Minnesota Department of Transportation

511 Travel Info

News Releases

September 2, 2020

Thief River Falls road construction update

Highway 1 and 59 roundabout delayed until spring 2021


BEMIDJI, Minn. – The Minnesota Department of Transportation announced today the delay of the roundabout construction at the intersection of Highways 1 and 59 in Thief River Falls. The Brooks and Barzen roundabouts, as well as the Highway 1/59 intersection, will be open to traffic on October 9. Three weeks sooner than the intended completion date.

“We had a number of weather delays that pushed back elements of the project,” said MnDOT project manager, Andrea Weleski. “So we made the decision to delay completion of that final roundabout, near the Petro Pumper intersection, until the spring. We understand the community has had multiple construction projects to navigate this summer, and adding another in the spring isn’t ideal.”

Planning to resurface pavement and pouring concrete in November can be challenging given Minnesota’s weather patterns. It can lead to further delays, or require additional repairs in the spring.

“A roundabout is not a project that we can stop half way through and complete next summer. Once you begin a roundabout, you have to see it through completion,” says Bill Pirkl, MnDOT Program Delivery. “In order to avoid a winter-long detour route, we will pause construction on October 9 and pick it up again in the spring.”

Improvements to be complete before then include:

  • Final drainage connection to the Red Lake Watershed
  • Complete paving of Highway 59
  • Concrete placement for trail system
  • Trail paving
  • Lighting and striping on Highway 59

In October, MnDOT will announce the spring construction schedule for the Highway 1 and 59 roundabout in 2021. When the project begins again, the overall traffic impact will be much lower as the preparation of this construction will be completed this fall.

Between MnDOT, Pennington County, the City of Thief River Falls, and the Red Lake Watershed, there are 10 projects happening in Thief River Falls and the surrounding area in 2020. The projects do not all begin at once as MnDOT and its partners have worked together to combine and stage detours to lessen the overall impact on motorists. For more information on those projects visit www.mndot.gov/d2/projects/2020/thief-river-falls.

For up to date information about projects happening in the Thief River Falls area, please sign up for weekly email updates on the project website www.mndot.gov/d2/projects/2020/thief-river-falls or join the MnDOT northwest Minnesota Facebook group at www.facebook.com/groups/MnDOTnorthwest. The public is also invited to the weekly virtual public meeting held every Tuesday at 10:00 a.m. throughout the duration of the project. Visit the website to register or join the meeting.

###