TOWER-SOUDAN— A project that’s been plagued by delays is finally moving forward here and that’s good news for hikers and bikers who use the Mesabi Trail. That portion of the trail …
TOWER-SOUDAN— A project that’s been plagued by delays is finally moving forward here and that’s good news for hikers and bikers who use the Mesabi Trail.
That portion of the trail which extends from Tower’s civic center to Soudan’s Only Store, is among the oldest stretches along the entire 150-mile course of the trail and it’s been showing its age the past few years with huge cracks in its pavement and humps and dips from years of frost heaving.
It was originally earmarked for completion two years ago, but the need to coordinate with sewer and manhole upgrades being undertaken by the Tower-Breitung Waste Water Board (TBWWB) along portions of the trail, proved a setback to that schedule. The sewer upgrades were originally scheduled to move forward last summer, but supply chain issues delayed work on the project, and this year’s late spring pushed back completion even further.
The need to replace a trail bridge across the East Two River, a designated trout stream, accounted for additional delays on the trail work due to permitting issues. Work on the bridge was expected to begin this past June, but as the sewer and manhole work got underway this summer, they discovered that two sewer lines that crossed under the river were made of iron rather than plastic and would need to be replaced. The permitting on those replacements is now in hand and the work is expected to begin within days, according to TBWWB manager Matt Tuchel.
One of the two lines needing replacement is very close to the bridge that’s being replaced and Tuchel is now hoping to possibly piggyback off the dewatering of the river that is being done by Northland Construction to facilitate the bridge replacement. Northland, which is handling the trail bridge replacement, got underway with the work this week.
The concrete abutments that Northland is pouring along the river will need to be finished by Sept. 15 and the new bridge, which will come as a unit, will be laid in place with a crane once it arrives.
Mesabi Trail director Bob Manzoline said he expects that work to be done very soon, with work on the trail tread and final repaving coming later this fall, assuming the weather cooperates.
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