Minnesota Department of Transportation

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News releases

Aug. 7, 2023

Latest news releases

Hwy 197 construction project update

MnDOT seeks public input on staging options 

BEMIDJI, Minn. - The Minnesota Department of Transportation invites the public to learn more about current and future projects on Hwy 197 in Bemidji. Residents and business owners can explore the project websites or visit the MnDOT booth at the Beltrami County Fair Aug. 9-13.

2023 Resurfacing – Bemidji Ave to Hannah Ave

In mid-September crews will resurface Highway 197/Paul Bunyan Drive between Bemidji Avenue and Hannah Avenue. Motorists will experience night-time lane closures as most of the resurfacing work will take place at night to lessen the impact on businesses and motorists. The lane closures will be removed during the day.

The project is expected to last about two weeks and will extend the life of the pavement until a more permanent fix can be constructed in about 10 years. Learn more at mndot.gov/d2/projects/hwy197-bemidji.

2026 Reconstruct – Hannah Ave to Gillett Dr

MnDOT plans to reconstruct Highway 197 between Hannah Avenue and Gillett Drive in 2026. Project staff have recently been focused on final design details and developing a construction staging plan. Over the past few months, they have been meeting with individual business owners along the project area. MnDOT is seeking additional input on user preferences for construction staging.

In 2022 MnDOT and the City of Bemidji were awarded a RAISE Grant through the U.S. DOT, which help communities build transportation projects that have significant local or regional impact, and improve safety and equity. The project was awarded $18 million, with $14.4 million towards the MnDOT project and $3.6 million toward the City’s. Learn more at talk.dot.state.mn.us/hwy-197-bemidji.

Adjacent project – Hannah Ave and Middle School Dr

The City of Bemidji plans to reconstruct Hannah Avenue and Middle School Drive between 23rd Street and Highway 197. The city is hosting an open house on August 15th, from 4 – 7 p.m. at the City Hall Council Chambers to provide information and gather input from the community.

Stay connected, informed

Important reminders for motorists regarding work zone safety:

  • Slow down when approaching every work zone, then navigate through with care and caution.
  • Stay alert; work zones constantly change.
  • Watch for workers and slow-moving equipment.
  • Obey posted speed limits. Fine for a violation in a work zone is $300.
  • Minimize distractions behind the wheel.
  • Be patient; expect delays, especially during peak travel times.