Minnesota Department of Transportation

511 Travel Info

News releases

August 10, 2021

Latest news releases

Detour starts tomorrow for US 71 improvement projects in Willmar

Southbound travelers should allow extra time

WILLMAR, Minn. —A detour for a portion of U.S. Highway 71 (a segment near the US 71/Hwy 23 split) goes into effect on Wednesday, August 11. Southbound traffic will be detoured up to three weeks and follow Kandiyohi County Roads 27, 9, and Highway 23 (see map below). Crews will begin placing the detour in the early morning hours; travelers are encouraged to use caution and expect that the detour could be in place as early as the morning commute.

The detour is required so that crews can complete pavement maintenance on the southbound lane, which is being repaired from just north of Point Lake, where the concrete starts, to the far south end by Willmar Lake. Deteriorated concrete is being removed and replaced. The surface is being refinished using a process known as diamond grinding. Diamond grinding on concrete is like using sandpaper on wood in that it provides a smoother surface and as a result, a quieter ride. Only the far northern section of the work zone is being detoured.

Current traffic impacts

  • Southbound traffic detour from CR 27 to the US 71/Hwy 23 split begins August 11
  • Southbound traffic is reduced to a single lane from CR 24 to the US 71/Hwy 23 split
  • Northbound traffic is reduced to a single lane from CR 24 to just north of CR 90
  • Northbound access to CR 24 is closed
  • The highway crossing at CR 90 is closed

Travelers are encouraged to watch message boards along the corridor for upcoming traffic changes and allow extra time for travel. As road work will be next to the traffic lane, drivers should also watch for construction equipment breaking for, entering, and exiting the work zone, and not follow equipment into the work zone to avoid damage to their vehicles.

Corridor improvement projects

The concrete repair work is one of several roadway and safety improvement projects along the US 71 corridor in Willmar this summer. A summary of the improvements includes:

  • Reduced conflict intersection (J-turn) at County Road 90/37th Avenue Northeast
  • Median construction at 41st Avenue
  • Culvert replacement at 48th Avenue
  • Safety improvements at County Road 24/23rd Street Northeast
  • Pavement maintenance of the southbound lane from just north of Point Lake to the far south end by Willmar Lake

Stay connected, informed

  • Learn more about this project and sign up for email and text updates at mndot.gov/d8/projects/us71cr90
  • Watch traffic message boards along US 71 for upcoming traffic changes

Work zone travel

Please slow down in the work zone for everyone’s safety!

Other reminders: 

  • Never enter a roadway that has been blocked with barriers or cones
  • Stay alert; work zones constantly change
  • Watch for workers and slow-moving equipment
  • Obey posted speed limits; fine for a work zone violation is $300
  • Minimize distractions behind the wheel
  • Be patient; expect delays, especially during peak travel times 

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