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COOK COUNTY CONNECTIONS: 2022 County Infrastructure Projects

Dec 30, 2021 11:01AM ● By Editor

Photo: Cook County Highway Department

By Cook County Highway Engineer Robert Hass from Cook County MN - December 30, 2021

With the 2021 construction season wrapped up at the Highway Department, we are already  working on projects for the 2022 season. Projects are slated throughout the county, from Pike Lake to the Gunflint Trail to Hovland and Grand Portage.

Beginning west of Grand Marais at Pike Lake is the Pike Lake Road reconstruction project. This has been in the works for several years, and I am excited to be in the final stages. In short, several key areas along the length of the road will be reconstructed and realigned to improve safety and the overall strength of the road. Recently, the Board of Commissioners approved issuing bonds utilizing our Transportation Sales Tax (TST) revenue to fund this project.

Next is the Safe Routes to School (SRTS) multi-use trail in Grand Marais. The trail will go along the west edge of the Gunflint Trail and connect TH 61 to County State Aid Highway 7/5th Street near Great Expectations School. This project is funded through a SRTS grant that was awarded to the county, along with a match through our annual Municipal State Aid Highway allocation from the state.

Up the Gunflint on N Gunflint Lake Road is the Cross River bridge replacement. This three-span timber bridge will utilize town bridge funds, which we were able to secure because of the newly designated Unorganized Territory (UT) roads.Town bridge funds come from the state and can be used for bridge replacements on UT roads. Another 2022 bridge replacement funded through the town bridge account is the Carlson Creek bridge replacement on Moose Valley Road in Hovland. Between both projects, we have secured approximately $2 million in new revenue for the county. 

Our final project scheduled for 2022 is a new timber bridge and road realignment in Grand Portage. Realigning Upper Road through the Grand Portage National Monument will move vehicular traffic off the existing historic stone bridge. Pedestrian paths will replace the current alignment across the historic bridge, allowing for safer access for visitors and locals through the park. Traffic will be rerouted along a new alignment and timber bridge over Grand Portage Creek between Store Road and the existing alignment. This project has been a collaborative effort between the National Park Service (NPS), the Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa and Cook County. This community-led project is one of the many reasons I enjoy working here. Funding for this project will come from our annual State Aid allocation and federal money from NPS. 

Several projects have been pushed back to the 2023 construction season, including a bridge replacement over Sawbill Creek at the end of the Sawbill Trail, a bridge replacement over Alfred Creek on Alfred Creek Road, and a bridge replacement over Junco Creek on Ball Club Road. These delays occur for a variety of reasons. In the case of the Sawbill and Alfred Creek bridge replacements, the funding mechanism for those is dependent on state bridge bonds, which are first come, first serve. In addition, we have five projects in the works for 2022 and a limited number of staff to help inspect those projects safely. Finally, the Junco Creek bridge replacement was delayed due to permitting that had expired and needs to be resubmitted, along with a pending re-analysis of area hydraulics.

The projects scheduled for 2022 construction utilize approximately $11 million through a variety of funding mechanisms: Town Bridge funds courtesy of our UT road designations, TST bonds, SRTS funds, and State Aid and federal funds.

For additional information, please give me a call at the Cook County Highway Department, 218-387-3014. For maps and a list of projects in our 10-year transportation plan, please visit the Highway Department page on the County website at

Take care and see you on the road!

County Connections is a column on timely topics and service information from your Cook County government. Cook County – Supporting Community Through Quality Public Service.




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