VIRGINIA, Minn. - Minnesota transportation officials have nixed an unpopular possible route for a highway realignment on the Iron Range.
The Minnesota Department of Transportation said Monday it has eliminated the western re-route option for Highway 53.
That proposal would have taken the road west of Eveleth and around Virginia, bypassing much of Virginia's retail district.
MnDOT said the route was proposed only because federal rules require several route options. Minnesota lawmakers as well as state, federal and city officials had said the route would never fly.
The Duluth News Tribune reports several options remain.
Highway 53 runs past the United Taconite plant. Its owner, Cliffs Natural Resources, wants to mine underneath the highway and has the legal right to do it.
The new road has to be ready by May 2017.
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