Highway 53 Relocation is Nearly 90 Percent Complete

July 06, 2017 10:02 PM

The project site is still bustling in some areas, quiet in others. That's because the finish line is in sight, for the new Highway 53 for mining.

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"Overall, we're approaching 90% completion, for the project as a whole," Pat Huston explained to us on a sunny Thursday afternoon. He's the project director for the relocation project.

The bridge deck has its concrete piers in place. Soon, crews will install tall steel railings on the Mesabi Trail portion of the bridge, to keep walkers, cyclists, and others safe.

Underneath the bridge, crews are getting the concrete piers ready for paint. 

Huston said they expect to have the road open to traffic in mid to late August.

"We are almost 2 months ahead of schedule," Huston said. "We have more than 422,000 man hours worked. The rainy weather lately hasn't helped, but we are confident we can make the end of August."

You can still expect to see single lane traffic at Midway and heading into Virginia through the project. Crews are focusing on that stretch now. They also have paved up close to where you used to be able to get onto 2nd Avenue.

"We had to close the ramp to 2nd Avenue last week. We just couldn't make the new highway and connect with the current road with traffic on that," Huston said.

As for the work zone that continues through the busy summer months, Huston has a reminder for drivers. "Stay off your cell phone. Obey the speed limit. We want to make sure it's safe not just for workers, but also for motorists as well."

Once the new road is open, MnDOT will a few more months to clear out the old one, so Cliffs Natural Resources can mine through that area.

For more information about the project:


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