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Editorial: Make the best of road headaches

Gordy Anderson, president of the Two Harbors Chamber of Commerce, said it pretty well Wednesday morning when talking about road construction and its expected stranglehold on the region this season.

"Use your secret Duluth routes," he urged a group of business owners.

That means: Leave the one-lane interstate to the tourists who don't know any better.

And the London Road detour up to Superior Street to catch the expressway to the North Shore.

Or Second Street. Woodland.

Happy hunting for routes, locals.

And don't forget the other whammy for those camping at Tettegouche: Highway 61 is getting all torn up at Split Rock.

Ugh.

It's going to be a challenge to get up the shore this year. And while some may think it's a one-time inconvenience, think again. You want those customers back and you want them to be happy spendthrifts when they get here.

Here's a suggestion for the chamber's Gordy, who is setting up a temporary tourist information center off the expressway while the Lester River bridge is redone, and others as you meet tourists this summer. Give them a slap on the back. Offer them a lemonade. Maybe the chamber can print up some stickers: "I survived the Duluth Mega Road Construction 2010" or put up a sign saying "Road Clear For At Least 20 Miles To Two Harbors."

Best to make the best of it, right?

Anyone who thinks tourism isn't a vital cog in Lake County's economic engine needs to go to Silver Bay and say taconite is trivial as well. You'll likely find yourself under some road fill at that Split Rock reconstruction job, right quick.

So, locals, do your part and keep the detours clear. Make a tourist feel extra welcome for all their effort. And let the News-Chronicle know about any road construction details you come across, including one of those secret routes. (Top on our list: Will there be any other way into Duluth other than Superior Street?)

Remember, the flip side to all of this is how nice the ride will be next, er, a few years from now. Hang in there.

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