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Contractors Interested in Hwy 53 Project

Updated: 02/04/2014 10:48 PM
Created: 02/04/2014 4:52 PM WDIO.com

Usually Mineview in the Sky is a summertime tourist spot. But it was opened up on Tuesday, so potential contractors could take a look at the land.

They were invited to a meeting hosted by MnDOT, about the relocation of Highway 53 for mining. About 50 people attended. Some are from across the country, like Gary Stanton.

"I've heard about this through the contracting industry. We do independent cost estimates for projects like this. I wanted to see what it was all about," Stanton told us. He is from Salt Lake City.

Many others in the room were more local, from Duluth, the Twin Cities, and the Range.

"We are excited. We want to learn more, so our company has an opportunity to potentially bid on the project," said Tom Kvas, of KGM Contractors. The company already does work with MnDOT.

Eric Edlund, from American Engineer Testing, said that it's almost incomprehensible to think about the major change that this project will mean for the Range. "We've been hearing about it for a few years now. Today we wanted to learn what the real deal was."

Project Manager, Roberta Dwyer, said that they plan on hiring a construction manager and design consultant in the spring, and the hope is to begin work with local contractors as soon as the new route is selected. She said that June is the month we'll know where the new road will go.

Work continues on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the new roadway. 

Cliffs Natural Resources wants to mine under the current road, just south of Virginia. 

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