Minnesota Department of Transportation

511 Travel Info

News releases

Feb. 21, 2023

Latest news releases

Open house for Hwy 23 South Gap project is March 2

WILLMAR, Minn. – The Minnesota Department of Transportation invites the public to attend an in-person construction open house on Thursday, March 2, for the Highway 23 South Gap expansion project. The open house will be held at Peace Lutheran Church, 100 4th Ave. SW, New London, and run from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. There are no formal presentations and people are invited to stop by at their convenience during open house hours. MnDOT staff and the contractor will be available to answer questions about the construction phase of the South Gap project, including the timeline and detours.
For those unable to attend the in-person open house, an in-depth virtual open house is available on the MnDOT South Gap website.

Highway 23 expansion projects
The South Gap project expands seven miles of Highway 23 to four lanes, from New London to Paynesville. Safety will be enhanced at intersections along the corridor and a pedestrian underpass will be constructed near Hawick. Tree clearing will take place in March with construction beginning April 23. The two-year project will conclude in 2024.

The South Gap project is part of the three-year Highway 23 Gaps expansion project which received funding through the Corridors of Commerce program in May 2018. In addition to the South Gap, the North Gap expansion of Highway 23 to four lanes from Paynesville to Richmond is scheduled for completion this year. When the North Gap and South Gap sections are both complete, Highway 23 travelers will be able to experience continuous four-lane travel from Willmar to Foley.

Traffic impacts
A detour is required to complete the South Gap project. The detour of Highway 23 goes into effect May 1 and is expected to run through November 1. The detour uses County Road 2 and Highway 55, routing traffic from Hawick to Paynesville. Access will be open to those who live, work, or visit homes and businesses along Hwy 23; however, drivers can expect changes and use of alternate entrances as Hwy 23 will be a busy work zone. Residents, business owners, and visitors should watch for construction signs, lane closures, gravel surfaces, flaggers, road crews, and heavy equipment.

Project benefits and cost
Benefits of the project include improved traffic flow and freight movement, as well as overall corridor performance, capacity, and safety. Mathiowetz Construction is the apparent low bidder for the South Gap project, at a cost of $34.5 million.

Alternate language/materials
MnDOT invites and encourages participation by all. If you need an ASL, foreign language interpreter, or other reasonable accommodation, or need documents in an alternative format (such as braille or large print), please email your request to Janet Miller at ADArequest.dot@state.mn.us or call 651-366-4720.