Minnesota Department of Transportation

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May 6, 2022

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Construction on Highway 71 in Bemidji to begin May 16

BEMIDJI, Minn. – A Minnesota Department of Transportation construction project on Highway 71 between Highway 197 and Winter Sumac Road in Bemidji begins May 16. It includes the construction of a roundabout at Anne Street and seven reduced conflict intersections (J-Turns).

Highway 71 will remain open to thru traffic throughout construction. Motorists can expect lane closures, delays and intersection detours along the various construction stages. Patients and visitors to Sanford Health are encouraged to allow extra time to travel for appointments.

This complex project will be constructed in four general stages, which also include sub-phases within those stages:

  • Stage 1: Prepare the alternate routes
  • Stage 2: Construct most of the roundabout, begin Highway 71 resurfacing
  • Stage 3: Construct the remaining leg of the roundabout, continue Highway 71 resurfacing
  • Stage 4: Finish off the corridor and intersection improvements

Stay connected

  • View staging maps, detour maps, and current traffic impacts on the project website www.mndot.gov/d2/projects/hwy71-bemidji
  • Join the project staff at the weekly construction update meeting in person or virtually. The meetings will be held at the MnDOT building, 3920 Highway 2 West. The first meeting will be held at 10 a.m. Wednesday, May 18, and the schedule may vary, so visit the project website for the upcoming schedule and virtual link
  • Sign up for weekly project email updates on the project website
  • Join the Northwest Minnesota Facebook group for news, events and updates

Stage 1: Prepare the alternate routes
Although the maps contained here are focused at the Anne Street intersection, crews will be conducting work at various locations across the corridor throughout the project. Visit the project website for full details. Before construction on the roundabout can begin, improvements need to be made in order to accommodate detoured traffic in subsequent stages. Stage 1 will last a few weeks and be completed in 3 phases:

Stage 1, Phase 1:

  • Replace culvert on Technology Drive
  • Realign Hannah Avenue to meet up with Minnkota Avenue
  • Intersection improvements at Fern Street

graphic of three-lane section

Stage 1, Phase 2:

  • Intersection improvements at Minnkota Avenue and Anne Street
  • New Hannah Avenue alignment is open

graphic of three-lane section

Stage 1, Phase 3:

  • Temporary signal at Fern Street (will be removed when the project is complete)
  • Completion of Highway 71 bypass lane at Anne Street (on the east side of Highway 71)
  • The bypass lane will carry Highway 71 traffic across the Anne Street intersection
  • Motorists access Anne Street to the east via detour onto Fern Street

graphic of three-lane section

Stage 2: Construct most of the roundabout, begin Highway 71 resurfacing

  • Construct the north, west and south legs of the roundabout
  • Begin resurfacing and intersection improvements on the rest of the Highway 71 corridor (5.2 miles)
  • Highway 71 is open to thru traffic with single lane, head-to-head traffic where resurfacing takes place
  • Motorists access Anne Street via detour onto Fern Street

graphic of three-lane section

Stage 3: Construct the remaining leg of the roundabout, continue Highway 71 resurfacing

  • Construct the north, west and south legs of the roundabout
  • Continue resurfacing and intersection improvements on the rest of the Highway 71 corridor

graphic of three-lane section

Stage 4: Finish off the corridor

  • Finish resurfacing and intersection improvements on the rest of Hwy 71 corridor

Project benefits and cost
Benefits of the project include a safer road, smoother and longer lasting driving surface, as well as intersection and pedestrian improvements to enhance safety for all users. Studies show an 86 percent decrease in fatal crashes at roundabouts, and a 70 percent reduction in fatalities where J-turns are used. To learn more about roundabouts or how a J-turn works, and review their safety benefits, visit MnDOT’s Roundabout web page or MnDOT’s Reduced Conflict Intersections web page.

Knife River is the contractor for the $16.6 million project. Construction is scheduled to be completed in October. Start and end dates could change due to weather and other unforeseeable circumstances.

Work zone reminder

  • Slow down when approaching every work zone
  • Never enter a roadway that has been blocked with barriers or cones
  • Stay alert; 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 and expect delays, especially during peak travel times 


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