Minnesota Department of Transportation

511 Travel Info

Hwy 53 Relocation

Between Eveleth and Virginia

Project updates

I-494 Ramp Closures
Easement rights for parts of
Hwy 53 in St. Louis County
have been terminated.

Coffee & Conversation project update 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.

The next meeting will be:
Thursday, November 6, 2014
10 a.m. to 11 a.m.
MnDOT Virginia Office, 101 Hoover Road, Virginia

Future meetings

Thursday, December 4, 2014
10 a.m. to 11 a.m.
MnDOT Virginia Office, 101 Hoover Road, Virginia

About this project

This is a proposed project to abandon Hwy 53 in the area of the United Taconite mine expansion and reconstruct in a new location.

Background

  • Hwy 53 between Duluth and International Falls is a major transportation corridor serving northeastern Minnesota.
  • Since 1960, portions of Hwy 53 in St. Louis County were located on land owned by mining companies.┬áThe highway is located on these lands through easement rights.
  • The current mining companies, United Taconite and RGGS Land and Minerals, now need access to the land the highway is located on to continue their mining operations.
  • In accordance with the 1960 agreement provisions, United Taconite and RGGS Land and Minerals have given MnDOT notice that they will be terminating the easement rights for the portion of Hwy 53 that is located between approximately Hwy 135 and 2nd Avenue in Virginia.
  • The 1960 agreement required the highway to be moved within three years of receiving the termination notice but United Taconite and RGGS Land and Minerals have stated they would allow up to seven years for the move to occur.
  • MnDOT is required to relocate the highway outside of the planned mining area by spring 2017 so that United Taconite can begin mining under the current roadway.

Risks

  • Unknown funding sources/lack of funding
  • Community impacts and social acceptance of new route
  • Impact of new route on mining operations
  • Possibility that the highway will need to be relocated again in the future
  • Short, aggressive time line for relocating the highway
  • Volatility of mining industry
  • Agency review and permitting