Minnesota Department of Transportation

511 Travel Info

Hwy 53 Relocation

Between Eveleth and Virginia

Orange barrels on a highway

Hwy 53 photos

Click here for a slideshow featuring historic photos of the Rouchleau Pit.

Photos Courtesy of Iron Range Historical Society Gilbert MN.

2003 Rouchleau Pit

Arial photo of the Rouchleau Pit

Click on photo for a larger view.

Click here for a brief video of the Rouchleau Pit

This one-minute video was shot in the Rouchleau Pit in Virginia, Minnesota in August 2013. The Rouchleau Pit is the site of two of the five alternative routes being considered for the re-routing of Hwy 53. The three-mile-long pit is filled with clear, cold water.

This video provides a glimpse of the pit and the drilling barge that has been taking core samples along the route of the E-1A alternative route.

The drilling rig is attached to a barge that is moved to the designated drilling locations. The drill operators work 24/7 and use small boats to transport themselves and supplies back-and-forth between shore and the barge.

Rouchleau Pit August 2013

Photo showing the barge and drill rig that is drilling samples in the Rouchleau Pit

This drill rig is boring samples in the Rouchleau Pit along the path of the proposed E-1A alternative. The rig drills core-samples (in the shape of a pop can) to check what type of rock/minerals are buried deep under the surface. Photo by Justin Capelle, MnDOT D1 summer intern.

Photo of the Mine in the Sky visitor center as it looks from water level.

Taken from a water level vantage point, the Mine in the Sky visitor center towers over the Rouchleau Pit. The water in the pit is hundreds-of-feet-deep in places. The E-1A alternative would pass through shallower areas. Photo by Justin Capelle, MnDOT D1 summer intern.