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News Release

March 13, 2008

Motorists cautioned to be prepared for reconstruction of Highway 197 in Bemidji


BEMIDJI, Minn. - The Minnesota Department of Transportation advises motorists to be prepared for traffic delays this spring and summer as work gets underway to reconstruct Highway 197 (also known as Bemidji Avenue) from Third St. to 23rd St. in Bemidji.

Mn/DOT, in partnership with the city of Bemidji, will begin the project on Monday, April 21. Highway 197 will be closed and detoured for the duration of the project which is expected to be complete by mid August.

The detour will begin at Second St. in front of the Chamber of Commerce, directing traffic west to America Avenue, north on America for one block, then west to Irvine Avenue, and north to the junction with Irvine and Highway 197 (Paul Bunyan Drive).

As the official detour route, parking will not be permitted on Irvine Avenue from Fifth St. north to 21st St. Irvine Avenue will be striped as a three-lane, with one lane in each direction for traffic and the middle lane for left turning vehicles.

Intersections will remain open at Highway 197 and Irvine Avenue and Highway 197 and 23rd St.

Local traffic to businesses and homes in the affected area will have access from cross streets. 10th St. and 15th St. , which cross Hwy. 197, will remain open for access to businesses and homes on the east side of Highway 197, including access to Bemidji State University.

Motorists need to be extremely alert for slowing and turning traffic, allowing more time to get through the area. Travelers who are only passing through should use the Highway 2 bypass or other routes to avoid congestion.

Depending on weather, the project detour is expected to be removed from Second St. to Fifth St. in time for the Jaycees Water Carnival.

The prime contractor is Ulland Brothers of Cloquet. The contractor plans weekly public updates throughout the project. Location, dates and times will be announced at a later date.

For statewide road condition information, dial 511 or log on to

flag person with stop sign

Karen Bedeau
Public Affairs Coordinator

District 2
Bemidji / Crookston
3920 Highway 2 West
Bemidji, MN 56601
Tel: 218/755-6500
Fax: 218/755-6512
Road Condition Information: