Minnesota Department of Transportation

511 Travel Info

News Release

March 11, 2020

MnDOT to defer Twin Ports Interchange project; some work begins this fall

DULUTH, Minn. — In November 2019, MnDOT identified an approximate $100 million funding gap on the Twin Ports Interchange project. Much of that gap was due to unknown costs related to contaminated materials and utility work. Because of that gap, MnDOT announced the deferment of the Highway 53 Bridge and I-535/Garfield interchange portions of the project.

After more in-depth analysis, MnDOT has decided to defer the majority of the I-35 project.

Some construction will begin this fall, but the public will not see significant traffic impacts until the spring of 2021. Next spring, the project will move forward with I-35 traffic in single lane configuration. In the fall, northbound traffic will remain on I-35, and southbound traffic will be moved to Lower Michigan Street as planned.

The project budget remains at $343 million, and MnDOT works to be good stewards of its resources. By deferring the majority of the project one year, this allows time to obtain a better understanding of the unknowns, like contaminated materials and will give MnDOT an opportunity to better quantify costs. MnDOT is confident this new timeline will benefit the overall project.

The Highway 53 and I-535/Garfield Avenue interchange portions of the project will still be deferred until funding becomes available.

NOTE: District Engineer Duane Hill and Assistant District Engineer for Major Projects Pat Huston will be available for interviews Wednesday, March 11, from 3-4:30 p.m. Please contact Pippi Mayfield, above, to set up an interview.

For more information on projects in northeast Minnesota, follow us on Facebook at facebook.com/groups/MnDOTnortheast. For real-time traffic and travel information in Minnesota, visit 511mn.org.

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