Minnesota Department of Transportation

511 Travel Info

Hwy 23 Gap

Paynesville to Richmond

Project overview

Environmental Assessment Worksheet

Environmental Assessment Worksheets, or EAWs, are a standardized public process designed to disclose information about the potential environmental effects of a proposed project and ways to avoid or minimize them Sbefore the project is permitted and built. The EAW for the North Gap (Hwy 23 from Paynesville to Richmond) has been submitted and printed in the EQB Monitor (Oct. 16 edition). It is available for review and comment. Comments will be accepted prior to 4:00 pm on November 15, 2017. Copies of the EAW are available on this webpage, MnDOT District 8 in Willmar (2505 Transportation Road) and at the Willmar Public Library (410 5th St. SW). A public open house is being held Nov.1, 2017 at St. Peter and Paul School (111 Central Avenue North) in Richmond, MN from 4-6 pm.


MnDOT plans to begin the environmental review for the Paynesville to Richmond segment spring of 2015. Once the environmental review and layout are complete, right-of-way acquisition and detail design could begin as funds become available. Currently, there are no plans for constructing the four lane because there is no funding available for the construction at this time.


The Hwy 23 Corridor extends across the state of Minnesota from Interstate 90 to Interstate 35 and beyond. It connects many cities including Marshall, Granite Falls, Willmar and St. Cloud. Locally and regionally, Hwy 23 serves as a major connection between the area's residents, employment and service centers as well as a key recreational and tourist access route. Tourist travel along the corridor creates high seasonal and weekend traffic peaks. Under the Interregional Corridor classification system, Hwy 23 is classified as a Medium Priority Interregional Corridor.

Hwy 23 is also an important freight route. District 8 recently completed a Manufacturer's Perspective on Transportation Study that interviewed manufacturers and carriers in Southwest and West Central Minnesota to determine their most important transportation issues. Hwy 23 was frequently mentioned as a critical connection to deliver goods to national and international markets. View the Manufacturer’s Perspective on Transportation Study final report.


The segment of Hwy 23 between Willmar and Interstate 94 is a distance of approximately 53 miles. Of those 53 miles, all but 15 miles have been constructed as a four lane roadway. The two gaps in the four lane are between New London and Paynesville (in MnDOT District 8), and between Paynesville and Richmond (in MnDOT District 3). See the New London to Paynesville gap.

Anticipated timeline

Date Description
Jan-Dec 2017 Finalize environmental review
Jan 2017 Public Open House #4
May 2016 Public Open House #3
Feb-May 2016 Finalize preferred alternative
Dec 2015 Public Open House #2
Sept 2015 Public Open House #1
Sept-Dec 2015 Prepare & analyze alignment alternatives
Summer 2015 Gather data (surveys, field reviews, location studies, etc.)
June 2015 Begin environmental review


Estimated project costs

Highway 23 Construction Wetland mitigation, utility agreements, detour costs Environmental review, surveys, engineering, contract administration, etc. Right of Way Total Project Cost Estimate
Paynesville to Richmond $49M to $65M $2M to $3.5M $10M to $13M $12M to $17M $74M to $98M