Highway 61 reopens after repairs to prevent it from sliding into Lake Superior

Temporary barricades line a two-lane highway
St. Louis County announced Friday it has reopened a stretch of Scenic Highway 61 between Duluth and Two Harbors, after completing emergency repairs to keep the roadway from sliding into Lake Superior.
St. Louis County Public Works

A scenic lakeshore drive near Duluth is back open, after being closed for several weeks of emergency repairs to keep the road from sliding into Lake Superior.

St. Louis County officials announced Friday that temporary repairs are complete along Scenic Highway 61 near the New Scenic Cafe, between Duluth and Two Harbors.

The county highway was closed Oct. 11 so crews could address shifting ground near the road.

A temporary retaining wall along a highway
St. Louis County has completed temporary repairs along a stretch of Scenic Highway 61 between Duluth and Two Harbors, to keep the roadway from sliding into Lake Superior.
St. Louis County Public Works

"Excessive erosion on the lake side of the highway had caused the slope to become unstable and fail," the county said.

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Photos taken before repairs showed trees tipping toward the lake along the shifting slope, adjacent to the two-lane road.

The emergency work over the past few weeks was aimed at stabilizing the road for the winter, when storms can kick up huge, icy waves on Lake Superior and send them crashing along the shore.

Permanent repairs will be completed next year, the county said, with the timeline for that work yet to be determined.

The slope failure does not affect the four-lane, high-speed Highway 61 Expressway, located farther inland.