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News Release

November 19 , 2001

WILLMAR BYPASS OPENS WITH SILVER RIBBON CUTTING


WILLMAR, Minn. - Dignitaries from the Minnesota Department of Transportation, Willmar Chamber of Commerce, city of Willmar, Kandiyohi county and elected officials opened the Highway 71/23 Willmar Bypass with a silver ribbon cutting. This marks the completion of a project that began as a vision when Mn/DOT was still the Highway Department.

According to Dave Trooien, Mn/DOT transportation district engineer, planning for the four-lane bypass began in the 1960's and due to a financial crisis in the 1980's, plans were changed to an interim two-lane facility. The original two-lanes opened in 1985 at a cost of $9.7 million.
Contractors at that time were Kern & Tabery, Wadena, Minn., Mathiowetz, Sleepy Eye, Minn. and Duininck Bros., Prinsburg, Minn.

The project contractors of the current project are Duininck Bros.and Lakeview Construction, Glenwood, Minn. The cost of the current project is $8 million. The new two-lanes opened to traffic on November 13. The bypass is now posted at 65 mph.

"Highway 23 is one of 7 Interregional Corridors (IRC's) that connects regional centers in the state. The completion of the bypass is the beginning of a $100 million investment that Mn/DOT will make to this corridor between Willmar and I-94 in the next three years." said Trooien. (see Highway 23 map).

In a joint message, Willmar Mayor Les Heitke and county board chair Richard Falk announced that the city and county plan to construct ramps at Willmar Avenue in 2004. According to Heitke, the Willmar Avenue connection to the bypass is vital to the city of Willmar as traffic continues to grow in the city.

The event concluded with remarks from Minnesota's transportation commissioner, Elwyn Tinklenberg. "As we embark on Mn/DOT's next 25 years, we will continue to create more transportation choices, to strengthen the economy by moving goods and people safety and efficiently, and to respond to customers by listening to their needs and providing them with information they can trust, " Tinklenberg said.

 


District 8 - Willmar/Marshall/Hutchinson
2505 Transportation Road
P.O. Box 768
Willmar, MN 56201
Tel: 320/231-5195
Tel: 800/657-3792

Contact:
Sandy East
Public Affairs Coordinator
320/214-3773