There’s been a lot of talk about road construction this year. The city of Duluth is working on a section of Interstate 35 that folks travel to get to Highway 61. There is also construction on Highway 61 which seems to be the norm rather than the exception.
I can’t remember a summer when there hasn’t been a construction project on Highway 61. When we first bought Voyageur in 1993 they were working on the tunnels. Since then large chunks of the Highway have been replaced and with the addition of the Gitchi-Gami State Trail more work is done each year.
The road construction is like a double edged sword. On one side of the sword the completed work has made the road smoother, less curvy and safer at which to drive higher speeds. On the other side the flatter, straighter roadway takes something away from the drive along the shore of Lake Superior.
I remember driving around what is now the first tunnel you come to as you leave Two Harbors. Silver Creek Cliff I think where the road was perched precariously on the edge of the cliff and felt like it would give out beneath you at any moment. Thus the reason for the tunnel and new road but that old road was quite a bit more exciting than driving through a tunnel. It may have even kept some people from coming up the shore.
The bumps and curves may have also prevented some people from traveling Highway 61. You can see where the old sections of Highway 61 once went curving closer to the lake and you can also see where the new sections will go. A straight line cut through the rock and trees in order to bypass the hairpin curves is the first step in the construction process.
Besides some trees and rock what is lost when road construction happens? Time perhaps but on Highway 61 there haven’t been many delays at all. The same is true for the construction in Duluth. We haven’t heard any negative reports nor do I think we will. There’s construction everywhere and traffic delays abound. With a little patiience you’ll get where you’re going eventually.