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.
A Special Feat for a Very Special Athlete: Superior Man Earns Black Belt
Brandon Moe has been training in Karate Taekwondo since he was a little boy. Saturday, he went for his first degree black belt, a proud moment for his mother who said complications at his birth didn't guarantee he'd be here today.
1,000-foot Laker Freed After Being Stuck near Bayfront Park
A laker ran aground near Bayfront Park in Duluth. Right before 4 p.m., the 1,000-foot laker got stuck right near shore. The laker was finally freed, with the help of two tug boats, at around 7 p.m.
"Walk a Mile in Our Shoes" Raises Money for Steps Center
We all know that getting enough exercise is an important factor in staying healthy, but on Saturday, the annual "Walk a Mile In Our Shoes" event also raised thousands of dollars for the Steps Center.
Winds Keep Hot Air Balloons Down... Again.
Kites and hot air balloons were in Bayfront Festival Park on Saturday, but unfortunately, that wind grounded the balloons for a second year in a row. They're hoping to try for another balloon launch on Sunday.
Enger Tower Goes Red for Rose Sale
It's for the 29th Annual Rotary Club of Duluth rose sale, which has generated more than $1 million in charitable contributions for our community.