WILLMAR -- The Highway 23 bypass around Paynesville will open July 20, more than a month ahead of schedule, according to the Minnesota Department of Transportation.
In a release Thursday, MnDOT said crews will begin removing barricades to the entrances and exits at 9 a.m. July 20 and motorists may access the new roadway by noon, weather permitting.
"The project wasn't scheduled to be complete until August 31," said Bill Knofczynski, project supervisor. "The mild winter allowed the contractor to get an early start, and that helped put them ahead."
Motorists traveling east on Highway 23 will now access Paynesville on Veterans Drive, formerly known as First Street. Westbound access will remain the same.
Although the roadway will be open, crews will still be operating in the area.
"Work includes various touch-ups along the bypass," Knofczynski said. "The western end of old Highway 23 will be removed and converted to a cul-de-sac, but none of the remaining work should have an impact on motorists."
KGM Contractors Inc. constructed the 7.5-mile, four-lane divided bypass, located north of New London from Kandiyohi County Road 6 to west of 263rd Avenue in Paynesville.
Work included grading, paving, constructing eight bridges and lighting.
The city of Paynesville will host a grand opening celebrating the completed project in mid-August.