Designing future Highway 197 improvements
Updated: September 22, 2021
Throughout summer 2021, MnDOT and the Headwaters Regional Development Commission (HRDC) were at a variety of community events to answer questions and comments regarding the two new alternatives for the Highway 197 corridor. The engineering consultant for the project, KLJ, helped to develop an open house survey earlier this summer. The survey provided the opportunity for the community to give feedback on the two new alternative layouts for the corridor. Over the past several months, MnDOT, HRDC, KLJ and the CRP have presented these alternatives to business owners along the corridor.
Currently, the CRP is planning their final meeting to vote for the preferred alternative they will be recommending to the Bemidji City Council.
In 2019, MnDOT conducted an in-depth corridor study which ultimately resulted in the proposal of a roundabout corridor. That preferred alternative didn’t garner enough community support and was ultimately voted against by the Bemidji City Council. This renewed effort has been an attempt to start over. Since a resurfacing project has to take place regardless, because the pavement will reach the end of its service life, MnDOT's goal is to also include multi-modal improvements that will increase the safety and vitality of the corridor for motorists, businesses, bicyclists and pedestrians.