The overlay project that the Minnesota Department of Transportation has in place on Highway 53 just north of Duluth will see some traffic and lane changes starting on June 29.  The impending switch had been reported when the project first started, but now the time has come.

According to details released by the Minnesota Department of Transportation, southbound traffic on Highway 53 from just north of County Road 8 to just north of Midway Road will be crossed over to run head-to-head in two-lane, two-way configuration on the northbound lanes.  The traffic switch is to accommodate the work as it progresses.


The change in traffic patters will create what MNDOT is calling "notable impacts" at three specific spots that they are alerting drivers to:

  • The intersection at County Road 7 (Industrial Road) and Highway 53 must remain closed for the duration of construction due to intersection geometry.  Local traffic west of Highway 53 will need to access from the nearest intersections.
  • For access to the Minnesota State Veteran's Cemetery - the left turn on northbound Highway 53 need to be closed for the duration of the project.  To access the cemetery, traffic will be directed through the closed southbound Highway 53 lanes from Caribou Lake Road, and then to leave the cemetery, traffic will be directed again through the closed southbound lanes to exit the work zone at Solway Road.  Coming from Duluth, northbound cemetery traffic will be directed to take Highway 194 west to Caribou Lake Road north to where they can enter the work zone.  Additional signage will be placed to help direct cemetery traffic as described.
  • In the crossed over configuration, the lane widths are 12-feet, with a work zone speed limit of 55 MPH.  Minor delays are to be expected throughout the work zone during periods of heavier traffic.

The changes taking effect on July 29 will remain in place throughout the remainder of the project.  The scope of the work includes removal of the in-place concrete overlay, with construction of a new unbonded concrete overlay to replace what's there in the southbound lanes. The current timeline available from the Minnesota Department of Transportation has the work scheduled through September 17.

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Total cost for the overlay work is $10 million dollars. To get complete details on this work or any of the projects coordinated by the Minnesota Department of Transportation, visit their website. You'll find up-to-the minute traffic details and a wealth of traffic-related resources.

US Highway 53 road sign
Nick Cooper - TSM Duluth

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