East Duluth Construction Concerns

Public Works Holds Meeting About Superior Street Lester Bridge Reconstruction Project

EAST DULUTH, Minn.- St. Louis County Public Works met with members of the East Duluth community, answering, or at least trying to answer, many questions raised regarding the Superior St./Lester Bridge reconstruction.

The small room of the Portman Park Community Center populated with residents young and old as a vital issue had to be discussed: the reconstruction of Superior Street by 60th and 61st Ave. East, and rehabilitation of the Lester Bridge.

A project, officials say, is guaranteed to cause some hassle.

“Superior St. will be closed for the entirety of the project, since it’s a pretty major road reconstruction and bridge rehabilitation,” said Resident Engineer Steve Karaway.

“It’s going to be a major inconvenience for people going to the Lester River Golf Course and Lester Park. But we’re going to have some clearly marked detours and signs, so hopefully people can find their way around pretty easily.”

The project comes due to structural issues with underground waterways and bridge components, with work being done on 60th and 61st Ave. East where they intersect with Superior.

Also, the city hopes to ease pedestrian commute with bump-outs at 61st Ave. Major detours include diverting traffic to Highway 61.

To residents, the plan has its ups and downs.

“I’m happy about the bump-outs at 61st for sure,” said resident Nathaniel Prescott Morrill. “That will be an improvement to the pedestrian environment. I’m a little bit disappointed that there wasn’t an address of a pedestrian crossing at 60th.”

Throughout the meeting, Morrill, as he put it, “put the screws to Steve,” trying to squeeze different answers out of Karaway.

But all in good taste, as the two met up afterwards and set up a future meeting over coffee. In the end, his thoughts on the project aren’t as harsh as it seemed.

“Could it be better? I think it could. Is it bad? I don’t think it’s bad. But that’s kinda how I stand on it.”

All this work will mean changes to the parking situation as well. With many businesses around the site catering to senior citizens, walking has to remain easy and light.

All in all, this project has structural importance, but temporary residential inconvenience.

Even though Public Works says this meeting was to get input as well as inform, residents said that when they asked, they were told design was basically complete, so they felt their input wasn’t needed.

The Department is open to questions and feedback, you can call Karaway’s office at 218-625-3841, or email him at karaways@stlouiscountymn.gov .

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