Minnesota Department of Transportation

511 Travel Info

Two Harbors corridor

Lake County

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the goal of the Highway 61 Corridor Study through Two Harbors? The study is being conducted to develop a range of possible changes to Highway 61 through Two Harbors and to determine a recommended alternative for further development and support from the community. We are looking at options to help address congestion, delay and safety. Please read our project fact sheet for detailed information.

When are the next public input opportunities for the study? You can send us comments at any time by going to our contacts page. However, we will have more opportunities to provide input on a list of potential improvement alternatives towards March or April of 2022, and a comment period on a final corridor plan in the Fall of 2022.

Who are key Stakeholders in the planning process? Every voice is important. In order to create more opportunities for feedback, MnDOT has identified a list of 15 to 20 individuals representing businesses, industry, local and regional governments, emergency responders, schools, and institutions. They work closely with us at key points in the study to ensure the diverse interests of the local community is represented.

What options are being considered and are roundabout part of this project? At this point all options are on the table. We will look to focus on improvements along the whole stretch of Highway 61 including each intersection. Yes, we will look at roundabouts and traditional traffic signals as we look to improve mobility and provide a safe experience for all users of Highway 61.

What is the timing and the budget for this project and who pays for it? MnDOT has programmed $6.4 Million dollars in the State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP). The STIP prioritizes resources to address both statewide and district level performance measures. Depending on the final locally approved option, the City of Two Harbors will also likely contribute to certain aesthetic features important to the community. The current study will be completed in 2022, final design will occur in 2023 and 2024, with construction planned for 2025-2026.

When do we learn about potential business impacts to parking and access along Highway 61? At our public input meetings and open houses in March/April of 2022 and again in the Fall of 2022 we will be able to demonstrate changes to business access and parking based on a range of possible alternative concepts. These will only be preliminary and once a final design is developed (2023-2024) a more detailed level of impact assessment will be conducted. We encourage interested persons to stay engaged with the project over the next several years.

Are local roadways going to be improved/developed to help support traffic along Highway 61, and what about a bypass of the community? This project won’t study local roadways in detail. However, we may point out possible connections or other improvements off Highway 61 which could improve mobility along the highway. While a bypass has been discussed in the past, it is not the focus of this study or the project MnDOT has programmed in the STIP. This study might leave recommendations for a potential future study of local connections of benefit to Highway 61 and/or an alternate route around of the Two Harbors community. However, this study is focused on the current alignment of Highway 61 through Two Harbors.

Are you considering the presence of ATV or snowmobile traffic along/adjacent to the Highway 61 Corridor? We have been made aware of recreational vehicles which use the shoulders and intersect with Highway 61. We will attempt to account for these users in the solutions we consider and anticipate public feedback to help understand how MnDOT can accommodate the wide variety of mobility needs in Two Harbors.

How do you determine existing and future traffic for Highway 61? We look at historic data back several decades by gathering counts from both permanent and temporary data collection devices. We look at data sources that show trends of the seasonal/recreational variations in Two Harbors, and along the North Shore. We use this data to help us project forward a growth rate for future traffic that accounts for the unique nature of North Shore and Two Harbors in specific. Believe it or not, it is kind of a science.

How will the study balance mobility along the north shore versus local trips around Two Harbors? Alternative concepts we develop will look to measure impacts both to local traffic as well as pass through or regional traffic. The project team will present the analysis of how our alternative concepts impact both local and regional traffic when we host public meetings and open houses in March/April of 2022.

What plans are there for more bike lanes, sidewalks, or shared use trails? Accessibility and mobility for all users is our priority. We are looking at options to expand biking and walking safety along the Highway 61 corridor. We are considering previous sidewalk and trail recommendations developed by the city and MnDOT and are coordinating with the DNR’s plan to extend the Gitchi Gami state trail towards Two Harbors.