Highway 53 Re-route: New Option

Posted at: 06/11/2013 4:48 PM
Updated at: 06/13/2013 3:58 PM

The solution for re-routing Highway 53 for mining near Virginia has been causing a lot of head-scratching. But a team of people from Cliffs Natural Resources, RGGS, and MnDOT have come up with another proposal. And it's being considered a positive development.

"Initially we dismissed this area because it's within the permit to mine region. But now it appears to be a workable solution. The route would go through the Rouchleau Pit, but would likely not need a bridge. Some filling and de-watering would be necessary," said project manager Roberta Dwyer.

The route would connect at 2nd Avenue, and then continue along where 53 is now, by Target and Menards.

Cliffs Natural Resources, owner of United Taconite, also is calling this proposal a positive one. "We went back to the table to see if there's another solution. Initially, this looks encouraging," Sandy Karnowski said. She's the Cliffs' District Manager for Public Affairs.

There has been much anxiety on the Range over the proposed reroutes on the table already.

MnDOT plans on having a decision made on an alternative by this time next year.

In the meantime, there will be plenty of opportunity for public input.

On Wednesday, at the MnDOT office on Hoover Road in Virginia, there will be a Coffee and Conversation meeting.

Then starting next week, there will be the kick-off to the large economic study that will be done on the re-routes.

The public meeting for that is Wednesday, June 19th, from 10am-12pm, at the Mt. Iron Community Center.

The economist who's doing the study will be holding separate meetings for industry groups as well. They will be held at the Elks Club in Virginia.

Tuesday, June 18th: 2pm: Retail, Food Service

Wednesday, June 19th: 4pm: Lodging, Tourism, and Recreation

Thursday, June 20th: 10:30am: Business to Business Establishments.