Illustration courtesy MnDOT

WILLMAR, Minn. – Crews have begun clearing trees along Hwy 23 from Richmond to Paynesville this week to prepare for the Hwy 23 North Gap project that begins this spring. Crews started at the east end on the north side of Hwy 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.

The North Gap project expands Hwy 23 from two to four lanes, from Paynesville to Richmond. Also, several intersections along Hwy 23 will be reconfigured to improve sightlines, reduce potential crash points, and enhance safety. Construction will begin this spring and conclude in 2023. To learn more, an in-depth virtual open house is available on the MnDOT North Gap website.

The North Gap project is part of the three-year Hwy 23 Gaps expansion project which received funding through the Corridors of Commerce program in May 2018. The Gaps project includes the expansion of Hwy 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, Hwy 23 travelers will be able to experience four-lane travel from Willmar to Foley.