Minnesota Department of Transportation

511 Travel Info

Hwy 53 Relocation

Between Eveleth and Virginia

Hwy 53 Southeast of Virginia, MN

About this project

Project profile

Recent news releases

  • Aug. 8, 2017: Hwy 53 relocation project to delay project dedication
  • July 3, 2017: Hwy 53 relocation project Coffee & Conversation set for Thursday
  • May 19, 2017: Ramp from Second Avenue S to Hwy 53 to close next week
  • May 12, 2017: MnDOT announces dedication event date for Hwy 53 relocation project
  • May 8, 2017: Concrete decks will be built next week for Hwy 53 bridges
  • Apr. 14, 2017: Road closure slated as part of Hwy 53 project
  • Mar. 31, 2017: Hwy 53 project begins final season of work
  • Feb. 27, 2017: Hwy 53 relocation project Coffee and Conversation set for Thursday
  • Nov. 16, 2016: Girders now span entire Rouchleau Pit on Hwy 53 relocation project
  • Oct. 21, 2016: Bridge work continues on Highway 53 relocation project
  • Oct. 3, 2016: Hwy 53 relocation project's monthly Coffee & Conversation happens Thursday
  • Sept. 23, 2016: Bridge begins to take shape on Hwy 53 relocation project
  • July 29, 2016: Overnight closures of Second Avenue to start Aug. 2
  • July 22, 2016: Bridge steel deliveries begin for Hwy 53 project
  • June 30, 2016 MnDOT to close ramp from Hwy 135 to southbound Hwy 53 July 6
  • May 23, 2016 MnDOT buys steel for new Hwy 53 bridge over Rouchleau Pit
  • April 26, 2016 Work continues on west pier of Hwy 53 relocation project
  • Feb. 24, 2016 Bridge foundation work continues on Hwy 53 project
  • Jan. 11, 2016 Causeway construction nears completion on Hwy 53 project


A typical cover page of the Hwy 53 Project Newsletter, with a title, several photos and a feature article.

Timeline - key dates

  • 1960 - MnDOT acquired an easement that allowed US 53 in Virginia to operate on land that has significant mineral resources. This easement could be terminated on 3 years notice.
  • May 2010 – land owner (RGGS) and lessee United Taconite gave notice that the US 53 easement would terminate in 3 years; May 2017 was negotiated as new termination date
  • 2011-2014 – study of alternatives, technical analysis
  • December 2014 Published Draft Environmental Impact Statement
  • 2015 – final design, Final Environmental Impact Statement, permitting
  • November 2015 – construction starts


MnDOT chose the E-2 route for the Hwy 53 Relocation project. This alternative is the northernmost route with a 1,100-foot bridge across the Rouchleau Pit. Learn more about the alternatives considered for this project.

Environmental Impact Statement and Record of Decision

The Federal Highway Administration approved a combined Final Environmental Impact Statement/Record of Decision for the Hwy 53 Virginia to Eveleth project in accordance with federal requirements, The Final EIS describes the transportation and environmental impacts of the preferred alternative. The ROD explains the reasons for the project decision and summarizes the mitigation measures that will be incorporated in the project. The ROD concludes the federal environmental review process for the project. Learn more about the EIS and ROD.


The Scoping documents describe the alternatives studied in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement and the social, economic, and environmental issues to be addressed. View the Scoping Decision documents.

Visual Quality

The Visual Quality committee was formed to generate ideas for developing the visual character of the Hwy 53 Relocation project. The last meeting of the committee was Nov. 3, 2015.

Reports and studies

Detailed reports and studies about this project

Adequacy determination

MnDOT has found the Final Environmental Impact Statement for the US Highway 53 Virginia to Eveleth project to be adequate in accordance with state rules, concluding the state environmental review process. The Adequacy Determination document describes the project decisions, summarizes the project impacts, identifies the measures to minimize harm to the environment, and provides responses to comments that were made on the state Final EIS.

US Hwy 53 Adequacy Determination (PDF 19 MB)