MnDOT to host open house Jan. 28 for Northern Lights Express Hinckley Loop Feasibility Study

NLXThe Minnesota Department of Transportation will share the preliminary findings of the Northern Lights Express Hinckley Loop Feasibility Study at an open house on Tuesday, Jan. 28, from 5 to 7 p.m., at the Hinckley Community Center.

The public is invited to attend the open house, which includes brief presentations at 5:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.  Project staff will be available to discuss the study and answer questions.

MnDOT, in cooperation with the Northern Lights Express Alliance and the Federal Railroad Administration, studied the feasibility of an alternative alignment for a short section of the proposed NLX high-speed intercity passenger rail route between Minneapolis and Duluth, which would operate on approximately 155 miles of existing BNSF rail.

The NLX Hinckley Loop feasibility study examined the practicality of replacing the proposed station for downtown Hinckley with a station located at Grand Casino, Hinckley, two miles east of the BNSF mainline.  The direct casino connection is referred to as the “Hinckley Loop”, and it is anticipated to be the closest station stop to Pine City.

In addition to route alignments, the study examined whether a direct link to the casino would result in sufficient ridership and revenue to justify the costs of constructing the loop.

Visit for more information about the proposed project.

The Hinckley Community Center is located at 102 Dunn Ave. N. in Hinckley (map).

To request reasonable accommodations or to request a MnDOT document in an alternative format, call 651-366-4718 or email your request to


Census-taking wraps up, now what?


February–March 2010
Census questionnaires are mailed or delivered to households.

April 1, 2010
Census Day

May–July 2010
Census takers visit households that did not return a questionnaire by mail.

December 2010
By law, Census Bureau delivers population counts to the President for apportionment.

March 2011
By law, Census Bureau completes delivery of redistricting data to states.


“Pine City: Pop. 3,043.”

The signs travelers see on their way into Pine City on Main Street and Hillside Avenue will eventually reflect the city’s population increase but it is not likely that new signs will be erected until some time after the busy part of the road construction season in 2011.

Signs get ordered by the Minnesota Department of Transportation and, before ordered, the agency has to receive “real” population figures.  This accounts for the prolonged time period between census figures being announced and the receipt of new signs.  In the metro area, $200,000 is budgeted for FY 2011 for the replacement of these signs, according to Mn/DOT planning figures.

Signage for the whole state is manufactured at the Office of Maintenance State Sign Shop in Oakdale.