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.

Traffic impacts

Please slow down and use caution in the work zone.

Bridge steel deliveries begin for Hwy 53 project

The first of 80 truckloads carrying steel for the Highway 53 bridge began arriving in Virginia the week of July 18, 2016. On Tuesday, the first plate girder, weighing more than 200,000 pounds, rolled onto the project site. See the news release.

Southbound Hwy 53 closed for reconstruction

MnDOT recommends Zipper Merge

The Hwy 53 relocation project closed the southbound lanes of Hwy 53 between Vermillion Drive and the eastbound ramp to Highway 135 on Monday, July 11. MnDOT is recommending that drivers use the Zipper Merge when they encounter heavy traffic at the lane closures.

Ramp from Hwy 135 to southbound Hwy 53 closed

  • The closure is part of reconstruction work on the southern portion of the Highway 53 relocation project. See the news release.

Crossover lanes

  • Crews are building crossover lanes for upcoming traffic moves necessary for the reconstruction of a portion of Hwy 53. The work will move traffic to northbound Hwy 53 between Vermillion Drive and the eastbound ramp to Hwy 135. There will be one lane of traffic in each direction while crews rebuild the southbound roadway. The work should take about eight weeks.

Bridge piers

  • Crews are constructing the east and west bridge piers. The foundations are now complete and crews continue to construct the upper elements of the pier through June. Project staff anticipates that east and the west bridge abutments will be completed early this fall, and steel girder installation will begin in September.


About this project


NOTE: The project webcam is updated every 10 minutes.

See the Worksite Webcam

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.