Minnesota State Highway 23
|Maintained by Mn/DOT|
|Length:||343.723 mi (553.169 km)|
|Existed:||1920 – present|
|Southwest end:||I-90 near Beaver Creek|
|I-35 at Hinckley , Sandstone|
|Northeast end:||I-35 / US 2 at Duluth|
|Counties:||Rock, Pipestone, Lincoln, Lyon, Yellow Medicine, Chippewa, Renville, Kandiyohi, Stearns, Benton, Mille Lacs, Kanabec, Pine, Carlton, Saint Louis, Douglas (WI)|
Minnesota State Highway 23 (MN 23) is a state highway that stretches from southwest to northeast Minnesota. At 343.723 miles (553.169 km) in length, it is the second longest state route in Minnesota, after MN 1.
This route, signed east–west, runs roughly diagonally across Minnesota from southwest to northeast. It indirectly connects Duluth to Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and passes through the cities of St. Cloud, Willmar, and Marshall.
MN 23 runs north from its interchange with Interstate 90 (I-90), 13 miles (21 km) east of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and then continues north and east across Minnesota to its terminus at its interchange with I-35 in Duluth.
Portions of MN 23 that have been upgraded to a four-lane expressway include approximately 9 miles (14 km) in the Marshall area in addition to longer stretches between Willmar and New London, and between Richmond and Waite Park (St. Cloud). For a majority of the Willmar area, Highway 23 runs concurrently with U.S. Highway 71 (US 71), which includes a freeway bypass of the city. MN 23 crosses the Minnesota River at Granite Falls, and the Mississippi River in St. Cloud, over the Granite City Crossing bridge.
Running over surface streets in certain towns, Highway 23 is also known as:
- Division Street in St. Cloud
- Grand Avenue in Duluth; the section of Grand Avenue that is marked MN 23 is from 59th Avenue West and I-35 (in West Duluth) to Idaho Street (in the Morgan Park neighborhood)
- Commonwealth Avenue in the Gary-New Duluth neighborhood of the city of Duluth
- Evergreen Memorial Highway in the Fond du Lac neighborhood of the city of Duluth
Parks and Monuments
The highway serves:
- Split Rock Creek State Park in Pipestone County at Ihlen
- Pipestone National Monument
- Camden State Park in Lyon County on the banks of the Redwood River
- Banning State Park in Pine County on the banks of the Kettle River
Evergreen Memorial Scenic Drive
About 50 miles (80 km) of MN 23 that travel through Pine, Carlton, and Saint Louis counties is officially designated the Veterans Evergreen Memorial Scenic Drive. This portion is between I-35 near Askov and the Gary-New Duluth neighborhood of Duluth, near State Highway 39. The scenic roadway offers views of Banning State Park, the Saint Louis River valley, and nearby Jay Cooke State Park.
The 2005 Minnesota Legislature officially designated the MN 23 Bridge over the Saint Louis River at Duluth (Fond du Lac neighborhood) as the Biauswah Bridge. On June 28, 2008, this bridge was dedicated as such in honor of Native American Veterans.
A Minnesota Highway in Wisconsin
MN 23 has the rare distinction of being a state highway that passes through another state. At 133rd Avenue West, along the southern edge of Duluth, MN 23 crosses the Saint Louis River into Douglas County, Wisconsin, in the Town of Superior, for half a mile (0.8 km) before re-entering Minnesota. On some maps, this section is designated "WISC-23", despite there being another Highway 23 in southern Wisconsin. There is no signage, however, along the highway that indicates the brief route across state lines. Nearby is the junction between MN 23 and MN 210 and Jay Cooke State Park.
MN 23 was authorized between Hinckley and Marshall in 1920; the remainder of the Highway was authorized in 1933. Various sections of the highway were paved from the 1930s through the 1950s; the entire length was paved by 1961.
The section of present-day MN 23 from its southern terminus to Marshall was originally designated MN 39 until 1940. The section between Marshall and Willmar was originally designated MN 17 until 1940. The MN 23 designation originally extended west from New London to Benson along the modern MN 9; which was also MN 17 from around 1940 to the 1960s. MN 23 originally ran through Sandstone proper to just west of Askov along the route that later became MN 123; this was redesignated c. 1946.
