Highway department preps for upcoming winter storm and future plans for the Gunflint Trail
WTIP file photo

Highway department preps for upcoming winter storm and future plans for the Gunflint Trail

The future of the Gunflint Trail will be discussed during a public meeting this week at the Mid-Trail Community Center near Poplar Lake.

Cook County Highway Engineer Robbie Hass will host a meeting from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 15. The meeting will focus on utilizing community members to help create a vision for improvements to the Gunflint Trail.

The public meeting Thursday evening will provide both business owners and residents living near the Gunflint Trail an opportunity to share their ideas of how to improve the popular roadway, Hass said.

Hass is hoping to secure a $25 million federal grant to make improvements to the Gunflint Trail.

“This is once-in-a-generation funding that we have an opportunity to access,” he said.

Hass said the funding could help develop the Gunflint Trail in terms of safety improvements, creation of additional pullouts with educational kiosks, wider shoulders in particular locations to improve safety, among many other possibilities.

The impetus for applying for the federal grant came out of meetings dealing with safety concerns in the Mid-Trail area, Hass said.

Attendees can attend the meeting in person at the Schaap Community Center, or via Zoom. Click here to attend the meeting virtually.

In related news, a severe winter storm is expected to roll in this week across Cook County. Regardless of the weather, Hass said the meeting will still take place.

For motorists traveling in Cook County between Dec. 14 and 16, Hass reminds the public that the local highway department and its snowplow drivers do not work in consecutive shifts. This means there will be times, likely in the evening and early morning, when plows are not working local roads in Cook County even as the snow falls. This would include roads like the Gunflint Trail. Plow drivers typically work from approximately 4 a.m. to 6 p.m.

For residents of Grand Marais, the city’s winter parking ordinance is in effect. All vehicles must park on one side of the street to allow snow plows to clear the roadway.

To keep track of where to park, just look at the calendar — on even days (Dec. 4, Dec. 6, Dec. 8) vehicles must be parked on the side of the street with even house numbers. On odd days (Dec. 5, Dec. 7, Dec. 9) vehicles must all park on the side of the street with odd house numbers.

On-street parking is also prohibited downtown between Lake Superior and Highway 61 on Broadway Ave, 1st Ave. W, 2nd Ave. W, Wisconsin Street and First Street between 2 a.m. and 7 a.m. If vehicles are found to be in violation, owners could be cited and could be towed.

Hass spoke with WTIP’s Joe Friedrichs Dec. 13 about these topics. Audio below.