Minnesota State Highway 23

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.

Trunk Highway 23 marker

Trunk Highway 23

MN 23 highlighted in red
Route information
Maintained by MnDOT
Length343.723 mi[1] (553.169 km)
Major junctions
Southwest end I-90 near Beaver Creek
Major intersections
Northeast end I-35 / US 2 at Duluth
CountryUnited States
CountiesRock, Pipestone, Lincoln, Lyon, Yellow Medicine, Chippewa, Renville, Kandiyohi, Stearns, Benton, Mille Lacs, Kanabec, Pine, Carlton, Douglas (WI), St. Louis
Highway system
  • Minnesota Trunk Highway System
MN 22 MN 24

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 and then continues north and east across Minnesota to its terminus at its interchange with I-35 in Duluth.

Route descriptionEdit

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
  • 4th Street in downtown Milaca
  • Forest Avenue East in Mora, between MN 65 and Oslin Road
  • 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 monumentsEdit

The highway serves:

Evergreen Memorial Scenic DriveEdit

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.[2] On June 28, 2008, this bridge was dedicated as such in honor of American Indian veterans.

Segment in WisconsinEdit

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.[3] 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 November 2, 1920, from Paynesville to Mission Creek, south of Hinckley.[4] By 1933, the highway was paved between Roscoe and Cold Spring and from St. Cloud to Mission Creek.[5] It was extended west to Benson and east to Duluth in 1934.[6] 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.[7] 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.[8][9]

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

In February 2008, a bus crash occurred on MN 23 near Cottonwood when a school bus carrying 28 students from Lakeview Public Schools was struck by a driver who ran through a stop sign which caused the bus to fall onto a pickup killing four students and injuring 17 others.[10]

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.

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 project was completed in July 2012.[11] 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.[12]

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-to-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.[citation needed]


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.[citation needed]

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.

The "Gaps" project is a multi-stage project to widen MN 23 to four lanes in the two remaining two-lane sections between Willmar and St. Cloud. The 9-mile (14 km) North Gap started expansion in May 2022, and is expected to complete in November 2023.[13] The 7-mile (11 km) South Gap is planned to begin in 2023 and be completed in 2024.[14]

Major intersectionsEdit

MinnesotaRockBeaver Creek Township0.0000.000  US 16Programmed mile 0; now CSAH 4
1.2972.087   I-90 / CSAH 17 – Sioux Falls, LuverneCurrent southern terminus; interchange; Exit 1 on I-90; roadway continues as CSAH 17
MN 269 west – State Line
Eastern terminus of MN 269
MN 30 west – Madison, SD
Western end of MN 30 concurrency
US 75 south / MN 30 east – Luverne, Slayton
Eastern end of MN 30 concurrency; southern end of US 75 concurrency
US 75 north – Lake Benton
Northern 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 – Slayton, MarshallAccess to Avera Marshall Regional Medical Center
75.057120.793    MN 19 / MN 68 – Redwood Falls, MarshallAccess to Avera Marshall Regional Medical Center
Yellow MedicineMinnesota Falls Township100.984162.518 
MN 67 east – Wood Lake, Echo
Western end of MN 67 concurrency; formerly MN 274
Granite Falls103.151166.005 
MN 167 east
US 212 west / MN 67 west
Western end of US 212 concurrency; eastern end of MN 67 concurrency
ChippewaGranite Falls Township111.569179.553 
US 212 east – Olivia
Eastern end of US 212 concurrency
Stoneham Township125.066201.274  MN 7 – Cosmos, Montevideo
KandiyohiWillmar Township141.483227.695   CSAH 15 / CSAH 5Interchange planned for this intersection
  US 71 south / US 71 Bus. north / MN 23 Bus. east (1st Street) – Willmar, Olivia
Western end of US 71 concurrency; interchange; access to Carris Health Rice Memorial Hospital
141.501227.724  CSAH 23 (Willmar Avenue)Interchange
Willmar Township142.666–
  US 12 – Willmar, LitchfieldInterchange
Civic Center DriveInterchange
  US 71 Bus. south / MN 23 Bus. west / Glacial Ridge Trail
Interchange; westbound exit and eastbound entrance; Former MN 294; western end of Glacial Ridge Trail concurrency; access to Carris Health Rice Memorial Hospital
Dovre Township145.353233.923  CR 90 / Glacial Ridge TrailEastern end of Glacial Ridge Trail concurrency
US 71 north – Sauk Centre
Eastern end of US 71 concurrency; interchange; eastbound exit and westbound entrance
Green Lake Township153.253246.637  CSAH 9Interchange
New London160.927258.987 
MN 9 west – New London
Eastern terminus of MN 9
161.230259.475  CSAH 40 / Glacial Ridge Trail
Veterans DriveInterchange
   MN 4 / MN 55 – Belgrade, PaynesvilleInterchange
MN 22 south – Eden Valley
Northern terminus of MN 22
St. Joseph Township199.420320.935   I-94 / US 52 – Alexandria, Minneapolis, Saint PaulInterchange; exit 164 on I-94
St. Cloud204.150328.548 
MN 15 south / CSAH 75 east
Western end of MN 15/CSAH 75 concurrency
MN 15 north / CSAH 75 west
Eastern end of MN 15/CSAH 75 concurrency; former US 52 west
205.109330.09127th AvenueFormer MN 152 south
205.397330.55422nd AvenueFormer MN 152 north
206.404332.17511th AvenueFormer MN 15 north
10th Avenue / 9th AvenueRIRO interchange; signed 10th Avenue westbound and 9th Avenue eastbound
Benton207.860334.518  US 10 – Little Falls, Saint PaulInterchange
Minden Township212.403341.829 
MN 95 east – Princeton
Western terminus of MN 95
Gilmanton Township220.925355.544  MN 25 – Pierz
Mille LacsMilaca236.357–
  US 169 – Princeton, OnamiaInterchange
MN 47 north – Isle
Western end of MN 47 concurrency
MN 47 south – Anoka
Eastern end of MN 47 concurrency
MN 65 south – Cambridge
Southern end of MN 65 concurrency
MN 65 north – McGregor
Northern 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 / Old US 61 – Minneapolis, Saint Paul
Southern end of I-35 concurrency; interchange; exit 180 on I-35
  MN 48 east / CSAH 61 – Hinckley
Western terminus of MN 48
I-35 north / CSAH 61 south / Old US 61 / St. Croix Scenic Byway south – Duluth
Eastern end of I-35 concurrency; western end of CSAH 61 / St. Croix Scenic Byway concurrency; interchange; exit 191 on I-35
MN 123 east
Western terminus of MN 123
Finlayson Township289.708466.240 
MN 18 west / CSAH 61 north / Old US 61 – Rutledge, Finlayson
Eastern end of CSAH 61 concurrency; eastern terminus of MN 18
290.190467.016  I-35 / St. Croix Scenic Bywayern ends – Duluth, Saint Paul, MinneapolisExit 195 on I-35; interchange; northern terminus of St. Croix Scenic Byway; western terminus of Veterans Memorial Evergreen Scenic Byway
MN 123 west – Sandstone
Northern terminus of MN 123
No major junctions
Wisconsin Douglas
No major junctions
MinnesotaSt. LouisDuluth335.948540.656 
MN 210 west – Jay Cooke State Park, Carlton
Eastern terminus of MN 210
MN 39 east – Superior, WI
Western 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 alsoEdit


