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Boreal Community Media

Video: In Duluth, businesses express concern over permanent ramp closures

Mar 30, 2021 05:30AM ● By Editor

Watch the WDIO-TV Report here

Photo: WDIO-TV

From WDIO-TV - March 29, 2021

The Lincoln Park neighborhood is preparing for two major and permanent ramp closures happening this week due to the ongoing Twin Ports Interchange Project.

The Northbound I-35 to Northbound Highway 53 ramp is closing Tuesday, March 30th and Southbound Highway 53 to Southbound I-35 ramp is closing Thursday April 1st. 

Replacement ramps aren’t expected to open until the fall of 2023.

As those ramps serve as major access and exit points for the Lincoln Park neighborhood, businesses there have expressed concern. Lee’s Pizza on Superior Street worrying how it will impact their delivery times.

"I feel like it's going to be a big impact on us as a small business because now that the ramps are closed our delivery drivers aren't going to be able to use the freeways,” Lee’s Pizza’s manager Desiree Johnson explained. “They're going to have to be using the main roads which is going to be much longer with stop lights and stop signs"

Down the road from Lee's Pizza at Spoon's Bar and Grill, they say they believe the community will still come out and support them, but wonder if anything else is being done to help Lincoln Park businesses affected.

"The main question would be, is the city going to make any accommodations for the businesses or are we just expected to deal with the impact?" asked Joe Dupree representing Spoon’s.

While no financial aid is being offered, those close to the project say they understand frustrations, but that the work needs to get done.

"Our number one goal is safety, and there's a lot of crashes down there, so we want a safe area through the interchange and that includes for the folks who exit there and go to Lincoln Park," explained Patrick Huston, Assistant District Engineer of Major Project with the Minnesota Department of Transportation.

Huston also said that they'll work to get out the word of alternate routes into Lincoln Park. Some, however, are still worried how detours will affect things going into the spring.

"Tourism is what we thrive on this time of year and if it’s difficult to get somewhere,” started Duluth resident John Thompson, “If I was a tourist, there's a lot of options in Duluth, so I would tend to go to somewhere if I couldn't get to it."

More information on closures can be found here.

To watch the original story and see related stories, follow this link to the WDIO-TV website.

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