‘Taconite Sky Bridge’ now open to Highway 53 traffic

The Highway 53 Bridge opened to traffic on Sunday, Sept. 17, 2017. (MNDOT webcam)

This week begins with commuters crossing the new Highway 53 bridge over the Rouchleau Pit for the first time.

As we reported last week, local officials dedicated the bridge was dedicated on Friday, Sept. 15. However, the Minnesota Department of Transportation opted not to allow traffic through at that time due to rain. After the weather passed on Saturday, officials made the final connections and rerouted traffic to the state’s new tallest bridge.

The radio station B-105 posted video Sunday of a maiden voyage across the Highway 53 bridge:

As you can see, crews continue to work on the relocation project even as the bridge opens. The bridge presents a stunning view of the mine pit. At normal speed, the photographer crossed the bridge in just a few seconds. Aside from the enormous expense, those who continue to express fears about crossing the new bridge should be assured by this video.

The Iron Range Tourism Bureau also announce the winner of its “Name the Bridge” contest. Online voters selected “Taconite Sky Bridge” from a list of five nominees. That name isn’t final, though. Ultimately the bridge will be named by the state legislature and governor through a formal bill. Organizers forwarded the vote totals to local legislators, including State Sen. David Tomassoni (DFL-Chisholm) and State Rep. Jason Metsa (DFL-Virginia). Ultimately they will submit the legislation naming the bridge.

UPDATE: I’m getting reports that motorists are experiencing delays crossing the bridge today. Construction is not quite finished.



  1. The radio station should have an animation commissioined of a clown car slidding off the bridge on an icy winter day. Only to have the clowns saved by the spirits of restless hard ore dead miners who have returned to seek vengeance for the awful name. They spirits saved the clowns because they wanted to save “It” for another day as an ally. This will not be true for the average citizen and their wallet ! Soon hundreds of bodies will be seen floating from the waste rubble below to the surface of the bridge where they may or maynot be rescued by the common sense of children. Stayed tuned for radio station 105 will be heard as the animation fades out ! Were red balloons handed out at the opening ?

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