Highway 53 meeting to determine economic impact of reroute

State Rep. Jason Metsa (DFL-Virginia) is inviting people to a public meeting about the economic impact of the Highway 53 re-route from 10 a.m. to noon on Wednesday, June 19 at the Mountain Iron Community Center. An economist doing an official study will be there and gathering comments from people affected by the required move of the one of the Iron Range’s two major highways at the place where they intersect.

Cliffs Natural Resources is mining new reserves by its Eveleth United Taconite facility and is using a 1960 provision allowing them to instruct the state to move the highway as it connects Eveleth and Virginia, Minnesota.


  1. I see that there is a new possible route that could be way cheaper.
    One of my concerns is that if the route with the very expensive bridge is picked that that would use up a lot of money that could go toward other types of infrastructure improvements, which we know need to be done. I would think that the legislature would say, Well, NE MN, you are getting ENOUGH, so if we have additional money, it should go else where now.

    The transit time is a big factor, of course, but that affects locals (over and over and over.) The rest of the state doesn’t care about that. I also think that the impact on local businesses might not make any difference with the people voting to authorize funds. So if they can find a reasonable plan that isn’t as expensive, everybody wins.

  2. Like you, Aaron, I spend a lot of time staring at maps. If you’re a state highway engineer with no particular attachment to the region, I imagine the western option makes a certain amount of sense. The Rouchleau Causeway, by contrast seems prohibitively costly.

    “Seems” is the operative word. The option that is cheaper in the short term, as is often the case, represents false economy. That’s why the community members need to get out to these public fora and make their concerns known.

    If we allow Cliffs to expand their mining operations beneath the existing highway (which seems to be in the cards), while preserving the hundreds of businesses and thousands of related jobs in the area that would otherwise be obliterated, all while building an iconic and permanent roadway into the region, everyone wins. I’ll say it again: it’s the mother of all jobs bills for the Range.

    BTW, the link to the MDN piece appears to be broken.

    Best – – –

    – – – CJH

  3. For the upcoming Range generation, the only logical option is to “go west young man (& woman)”. It provides the best long range economic & job opportunities for future generations by leaving future mining options open. It’s worked well for Coleraine, Bovey, Taconite, Marble, Nashwauk, Keewatin, Hibbing, Chisholm and Mountain Iron. Why can’t Virginians see the obvious?

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