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Detours for Highway 23 Gaps projects between Willmar and St. Cloud to go into effect in May

The detour for the Highway 23 South Gap project begins on May 1, while the main detour for the North Gap will be in place May 15.

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Traffic flows along Minnesota Highway 23 north of Paynesville the morning of Friday, Nov. 4, 2022, just hours after the roadway reopened to the public the day before. Portions of the highway will again be closed for the summer and part of the fall as work continues on both the North and South Gaps projects.
Macy Moore / West Central Tribune file photo

WILLMAR โ€” Minnesota Highway 23 between New London and Richmond is going to be a bit of a mess this summer as construction continues on the Gaps Project , which will see two sections of two-lane highway expanded to four lanes.

There will be two major detours along the highway from May through October, which will take traffic off Highway 23 onto county roads and other highways.

The detour for the first year of the South Gap project , between Hawick and Paynesville, will begin May 1. Drivers will bypass the construction zone by taking Kandiyohi County Road 2 and Minnesota Highway 55. The detour is expected to be in place until late October.

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The detour for the Minnesota Highway 23 South Gap project will start May 1 between Hawick and Paynesville.
Contributed / Minnesota Department of Transportation

South Gap construction work between New London and Hawick will mostly be done under traffic, which means drivers could run into some delays.

A groundbreaking ceremony is scheduled for the South Gap project at 1:30 p.m. Friday at the Roseville Township Hall, 15768 232nd Avenue Northeast, near Hawick. Those invited to attend the groundbreaking include Nancy Daubenberger, Minnesota Department of Transportation Commissioner; federal and state lawmakers; county, city and township elected officials; members of the Highway 23 Coalition; MnDOT staff; and the project contractor.

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The main detour for the Minnesota Highway 23 North Gap project will start May 15.
Contributed / Minnesota Department of Transportation

The main detour for the final year of the North Gap project between Paynesville and Richmond is scheduled to begin on May 15. Drivers will be directed to take Stearns County Roads 33 and 12. This detour will be in place until early November, when the project will be completed.

A smaller detour impacting Stearns County Road 12 near Richmond will go into effect May 1, as crews complete the new tie-in with Highway 23. The detour should only be needed for two weeks.

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A 2-week detour will be in place for Stearns County Road 12 starting May 1.
Contributed / Minnesota Department of Transportation

Those who live, work or are visiting homes and businesses along the impacted sections of Highway 23 will have access to properties. However they should be on the lookout for construction signs, lane closures, gravel surfaces, flaggers with use of a pilot car, road crews and heavy equipment.

Dates are subject to change due to weather and other unforeseeable circumstances.

Once both projects are completed by the end of construction season 2024, travelers will be able to drive a four-lane highway from Willmar to St. Cloud and beyond to Foley. Mathiowetz Construction is the contractor for both projects, which will cost more than $76 million. The projects received funding from the Corridors of Commerce program, through the state.

Shelby Lindrud is a reporter with the West Central Tribune of Willmar. Her focus areas are arts and entertainment, agriculture, features writing and the Kandiyohi County Board.

She can be reached via email slindrud@wctrib.com or direct 320-214-4373.


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