Minnesota Department of Transportation

511 Travel Info

Hwy 23 Passing Lanes

Interstate 90 to Willmar

About this project

Project Overview

The 2013 Minnesota Legislature created the Corridors of Commerce program by authorizing the sale of up to $300 million in new bonds for the construction, reconstruction and improvement of trunk highways (2013 Session Law, Chapter 117, DOC 0.5 MB). The legislation establishes two major goals:

  • To provide additional highway capacity on segments where there are currently bottlenecks in the system,
  • and, to improve the movement of freight and reduce barriers to commerce.

This Corridors of Commerce project list includes the construction of passing lanes at various locations along the Highway 23 corridor between Interstate 90 and Willmar.  Locally and regionally, the Highway 23 Corridor serves as a major connection for area residents, employment and service centers, as well as serving as a key recreational and tourist access route.  Highway 23 also connects many cities including Pipestone, Marshall, Granite Falls, Willmar and St. Cloud.  It is also an important freight route and was mentioned as a critical connection for delivering goods to national and international markets in the recently completed District 8 Manufacturer’s Perspective on Minnesota’s Transportation System study.  The report will be made available for review in early July. 

Passing lanes will be placed strategically along the corridor, providing regular passing opportunities will provide the most benefit to manufacturers, commuters, agriculture and others that use the highway.

For more information on the Corridors of Commerce program, visit their website at http://www.dot.state.mn.us/corridorsofcommerce/

Project Benefits

Benefits of passing lanes:

  • Enhances highway safety by reducing pressure for traffic to make high-risk passes
  • Encourages commercial traffic to use the corridor instead of seeking a longer and potentially less safe alternative route
  • Provides opportunities to pass slower traffic which better accommodates the varying mix of corridor traffic
  • Increases the predictability of travel time for the corridor

Project Update

A passing lane assessment has recently been completed along the Highway 23 Corridor from Interstate 90 to Willmar.  The assessment identified a first tier and second tier list of locations for passing lanes.  The report can be viewed by clicking on the "Documents" tab above. The next step is to complete an environmental assessment and work on layout development; scheduled to be completed by Fall 2014.  Right-of-way acquisition and final design will be conducted from Fall 2014 through Spring 2016 with construction scheduled to begin in Summer 2016.