Approved Highway 53 Re-Route Plan Scrapped; MNDot Going Back To The Drawing Board
The HIghway 53 relocation project near Eveleth and Virginia has added another twist to the timeline as officials with the Minnesota Department of Transportation are scrapping the recently-announced route in favor of going back to the general public for input.
In February, MNDOT announced that it had chosen the route that would have moved Highway 53 to the east of the City of Virginia, before re-connecting to it's existing location on the north side of the city; Two other alternate routes were benched at that time.
Now, MNDOT is reopening the process to study the route that would take Highway 53 along Highway 37 and County Road 7; Options to be considered on all possible routes include a “Super Two” design. A "Super Two" roadway has wider lanes and shoulders, better sight lines and includes safer opportunities for passing than a standard two-lane highway design.
The additional time needed for re-studying the route and analysis could add a year or more to the project schedule.
MNDOT needs to vacate an area of Highway 53 to the south of the City of Virginia to allow for expansion at the Eveleth Mine. A decades-old agreement between the mine and the state allowed for an easement to build the highway on mining land, with an agreement that the state would vacate the land with a couple years notice in order to allow the company to have access to the resources.