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Hwy. 53 Westerly Option Dropped

Updated: 08/29/2013 3:11 PM
Created: 08/26/2013 6:19 PM WDIO.com

Transportation officials have dropped a much-criticized option for relocating U.S. Highway 53 on the Iron Range.

The westerly route, W-1A, would have taken drivers miles away from Eveleth and Virginia, travelling along State Highway 37 and County Road 7.  The Minnesota Department of Transportation said Monday it has determined the route would have had higher community, environmental, and economic impacts than other options.

MnDOT continues to consider three other possible routes, identified as M-1, E-2 and E-1A.  The state has to relocate the roadway by May 2017 because Cliffs Natural Resources has rights to mine minerals under the current roadway.

Rep. Rick Nolan, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, and Sen. Al Franken issued statements praising the elimination of the westerly route option.

MnDOT has announced the following upcoming meetings about the project:

Project Advisory Committee Meeting
Thursday, September 5, 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m.
Mountain Iron Community Center, 8586 Enterprise Drive South, Mt. Iron, MN 55768

Coffee and Conversation
Tuesday, September 17, 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.
MnDOT Virginia Office, 101 Hoover Road, Virginia

Economic Study Update
Tuesday, September 17, 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Mountain Iron Community Center, 8586 Enterprise Drive South, Mt. Iron, MN 55768

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