Thank you for joining us in Hawick, Minnesota on April 28, 2023 for the South Gap Groundbreaking Celebration! Attendees joined together to celebrate improved traffic flow and freight movement, as well as overall corridor performance, capacity and safety.
South Gap Groundbreaking Attendees
Members of MnDOT, the Highway 23 Coalition and Mathiowetz Construction gathered along with local, county and state elected officials and corridor community members to celebrate the start of this long awaited project. Mathiowetz Construction is the contractor for the South Gap project, and the cost is $34.5 million.
Highway 23 Gaps Expansion Projects
The South Gap project expands 7 miles of Hwy 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. The two-year project will conclude in 2024.
Some of the expansion projects within the South Gap include the following:
- A new frontage road starting at County Road 31. This will provide access to the various properties alongside the highway. A new connection will be made near the end of this frontage road on 115 Street Northeast.
- The Long Lake outlet structure will be replaced and lengthened with a new culvert. No impacts will be made to the historic structure under the trail.
- New connections to 212th Avenue near Long Lake will be made and will include access to the campground.
- A new pedestrian underpass will be constructed. It will connect to the Glacier Lakes State Trail.
- East towards Hawick, there will be many intersections that will be realigned. This will provide safety improvements and better access control.
- The parking for the Glacial Lakes State Trail will be moved approximately a half mile west of its existing location.
- Highway 23 will be shifted to the North through Hawick to minimize impacts.
- The curve after Hawick will be eased and the speed limit will be 65 miles per hour. Along this part of the highway, new stormwater storage and treatment basins will be installed to accommodate more runoff.
- The new 4-lane highway will tie into the existing four-lane dived section west of Paynesville.
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 construction to be completed this year.
When the North Gap and South Gap sections are both complete, the Highway 23 corridor will be a 4-lane experience from Willmar to Foley.
Additional Traffic Impacts
There are two detours part of the South Gap Project. Highway 23 will be closed from Hawick to Paynesville during year 1 (2023) of construction from May 1 through October 27, 2023. Work along Highway 23 from New London to Hawick will be done under traffic. There is, however, a 10-day detour that will be in place near Long Lake for the installation of a temporary culvert to divert water around the new box culvert being installed at the Long Lake outlet in early October 2023. It is possible that both detours could be in place at the same time.