Sections of Can of Worms Project Pushed Until 2027

The Minnesota Department of Transportation says the funding gap is too large right now to do everything at once and keep the project within the $343 million budget.

DULUTH, Minn. – Two sections of the multi-million dollar “Can of Worms” reconstruction project are being pushed back more than five years.

The Minnesota Department of Transportation says the funding gap is too large right now to do everything at once and keep the project within the $343 million budget.

The Highway 53 portion down from Piedmont will be redone in 2027.

The I-535 and Garfield Interchange and the Blatnik Bridge reconstruction will be worked on in 2028.

In the meantime, trucks going to and from the port with oversized loads will continue to take side roads around the “Can of Worms” because of weight restriction concerns.

The executive director of the Duluth Seaway Port Authority, Deb DeLuca, released a statement regarding the postponement of the project.

“It’s a big, complex project, and MnDOT encountered several unanticipated challenges that affected the plan, schedule and budget. We have total respect for the MnDOT District 1 team, we understand how the deferral decision was made, and we know it wasn’t made lightly, but at the same time, of course we’re disappointed. MnDOT was able to access federal funding for the project in large part because of the proposed improvements for freight movement through the interchange, but now trucks carrying oversize/overweight cargoes could be relegated to city streets, unable to take advantage of the interchange improvements, until 2028. That’s unfortunate, especially considering Duluth’s status as a major multimodal transportation hub for large cargoes. But it’s the reality of the situation, so we’ll continue to work with MnDOT on seeking creative solutions, including identifying additional funding sources.”

We are committed to keeping our bridges safe they will be safe until they are replaced and at least now they are in our chip program so it’s not indefinite anymore and we will be doing them in the near future,” said Pippi Mayfield, the public engagement and communications director at MnDOT.

 

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