Minnesota Department of Transportation

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July 27, 2021

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US 71 Willmar corridor improvement project updates

Southbound lane closure extended

WILLMAR, Minn. – The southbound lane closure for the U.S. Highway 71 pavement maintenance project is being extended today to 1,500 feet short of the US 71/Hwy 23 split north of Willmar. Crews will begin concrete repair work at 2:00 a.m. on Wednesday, July 28. Light towers will illuminate a large area of the southbound roadway; however, noise impacts should be minimal. Nighttime work is expected to continue through this week to help crews during the projected heatwave.
As part of the pavement maintenance portion of the project, three miles of concrete pavement is being 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 is like using sandpaper on wood in that it provides a smoother surface and as a result, a quieter ride.
The detour for a portion of the US 71 southbound lane (a segment near the US 71/Hwy 23 split) is not in place at this time as originally anticipated; however, it will be scheduled at some point during repair work.
Current Traffic impacts

  • Northbound traffic is reduced to a single lane from County Road 24/23rd Street Northeast to County Road 25/60th Avenue Northeast
  • Southbound traffic is reduced to a single lane from CR 24 to the US 71/Hwy 23 split
  • Northbound access to CR 24 is closed
  • The highway crossing at County Road 90/37th Avenue Northeast is closed

Travelers are encouraged to watch message boards along the corridor for upcoming traffic changes and allow extra time for travel. As road work will be next to the traffic lane, drivers should also watch for construction equipment breaking for, entering, and exiting the work zone, and not follow equipment into the work zone to avoid damage to their vehicles.

Corridor Improvement Projects
The concrete repair work is one of several roadway and safety improvement projects along the US 71 corridor in Willmar this summer. A summary of the improvements includes:

  • Reduced conflict intersection (J-turn) at CR 90
  • Median construction at 41st Avenue
  • Culvert replacement at 48th Avenue
  • Safety improvements at CR 24
  • Pavement maintenance of the southbound lane from just north of Point Lake to the far south end by Willmar Lake