  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. ^ "Chapter 6-H.F.No. 140". Minnesota Session Laws - 2005, 1st Special Session. Minnesota Office of the Revisor of Statutes. July 14, 2005. Retrieved March 10, 2019.
  3. ^ Wisconsin Department of Transportation (January 2021). Douglas Co. (PDF) (Map). 1:100,000. Madison: Wisconsin Department of Transportation. Retrieved June 27, 2021.
  4. ^ Minnesota State Legislature (2010). "§ 161.114, Constitutional Trunk Highways". Minnesota Statutes. Minnesota Office of the Revisor of Statutes. Retrieved October 13, 2010.
  5. ^ Minnesota Highway Department; McGill-Warner (1933). Map of Trunk Highway System, State of Minnesota (Map). 1:760,320. St. Paul: Minnesota Highway Department. §§ G16–M14. OCLC 5673160, 80405240. Retrieved March 5, 2019 – via Minnesota Digital Library. (Showing road conditions as of April 1, 1933)
  6. ^ Minnesota Highway Department; McGill-Warner (1934). Map of Trunk Highway System, State of Minnesota (Map). 1:760,320. St. Paul: Minnesota Highway Department. §§ E16–O11. OCLC 5673160, 80405240. Retrieved March 5, 2019 – via Minnesota Digital Library. (Showing road conditions as of May 1, 1934)
  7. ^ "1941 Roads Map is Now Available". The Minneapolis Star. May 5, 1941. p. 16. Retrieved December 19, 2019 – via Newspapers.com.
  8. ^ Korsgaard, Kay. "Willmar bypass opens". MnDOT Newsline. Minnesota Department of Transportation. Retrieved November 10, 2007.
  9. ^ 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.
  10. ^ Melo, Fredrick (August 6, 2008). "Franco found guilty in Cottonwood bus crash that killed four, injured 17". Pioneer Press. Retrieved January 10, 2021.
  11. ^ "Highway 23 Paynesville Bypass". Coldspring USA. Retrieved October 4, 2022.
  12. ^ "Highway 23 Paynesville Bypass project". Minnesota Department of Transportation. April 26, 2010. Archived from the original on July 15, 2011. Retrieved January 29, 2011.
  13. ^ "Main detour begins May 16 for Minnesota Highway 23 North Gap project from Paynesville to Richmond". West Central Tribune. May 11, 2022. Retrieved October 4, 2022.
  14. ^ "Highway 23 Gaps Groundbreaking Celebration". Highway 23 Coalition. Retrieved October 4, 2022.

External linksEdit

Route map:

KML is from Wikidata