Minnesota Department of Transportation

511 Travel Info

Hwy 53 Relocation

Between Eveleth and Virginia

Hwy 53 Southeast of Virginia, MN

Previous project updates

Project update—July 28, 2017

Motorists will encounter a new detour route on Monday, July 31 on the Hwy 53 relocation project. See the July 28, 2017 news release.

Project update—July 3, 2017

The Minnesota Department of Transportation will conduct its next monthly Coffee and Conversation meeting on Thursday, July 6 at 10 a.m. at MnDOT’s Virginia headquarters, 101 N. Hoover Rd., Virginia, Minn. See the July 3, 2017 news release.

Project update—May 19, 2017

The ramp from Second Avenue in Virginia to southbound Highway 53 will close on Monday, May 22 at 6 a.m. See the May 19, 2017 news release.

Project update—May 12, 2017

The Minnesota Department of Transportation will conduct a dedication event for the Hwy 53 relocation project on Friday, Aug. 18, 2017. See the May 12, 2017 news release.

Project update—May 8, 2017

Concrete will be flowing in the coming weeks when crews begin pouring bridge decks on the Hwy 53 relocation project. See the May 8, 2017 news release.

Project update—April 14, 2017

Roadwork will begin in earnest next week on the Hwy 53 relocation project. See the April 14, 2017 news release.

Project update—March 31, 2017

As the weather turns warmer, work is ramping up on the Hwy 53 relocation project. See the Apr. 3, 2017 news release.

Project update—Feb. 27, 2017

The Minnesota Department of Transportation will conduct its first monthly Coffee and Conversation meeting of 2017 on Thursday, March 2 at 10 a.m. at MnDOT’s Virginia headquarters, 101 N. Hoover Rd., Virginia, Minn. See the Feb. 27, 2017 news release.

Project update—Nov. 16, 2016

Crews installed the first set of girders Nov. 11 to connect the new Highway 53 bridge from east to west across the Rouchleau Pit. Work will continue through December to place the remaining girders before construction of the bridge deck begins next spring.

Crews are preparing for a winter shutdown of roadwork, which includes stabilizing areas of open earth to control sediment. Utility on a sanitary sewer lift station near Highway 135 is almost complete. Roadwork will be finished for the season by Nov. 23. See the Nov. 16, 2016 news release.

Project update—Oct. 21, 2016

Crews continue to install the large steel girders that will support the roadway and pedestrian walkway on the bridge over Rouchleau Pit on the Highway 53 project. All beams from the west abutment to Pier 2 have been placed. Crews will continue to place beams through January and will begin the bridge deck construction next spring.

Work also continues on the bridge’s concrete west abutment as well as on Pier 1, the eastern pier. And the bridge crew continues work on the piers and abutments for the bridge that will carry Highway 135 over Highway 53 on the south end of the project. See the Oct. 21, 2016 news release.

Project update—Oct. 3, 2016

The next monthly Coffee and Conversation meeting is Thursday, Oct. 6 at 10 a.m. at MnDOT’s Virginia headquarters (101 N. Hoover Rd., Virginia, Minn.). Project representatives will discuss what has occurred on the project in recent weeks as well as what is planned for the next few weeks. The event is free and open to the public. See the Oct. 3, 2016 news release.

Project update—Sept. 23, 2016

Crews began installing the large steel girders that will support the roadway and pedestrian walkway on the bridge over Rouchleau Pit on the Highway 53 project. The first girders were placed on Sept 13 and will stretch from Pier 2, the western pier, to the west abutment.

Work also continues on the bridge’s concrete east abutment as well as on Pier 1, the eastern pier. And the bridge crew is constructing the pier and the abutments for the bridge that will carry Highway 135 over Highway 53 on the south end of the project. See Sept. 23, 2016 news release.

Project update—Aug. 26, 2016

Work continues to progress on the Highway 53 relocation project. Roadway crews have been excavating the roadway’s new alignment and installing water, storm sewer and sanitary sewer systems.

Bridge workers have nearly completed Pier 2 and continue to work on the west abutment. The project has also received 16 of the 80 steel bridge girders necessary for the bridge, and crews are now assembling them prior to installation. The rest of the girders will be delivered and assembled during the next few months.

