Minnesota Department of Transportation

511 Travel Info

Hwy 23

Mission Creek

Recovery site status

A rendering of the Hwy 61 Lafayette project.

Fond du Lac location map. Select for larger version.

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 impacts

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

  • 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.
March 2019
  • 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.
February 2019
  • 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.
January 2019
  • 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.

December 2018
  • 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.
November 2018
  • 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.
October 2018
  • 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.
September 2018
  • 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.
August 2018
  • Presented updates at a community meeting held in Chambers Grove Park.
July 2018
  • 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.
May 2018
  • Presented updates at the FDL community club meeting on May 8.
March 2018
  • Presented updates at the FDL community club meeting on March 6.

December 2017
  • Presented updates at a community meeting hosted by FDL at Black Bear Casino on December 4.
November 2017
  • 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.
July 2017
  • Work was done to stabilize stream banks in the event of heavy rain.