Slow But Sure: William A. Irvin Returns to Minnesota Slip |

Slow But Sure: William A. Irvin Returns to Minnesota Slip

Alejandra Palacios
Updated: October 16, 2019 10:39 PM

Scroll down to the bottom of the page for a LIVE STREAM of the Irvin returning to the Minnesota Slip

She's finally coming home! The SS William A. Irvin is being moved back to the Minnesota Slip. The ship began its move around 5:30 p.m. She arrived at the Minnesota Slip bridge shortly before 8:30 p.m. After more than 2 hours, crews were able to pass the entire ship through the bridge. 

The City of Duluth said the Blue Bridge was pinned upward Wednesday morning because of the Irvin move, and will be closed to pedestrians until sometime Thursday.

The east side of Harbor Drive has been closed to the public during the move. Spectators are encouraged to view the move on the Canal Park side of the Minnesota Slip.

The Irvin was taken to the dry dock at Fraser Shipyards in Superior last September for a painting and hull project. 

She was also moved from the Minnesota Slip so the sediment could be capped in that area, and the seawall could be repaired as well.

Calm winds and lake conditions were needed for its move back home as the ship has no propulsion mechanisms.

The 611-foot ship moved about a foot every four seconds during its three mile trip back to the slip. 

Tug boats, barges, winches and more helped in moving the ship back to the slip. 

"The main difference is when we moved it the first time, they had a solid surface to line it up in and slide it out, that would be the new sea wall, now we have to rely on the barges which are a flexing system there," said Chase Dewhirst from AMI Consulting Engineers.

The Irvin was supposed to be back in August but the project got delayed because there were three vessels ahead of the Irvin and there were also pending contract details with Fraser.

The project for the Irvin is being funded by a $504,000 grant from the Minnesota Historical Society, with a in-kind match from the DECC.

The Irvin hauled ore for U.S. Steel for many years, before she was retired and purchased by the DECC. She's named for a former CEO of the steel company.

The Irvin is included on the National Registrar of Historic Places.

The flagship of the U.S. Steel fleet hadn't been moved for over 30 years. The Duluth Haunted Ship won't be happening this year. Officials say crews do not have enough time to transform the ship. 


Alejandra Palacios

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