From 1934 to 1963, the northern terminus for MN 23 was its junction with old US 61 and US 2 in West Duluth. From 1963 to 1997, MN 23 continued farther into Duluth proper as a business route using several local arteries including Michigan Street, West 1st Street, East 2nd Street, East 3rd Street, and East Superior Street. The former northern terminus for MN 23 during this time period was at the intersection of US 61 (now MN 61) and 60th Avenue East in Duluth. In 1997, the official northern terminus changed to its junction with I-35 at Grand Avenue in Duluth.
The four-lane US 71 / MN 23 bypass of Willmar was proposed in the 1960s. However a financial crisis in the early 1980s led to the northbound lanes being unpaved, and the bypass had been scaled down to a two-lane facility by the time it opened in 1985. Construction in 2001 completed the bypass to its original four-lane design.
The DeSoto Bridge across the Mississippi River in St. Cloud was closed on March 20, 2008, after bent gusset plates were found in an inspection; similar to gusset plates that caused the I-35W Bridge in Minneapolis to collapse on August 1, 2007. The DeSoto Bridge was demolished in October 2008; with a new replacement bridge, the Granite City Crossing, completed October 29, 2009.
Mn/DOT has designated MN 23 as a medium-priority Interregional Corridor along the majority of its length. As such, there are long-range plans to expand significant portions of the highway from two to four lanes. The ultimate vision for MN 23 is a four-lane expressway running from its interchange with I-90 in the southwest corner of Minnesota northeastward to its interchange with I-35 near Hinckley, although severe funding shortages are currently limiting expansion to certain segments.
Currently, the section of highway that has the highest overall priority for expansion is the corridor between Willmar and St. Cloud. This is due in part to the corridor carrying a heavy volume of traffic (higher than what a standard two-lane highway is designed to safely carry), plus a subsequently higher-than-average accident rate. In addition, southwest Minnesota lacks four-lane access to both the Twin Cities (Minneapolis – Saint Paul) and the Interstate Highway System, and a MN 23 expressway from Willmar (which is the largest municipality in southwest Minnesota) to St. Cloud would greatly alleviate both these issues.
Originally, there were only two short stretches of four-lane along this segment of MN 23: its route through St. Cloud (also known as Division Street) on the northern end, and its concurrency with US 71 in the Willmar area on the southern end. However, additional portions of this segment have been expanded to four lanes in the last decade—most notably, from its concurrency with US 71 to New London, and from Richmond to its interchange with I-94 near St. Cloud. In addition, a new bypass around Paynesville is now open.
The Paynesville Bypass project began on April 26, 2010. The project consists of constructing a four-lane bypass around Paynesville, running from Kandiyohi County Road 6 to Stearns County Road 123. The three-year project is expected to be completed in August 2012. The length of the new bypass is 7.7 miles (12.4 km). The project includes grading, construction of eight bridges, surfacing and lighting. The 2010 cost of the bypass is $32.2 million.
Another project to expand MN 23 (to four lanes) from St. Cloud eastward to Foley is set to begin July 1, 2011, with a projected completion date sometime in late 2012. This project will expand an 8-mile (13 km) segment of the highway. While this section is technically part of the St. Cloud – I-35 portion of the corridor (and thus has less overall priority), the increase in traffic along this particular stretch still necessitates and warrants expansion, as there have been major safety and mobility issues the last couple decades due to growth in the St. Cloud area.
