Minnesota State Highway 23

Trunk Highway 23 marker

Trunk Highway 23
Route information
Maintained by Mn/DOT
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 22MN 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

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:

Parks and monuments

The highway serves:

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 American Indian veterans.

Segment 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 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. 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.


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.[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

MinnesotaRockBeaver Creek Township1.2972.087 I-90 / CSAH 17 Sioux Falls, Luverne, ManleyInterchange; exit 1 on I-90
PipestoneJasper18.68630.072 MN 269 westEast terminus of MN 269
Pipestone29.70747.809 MN 30 west Madison, SDWest end of MN 30 concurrency
29.93348.172 US 75 south / MN 30 east Luverne, SlaytonEast end of MN 30 concurrency; south end of US 75 concurrency
30.55049.165 US 75 north Lake BentonNorth end of US 75 concurrency
LyonFlorence52.54984.569 US 14 Tyler, BalatonUS 14 crosses bridge over railroad and MN 23; road just to the north connects the highways
Coon Creek Township59.41395.616 MN 91 south Lake Wilson
Marshall73.679118.575 US 59 Marshall, Slayton
75.057120.793 MN 19 / MN 68 Redwood Falls, Marshall
Yellow MedicineMinnesota Falls Township100.984162.518 MN 274 south Wood Lake
Granite Falls103.151166.005 MN 67 east EchoWest end of MN 67 concurrency
103.364166.348 US 212 west / MN 67 west MontevideoWest end of US 212 concurrency; east end of MN 67 concurrency
ChippewaGranite Falls Township111.569179.553 US 212 east OliviaEast end of US 212 concurrency
Stoneham Township125.066201.274 MN 7 Cosmos, Montevideo
KandiyohiWillmar Township141.483227.695 CSAH 5An interchange is planned for this intersection during the 2008-2014 time frame
US 71 south / US 71 Bus. north / MN 23 Bus. east Willmar, Olivia
Interchange; south end of US 71 concurrency; access into Willmar via US 71 and MN 23 Bus. (city road)
Lakeland DriveInterchange; westbound exit and westbound entrance
141.501227.724 CSAH 23 (Willmar Avenue)Interchange; eastbound exit and eastbound entrance
US 12 Willmar, LitchfieldInterchange
Civic Center DriveInterchange
US 71 Bus. south / MN 23 Bus. west
Interchange: southbound exit and northbound entrance
Dovre Township152.420245.296 US 71 north Belgrade, Sauk CentreInterchange; northbound exit and southbound entrance; north end of US 71 concurrency
Green Lake Township153.253246.637 CSAH 9Interchange
New London160.927258.987 MN 9 west New LondonEastern terminus of MN 9
Veterans DriveInterchange
MN 4 / MN 55 Belgrade, PaynesvilleInterchange
Richmond186.069299.449 MN 22 southNorthern terminus of MN 22
St. Joseph Township199.420320.935 I-94 Alexandria, Minneapolis, Saint PaulInterchange; exit 164 on I-94
St. Cloud204.150328.548 MN 15 south / CSAH 75 eastSouth end of MN 15/CR 75 concurrency
204.401328.952 MN 15 north / CSAH 75 westNorth end of MN 15/CR 75 concurrency
10th AvenueInterchange
Benton207.860334.518 US 10 Little Falls, Saint PaulInterchange
Minden Township212.403341.829 MN 95 east PrincetonWestern terminus of MN 95
Gilmanton Township220.925355.544 MN 25 Pierz
Mille LacsMilaca236.357–
US 169 Princeton, OnamiaInterchange
KanabecOgilvie247.418398.181 MN 47 north IsleWest end of MN 47 concurrency
248.481399.891 MN 47 south AnokaEast end of MN 47 concurrency
Mora254.577409.702 MN 65 south CambridgeSouth end of MN 65 concurrency
256.180412.282 MN 65 north McGregorNorth end of MN 65 concurrency
PineBrook Park Township266.615429.075 MN 107 BrahamNorthern terminus of MN 107
Mission Creek Township273.737440.537 I-35 south / CSAH 61 Minneapolis, Saint PaulInterchange; south end of I-35 concurrency; exit 180 on I-35
Hinckley272.459438.480 MN 48 east / CSAH 61 HinckleyWestern terminus of MN 48
Sandstone285.237459.044 I-35 north / CSAH 61 south DuluthInterchange; north end of I-35 concurrency; south end of CSAH 61 concurrency; exit 191 on I-35
285.641459.695 MN 123 eastWestern terminus of MN 123
Finlayson Township289.708466.240 MN 18 west / CSAH 61 north Rutledge, FinlaysonEastern terminus of MN 18; north end of CSAH 61 concurrency
290.190467.016 I-35 Duluth, Saint Paul, MinneapolisExit 195 on I-35; interchange.
293.017471.565 MN 123 west SandstoneNorthern terminus of MN 123
No major junctions
Wisconsin Douglas
No major junctions
MinnesotaSt. LouisDuluth335.948540.656 MN 210 west Jay Cooke State Park, CarltonEastern terminus of MN 210
338.725545.125 MN 39 east Superior, WIWestern terminus of MN 39
345.020555.256 I-35 / US 2Interchange; 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


  1. 1 2 "Trunk Highway Log Point Listing" (PDF). Minnesota Department of Transportation. September 6, 2011. Retrieved October 4, 2011.
  2. Wisconsin Department of Transportation, Douglas County
  3. Korsgaard, Kay. "Willmar bypass opens". Mn/DOT 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. Retrieved November 10, 2007.
  5. "Highway 23 Paynesville Bypass project". Minnesota Department of Transportation. April 26, 2010. Retrieved January 29, 2011.

External links

Route map: Bing / Google

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