Minnesota Department of Transportation

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News releases

April 20, 2023

Latest news releases

Final year of construction gets underway for Hwy 23 North Gap project; first detour begins May 1

WILLMAR, Minn. – The Minnesota Department of Transportation announces that the final year of construction on the Highway 23 North Gap project gets underway May 1. The North Gap project expands nine miles of Highway 23 to four lanes, from Paynesville to Richmond. Also, several intersections along Highway 23 are being reconfigured to improve sightlines, reduce potential crash points, and enhance safety. The North Gap project concludes in 2023.

Upcoming detours

  • Stearns County Road 12 (Maine Street) near Richmond will be detoured for 14 days beginning Monday, May 1 to complete the new tie-in to Highway 23. A detour map is attached.
  • Highway 23 will be detoured from Stearns County Road 33 in Paynesville to Stearns County Road 12 in Richmond beginning Monday, May 15. The detour is expected to be in place through early November 2023 when the project is completed. A detour map is attached.
  • Dates are subject to change depending on weather and other unforeseeable circumstances.Hwy 23 construction and detour map

People who live, work, or visit homes and businesses along Highway 23 will have access to/from Highway 23 using designated access points along the corridor. Drivers can expect changes and use of alternate entrances as Highway 23 will be a busy work zone. Residents, business owners, and visitors should watch for construction signs, lane closures, gravel surfaces, flaggers with use of pilot car, road crews, and heavy equipment.

Highway 23 expansion projects

Hwy 23 north gap detour mapThe North 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 North Gap, the South Gap expansion of Highway 23 to four lanes from New London to Paynesville is scheduled for construction from early 2023 through 2024. 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.

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 contractor for the North Gap project, which will cost $41.75 million.

Work zone reminders

  • Slow down when approaching every work zone
  • Never enter a roadway that has been blocked with barriers or cones
  • Stay alert; watch for workers and slow-moving equipment
  • Obey posted speed limits; fine for a work zone violation is $300
  • Minimize distractions behind the wheel
  • Be patient and expect delays, especially during peak travel times