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April 7, 2021

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Bemidji Community Review Panel reviews final segment of Hwy 197 corridor

What's happening now?

BEMIDJI, Minn.Most recently, the CRP (Community Review Panel) reviewed segment three (east of Ridgeway Avenue to Bemidji Avenue) of the Highway 197 corridor in Bemidji. Joe DeVore, an engineering consultant with KLJ, has been present at each meeting to review expected safety improvements, present analysis on CRP concepts, and provide engineering insight to each segment of the corridor. Based on the input on segments one, two and three from the CRP, KLJ is currently working to provide two new alternative layouts for community input. These new concepts will prioritize CRP feedback of prioritizing business ingress and egress and multimodal improvements while still addressing key safety improvements responding to recent crash locations.
Over the next month, MnDOT, HRDC, KLJ and the CRP will present those new alternatives to business owners along the corridor. Beginning in May, the group will develop a Virtual Open House. The virtual open house will provide an opportunity for community input on the new alternatives for the corridor. Along with the virtual open house, the groups will schedule events in Bemidji to share the new concepts in a variety of ways. More information on these community engagement efforts will be provided in early May.


In 2019, MnDOT conducted an in-depth corridor study which ultimately resulted in the proposal of a roundabout corridor. That preferred alternative didn’t garner enough community support and was ultimately voted against by the Bemidji City Council. This renewed effort has been an attempt to start over. Since a resurfacing project has to take place regardless, because the pavement will reach the end of its service life, MnDOT's goal is to also include multi-modal improvements that will increase the safety and vitality of the corridor for motorists, businesses, bicyclists and pedestrians.

In June and July of 2020, the HRDC developed a list of volunteers to serve on a community review panel that will review the current conditions and evaluate all of the potential solutions in order to find one that best represents the community’s values. The members of the community panel can be found on the project website at www.mndot.gov/d2/projects/studies/hwy197-bemidji.

Over the past eight months, HRDC (Headwaters Regional Development Commission) has met with the CRP (Community Review Panel) to evaluate priorities and propose a new alternative to recommend to the City of Bemidji by September, 2021. The Minnesota Department of Transportation along with KLJ Engineering has also participated in the meetings offering technical expertise in engineering. The group meets each month to discuss new solutions to the previously proposed alternatives in 2020.

Learn more about upcoming projects nearby:
Highway 2 Bemidji- 2021: www.mndot.gov/d2/projects/hwy2-bemidji/
Highway 71 Bemidji- 2022: www.mndot.gov/d2/projects/hwy71-bemidji/index.html