Posted at: 06/19/2013 5:57 PM
Updated at: 06/19/2013 6:36 PM
In July, businesses will have a chance to share their thoughts on how the proposed relocation of Highway 53 will impact them.
There is an economic study that is being commissioned by MnDOT.
It will be an online survey. "We want to know things like sales, seasonality, and the trips that their delivery people make," explained Jim McComb, who will be crunching the numbers. SEH is also helping with the work.
There has been some confusion about this.
McComb said that they plan on having the survey online ahead of time, so people will know what the questions will be.
They will also be asking retailers to do customer surveys as well, to find out where business is coming from.
The actual surveys will take place the week of July 17th.
This information will be used to put real numbers on the proposed re-routes. The western option is the most unpopular.
"We know that people don't like this option. Now it's time to quantify it," explained Laurentian Chamber president Bernie Collins. "The best thing people can do is participate in this study."
There was some concern at the kickoff meeting in Mt. Iron about who will be participating. Leaders have offered to help compile a more complete listing of businesses.
McComb stressed that no one will be turned down if they want to be a part of the study.
Progress will be shared at a meeting in August, and the study is expected to be done in October.
It's only one part of the bigger Environmental Impact Study on the re-route.
Cliffs Natural Resources wants to mine under the current highway next to Virginia. There are six alternates being studied at this time. A final decision is expected about a year from now.