Smooth skating for next month's NorthShore Inline Marathon
A 26.2-mile stretch along Scenic Highway 61 and into Duluth has become smoother by car, foot and skate. Last year, a one-mile portion of Interstate 35 from 26th Avenue East to Leif Erikson Park was resurfaced to eliminate bothersome grooves in th...
A 26.2-mile stretch along Scenic Highway 61 and into Duluth has become smoother by car, foot and skate.
Last year, a one-mile portion of Interstate 35 from 26th Avenue East to Leif Erikson Park was resurfaced to eliminate bothersome grooves in the pavement.
This month, 5.6 miles from Two Harbors to Knife River was leveled and paved, while a half-mile section of Harbor Drive, from the Great Lakes Aquarium, around the back of the DECC and alongside the William A. Irvin ore boat, received concrete patch repairs.
The 17th NorthShore Inline Marathon will be the first to benefit from the most recent road work, with nearly 2,500 entrants in four events racing Sept. 15.
"These have been major improvements to the race course, much needed and greatly appreciated," NorthShore Inline executive director Skeeter Moore said this week. "The first five miles of our course are such a key component to the race and now there is a pristine road. And the last few blocks had some dangerous cracks and were a hazard for racers with weary legs finishing the race, and now those have been fixed."
Lake County engineer Al Goodman said the Two Harbors-to-Knife River section of Scenic Highway 61 had deteriorated and got moved to the top of a project list because of U.S. federal funding. He said the effort was completed with the help of Walter Leu of Duluth, a Minnesota Department of Transportation assistant district engineer of state aid and planning.
The week-long project, completed Aug. 8, cost $750,000, with $500,000 in federal funds and $250,000 from Lake County. The road was paved 36-feet wide.
"We (in Lake County) feel a strong commitment to the NorthShore race and Grandma's Marathon, and to everyone else who uses the North Shore Scenic Drive, and we had a roadway with old concrete slabs with cracks. It was really falling apart," said Goodman. "We were fortunate to have the money at the right time to get this done."
The work on Harbor Drive, over the final stretch of the inline race and within the last mile of Grandma's Marathon, was classified as concrete pavement rehabilitation. The main task included patching holes with blacktop, and cutting out and replacing cracked or uneven slabs of road. It took three weeks and cost $330,000, said Duluth city engineer Pat Mlakar. Some joint sealing remains to complete the project.
The work, scheduled for June, was delayed by flooding and delayed again by the construction company's schedule.
"The road certainly needed the repair, and the surface is now much better. The hope is it will improve the skating for the inline race," said Mlakar.
The NorthShore Inline Marathon is sponsoring a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the repaved opening miles from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Thursday at Knife River on Scenic Highway 61. It is free and those interested can inline skate, bike, roller ski or run on the new roadway.
Entries for the largest inline marathon in the United States are being taken online at northshoreinline.com through Sept. 1. The inline marathon is designated as the 2012 U.S. Inline Marathon Championship, with $3,000 going to the men's and women's winners.
The race-day schedule: half marathon skate at 6:45 a.m., inaugural half marathon run at 7 a.m., marathon skate at 9:30 a.m., classical roller-ski at 10:25 a.m. and skate roller-ski at 10:50 a.m.
SCENIC HIGHWAY 61 RIBBON CUTTING
When: 5:30-7:30 p.m. Aug. 23.
Where: Knife River on Scenic Highway 61.
Occasion: The first five miles of the NorthShore Inline Marathon course have been repaved and a portion of the new road will be open to the public for inline skating, biking, roller-skiing and running. Complimentary food and refreshments courtesy of The Lighthouse at Emily's and Gill's Cheese & Smokehouse.
Information: NorthShore Inline Marathon at northshoreinline.com or (218) 723-1503.