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Council puts support behind proposed Hwy. 23 expansion

MARSHALL — On Tuesday, the city of Marshall put its support behind efforts to expand Minnesota Highway 23 to four lanes. Marshall City Council members passed a resolution in support of building a four-lane roadway between Marshall and Green Valley.

The construction is one of the projects being advocated by the Highway 23 Coalition, in its goal to eventually make the highway four lanes for its whole route.

“This is one of four priority projects for this year,” said Marshall Mayor Bob Byrnes. Byrnes is currently serving as Highway 23 Coalition coordinator.

Besides expanding Highway 23 to four lanes between Marshall and Green Valley, the coalition’s 2020 priority list includes construction of an overpass at Highway 23 and County Road 5 in Willmar, a feasibility study for a four-lane expansion of Highway 23 between Foley and Milaca, and construction of a J-turn in Waite Park.

The four-lane expansion being proposed between Marshall and Green Valley would cover 4.5 miles of highway, at an estimated cost of $27 million, the Highway 23 Coalition said. The expansion would continue the four-lane infrastructure on the highway corridor, and bring that four-lane infrastructure closer to connecting with Highway 212.

At a previous meeting, the council had considered, but did not pass, a resolution in support of giving Highway 23 south of Russell a concrete surface between Russell and Pipestone. Pipestone County had adopted the resolution Jan. 28, to request the concrete surface when the Minnesota Department of Transportation does its next overlay project on the highway.

The resolution to expand Highway 23, as opposed to changing its surface material, “aligns a little better” with the goals of the Marshall area transportation group, said Marshall City Administrator Sharon Hanson.

Council members voted in favor of passing a resolution of support for a four-lane expansion. As coordinator of the Highway 23 Coalition, Byrnes said he abstained from the vote.

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