The Highway 23 Corridor plays a key role in the economy of the interregional path from Sioux Falls, South Dakota to Duluth/Superior, Wisconsin. It provides an east-west connection for Willmar and the surrounding areas to Interstate 94 and beyond. The South Gap Project focuses on the segment of Highway 23 between Willmar and Interstate 94. Only 16 of these 53 miles have been constructed into a 4-lane highway.
South Gap Project Update
The bid letting date, process of receiving bids prior to any award of a construction contract for any portion of the project, for the South Gap 4-lane project has been delayed from November or December of 2022 to January 27, 2023. This was due to an issue with the Glacial Lakes Trail (that parallels Highway 23) and getting DNR approvals. This should not impact the estimated start of construction this spring.
2022: Design finalized.
2023: Construction. Detours in place.
2024: Construction. Minimal delays, no detours.
South Gap Detour Information
The Highway 23 South Gap project focuses on the roadway from New London and Paynesville that will take the current two-lane road and transform it into a four-lane transportation system. This gap project will also focus on safety improvements needed along this section of the corridor. There are only two detours that will occur as a result of this project.
Main Highway 23 Detour
The South Gap Project from New London to Paynesville will be constructed over two years: 2023 and 2024. This section of the detour is expected to begin this spring and end in 2024. Highway 23 will be closed from Highway 23 is closed from 145th Street to 190th Street. The detour route uses County Road 2 and Highway 55.
10-Day Detour for Culvert Installation
This detour is expected to only last ten days this fall. Highway 23 will be closed to install the bypass culvert at Long Lake. Traffic will be detoured on County Road 2 through Hawick.
Additional Information About the South Gap Project
The environmental review for the Highway 23 South Gap project began in August of 2014. As we begin transitioning into the construction phase of this project, we prepare to celebrate nine years of dedication to seeing this through. Soon, our communities will see the benefits of another section of Highway 23 transforming into a 4-lane route. Our gratitude to all those involved in making this project possible is immeasurable.
If you have any additional questions regarding the Highway 23 South Gap-New London to Richmond project, check out the Minnesota Department of Transportation project guide.