Updated: 07/02/2014 7:48 PM
Created: 07/02/2014 4:36 PM WDIO.com
The complicated process of moving a major state highway for mining, is taking longer than expected. And that means the May, 2017 deadline to have a new roadway in place, is in jeopardy.
That's according to MnDOT's project manager, Roberta Dwyer.
"We continue to negotiate with the land owner and the mining company, and all the stakeholders, as we develop a construction schedule. When we look at the design, we will try and use techniques to expedite the project," Dwyer said.
What's taking longer than expected is the geo-technical work needed in the Rouchleau Pit. MnDOT needs to find out what kind of foundations could be put down into the pit, to support a road or bridge.
Companies who are interested in putting in those test foundations will be touring the site next Wednesday. The actual testing work is expected to begin in August.
Until all of that information is fully vetted, a decision cannot be made on where the best alternative will be.
United Taconite, which is owned by Cliffs Natural Resources, said they are disappointed with the delays. "We hope that MnDOT can address these concerns in a timely fashion, and that they can get back on track. It's extremely important to keep this project on schedule to avoid interfering with the mine operations," shared Sandy Karnowski, District Manager of Public Affairs for Cliffs.
Cost estimates are also higher than expected so far, ranging from $240 million to $460 million. MnDOT said they are looking a combination of state and federal funding to pay for the project.
Missing Duluth Kids Found in Buffalo, New York
The Duluth Police Department says two children reported missing have been found safe. The department announced Friday evening that 7-month-old Shaniya Chism and 2-year-old Jameicia Chapman were found in Buffalo, New York.
Girls-Only Shop Class Aims to Narrow Industry Gender Gaps
More women are now pursuing STEM fields, but there's still huge gender gaps in industries like manufacturing, machining and carpentry. a girls-only shop class at one Northland high school might be a way to change that.
FEMA Awards Grant to Lake County to Mitigate Structure Fires
FEMA has awarded Lake County, Minnesota over $500,000 in a grant for the addition of metal roofing to 65 residential and commercial structures. Construction on some of the buildings can start as soon as the roofing season in northeastern Minnesota begins.
MN Congressional Delegation and Lt. Gov. Meet at White House About Steel Imports
Minnesota's federal lawmakers met with officials at the White House on Friday, to press their case about the problem of steel imports.
Gogebic Taconite Withdraws Wisconsin Application
The state Department of Natural Resources says a company that was looking to open a huge iron mine in northern Wisconsin has officially withdrawn its plans. Gogebic Taconite was considering digging a 4½-mile long mine in the Penokee Hills just south of Lake Superior but announced last month it was closing its office in Hurley and future investment in the project wasn't feasible.