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News Release

July 11 , 2003

Motorists Cautioned About Changing Traffic Conditions During the Reconstruction of Highway 197 (Paul Bunyan Drive) in Bemidji


Bemidji, MN. --- The Minnesota Department of Transportation (Mn/DOT) is asking drivers to slow down and be prepared for changing traffic conditions as works gets underway on Phase IV of the reconstruction of Highway 197, also known as Paul Bunyan Drive, in Bemidji.

According to Jim Bittmann, Mn/DOT Project Engineer, the scope of the work will extend from 1st Street and Gemmel Avenue to the Mississippi River Bridge near Pamida.

Bittmann said changes would include diverting traffic to one lane in each direction on the newly opened bridge over the Mississippi River as work in the connection from Highway 197 to "old Midway Drive" gets started. Other changes the public will see as work progresses is the temporary closing of Cross Street for storm sewer work and paving, the Gemmel Avenue connection will be rebuilt following the removal of the old rail crossing and two southbound lanes near Valvoline will also be closed to accommodate construction.

Bittmann said this portion of the work would last through the end of October with plans to work on lakeshore stabilization over the winter months. The final bituminous course on the reconstruction of Highway 197 will be done next year along with the completion of a bike and pedestrian walkway near Lake Bemidji.

For road condition and construction information, dial 511 or log on to


We’re in the WORK ZONE Together

Karen Bedeau
Public Affairs Coordinator

District 2
Bemidji / Crookston
3920 Highway 2 West
PO Box 490
Bemidji, MN 56619
Tel: 218/755-3800
Fax: 218/755-2028
Road Condition Information: 218/755-3816