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Raymond meeting 1 of 3 MnDOT open houses on Highway 23 passing lanes to I90

WILLMAR — Open houses are slated next week to inform the public about a 2016 project to construct passing lanes on state Highway 23 between Willmar and Interstate 90, including one on July 17 in Raymond.

The project is one of 10 projects around Minnesota to benefit from the Corridors of Commerce program that was created by the 2013 Legislature. The sale of up to $300 million in new bonds was authorized for construction, reconstruction and improvement of trunk highways.

The Legislature in 2014 provided an additional $31.5 million: $6.5 million available now and $25 million available in fiscal year 2015.

Open houses for the Highway 23 project are set from 4 to 6 p.m. each of the following days:

-  July 15 at the Pipestone County Courthouse (Community Room), 416 South Hiawatha Avenue, Pipestone;

- July 16 at the Lyon County Library (Community Room), 201 C Street, Marshall;

-  July 17 at the Raymond Community Center, 314 Spicer Street, Raymond.

No formal presentation is planned during the open houses. Staff from MnDOT and project consultant Short Elliott Hendrickson Inc. will be available at the meetings to discuss the project with individuals and answer any questions. The same information will be available at any of the three sites.

According to project information on the Minnesota Department of Transportation website, a passing lane assessment has recently been completed along Highway 23 from Interstate 90 to Willmar. The assessment identified a first tier and second tier list of locations for passing lanes.

The next step is to complete an environmental assessment and work on layout development; scheduled to be completed by fall 2014. Right-of-way acquisition and final design will be conducted from fall 2014 through spring 2016 with construction scheduled to begin in summer 2016.

The final assessment report for the Highway 23 passing lanes can be viewed on the MnDOT website using the following link:

— Staff reports