A controversial road project that is designed to make a historically-notable intersection a little safer has gotten underway.  Officials with the Minnesota Department of Transportation have embarked on a $2.21 million project that will add a roundabout to the on-and-off Cloquet interchange at I-35. Actual construction begins Monday, May 21.

Over the years, the intersection has notoriously been the location of some pretty severe accidents.  MNDOT and the State Patrol did research work on the intersection to survey what was actually occuring as drivers navigated the roadway where Highway 33 meets up with I-35.  Their findings went into the design element of this summers road project; the end result will see a roundabout at the current intersection.

Because of the high traffic count at the intersection, MNDOT has divided the work into four different phases - each designed to maintain as little interruption to vehicle flow as possible.

The first phase will involve the building of a Highway 33 bypass in both directions. The second phase will see drivers using the temporary bypass while the actual roundabout is built.  The third phase brings traffic onto the newly-constructed roundabout while the workers construct a ramp.  Finally, during stage four - the workers will build the "free right" - the part of the roadway that drivers coming from Duluth (south on I-35) can take to get into Cloquet.