Highway 71 Construction in Bemidji Set to Begin in May
Some say there are only two seasons in Minnesota: winter and road construction. As the snow melts for, hopefully for the final time, the Minnesota Department of Transportation is preparing to tear up the pavement and update many roads and highways of the state, including Highway 71 in Bemidji.
This highway north of Bemidji, which passes close by Sanford Bemidji Medical Center and multiple businesses, sees a lot of traffic throughout the year. On average, almost 12,000 cars pass through this stretch of road annually. However, this summer drivers may have to put a break on their regular travel route, as MnDOT is going to not only resurface the roads, but also redesign it.
The last time MnDOT worked on Highway 71 was in 2003. This new plan is separated into four stages, mainly centered around the most complex portion, the roundabout.
Although there are multiple steps in this project, a community liaison will be on sight to provide immediate reports on the progress.
The addition of J-turns will decrease conflict points while driving, as no fatal or severe injury crashes have occurred in any of the 30+ turns in the state. Gas emissions are also expected to be reduced at the roundabout, as the flow of traffic will not cause idling like at red lights.
The timeline of the project is May through October. While some motorists may have to navigate detours or hit a few speed bumps during construction, MnDOT’s goal aims to increase safety and decrease accidents.
Public presentations on the construction project will be held on April 28th at Beltrami Electric Cooperative. The presentation times will be at 9 AM, 12 PM and 3 PM.
More information about the project can be found by going to MnDOT’s website.