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 Jan. 29, 2016

Bridge foundation work continues on Hwy 53 project

Work continues this week on steel piling that will form the underground base for the bridge on the Highway 53 relocation project. The piling work is almost complete for the piers on the west end of the bridge and will move to the east pier in the coming weeks. See the news release.

Project update Jan. 8, 2016

Causeway construction nears completion

Work on a causeway, or raised road, across the Rouchleau Pit should be done in two weeks. The road will provide access to construction workers as they build a bridge over the pit, which is a key component in the highway relocation project. Crews are also nearing completion on the underground foundations, or piling, for the bridge’s west pier. They continue excavation work on the east side of the pit, which includes some rock blasting to make room for pier work that will begin there in several weeks.

See the Worksite Webcam

See the worksite webcam, updated every 6 hours.


NOTE: Cold and cloudy winter weather has slowed the solar-powered camera operations. It is currently updating less frequently. We are working on a solution to better protect the camera from the elements and keep it updating on a consistent schedule. Thank you for your patience.

Rouchleau Mine Pit blasting

We did some blasting for the project near Virginia, Minn. 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).

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.The next Coffee and Conversation will be held on Thursday, Feb. 4 at 10 a.m. at the Virgina DOT headquarters, 101 N. Hoover Rd., Virginia.

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.

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.