Improvement Project Summary
MnDOT is making several roadway and safety improvements along US 71 in Willmar. The map summarizes each of the projects, which are detailed separately below. This summer, US 71 in north Willmar, from Kandiyohi County Road 24/23rd Street N to Kandiyohi County Road 27, will be within the work zone. Click here to view a project summary (PDF).
Current traffic impacts
- Northbound US 71 traffic is reduced to a single lane from CR 24/23rd St NE to just past CR 90/37th Ave NE
- Southbound US 71 traffic is reduced to a single lane from CR 24 to just shy of the US 71/Hwy 23 split.
- Northbound access to CR 24 is closed.
- The hwy crossing at CR 90/37th Ave NE is closed.
- Neighborhoods with only one entry/exit (such as, north side of Point Lake) will always have access.
- Speeds are reduced 10 mph in the work zone - please slow down!
- Watch message boards along US 71 for upcoming traffic changes.
- Allow extra travel time.
Future traffic impacts
- NB and SB lane reductions will expand to CR 27 as work progresses.
- A detour will be in place to complete a portion of the J-turn project (dates to be determined).
- Roads along the project route, from CR 24 (near the Kandiyohi Health and Human Services building) to the north US 71/Hwy 23 split, will be closed at various times during the project.
- CR 24 and CR 25 will not be closed at the same time.
Friday, September 17, 2021
- Continue with grading operations of the J-turns and extensions
- Paving the new southbound concrete lane for the J-turn at CR 90
- Completion date extended to on/about October 1
Summary of work
Reduced conflict intersection (J-turn) at CR 90
- MnDOT received safety funding from the Highway Safety Improvement Program to build a J-turn at US 71 and CR 90. A J-turn at this location can address severe crashes by making it safer for vehicles to cross and merge by decreasing the number of lanes they need to cross at one time.
- In addition, a concrete walkway will be constructed between the northbound and southbound lanes and a raised median will separate eastbound and westbound lanes on CR 90 on both sides of the US 71/CR 90 intersection; however, no crossbars will be painted on the roadway.
- Click here to view the final layout for the J-turn at CR 90, and the median construction at 41st Avenue.
- To learn how a J-turn works and review the safety benefits of a J-turn, visit MnDOT's Reduced Conflict Intersections web pages.
- During construction, traffic will be reduced to a single lane through the work zone.
- There will be a 2-week detour during a portion of construction.
- The diagram below shows how a driver on CR 90 at US 71 would navigate the new J-turn.
- Blue arrows: to go left, drivers will enter the highway with a right turn and use a special lane in the center to make a U-turn.
- Yellow arrows: to cross the intersection, drivers will use the U-turn and finish by making a right turn.
- Red arrows: right turns will be easier than before with more room to accelerate onto the highway.
Median construction at 41st Avenue
- The median at 41st Avenue will be partially opened.
- Currently, this is a right-in/right-out access for US 71, with no median crossover.
- Following construction, northbound traffic will be able to turn left from US 71 and go westbound on 41st Avenue.
- Vehicles that are eastbound on 41st Avenue will not be able to crossover onto northbound US 71.
- During construction, the 41st Avenue intersection with US 71 will be closed for two weeks.
- Homes and businesses on the west side of US 71 can be reached from CR 90 (37th Avenue) when 41st Avenue is closed during construction.
- A culvert will be installed at 48th Avenue (entrance to Sunray Square Cafe & Deli) to improve drainage.
- During construction, the 48th Avenue intersection with US 71 will be closed for one day.
- Homes and businesses on the west side of US 71 can be reached from the north end of the frontage road.
Safety improvements at CR 24
- A U-turn just north of the CR 24 J-turn will be paved, and a left-turn lane constructed to lead into the turn.
- Currently, it is a gravel U-turn restricted to emergency vehicles only.
- Once paved, the U-turn will allow northbound travelers to turn to the south. There will be no restrictions - all vehicles will be able to use the turn.
- In addition, a concrete walkway will be constructed between the northbound and southbound lanes to connect to the walking path on 23rd Street Northeast to the east, and CR 24 to the west.
- While northbound access to CR 24 is closed, homes and businesses on CR 24 can be reached using CR 41 (Radio Station Road). Right-in/right-out southbound access to US 71 is open.
- Three miles of concrete pavement will be repaired - the southbound lane from just north of Point Lake, where the concrete pavement starts, to the far south end by Willmar Lake.
- Deteriorated concrete will be removed and replaced.
- The surface will be refinished using a process known as diamond grinding. Diamond grinding on concrete is like using sandpaper on wood in that it provides a smoother surface and as a result, a quieter ride.
- During repair work, the US 71 southbound lane segment near the US 71/Hwy 23 split will be detoured for about three weeks beginning July 13. Click here to view the detour map.
- The detour route uses CR 27, CR 9, Hwy 23.
- Neighborhoods with only one entry/exit (such as, north side of Point Lake) will always have access during repair work.