Minnesota State Highway 23

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Trunk Highway 23 marker

Trunk Highway 23
Route information
Maintained by MnDOT
Length 343.723 mi[1] (553.169 km)
Existed 1920 – present
Major junctions
Southwest end I-90 near Beaver Creek
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, Douglas (WI), St. Louis
Highway system
  • Minnesota Trunk Highways
MN 22 MN 24

Minnesota State Highway 23 (MN 23) is a state highway that stretches from southwestern to northeastern 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.

Route description[edit]

MN 23 directly serves Pipestone, Marshall, Granite Falls, Willmar, Paynesville, Cold Spring, St. Cloud, Foley, Milaca, Mora, Hinckley, Sandstone, and 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
  • Forest Avenue E in Mora, between Oslin Road and MN 65
  • 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[edit]

The highway serves:

Evergreen Memorial Scenic Drive[edit]

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 American Indian veterans.

Segment in Wisconsin[edit]

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 one-half mile (800 m) before re-entering Minnesota.[2] On some maps, this section is designated "WISC-23", despite there being another Highway 23 in southern Wisconsin.[citation needed] 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.

After completion of the I-35 freeway, the state maintained MN 23 through Hinckley and Sandstone; now MN 23 is concurrent with I-35 from Hinckley to Sandstone.

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.[3][4]

The MN 23 expressway from Spicer to New London, and the expressway from Richmond to Waite Park (St. Cloud), were both completed by 2005.

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.


MnDOT 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.[5]

Another project expanded MN 23 (to four lanes) from St. Cloud eastward to Foley, which began July 1, 2011, and finished sometime in late 2012. This project expanded 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.

Major intersections[edit]

