New $220M Highway 53 route selected, complete with 200-foot tall bridge

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The tallest bridge in Minnesota will be built as part of a $220 million project to relocate a section of Highway 53 on the Iron Range in the northeastern part of the state.

The road, between Duluth and International Falls, needs to be moved to make way for the expansion of a nearby iron ore mine run by Cliff Natural Resources, the Pioneer Press reports.

Minnesota's Department of Transportation had put forward three options for relocation, and revealed Tuesday it had selected option E2, which will require a 1,100-foot-long, 200-foot-high bridge across the abandoned Rocheleau Pit.

At $220 million, it is actually the cheapest option on the table. One of the alternatives would have required a 3,000-foot bridge and cost $385 million, MPR reports, while another would have cut across an operational pit and cost $460 million.

The DOT will now take comments on its selected project. The work needs to be complete by 2017 to make way for the expansion of the United Taconite pit, according to Northland News Center.

A map of the plans for Highway 53 relocation.

A map of the plans for Highway 53 relocation.

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