The roundabout at the intersection of Highway 73 and Highway 5 in Chisholm is set to open Wednesday afternoon. The opening of the roundabout marks the completion of a multi-year project to re-route Highway 5, which was needed in order to accommodate an expansion of mining operations at Hibbing Taconite.
Hibbing Taconite first notified St. Louis County in April 2015 of the need to relocate Highway 5. St. Louis County Public Works began design work immediately. Early last year, working with the City of Chisholm, Minnesota Department of Transportation, and Hibbing Taconite, it was concluded that a roundabout was the best form of intersection control to support long-term traffic operations and maintain a high level of safety.
The project was divided into phases over two years. Phase 1 included the realignment of Highway 5 onto Highway 136 (Hwy 136). This work was completed in fall in 2016. Phase 2 began in August of this year and involved building the roundabout.
The total project cost is $3.3 million. Of that, Hibbing Taconite paid the full $1.8 million cost of Phase 1, in accordance with state statute. Meanwhile, the cost of Phase 2 – the roundabout – is $1.5 million and is being split evenly between Hibbing Taconite, MnDOT and St. Louis County
This is the second roundabout to open to traffic in St. Louis County. The first is in Hibbing at the intersection of Highway 169 and Highway 37. A third roundabout is in the final design stage for the intersection of Midway and Maple Grove Roads in Hermantown, and is scheduled to be completed in the summer of 2018. Information, including video instructions on how to drive in a roundabout, can be found online at stlouiscountymn.gov/roundabout.