Hikers and Campers can Soon Return to Jay Cooke

By KBJR News 1

September 24, 2012 Updated Sep 24, 2012 at 9:39 PM CDT

Duluth, Minn. (Norhtland's NewsCenter)--There is still a long road to recovery along Highway 210 near Jay Cooke State Park and within the park itself. But, campers and hikers itching to get back inside only have a few weeks to wait.

Park leaders and the Minnesota Department of Transportation spokespeople met Monday at a public meeting in Carlton.

There are a few major washouts from the June 20 flooding along Highway 210, which leads visitors into the Jay Cooke Park Headquarters. The campsites only sustained minor damage, and the section of road to get to them has one major washout, what MnDOT calls the "West entrance washout".

MnDOT hopes to have that fixed by mid-October to get visitors back into the park by going through Thomson.

Then, there's the washed-out Thomson Bridge which crosses the St. Louis River. MnDOT plans to have that connection back in place by mid-November, opening up traffic flow through Carlton into the park.
Meanwhile, a portion of the highway washed-out by the break in the Forbay Canal, most likely won't be repaired until about 2014.

A MnDOT project manager says further down 210, the section from Jay Cooke Road to Duluth's Fond du Lac neighborhood has seen so much damage over the years from storms, that engineers are considering a new path for the road altogether.

"We'll continue to have problems if the road stays in the location that it is, so looking for possible alternate routes is probably the prudent thing to do and where ultimately Highway 210 should run is something that is going to take a lot of studying and engineering analysis," said Todd Campbell, project manager for MnDOT.

Within the park, the popular swinging bridge will get completely, but historically, replaced except for the columns, which have now sustained two high water events. Hiking and skiing will be limited, as trails, such as Grand Portage trail, have been taken out by mudslides.

At this point, enough of Highway 210 has been fixed, so Minnesota Power workers can get to the dams by vehicle the past few weeks.

A 14 mile segment of the Munger Trail has been closed between Highway 210 in Thomson to West Duluth. DNR spokespeople say there are 31 areas that have sustained heavy damage, with some parts completely washed out.

The goal is to have the trail fixed before the ground freezes, so snowmobiles will be able to use it this winter.

Posted to web by Jena Pike