Minnesota Department of Transportation

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June 1, 2022

Latest news releases

Detour of County Road 43 begins June 6 for Hwy 23 North Gap project

WILLMAR, Minn. – A detour of Stearns County Road 43 begins Monday, June 6 as part of the Highway 23 North Gap Paynesville to Richmond expansion project. County Road 43 will be closed from just north of Fellows Road to Highway 23 to replace a culvert. The detour follows Highway 22 and will be in place through August.

Highway 23 expansion projects

The North Gap project expands nine miles of Highway 23 to four lanes, from Paynesville to Richmond. Also, several intersections along Highway 23 will be reconfigured to improve sightlines, reduce potential crash points, and enhance safety. Work began April 4, 2022, and is scheduled to conclude in 2023.

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

Additional traffic impacts

Three detours are required to complete the North Gap project. In addition to the detour of County Road 43, Highway 23 is closed from Stearns County Road 33 in Paynesville to Stearns County Road 12 (Maine Street/County Road 43) in Richmond. The main detour of Hwy 23 will run until November 2022 when the road will reopen for several months, and then be in place again from May 2023 until November 2023 for the final year of construction. 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.

Work zone reminders

  • 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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