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Road closures reroute Brimson event goers

Highway 55 has a new detour and Highway 1 construction has been extended. MnDOT.

Beginning Thursday, Aug. 16, St. Louis County Public Works will be replacing culverts on Highway 55 (Two Harbors - Brimson Road) from Highway 44 to the St. Louis County border. Highway 55 will be closed to traffic and a detour will be posted. The posted detour will route vehicles onto Highway 44, Highway 16/15, Highway 2 and Highway 14. The detour is anticipated to last until Thursday, Aug. 30.

"This construction work will significantly impact traffic causing delays. [We regret] the inconvenience to area residents and others who regularly use this route and ask that the motoring public seek an alternative route during the project," said a press release from St. Louis County.

The planned detour takes motorists coming from Two Harbors further up Highway 2 and across County Highway 15/Forest Highway 11 and back down Highway 44. Alternate routes include the Drummond Road off of Westover Road or the Laine Road to Rossini Road and then up Highway 44. Both the Rossini and Drummond are gravel roads. Finally, drivers could go across the Stanley and West Knife River Road to the App Road and Fox Farm Road and then take Highway 44 up to Brimson.

Despite the round-about route between Two Harbors to Brimson, Diane Dickey, organizer of the Brimson Market, encouraged people to go to Brimson anyway. This weekend's events, the Brimson Sisu Run and Hugo's Summerfest Pig Roast, will make the trip worthwhile.

None of the routes are ideal, but Dickey said that organizers of the upcoming events are still hoping for good turnouts.

"I can't tell you how important the Sisu run is for us," Dickey said.

It's a fundraiser for the Brimson Area Volunteer Fire Department and EMT. Dickey helps out with their operations and noted that with the detour, emergency responses from Two Harbors authorities will take a lot longer, meaning the area will have to rely more heavily on the local department.

The Sisu Run begins at Petrell Hall, 6 miles north of Hugo's Bar on Highway 44 on Saturday. Registration begins at 9 a.m. and the race starts at 10 a.m. Registration is $20 and includes a t-shirt.

Runners can refuel at the Hugo's Summerfest Pig Roast beginning at 4 p.m. at Hugo's Bar. Live music starts at 6 p.m.

Highway 1 construction extended

Highway 1 south of Ely has been closed throughout the summer, but construction was scheduled to be finished by Aug. 15. Contractors have now extended that deadline until mid-October, citing the difficult terrain, equipment breakdowns and additional rock discovered in the project area, according to the Minnesota Department of Transportation.

The extension was announced at a public meeting in Isabella on Aug. 8, the second extension so far in the project.

"The people who attended the meeting were very disappointed," said Derek Fredrickson, MnDOT project engineer. "We know this project is causing people problems and we'll continue to do everything we can to reopen Highway 1 as soon as possible."

The Highway 1 project manager from KGM Contractors said there are about 30 pieces of heavy equipment on the project and their employees are working overtime.

Highway 1 will be closed between Forest Road 424/New Tomahawk Road and just north of Forest Road 553. Motorists are required to follow the posted detour.

LaReesa Sandretsky
LaReesa Sandretsky is a Two Harbors High School graduate and Duluth native who began working at the News-Chronicle in 2012 as a reporter. She took over as editor in 2014. She covers County Board, including the Lake County broadband project.
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