Minnesota Department of Transportation

TH 61 Grand Marais

Reshaping a Scenic Highway

The project rehabilitated and reconstructed 11.3-miles of the North Shore Scenic Drive (TH 61) through Grand Marais to ensure the continued safe and efficient use of the corridor while also revisioning the streetscape through town to better meet the needs of the community. The highly diversified project included various segments with unique characteristics and improvement needs that used a combination of new construction and preservation design standards.

The project included fully reconstructing eight blocks and partially reconstructing five blocks through the urban section of Grand Marais. LHB designed roadway improvements that reduced the roadway width in a way that maintains on-street parking to allow for additional pedestrian, bicycle and landscaping amenities while also improving traffic flow. The project included constructing new sidewalks, pedestrian curb bumpouts, a shared-use path and landscape amenities along TH 61.  Major utility work was completed including new storm sewer, sanitary and water service improvements. Various structures were constructed, including retaining walls and cast-in-place box culverts and headwalls. Additionally, new pedestrian and roadway lighting and a traffic signal were constructed.

Project Type Street Reconstruction, Utility Replacement, Streetscape & Amenities
Location Grand Marais, MN
Completion Date October 2021
Size 11 miles
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Context-Sensitive Drainage Improvements

A box culvert at the scenic Fall River to accommodate shallow bedrock and flashy rainfall events. A large stream diversion system was provided to accommodate construction, as well as a grouted riprap revetment. Additionally, a custom box culvert and headwall was constructed in town to accommodate various drainage sources and dissipate stormwater energy within a confined right-of-way.

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Diverse Stakeholder Participation

The project had a diverse group of financial stakeholders, including the City of Grand Marais and MPCA. LHB provided design services for the City, incorporating utility improvements, landscape amenities including pedestrian lighting, plantings, benches, planters, kiosks and bike racks. LHB worked closely with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and their consultant to include a major contaminated material clean-up effort.

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