||Beaver Creek Township||1.297||2.087||I-90||Interchange|
||Jasper||18.686||30.072||MN 269 west||East terminus of MN 269|
|Pipestone||29.707||47.809||MN 30 west||West end of MN 30 overlap|
|29.933||48.172||US 75 south / MN 30 east||East end of MN 30 overlap; south end of US 75 overlap|
|30.550||49.165||US 75 north||North end of US 75 overlap|
||Florence||52.549||84.569||US 14||US 14 crosses bridge over railroad and MN 23; road just to the north connects the highways|
|Coon Creek Township||59.413||95.616||MN 91 south|
|75.057||120.793||MN 19 / MN 68|
||Minnesota Falls Township||100.984||162.518||MN 274 south|
|Granite Falls||103.151||166.005||MN 67 east||South end of MN 67 overlap|
|103.364||166.348||US 212 / MN 67 west||West end of US 212 overlap; north end of MN 67 overlap|
||Granite Falls Township||111.569||179.553||US 212 east||East end of US 212 overlap|
|Stoneham Township||125.066||201.274||MN 7|
||Willmar Township||141.483||227.695||CR 5||An interchange is planned for this intersection during the 2008-2014 time frame|
|Willmar||144.515||232.574|| US 71 south
US 71 Bus. north
|Interchange; south end of US 71 overlap; access into Willmar via US 71 Bus. (city road)|
|Lakeland Drive||Interchange; southbound exit and southbound entrance|
|141.501||227.724||CR 23 (Willmar Avenue)||Interchange; northbound exit and northbound entrance|
|Civic Center Drive||Interchange|
MN 294 south / US 71 Bus.
|Interchange: southbound exit and northbound entrance|
|Dovre Township||152.420||245.296||US 71 north||Interchange; southbound exit and northbound entrance; north end of US 71 overlap|
|Green Lake Township||153.253||246.637||CR 9||Interchange|
|New London||160.927||258.987||MN 9 west||Eastern terminus of MN 9|
||Paynesville||173.741||279.609||MN 4 / MN 55|
|Richmond||186.069||299.449||MN 22 south||Northern terminus of MN 22|
|St. Joseph Township||199.420||320.935||I-94||Interchange|
|St. Cloud||204.150||328.548||MN 15 south, CR 75 east||South end of MN 15 overlap; CR 75 continues east, MN 23 follows MN 15 north|
|204.401||328.952||MN 15 north, CR 75 west||North end of MN 15 overlap; CR 75 is to the west, and MN 23 continues to the east|
|Minden Township||212.403||341.829||MN 95 east||Western terminus of MN 95|
|Gilmanton Township||220.925||355.544||MN 25|
||Ogilvie||247.418||398.181||MN 47 north||West end of MN 47 overlap|
|248.481||399.891||MN 47 south||East end of MN 47 overlap|
|Mora||254.577||409.702||MN 65 south||South end of MN 65 overlap|
|256.180||412.282||MN 65 north||North end of MN 65 overlap|
||Brook Park Township||266.615||429.075||MN 107||Northern terminus of MN 107|
|Mission Creek Township||273.737||440.537||I-35 south||Interchange; south end of I-35 overlap|
|Hinckley||272.459||438.480||MN 48 east||Western terminus of MN 48|
|Sandstone||285.237||459.044||I-35 north||Interchange; north end of I-35 overlap|
|285.641||459.695||MN 123 north||Southern terminus of MN 123|
|Finlayson Township||289.708||466.240||MN 18 west||Eastern terminus of MN 18|
|293.017||471.565||MN 123 south||Northern terminus of MN 123|
||No major junctions|
||No major junctions|
||Duluth||335.948||540.656||MN 210 west||Eastern terminus of MN 210|
|338.725||545.125||MN 39 east||Western terminus of MN 39|
|345.020||555.256||I-35 / US 2||Interchange|
- "Trunk Highway Log Point Listing" (PDF). Minnesota Department of Transportation. September 6, 2011. Retrieved October 4, 2011.
- Wisconsin Department of Transportation, Douglas County
- Korsgaard, Kay. "Willmar bypass opens". Mn/DOT Newsline (Minnesota Department of Transportation). Retrieved November 10, 2007.
- District 8 Staff (November 19, 2001). "Willmar Bypass Opens with Silver Ribbon Cutting" (Press release). Minnesota Department of Transportation. Retrieved November 10, 2007.
- "Highway 23 Paynesville Bypass project". Minnesota Department of Transportation. April 26, 2010. Retrieved January 29, 2011.