Preliminary Costs for Moving Highway 53

Updated: 12/12/2013 11:10 PM
Created: 12/12/2013 4:46 PM

MnDOT released some preliminary numbers on what it might cost to relocate a portion of Highway 53 for mining.

Cliffs Natural Resources wants to mine under the current roadway just south of Virginia. They have the rights to do so, per an easement agreement with the state.

So the state is working on alternative routes for the highly traveled road.

For the M1 route, which would take the highway through the current United Taconite mine pit, the costs are estimated to be between $248 and $319 million dollars.

For the E1 route, which would take the road into the Rouchleau pit in Virginia, and would require dewatering that pit, the estimate is much lower, $81-$117 million dollars.

And for the E2 route, which is also through the Rouchleau pit, but would mean a major bridge over the water, the money is $207-$254 million.

MnDOT has $90 million allocated for the project, according to project manager Roberta Dwyer. Any overrun, at this point, would mean cuts to other projects across the state.

These aren't final numbers. More number crunching needs to be done.

A decision on where the route will ultimately will be, is going to be made next year.

The state has until 2017 to move the road.

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