Minnesota Department of Transportation

511 Travel Info

News Release

Aug. 24, 2017

MnDOT’s construction program well underway in Northeast Minnesota

DULUTH, Minn. — Most of MnDOT’s, 31, District 1 construction projects are well underway. Five are already complete and others are nearing completion.

The Highway 169 Eagles Nest Lake project is ahead of schedule and on budget.

“This project was in design for more than ten years,” said MnDOT District 1 Project Manager Michael Kalnbach. “Initially we faced some concerns due to the high amounts of sulfides and the volume of rock. It took some time to address those concerns, but now the project is in large part close to being done.”

As of July 27 about 40 percent of the project is finished. Some of the new paving and the new bypass is already complete and the east half of the road is scheduled to be finished by Thanksgiving. Crews will continue to work on the west portion as long as weather permits and then resume work in the spring. The project which is scheduled for completion in July of 2018 will improve traffic safety and minimalize wetland impact with improved drainage.

The resurfacing and rehabilitation project on Interstate 35 between Willow River and Sturgeon Lake is also on budget and ahead of schedule. Since late July crews using the “echelon paving” method have placed more than 100,000 tons of bituminous pavement. This is the first time the echelon method has been used on a project in District 1. An echelon paving operation uses two pavers that operate side-by-side. As a result motorists travelling on I-35 will experience smoother surface from a higher quality pavement with a longer surface life.

“MnDOT is looking forward to seeing the long term benefits of echelon paving,” said Duane Hill MnDOT District 1 engineer. “We believe that this paving method will produce long lasting paving joints and eliminate the problem of longitudinal joint failure which we have experienced on other projects.”

The $13 million project also includes, new guardrail, tree clearing, better drainage and new lighting at interchanges. Additionally crews are making accessibility improvements to the General Andrews Rest Area.

Work on Highway 23 in West Duluth began in spring 2015 and was completed in late July 2017. The $22.6 million project began at Interstate 35 and continued to Becks Road in West Duluth. Work included the construction of two bridges, one at Kingsbury Creek and one over Knowlton Creek. The new bridges will help prevent flooding in the instance of another large rain event like the one that Duluth experienced in June 2012.

Work also included reconstruction of all storm sewers along the corridor and new accessibility-compliant sidewalks along the route. This includes pedestrian crossings with flashers to allow for safer crossing of the highway. Additionally the new roadway includes a 6-foot bicycle lane on both sides.

“MnDOT wants to thank the public for their patience,” said Jim Sorenson MnDOT project supervisor. “We know this project lasted a long time and caused an inconvenience to the local community. We hope that everyone is happy with the results.”

For more information on MnDOT’s current construction projects visit: www.mndot.gov/roadwork/current.html

For updated road condition information, call 511 or visit www.511mn.org.

Bituminous pavement being placed using the "echelon paving" method. An echelon paving operation uses two pavers that operate side-by-side. This is the first echelon paving project in District 1. Echelon paving results in a higher quality pavement with a longer service life.

Activity taking place on the Eagles Nest Reconstruction project in the spring of 2017. Photo by Dan Squires, D1 project engineer.

Activity taking place on the Eagles Nest Reconstruction project in the spring of 2017. Photo by Dan Squires, D1 project engineer.

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