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.
Police: Duluth Man Admitted to Killing Mother
A 37-year-old man called police early Tuesday morning and told dispatchers to send officers to a Lincoln Park residence. The man allegedly met officers at the door and told them they should arrest him because he just killed his mother.
Pine Co. Sheriff's Office Reports Children Missing
The Pine County Sheriff's Office is asking for the public's assistance in locating a man and two children who have not been seen since last week. Authorities say 44-year-old Peter John Kunze and his two juvenile children failed to appear in court for a custody hearing on Friday and they are concerned for the children's welfare.
Runaway Teen Sought in Ironwood
Jordyn A. Mazanec, 16, was last seen Monday in Ironwood after having a verbal disagreement during a phone call. Mazanec's vehicle and cell phone were located near the Mt. Zion ski hill in Ironwood.
Former Correctional Officer Pleads Guilty to Sexually Assaulting Juvenile Inmate
A former correctional officer at a juvenile facility in Grand Rapids has pled guilty to three charges of third-degree criminal sexual conduct.
Duluth Nonprofit Leads Gender Equality Training for Minn. Sports Coaches
Duluth nonprofit Men As Peacemakers is leading a statewide initiative to promote gender equality and prevent sexual violence. The Impact program focuses on training community and high school coaches. The creators of the program say coaches are key, as studies say they are often the most influential people in students' lives.