Highway 53 reroute might avoid need for new bridge

Iron Range newsOne of the big stories of 2014 will be the Highway 53 reroute on the Iron Range, altering the existing path of the north/south regional artery to accommodate new mining near Eveleth and Virginia, Minnesota. For most of last year, talk centered around a bridge that would possibly span the Roucheleau Pit outside Virginia. Now engineers believe dewatering the pit could allow the highway to be built on terra firma.

Why build a bold, impressive entrance to the Mesabi Range when you could discreetly hug the bottom of a pit on your way through? Why, indeed. And the term “dewater” is a tricky beast. Dewatering means pumping. Sometimes, pumping forever. But there is no such thing as “forever” on the Iron Range, so it really means “pumping until it gets too expensive or something breaks and the next generation eats it.”

But I digress.

I recall the innocent idealism of the time when I wrote this column, “Highway 53: Herbie Rides the Range.”


  1. My concern is that the state will spend $$$ or $$$$$$$ and the legislators will say, “That’s all N MN gets. Period. No matter the other needs.”

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