William A. Irvin scheduled to be moved Friday night

The William A. Irvin is currently docked in the Minnesota Slip between Canal Park and the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center. Howie Hanson / Twin Ports News

The retired William A. Irvin oreboat will likely be moved out of the Minnesota Slip to Fraser Shipyard in Superior sometime between 7 p.m. Friday and 6 a.m. Sunday, the City of Duluth said in a press release today.

“The city, its contractor and the DECC continue to monitor the weather and lake to determine the ideal start time,” the city wrote. “The move is necessary for restoration and repairs of the historic 610-foot laker and is dependent on calm winds and lake conditions, as the ship has no propulsion mechanisms. In preparation for the move, the city is planning to pin the Minnesota Slip Bridge in the up position starting mid day on Friday and plans to resume operations on Saturday after the Irvin’s departure.”

The Irvin will be guided by barges and towed methodically and slowly to Fraser within the proposed timeframe. The move will take approximately four hours, assuming there are no weather delays or complications. During this move, there will be no marine traffic allowed with the exception of the U.S. Coast Guard vessels and the barges. The Aerial Lift Bridge will not lift for water vessels during this move.

Due to public interest, the city recommends that members of the public who wish to view the event do so from the walkway behind Bellisio’s Italian restaurant in Canal Park. There will be no public access in the immediate vicinity of the west side of the Minnesota Slip and from the Marcus Theatres parking lot to the Minnesota Slip Bridge. A second viewing area is also possible on the grassy area between the DECC and Great Lakes Aquarium as the ship moves further out.

Parking is available at the DECC.

The Irvin’s departure will enable much needed restoration of the corroded hull of the ship and receive a new coat of paint to better serve the thousands of visitors and preserve this historic Great Lakes freighter for decades to come.

In addition, the vacant slip will make room for the anticipated $11 million remediation project, a cost-share partnership between U.S. EPA and the State of Minnesota Pollution Control Agency under the Great Lakes Legacy Act using funds from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. The project will cap about 37,000 cubic yards of polluted sediment to preserve the health of the Lake and waterfront assets.

The Irvin will return to the Minnesota Slip in spring 2019 the city said.

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