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 Nov. 24, 2015: Hauling, drilling work to continue into February

Hauling work on the Hwy 53 relocation project will cease for the Thanksgiving holiday on Thursday and Friday, Nov. 26-27, and will begin anew on Nov. 30.

At that time, crews will begin to work two 10-hour shifts, 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and 7 p.m. to 5:30 a.m. Work will occur Mondays through Saturdays for the next several months to build an access road across the Rouchleau pit under the site of the new bridge.

Crews also will begin drilling piling for the piers on the west end of the bridge. The pilings provide the underground foundation for the bridge piers. This work will occur 24 hours a day Monday through Saturday.. 

MnDOT anticipates that the access road work will continue until late January and the piling work until mid-February.


Blasting on Hwy 53 Relocation between Eveleth and Virginia
We did some more blasting for the Hwy 53 relocation project near Virginia, MN last Friday Nov. 20, 2015. The blasting is part of an extensive bridge project spanning more than 1,000 feet across the Rouchleau Mine Pit. As always, we have worked with the Corps of Engineers, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and the Department of Health to protect the work area with positive barriers to contain any sediment from the rock entering the water (big yellow floating silt curtains). Video courtesy of Hoover Construction.

Coffee & Conversation meetings

Join us at our Coffee & Conversation meetings, designed to provide brief updates on the project and to allow time for questions and answers about the project. Meetings are held on the first Thursday of each month. Next Coffee and Conversation is Dec. 3, at 10 a.m. This month, the meeting will take place at the IRRRB Facility at 4261 Hwy 53 So. in Eveleth. Project staff will provide a progress report and answer questions.

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

Project includes:

  • 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 announced

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