U.S Steel Site Cleanup Threatens Operations of Lake Superior & Mississippi Railroad
Future LS&M Operations Could End
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Cleanup of the contaminated former U.S. Steel Mill Site in Duluth could start as soon as this fall.
But, part of that effort will involve tearing out the railroad tracks running through that site which are the tracks the Lake Superior and Mississippi Railroad now operates rail tours on.
The now abandoned site in Duluth’s Morgan Park neighborhood contains nearly 2 million cubic yards of contaminated materials.
The mill shut down almost 33 years ago.
While the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency is exploring 4 different cleanup options, all currently include the removal of the LS&M railroad tracks.
Although LS&M operates their service through the U.S. Steel site, the City of Duluth owns the corridor and rail it uses.
Director of Public Administration, Jim Filby Williams, says there are other possible uses for the 5 mile long trail that could open new opportunities for economic development.
“The three primary options are restore to rail, restore to rail with trail or convert to trail. There are pros and cons with each option,” Williams stated.
The number one priority is the tremendous cleanup that needs to be done on site.
What we know is rail operations will have to stop, at least for a while.
Whether or not the railroad can resume operations afterwards will depend on the cleanup scenario the site chooses and what the community wants to see done with the space.
Work on the U.S. Steel site won’t start until this fall at the earliest.
Williams wants to reassure the public there will be plenty opportunity for community insight.