Burial Sites Continue To Stall Bridge Replacement Project

MnDOT Mistake Of Unearthing Grave Sites Will Prolong Project

DULUTH, Minn- Construction on the Fond du Lac reservation to replace the Mission Creek bridge continues to be at a stand still.

This because of mishandling of the project from MnDOT that lead to the discovery of an ancient Native American burial ground on Hwy 53 that runs through the Fond du Lac neighborhood.

The original plan was to have the project done as soon as possible. Now with the discovery of the graves it could take years. At this point neighbors that are around the project are growing tired of the problems that the MnDOT mistake is causing.

One resident said safety is the main concern, the Mission Creek bridge and the flooding that is possible, motorist speeding through the work zone and People with head lamps lurking around the burial site possible looking for artifacts.

“We initially were informed that it might take one to five years to repair. The MnDot people have been working with the tribe to try and resolve that and speed up the process a little bit so they replace the bridge and that will make things safer for everybody I believe,” said Al Chepelnik, Vice President, Fond du Lac Community Club.

Because of the process the archaeologist take to recover the sites takes a lot of time. Project manager and engineer of the reconstruction say she can’t speak on a possible timeline.

“I won’t even try and take a guess at what that might be. We certainly want to get this done, do it right and then be able to move forward with the project and address the road and flooding issues in here after everything is properly done. But no one has any idea of how long it will take,” said Roberta Dwyer, Project Manager, MnDOT.

MnDOT has repaved a portion of the, replaced sections of sidewalks to winterize the area to make it safer during the winter.


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