Main detour begins May 16 for Minnesota Highway 23 North Gap project from Paynesville to Richmond

The detour for the work on Highway 23 from Paynesville to Richmond will run until November 2022, when the road will reopen for several months. The detour will then be in place again from May 2023 until November 2023 for the final year of construction.

The main detour for the Highway 23 North Gap project begins May 16.
Contributed / MnDOT

WILLMAR β€” The main detour for the Minnesota Highway 23 North Gap project β€” which will expand nine miles of the highway to four lanes from Paynesville to Richmond β€” begins Monday, May 16, for all through traffic.

According to a news release from the Minnesota Department of Transportation, Highway 23 will be closed from Stearns County Road 33 in Paynesville to Stearns County Road 12 (Maine Street/County Road 43) in Richmond. The detour of Highway 23 will run until November 2022 when the road will reopen for several months. The detour will then be in place again from May 2023 until November 2023 for the final year of construction.

According to MnDOT, people who live, work, or visit homes and businesses along Highway 23 will have access using designated access points along the corridor. Drivers can expect changes and use of alternate entrances in the busy work zone. Residents, business owners and visitors should watch for construction signs, lane closures, gravel surfaces, flaggers with use of pilot car, road crews and heavy equipment.

A total of three detours will be required to complete the North Gap project. In addition to the main detour, Stearns County Road 43 will be closed from Highway 23 to Fellows Road to replace a culvert and a detour will be in place from June 6 through August 2022. As part of the project, County Road 12 will be detoured for two weeks in 2023.

In addition to the work to create four lanes, several intersections along Highway 23 will be reconfigured to improve sight lines, reduce potential crash points and enhance safety. Work began April 4 to move the Glacial Lakes State Trail. The trail is closed until May 13.


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.

MnDOT says the 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.

Our newsroom occasionally reports stories under a byline of "West Central Tribune staff report." Often, the "West Central Tribune staff report" byline is used when rewriting basic news briefs that originate from official sources, such as a city press release about a road closure, and which require little or no reporting. At times, this byline is used when a news story includes numerous authors or when the story is formed by aggregating previously reported news from various sources. If outside sources are used, it is noted within the story.

The West Central Tribune newsroom can be reached via email: or phone 320-235-1150.
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