State County Location mi[1] km Destinations Notes
Minnesota Rock Beaver Creek Township 1.297 2.087 I-90 / CSAH 17 – Sioux Falls, Luverne, Manley Interchange; exit 1 on I-90
Pipestone Jasper 18.686 30.072 MN 269 west Eastern terminus of MN 269
Pipestone 29.707 47.809 MN 30 west – Madison, SD Western end of MN 30 concurrency
29.933 48.172 US 75 south / MN 30 east – Luverne, Slayton Eastern end of MN 30 concurrency; southern end of US 75 concurrency
30.550 49.165 US 75 north – Lake Benton Northern end of US 75 concurrency
Lyon Florence 52.549 84.569 US 14 – Tyler, Balaton 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 – Lake Wilson
Marshall 73.679 118.575 US 59 – Marshall, Slayton
75.057 120.793 MN 19 / MN 68 – Redwood Falls, Marshall
Yellow Medicine Minnesota Falls Township 100.984 162.518 MN 274 south – Wood Lake
Granite Falls 103.151 166.005 MN 67 east – Echo Western end of MN 67 concurrency
103.364 166.348 US 212 west / MN 67 west – Montevideo Western end of US 212 concurrency; eastern end of MN 67 concurrency
Chippewa Granite Falls Township 111.569 179.553 US 212 east – Olivia Eastern end of US 212 concurrency
Stoneham Township 125.066 201.274 MN 7 – Cosmos, Montevideo
Kandiyohi Willmar Township 141.483 227.695 CSAH 15 / CSAH 5 Interchange planned for this intersection during the 2008–14 time frame
Willmar 144.515 232.574
US 71 south / US 71 Bus. north / MN 23 Bus. east (1st Street) – Willmar, Olivia
Interchange; western end of US 71 concurrency
141.501 227.724 CSAH 23 (Willmar Avenue) Interchange
Willmar Township 142.666–
US 12 – Willmar, Litchfield Interchange
Willmar 143.900–
Civic Center Drive Interchange
144.948 233.271
US 71 Bus. south / MN 23 Bus. west
Interchange; westbound exit and eastbound entrance
Dovre Township 152.420 245.296 US 71 north – Sauk Centre Interchange; eastbound exit and westbound entrance; eastern end of US 71 concurrency
Green Lake Township 153.253 246.637 CSAH 9 to US 71 north Interchange
New London 160.927 258.987 MN 9 west – New London Eastern terminus of MN 9
Stearns Paynesville 167.909–
Veterans Drive Interchange
MN 4 / MN 55 – Belgrade, Paynesville Interchange
Richmond 186.069 299.449 MN 22 south Northern terminus of MN 22
St. Joseph Township 199.420 320.935 I-94 – Alexandria, Minneapolis, Saint Paul Interchange; exit 164 on I-94
St. Cloud 204.150 328.548 MN 15 south / CSAH 75 east Southern end of MN 15/CR 75 concurrency
204.401 328.952 MN 15 north / CSAH 75 west Northern end of MN 15/CR 75 concurrency
10th Avenue Interchange
Benton 207.860 334.518 US 10 – Little Falls, Saint Paul Interchange
Minden Township 212.403 341.829 MN 95 east – Princeton Western terminus of MN 95
Gilmanton Township 220.925 355.544 MN 25 – Pierz
Mille Lacs Milaca 236.357–
US 169 – Princeton, Onamia Interchange
Kanabec Ogilvie 247.418 398.181 MN 47 north – Isle Western end of MN 47 concurrency
248.481 399.891 MN 47 south – Anoka Eastern end of MN 47 concurrency
Mora 254.577 409.702 MN 65 south – Cambridge Southern end of MN 65 concurrency
256.180 412.282 MN 65 north – McGregor Northern end of MN 65 concurrency
Pine Brook Park Township 266.615 429.075 MN 107 – Braham Northern terminus of MN 107
Mission Creek Township 273.737 440.537 I-35 south / CSAH 61 – Minneapolis, Saint Paul Interchange; southern end of I-35 concurrency; exit 180 on I-35
Hinckley 272.459 438.480 MN 48 east / CSAH 61 – Hinckley Western terminus of MN 48
Sandstone 285.237 459.044 I-35 north / CSAH 61 south – Duluth Interchange; northern end of I-35 concurrency; southern end of CSAH 61 concurrency; exit 191 on I-35
285.641 459.695 MN 123 east Western terminus of MN 123
Finlayson Township 289.708 466.240 MN 18 west / CSAH 61 north – Rutledge, Finlayson Eastern terminus of MN 18; northern end of CSAH 61 concurrency
290.190 467.016 I-35 – Duluth, Saint Paul, Minneapolis Exit 195 on I-35; interchange.
293.017 471.565 MN 123 west – Sandstone Northern terminus of MN 123
No major junctions
Wisconsin Douglas
No major junctions
Minnesota St. Louis Duluth 335.948 540.656 MN 210 west – Jay Cooke State Park, Carlton Eastern terminus of MN 210
338.725 545.125 MN 39 east – Superior, WI Western terminus of MN 39
345.020 555.256 I-35 / US 2 Interchange; exit 251B southbound on I-35; access to northbound I-35 only
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Trunk Highway Log Point Listing" (PDF). Minnesota Department of Transportation. September 6, 2011. Archived from the original (PDF) on September 14, 2012. Retrieved October 4, 2011. 
  2. ^ Wisconsin Department of Transportation, Douglas County
  3. ^ Korsgaard, Kay. "Willmar bypass opens". MnDOT Newsline. Minnesota Department of Transportation. Retrieved November 10, 2007. 
  4. ^ District 8 Staff (November 19, 2001). "Willmar Bypass Opens with Silver Ribbon Cutting" (Press release). Minnesota Department of Transportation. Archived from the original on January 4, 2008. Retrieved November 10, 2007. 
  5. ^ "Highway 23 Paynesville Bypass project". Minnesota Department of Transportation. April 26, 2010. Archived from the original on July 15, 2011. Retrieved January 29, 2011. 

External links[edit]

Route map: Google

KML is from Wikidata