HOYT LAKES – BABBITT CONNECTION PROJECT
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is the goal of the project?
To develop a more direct and efficient roadway connection between Hoyt Lakes and
Babbitt and to improve connectivity across the broader East Iron Range region.
Q: Why do we need a study?
The Hoyt Lakes – Babbitt Connection project has been proposed for a number of reasons.
An extensive road network covers North St Louis County, but a noticeable gap exists
between the cities of Hoyt Lakes and Babbitt. These two communities are just over 16
miles apart on the map, yet the shortest route between them covers 36 miles and can take
over an hour to travel. The County’s economic base is defined by mining, logging, and
recreation and efficient transportation is a critical component in sustaining the region and
improving its quality of life.
Recognizing these factors, both St. Louis County and the Federal government, through
the efforts of Representative Jim Oberstar, have identified priority funding to plan and
design a new roadway corridor between Hoyt Lakes and Babbitt. Detailed needs and
benefit statements are currently being developed for the project's Scoping Document and
should be available early 2008.
Q: What are the potential benefits of this project?
• Reduced travel time and improved connectivity between East Iron Range
• Economic Development
• Recreation and Tourism, including connections to the Superior National
Forest Scenic Byway and the Mesabi Trail
Q: What are the potential constraints of this project?
• Mining and Mineral Rights & Interests
• Wetland Impacts
• Wildlife and Natural Resource Management
Q: What about other amenities like pedestrian/bicycle paths and/or ATV trails?
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Pedestrian/bicyclist and ATV improvements will be considered as the roadway
alternatives are developed and analyzed. The amount and type of improvements will be
dependent upon the need, the impacts to the environment, and costs.
Q: How will the potential impacts of a new roadway be analyzed and accounted for?
The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and Minnesota Environmental Policy
Act (MEPA) require completion of an environmental impact document for projects that
have the potential to cause adverse effects on the study area’s social, natural, and built
environments. The level of environmental review is dependent on the scope and scale of
The specific scope of the Hoyt Lakes – Babbitt Connection project will be identified
during a yearlong “scoping” process. This process will identify the alternatives to be
studied further, the key environmental issues, and whether there is the potential for
significant effects. In turn, this information will be used to decide what level of
environmental document will be required to address the Federal and State environmental
Q: How much will the project cost?
Preliminary cost estimates will be prepared after the alignment alternatives are defined.
The initial cost estimates will be used to assist in screening the options and selecting the
Preferred Alternative. More detailed cost estimates will be prepared as the design of the
Preferred Alternative proceeds.
Q: What is the project schedule?
The project schedule listed below is anticipated only. The actual duration of the
environmental review for the project will depend largely on the number of alternatives
evaluated and the number of environmentally sensitive areas identified during the
process. No funding for construction has been identified at this time. A summary of the
schedule is as follows:
Scoping Process Early 2008
Complete Environmental Document Early 2009
Complete Final EIS and Design Late 2009
Construction Potentially 2010 (depending on funding)
Q: When will I know if the project will affect my home or business?
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Throughout the environmental review process, St. Louis County will consider the
project’s impact on residences and businesses. These impacts will be addressed for all
the alternatives and in greater detail when a Preferred Alternative is identified. Through
the ongoing public involvement process, property owners will be updated on the project
status and any potential plans for acquisition of property.
All right of way acquisition and relocation must be done in accordance with procedures
set by federal and state law. St. Louis County relocation advisors will help develop
individual relocation plans.
Q: Who else is involved in this project?
An Agency Coordinating Committee (ACC) has been established that consists of
representatives from the agencies with potential permitting and approval authority who
will assist in guiding the project through the technical, permitting, and statutory
requirements of the Project. Important responsibilities of the ACC include:
• Provide two-way communication with the Project Team;
• Provide information and communication regarding resource/regulatory issues; and
• Review and comment on project materials.
A Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) has been established that consists of staff
members from transportation authorities in the project area. The TAC will provide input
(primarily on technical and design issues) to the Project Team. Important responsibilities
of the TAC include:
• Provide two-way communication with the Project Team on technical activities;
• Communicate issues and concerns or constituents and agencies;
• Review and comment on technical products; and
• Provide input and direction for Project Team.
A Local Advisory Committee (LAC) has been established that brings together diverse
public interest representatives. The will help solicit comments regarding the proposed
project and incorporate a balanced public interest into the development of the project.
Important responsibilities of the LAC include:
• Provide two-way communication with the Project Team regarding local planning
and policy issues
• Communicate issues and concerns of constituents
• Review and comment on project deliverables
• Serve as project advocates
Q: How can I get involved in this project?
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• Check this website (www.hoytlakestobabbitt.com) regularly for updated
• Come to the open houses to learn about the alternatives and their associated
impacts. St. Louis County will hold open houses throughout the project
development process. Watch for news releases on upcoming open houses &
• Send your comments and concerns to the St. Louis County Project Manager (see
Q: Who can I contact to get more information?
Individuals interested in obtaining additional information are encouraged to call or e-mail
any of the following project representatives.
County Project Manager
St. Louis County Public Works
Consultant Project Manager
WSB & Associates
Public Involvement Manager
Compass Rose, Inc.
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