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Bemidji City Council to hear public feedback regarding future of Hwy 197

The Bemidji City Council will hear from Minnesota Department of Transportation officials during a work session Monday regarding State Highway 197.

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BEMIDJI -- A busy stretch of highway through town will be the central focus of a Bemidji City Council work session Monday.

During the meeting, the council is expected to hear from Minnesota Department of Transportation representatives regarding State Highway 197. The state agency is exploring options to not only reconstruct the aging pavement on the road but also make alterations to intersections to improve safety.

According to MnDOT data, up to 16,000 vehicles use the road on a daily basis. By 2030, the number is expected to reach 20,500 vehicles per day.

Additionally, the highway has a crash rate of one per day.

Since 2020, MnDOT has been working with the Headwaters Regional Development Commission to seek community input on what the public wants to see from the project. On Monday, the council will get an update on the community feedback.

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The council is also expected to consider a proposal from KJL Engineering to analyze how Hannah Avenue and Middle School Drive would be impacted by changes to Highway 197. The contract with the firm would be for $26,000.

The meeting is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. tonight, Oct. 25, at City Hall.

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