Apr. 16—WILLMAR — The old and new Highway 12 will soon come together as one. Construction crews are scheduled to tie in the existing highway with the new segments constructed on the western side of Willmar as part of the Willmar Wye project, starting Monday, April 19, announced the Minnesota Department of Transportation District 8.
Once work is completed, all traffic on U.S. Highway 12 will be using the new, realigned roadway.
As part of the work, Highway 12 will need to be detoured. Traffic will be routed along Kandiyohi County Road 7, state Highway 40, County Road 55, along a portion of the realigned Highway 12, County Road 5, Willmar Avenue and Industrial Drive. The detour will be in place for approximately a week, weather permitting.
The Wye, also known as the Willmar Rail Connector and Industrial Access Project, will create a railroad bypass west of Willmar that will allow trains to travel between the Morris and Marshal subdivision tracks without having to turn around in downtown Willmar.
Road construction is slated to be completed this summer. Construction on the new BNSF rail line will start in early May, with completion scheduled for fall 2022.
The project is estimated to cost around $47 million, and is a private-public partnership between BNSF Railway, Kandiyohi County, the city of Willmar, MnDOT and the Kandiyohi County and City of Willmar Economic Development Commission. The goal of the project is to reduce train traffic in downtown Willmar, decrease train noise and long waits at rail crossings and improve safety.