The new alignment for the roadway and bridge is now open. The old alignment is now closed.
Crews are putting the finishing touches on Hwy 53, working on final slopes and ditches, topsoil placement, turf establishment, sign installation and striping and traffic camera installation.
Crews will begin removing the existing Hwy 53, including the concrete pavement, the Second Avenue overpass bridge, underground utilities and signs. That work is expected to take a month.
Project dedication highlights
On Sept. 15, 2017 more than 400 people gathered under the new bridge over Rouchleau Pit to celebrate the project’s opening. Minnesota Lt. Gov. Tina Smith, Cong. Rick Nolan and other elected officials gathered to thank the community, the contractor and MnDOT for their support and efforts. The project opened more than a month ahead of schedule.
MnDOT built the original roadway in 1960 on land owned by iron mining interests. The easement the agency signed 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
Kiewit Infrastructure Company, an international construction, mining and engineering company, is the general contractor for the project.