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Highway 23 project from Willmar to New London starts Monday

WILLMAR — Segments of a 12-mile improvement project on state Highway 23 between Willmar and New London begin Monday.

The initial phase of the $2.2 million project includes work in downtown Spicer to make improvements to sidewalks to meet the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The next phase, which begins Sept. 4, includes resurfacing Highway 23 from just north of where U.S. Highway 71 and Highway 23 split to the intersection with Kandiyohi County Road 31 near New London.

The resurfacing project will not require a detour but will be completed under traffic utilizing alternating lane closures, according to Mandi Lighthizer-Schmidt, public affairs coordinator with the Minnesota Department of Transportation District 8 office in Willmar

Lighthizer-Schmidt said motorists should expect short delays during the resurfacing project.

Timing of the Highway 23 project could be complicated by the ongoing work on Highway 71.

Currently, Highway 71 is closed at the junction with Highway 23 and all traffic is routed through Spicer.

MnDOT had initially thought work on Highway 71 would be done by the end of August, but rainy weather this summer has put the project behind schedule. The Highway 71 project is now expected to be done by Sept. 7.

If the Highway 71 project isn't done by the time the Highway 23 resurfacing project begins on Sept. 4, the traffic flow could be affected.

Lighthizer-Schmidt said there is some "wiggle room" in the project schedule and MnDOT might make some adjustment to avoid a traffic bottleneck in Spicer.

She said MnDOT is hoping for some rain-free days so that the Highway 71 project can be completed before the Highway 23 resurfacing begins.

"It's been a tough season weather-wise," she said. "We do thank people for their patience throughout the project."

Carolyn Lange

A reporter for 35 years, Carolyn Lange covers regional news with the West Central Tribune.

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