(HILL CITY, MINN)          In 2020, Ruth Landrus was forced to close her Hill City restaurant for four months because of COVID restrictions.  The closing meant no customers but continued expenses as she worked hard to keep her business going.  In 2021, Landrus says things have changed for the better due to the Line 3 Replacement project.  She has now expanded hours for Ruthie’s Restaurant and sales are up more than 40%, serving Line 3 construction workers.

“Line 3 has been a big boost at the right time for our business and for our entire local economy,” said Ruth Landrus, co-owner of Ruthie’s Restaurant.  “COVID created immediate challenges for so many of us that made last year really hard.  As soon as the final permits were issued, Line 3 created an immediate benefit across so many communities that is extremely important.  After seeing what has already happened, I am convinced this project will create a positive impact long after construction work is complete.”

Construction work in 14 counties started in early December of 2020 and the project’s workforce at times has exceeded 5,000 people as different phases of work was completed.  Crews initially started clearing the route corridor of trees and moving sections of pipe to different locations to prepare for installation.  Construction is now more than 50 percent complete as the project prepares for a long-planned two-month pause for some of the work because of Minnesota’s road weight restrictions related to the transition from winter to spring. 

“It has been a great change for us to find ways to make sure our restaurant can not only serve so many new customers but to see our bottom line move in the right direction,” Landrus said.  “Just about every business in Hill City has been positively affected – that includes grocery stores, restaurants, lodging, gas stations, and convenient stores.  The spring pause will give a chance to take a breath and get ready for the next phase of project.  For our restaurant, our long-term future is much stronger now that Line 3 will have helped us transition from a COVID economy to what we all think will be a much stronger 2021.”

The Line 3 Replacement project started in 2014 during the Obama-Biden Administration when there was a consent decree ordering Enbridge to replace the pipeline.  Enbridge then worked with the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission to submit an application to seek approval for replacing Line 3 in 2015 as part of the company’s integrity and maintenance driven program.  Line 3 is now the most reviewed pipeline project in Minnesota history and has been reviewed by state and federal agencies and regulators for almost six years. 

Ruthie and her husband Randy bought their restaurant in 1995.  They have operated it successfully for more than two decades with the help of their daughter.  The casual-format restaurant has seating capacity for 75 people and expanded take-away service to serve customers through COVID restrictions. 

Many of the Line 3 workers stop by the restaurant in the morning, on the way to different construction sites.  When work started, Ruthie’s Restaurant changed its hours to open 2 hour earlier each day to accommodate their new customers.

“We love this community and the fact we have the chance to serve so many customers,” Landrus said.  “It has been great to meet the new workers and make new connections.  For those from our area, it has been a chance to introduce them to our place.  For others who have come here from other communities, it has been a chance to introduce them to Hill City and what we think is such a great place to live.”

Contact: Susan Goudge | 218-556-3617