size of work crew to 21 individuals.
- MnDOT held a meeting with utility owners to begin the utility relocation process.
- A geotechnical expert looked at the cemetery to determine what is needed for restoration.
- Extraordinary enforcement out on a random basis to address speed concerns.
- MnDot maintenance:
- Mowed again before winter.
- Removed a tree from within the fenced area.
- Smoothed Gravel entry ways.
- Did street sweeping along 131st and in front of Chambers Grove.
- Trimmed trees that were blocking signs near Chambers Grove.
- Removed the diapers from catch basins along Highway 23.
- Provided updates by holding a “Coffee & Conversation” meeting on September 19.
- Announced a new timeline of 387 working days to complete burial recovery.
- Added new signs around fence for contacting the Communication Office.
- Presented updates at a community meeting held in Chambers Grove Park.
- A new contract with Hamline University brings an educational background and a broadened capacity for completing cemetery recovery.
- Improved pedestrian walkways will be completed soon.
- New crosswalk signs will be put in place soon.
- MnDOT continues to monitor the Mission Creek waterway.
- Fencing layout moved to improve visibility and access for the community.
- Improved drainage collection to prevent water over traffic lanes.
- An on-site communication office has been established.
- Presented updates at the FDL community club meeting on May 8.
- Presented updates at the FDL community club meeting on March 6.
- Presented updates at a community meeting hosted by FDL at Black Bear Casino on December 4.
- Winter weather has slowed work and not all sidewalk repairs will be completed this fall.
- Cemetery recovery work at the site is ongoing and will continue throughout the winter.
- A temporary building is under construction at 130th Avenue West to expedite the recovery work over the winter.
- Barrier has been placed along the roadway for the winter.
- The speed limit has been lowered to 30 mph through the work area.
- Please obey the speed limit and watch for workers in the area.
- Repair work on the existing Mission Creek Bridge is underway.
- Work was done to stabilize stream banks in the event of heavy rain.
Coffee and Conversation Meetings
Past open houses
- Oct. 24 at the Fond du Lac Community Church
- Sept. 26 at the Fond du Lac Community Club
- Aug. 8 at Chambers Grove Park, Fond du Lac, 134th West Ave. Duluth, MN 55808
- June 14 at the Fond du Lac Community Church, 521-131st Avenue West, Duluth, MN 55808