Minnesota Department of Transportation

511 Travel Info

Hwy 53 Relocation

Between Eveleth and Virginia

Hwy 53 Southeast of Virginia, MN
Highway 53 alternative route E-2, southeast of Virginia, MN.

Project update—May 23, 2016

The first order for steel girders that will span the Rouchleau Pit has been placed and will be delivered to the project over the summer and fall. The steel girders, fabricated by a company in Eau Claire, Wis., are up to 16 feet tall and 120 feet long. The bridge girders will weigh more than 10 million pounds when the bridge is complete.

Crews continue to work on the bridge’s west abutment and east pier foundation. The final concrete pours occurred in the past two weeks on the west pier foundation; and crews will begin to build the next level of the pier in coming weeks.

Crews also continue to fill embankments and install sanitary sewer lines near the future intersection of Hwy 53 and Landfill Road (on the eastern side of the project). The project also put a detour in place for Landfill Road this week, which will remain until mid-October. Motorists using the road should follow the detour signs. See the news release.

Project update—May 5, 2016

Thanks for your patience during the recent installation of a new, improved webcam. It's typically updated every 6 hours.

See the Worksite Webcam

Coffee and Conversation was held Thursday, May 5 at 10 a.m. at the MnDOT headquarters, 101 N. Hoover Rd., Virginia, Minn. View highlights from this and earlier meetings.

Project update—April 26, 2016

Crews poured the first above-ground concrete for the west pier last week on the Highway 53 relocation project. Workers also began installing reinforcing bar (rebar) for the next vertical section of the west pier.

Work also has continued on the Hwy 53 and Hwy 135 interchange. This effort includes construction of a rock embankment for several ramps on the interchange. Crews also began excavation work this week for city sanitary sewer lines near Second Avenue.

The project webcam currently is not working. It should be repaired this week. However, a new time-lapse video, as well as new photos, are available. See the news release.

See previous updates.

About this project


MnDOT built the original roadway in 1960 on land owned by iron mining interests. The easement the agency signed in order to build the road included a requirement that MnDOT would move the road with three years notice if the mining company needed to get to the ore underneath. In 2010, the mining interests notified MnDOT that the road would need to be moved. Later that year, MnDOT and the mine company agreed to a 2017 date for the road to be moved.

Part of the project development process included mineral rights acquisition, The state has purchased the mineral rights under the new alignment to ensure that MnDOT will not have to move the road again. More background and FAQs.

Summary of work

  • Vacating a portion of Hwy 53
  • New alignment from Bourgin Road to 2nd Avenue in Virginia (3.2 miles)
  • New interchange at Hwy 135
  • New bridge over Rouchleau Pit
  • Relocation of Landfill Road
  • Realignment of  Mesabi Trail
  • Reconstruction of  2nd Avenue interchange
  • City of Virginia utility relocation

General contractor

Kiewit Infrastructure Company, an international construction, mining and engineering company, is the general contractor for the project.