VIRGINIA, Minn. (AP) -

Work continues on the Highway 53 relocation project. Roadway crews have been excavating the roadway's new alignment and installing water, storm sewer, and sanitary sewer systems.

Bridge workers have nearly completed Pier 2 and continue to work on the west abutment. The project has received 16 of the 80 steel bridges girders necessary for the bridge, and crews are now assembling them prior to installation. The remaining girders will be delivered and assembled during the next few months.

Crews also have begun foundation preparation for the Highway 135 bridge on the east side of the project.

A large crane, capable of lifting the project's heavies pairs of steel girders weighing 750,000 pounds, also began arriving in pieces in the past several weeks, and will be assembled on the causeway across Rouchleau Pit. The crane will begin to install the bridge girders beginning in mid-September.

Crews continue the reconstruction of southbound Highway 53 from Vermillion Drive to the eastbound ramp to Highway 135. There is one lane of traffic in each direction while crews rebuild the southbound roadway. The work will take about two months.

Next year, crews will rebuild the northbound side of Highway 53 in that area. Project officials urge motorists to use the zipper merge to minimize backups near the work zone.