VIRGINIA, Minn. (AP) _ Officials in northeastern Minnesota believe a new
highway bridge can spark economic development and help tourism by providing an
entryway into the city of Virginia.

The 1,100-foot (335-meter) long U.S. Highway 53 bridge on the Iron Range sits more than 200 feet (61 meters) above the Rouchleau Pit, an old mine pit.

Jim Makowsky, the general manager of two area hotels, says he thinks the bridge
will be a tourist attraction.

The bridge was built after mining company Cliffs Natural Resources told the
state seven years ago that the highway had to be moved so the company could
access iron ore underneath the road.

The project cost about $235 million. The federal government provided $30
million, and the state covered the rest of the cost.