Cemetery site status
Pedestrians and bicyclists are not permitted in the closed lanes or fenced areas. Please be respectful of the 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 disturbance of a Native American burial site in June 2017, the Mission Creek Bridge Replacement project was placed on hold.
In collaboration with the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, Minnesota Indian Affairs Council, and the Office of the State Archeologist, MnDOT has since worked to help respectfully complete burial recovery and restore the cemetery site. In November 2019, processed soils were returned to the cemetery area and the central slope was stabilized. Work to complete soil screening and restore the cemetery landscape is ongoing.
MnDOT has contracted with landscape architect Urban Ecosystems to develop a final design for restoring the site. Restoration efforts will begin in the spring of 2022.
Click here for information on the future Mission Creek Bridge replacement and Highway 23 realignment project.
Click here for information on the Highway 23 Road Connection project.
Traffic is restricted to two-lane, two-way sharing on the eastbound side of Hwy 23 and will stay in this configuration until restoration efforts have been completed. A dynamic warning sign is in place and the speed limit has been reduced to 30 mph.
To receive periodic 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.
Hwy 23 updates
- A public meeting was held Monday, Nov. 22, in person at the Gary REC Center. A virtual component was also offered. The recorded meeting can be viewed here.
- Updates were provided at the FDL Community Club meeting held Tuesday, Nov. 9.
- Work took place to prepare the site for winter.
- A virtual public update meeting was held Tuesday, Sept. 21, 2021.
- FDL crews continue processing soils.
- A virtual public meeting was held Thursday, July 15.
- FDL crews resumed soil processing work.
- A virtual public meeting was held on Monday, April 19.
- Project partners are preparing for work to resume this spring.
- A virtual public meeting was held on October 19.
- Grading work took place to open up site lines for traffic entering Hwy 23 and to help establish vegetation in exposed areas.
- On Oct. 31 the FDL crew shut down the site for winter. Crews will return next spring to complete soil processing.
- Crews continue processing soils.
- General site work and maintenance.
- A small crew returned to the site to process and clear remaining soil piles. These soils were not part of initial burial recovery efforts. They are separate piles from excavation work that took place outside of the cemetery area and must be processed prior to other upcoming work.
- Plans for construction of 134th Ave W and the Cemetery Landscape have been turned in to the MnDOT Central Office and will be advertised for bids soon, with construction anticipated in the summer of 2021.
- A virtual public meeting was held on August 25.
- Site cleanup and work preparation.
- A virtual public update meeting was held on June 23.
- Two Pines archeological shovel testing.
- Landscape stabilization work.
- Trailer relocated to area where Sprung building used to be.
- Updates were scheduled to be given at the FDL Community Club meeting on March 10 - meeting canceled.
- March 26 security was temporarily removed from the Mission Creek site.
- A final design presentation was held at Black Beak Casino on February 19.
- MnDOT held an Open House at the Gary New Duluth Rec. Center on February 27 to discuss plans for Mission Creek Bridge replacement and Highway 23 realignment.
- A restoration concept design presentation took place at Black Bear Casino on January 8.
- MnDOT presented updates at the FDL Community Club meeting on January 14.
- Displaced soils were returned to the central cemetery and the central cemetery slope has been stabilized.
- Site cleanup and preparation for winter.
- MnDOT presented updates at the FDL Community Club meeting on November 12.
- Worked to dry saturated soils.
- Began returning processed soils to central cemetery area.
- A community meeting was held at the Gary New Duluth Rec Center on October 23.
- MnDOT presented updates at the FDL Community Club meeting on September 10.
- Work stopped for MIAC and OSA to assess progress and consult with project partners.
- Portion of Highway 210 was paved by MnDOT.
- A community meeting was held at Chambers Grove Park on August 27.
- Hoop house removal
- Work nearing completion east of 134th Ave. W.
- Trailers moved closer to cemetery area.
- Cleanup of extra construction materials
- Sediment cleanup and additional paving and shaping between St. Louis River and Chambers Grove Park.
- Placed bituminous berm to divert water from the campground entrance.
- A Community meeting will be held at the Gary New Duluth Rec Center on June 26 at 6 p.m.
- Century Link planning to relocate their facilities the week of June 17.
- A Community meeting was held at the Gary New Duluth Rec Center on May 1.
- Preliminary plans presented for the design of 134th Ave. W.
- New work-plan in place for the remainder of work.
- Fond du Lac Band is taking lead on completion of burial recovery
- Evaluation of work left.
- Spring clean-up done around site.
- MnDOT presented updates at the FDL Community Club meeting on March 12.
- The backhoe was brought back to the site for the spring/summer months.
- The two crews working to process cemetery soils continue to make progress.
- A Community Meeting was held at the Gary New Duluth Rec Center on February 27.
- Site work continues to focus primarily on snow removal and maintenance.
- Emergency maintenance crews removed a large snow pile that had accumulated between the sprung building and hoop houses. The snow in this area had gotten so high that it could have potentially compromised the structures and needed to be cleared immediately.
- The MnDOT site located behind the Wabagon is up and fully operating.
- Site work is focused primarily on snow removal and maintenance.
- MnDOT presented updates at the FDL Community Club meeting on January 8.
- A Community Meeting was held at the Gary New Duluth Rec Center on December 11.
- The City of Duluth relocated their facilities that were located in the central cemetery.
- Minnesota Power relocated their facilities that were located in the central cemetery.
- The old staircase has been completely removed from the central cemetery area.
- A heat trace has been installed in the culvert to help prevent ice from building up on Highway 23.
- The crosswalk sign for the Highway 210 intersection has been ordered.
- Work to improve the Wabagon facility for the additional crew is ongoing.
- Work on the perimeter fencing to straighten fence and improve sight visibility.
- Place topsoil, seed and mulch adjacent to new sidewalk.
- MnDOT presented updates at FDL Community Club meeting on November 13.
- Reconstructed the sidewalk from 131st Ave. W to the Mission Creek Bridge.
- Constructed the driveway access to Chambers Grove Park to reduce conflicts with the Highway 210 and Highway 23 intersection.
- Realigned the Highway 210/Highway 23 intersection to improve sight distance.
- Striped crosswalks at 131st Ave. W. and at Highway 210 (crossing Highway 23 and crossing Highway 210)
- Constructed a gravel path from Highway 210 to Chambers Grove Park.
- Smoothed out some stockpiled topsoil, seeded and mulched.
- Removed dynamic speed signs in preparation for winter.
- Continued working with utility owners to relocate utilities.
- Fond du Lac hired 12 individuals to temporarily work in surcharge areas.
- Provided updates by holding a “Coffee & Conversation” meeting on October 29.
- 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 inlet protection 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.