Open house for Hwy 23 North Gap project is April 6

Construction open house on Wednesday, April 6, for the Hwy 23 North Gap expansion project. The open house will be held at the Roadside Tavern Banquet Hall, 531 Main St, Roscoe, and run from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. There is no formal presentation and guests are invited to stop by anytime during open house hours. MnDOT staff and the contractor will be available to answer questions about the construction phase of the North Gap, including the timeline and detours.

Hwy 23 expansion projects

The North Gap project expands nine miles of Hwy 23 to four lanes, from Paynesville to Richmond. Also, several intersections along Hwy 23 will be reconfigured to improve sight lines, reduce potential crash points, and enhance safety. Work begins April 4 to move the Glacial Lakes State Trail, with construction on Hwy 23 beginning May 16. The North Gap project concludes in 2023. For those unable to attend the in-person open house, an in-depth virtual open house is available on the MnDOT North Gap website.

The North Gap project is part of the three-year Hwy 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.

Traffic impacts

Three detours will be required to complete the North Gap project. The main detour of Hwy 23 goes into effect May 16 for all through traffic and is expected to run through October 2022 and again from May through October 2023. Hwy 23 will be closed from 263rd Avenue in Paynesville to Stearns County Road 12 (Main Street/County Road 43) in Richmond. 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 with use of pilot car, road crews, and heavy equipment.

Stearns County Road 43 will be closed from Hwy 23 to Fellows Road to replace a culvert and a detour will be in place from June 1 through August 2022. As part of the project, County Road 12 will be detoured for two weeks in 2023.

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.

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