Crews also have begun foundation preparation for the Highway 135 bridge on the east side of the project. See Aug. 26, 2016 news release.

Project update—July 12, 2016

MnDOT is recommending that drivers use the Zipper Merge when they encounter heavy traffic at the lane closures on Highway 53 in Virginia. Long backups before the work zone concern project officials.

The Highway 53 relocation project closed the southbound lanes of Highway 53 between Vermillion Drive and the eastbound ramp to Highway 135 on Monday, July 11. There is one lane of traffic in each direction while crews rebuild the southbound roadway. The work will take about two months. Next year, crews will rebuild the northbound side of Highway 53 in that area. See July 12, 2016 news release.

MnDOT has placed a video regarding Zipper Merge on the project’s website. To see an updated project profile, updated photos and for more information, visit the website at www.mndot.gov/hwy53relocation. For questions or concerns about the project, call the project hotline at 218-820-8532.

Project update—June 15, 2016

The Hwy 53 relocation project will close 10th Street South in Virginia from South Second Avenue West to Railroad Avenue starting June 20 and will also begin reconstruction work on Hwy 53 south of the relocation project near the end of June.

The 10th Street closure will start at 6 a.m. June 20 and will end at 5 p.m. on June 24. The detour for the closure will be along 11th Street South, South Second Avenue West and 9th Street South. The closure is necessary as crews work on city utilities.

Crews are also now building crossover lanes for upcoming traffic moves necessary for the reconstruction of a portion of Highway 53. The work will move traffic to northbound Hwy 53 between Vermillion Drive and the eastbound ramp to Highway 135. There will be one lane of traffic in each direction while crews rebuild the southbound roadway. The work should take about eight weeks. Next year, crews will rebuild the northbound side. Motorists will need to be cautious in the work zone. See June 14, 2016 news release.

Project update—May 23, 2016

The first order for steel girders that will span the Rouchleau Pit has been placed and will be delivered to the project over the summer and fall. The steel girders, fabricated by a company in Eau Claire, Wis., are up to 16 feet tall and 120 feet long. The bridge girders will weigh more than 10 million pounds when the bridge is complete.

Crews continue to work on the bridge’s west abutment and east pier foundation. The final concrete pours occurred in the past two weeks on the west pier foundation; and crews will begin to build the next level of the pier in coming weeks.

Crews also continue to fill embankments and install sanitary sewer lines near the future intersection of Hwy 53 and Landfill Road (on the eastern side of the project). The project also put a detour in place for Landfill Road this week, which will remain until mid-October. Motorists using the road should follow the detour signs. See May 23, 2016 news release.

Project update—May 5, 2016

Coffee and Conversation was held Thursday, May 5 at 10 a.m. at the MnDOT headquarters, 101 N. Hoover Rd., Virginia, Minn. View highlights from this and earlier meetings.

Project update—April 26, 2016

Crews poured the first above-ground concrete for the west pier last week on the Highway 53 relocation project. Workers also began installing reinforcing bar (rebar) for the next vertical section of the west pier.

Work also has continued on the Hwy 53 and Hwy 135 interchange. This effort includes construction of a rock embankment for several ramps on the interchange. Crews also began excavation work this week for city sanitary sewer lines near Second Avenue.

The project webcam currently is not working. It should be repaired this week. However, a new time-lapse video, as well as new photos, are available. See the April 26 news release.

Project update — April 5, 2016

Crews this week are building concrete forms, installing reinforcing steel bars and pouring concrete for the plinth, which is part of the west pier of the future Hwy 53 bridge. Also, excavation work continues from the east abutment to Landfill Road, as well as embankments north of the future Hwy 135 intersection. See the April 5 news release.

Project update — Feb. 23, 2016

Coffee and Conversation takes place March 3

Work continues this month on steel piling that will form the underground base for the bridge on the Highway 53 relocation project. The piling work has been completed on the west side of the bridge and will soon move to the east side. See the Feb. 23 news release.

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 Jan. 29 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.

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).