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Highway 71 project in Bemidji enters fourth and final stage of construction


September 19, 2022

Stage 4 of the project includes median construction throughout the corridor

Bemidji, Minn. – MnDOT announced today the Highway 71 construction project in Bemidji is near completion. Crews have now begun Stage 4 activities which includes completing the median work along the corridor. Motorists on Highway 71 can now access all four legs of the Anne Street roundabout. Northbound and southbound lanes are open to traffic with the inside lanes closed for median construction. The medians along the corridor will remain closed until project completion in early October.

During the median construction, motorists will utilize the signed detours, Irvine Avenue ramps or the Anne Street roundabout, depending on their location.

• Example- motorists wanting to turn south out of Lakes Concrete will turn north on Hwy 71 and utilize the Irvine Avenue ramps to turn south on Hwy 71.

In 2019-2020, MnDOT worked with a community panel to develop and evaluate options that would support the community's vision for the corridor. The panel was comprised of local business owners, residents, motorists, emergency services, and officials from the township, city and county.

This Highway 71 corridor, from Highway 197 to Winter Sumac Road, will include intersection improvements of RCI's (Reduced Conflict Intersections) and a roundabout at Anne Street. Find more information on roundabouts here.

Project benefits and cost

Benefits of the project include a safer road, smoother and longer lasting driving surface, as well as intersection and pedestrian improvements to enhance safety for all users. Studies show an 86 percent decrease in fatal crashes at roundabouts, and a 70 percent reduction in fatalities where J-turns are used. To learn more about roundabouts or how a J-turn works, and review their safety benefits, visit MnDOT's Roundabout web page or MnDOT's Reduced Conflict Intersections web page.

Knife River is the contractor for the $16.6 million project. Construction is scheduled to be completed in October.

Work zone reminder

• Slow down when approaching every work zone

• Never enter a roadway that has been blocked with barriers or cones

• Stay alert; watch for workers and slow-moving equipment

• Obey posted speed limits; fine for a work zone violation is $300

• Minimize distractions behind the wheel

• Be patient and expect delays, especially during peak travel times

RCI's decrease fatalities and injuries caused by T-bone crashes on four-lane divided highways. In some parts of the country, RCIs are sometimes referred to as J-turns, R-CUTs, Michigan Lefts.

RCI's improve safety, with up to a 70 percent reduction in injury crashes nationwide. For more information on this project or sign up for email updates, visit the project website.

MnDOT reminds drivers to slow down, avoid distractions and follow traffic signs in work zones.

Please join the MnDOT District 2 Facebook group for updates on construction, road conditions and other transportation related topics. For a complete list of projects for 2021, please visit For real-time traffic and travel information in Minnesota, visit or get the free smartphone app at Google Play or the App Store.


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