The Highway 53 relocation project on the Iron Range moved past a major hurdle yesterday:  Minnesota legislators voted to allow bonding by the Minnesota Department of Transportation.  The move was an important piece on the project;  without funding the move couldn't happen.

“The bonding authority was vital,” said MnDOT Commissioner Charlie Zelle. “We honestly were not sure how we would fund the project. It was part of a bonding package considered during the Legislature’s special session last weekend. The bonding bill was passed with little debate or controversy. Now we can move ahead with the project."

The portion of Highway 53 between Eveleth and Virginia needs to be moved to allow mining under the existing road bed.  The State of Minnesota built the highway on land that was owned by the mining company, agreeing to move it when it became necessary.  That need was vocalized a few years back and now - following an extension - the state has until the spring of 2017 to relocate the road.