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Tree and brush removal begins on Highway 23 North Gap project

Crews have begun clearing trees along Highway 23 from Richmond to Paynesville this week to prepare for the Highway 23 North Gap project that begins this spring, according to a news release from the Minnesota Department of Transportation.

Minnesota Highway 23 tree cutting for North Gap project 3
Traffic drives along Minnesota Highway 23 next to piles of freshly cut trees outside Richmond on the morning of Wednesday, Jan. 12, 2022. Work on the North Gap project will expand the current two-lane highway to four lanes between Paynesville and Richmond.
Mike Moore / West Central Tribune

PAYNESVILLE — Crews have begun clearing trees along Minnesota Highway 23 from Richmond to Paynesville this week to prepare for the Highway 23 North Gap project that begins this spring, according to a news release from the Minnesota Department of Transportation.

According to the release, crews started at the east end on the north side of Highway 23 and will work their way to the western limits of the project, cross to the south side and work their way back.

Work is scheduled to take about three weeks, wrapping up by February.

Work is taking place in the right of way and should not affect driving lane traffic. However, drivers may encounter temporary shoulder closures and should watch for workers and heavy equipment entering and exiting the roadway.

Map of Highway 23 Gap project
The Highway 23 Gaps expansion project will be completed by 2024. When both gaps are completed, the highway will offer four-lane traffic from Willmar to Foley.
Minnesota Department of Transportation

The North Gap project expands Highway 23 from two 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. Construction will begin this spring and conclude in 2023.

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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. The Gaps project also includes the expansion of Highway 23 from two to four lanes, from New London to Paynesville (South Gap), which will be constructed from 2023 to 2024.

When the North Gap and South Gap sections are both complete, Highway 23 travelers will be able to experience four-lane travel from Willmar to Foley.

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