Cook County Highway Department shares update on 5th Avenue construction project
Joe Friedrichs

Cook County Highway Department shares update on 5th Avenue construction project

It’s the halfway point for the Fifth Avenue reconstruction project taking place in Grand Marais this summer.

The project, which runs from Highway 61 to just above the Cook County Courthouse on Fifth Avenue, is on course to wrap up in early October.  Construction started in late May on the project.

Cook County Highway Department officials recently took WTIP’s news team on a tour of the project. Among the highlights were a massive stormwater drainage system built in front of the courthouse. The filtration system will divert rain and snow melt from Fifth  Avenue West in Grand Marais and both filter and slow the runoff. The system is located on the southwest corner of the courthouse lawn.

Most of Fifth Avenue from Highway 61 to the courthouse remains under heavy construction, with more gravel needed on the roadway before paving can begin. Utility work also needs to occur before paving, according to county officials. In addition to replacing the pavement, the project includes adding sidewalks on both sides of Fifth Avenue and replacing city stormwater infrastructure.

Jacob Backer from the local highway department, who represents the county for the Fifth Avenue project, on-site to answer questions. Backer can be reached at 218-370-2322 or

In addition to having someone on-site, schedule updates can be found in two locations: at the construction trailer in the overflow parking lot of the courthouse and online here.

WTIP’s Joe Friedrichs took a tour of the Fifth Avenue Construction Project on July 20. Backer and Highway Engineer Robbie Hass took Friedrichs on the tour. Listen to a full report in the audio below.