Updated: 07/17/2014 10:23 PM
Created: 07/17/2014 4:34 PM WDIO.com
A barge with a drilling crew has been out in the Rouchleau Pit in Virginia since May, and also did work last summer.
Just this week, a second barge was out in the pit. The crews are working 24/7, gathering soil and rock samples, and using seismic waves to measure the material under the water.
"It's very challenging. First, you're on a barge, and you're protecting the environment. Second, the material we're working with makes for extremely difficult drilling. Some of it's very hard, and then you have sand and gravel," explained Marty Vadis, a geological engineer for Idea Drilling.
Despite the challenges, MnDOT told us that work is moving faster than expected, according to the Assistant Project Manager Andy Johnson.
MnDOT is using the information gathered by the drillers to determine if a road can be built through the pit, and if so, what kind.
They are required to move the current Highway 53, so Cliffs Natural Resources can mine under it. The deadline is May of 2017, but MnDOT has acknowledged they are not likely going to meet that deadline because of how long it's taking to get all of the answers about the proposed routes.
Vadis said most of the drilling crews really enjoy this work, because it's close to home. Some of their drilling sites are out of state.
MnDOT said more barges and equipment will be on-site soon, when the test bridge foundations go into the pit. That's expected to begin in August.
Northlanders Work To Improve MN Child Protective Services
After a Minnesota boy died despite 15 reports of child abuse, Governor Mark Dayton organized a task force to improve the system and protect our kids. The group visited Duluth Wednesday for input from people in northeastern Minnesota.
Minnesota 'On the Edge' of Controlling Zebra Mussel Spread
The Department of Natural Resources has been working to stop the spread of zebra mussels in Northland lakes for years, and one local expert says they're on the edge of success.
Request Denied to Remove Judge on Peterson Case
A prosecution request to remove the judge handling the felony child abuse case against Minnesota Vikings star Adrian Peterson has been denied.
Bilingual Signs on FDL Reservation Preserve Anishinaabe Culture
Two new bilingual signs have been put up in St. Louis County, to show the English and Ojibwe names of lakes.
Wade Stadium Gets New and Improved AstroTurf
New AstroTurf has been installed at Wade Stadium, and crews will be finishing up the final touches in the coming days. The turf means there won't be the need to water and fertilize the field next year.