US$103 million planned for road projects, Minnesota

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An estimated US$103.7 million worth of road projects have been planned for Northeastern Minnesota which officials have announced will commence in the spring and summer of 2021. Both new and finishing projects will be taking place on road including eight carryover projects and 20 new ones from US Highway 53 in International Fall all the way south to State Highway 123 in Sandstone, Minnesota. Both places feature the reconstruction of highways that also serve as downtown streets for their communities.

There will also be a safety project on State Highway 169 between Taconite and Pengilly; the project area will be updated this year with US$2.95 million in safety improvements at the highway’s series of intersections with local roads; upgrading turn lanes, signs, lights, and squaring off skewed intersections all along the corridor.

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More than 20 miles of State Highway 61 in Cook County will be resurfaced. Turn lanes are being installed on Highway 61, and one nearby historic bridge is being restored and paired with a new bridge to be built this summer. The historic bridge over the Stewart River is comparable to Duluth’s popular Lester River Bridge and will carry traffic northbound, while the new, more inland, the bridge will carry the southbound lane of Highway 61.

“All of the urban jobs we started last year that are still ongoing are really big projects,” said district engineer Duane Hill, who oversees Northeastern Minnesota from the Minnesota Department Of Transport office in Duluth. “Highway 53 in International Falls, Highway 61 in Grand Marais, Gilbert, and Biwabik on Highway 135, they’re all impactful because they’re in urban environments. There’s a lot of staging and utility work, and it’s slower-paced work. But it’s big and impactful on businesses and the people who live in those communities. That work stands out.” “There are a lot of communities impacted by this year’s construction program; to them, the big project is in their backyard,” he added