MnDOT’s Highway 197 Project

By: News Director Larissa Donovan

BEMIDJI– The Bemidji City Council is scheduled to discuss the Highway 197 corridor project during their work session this Tuesday, May 28.

The project isn’t scheduled to take place until at least 2024, but the topic has been much discussed in the community.

According to a map included in city documents, two proposals have been identified as ideal: alternative one, which consists of signalized intersections and center medians with left turn lanes; and alternative four, which was chosen as the highest technical ranking alternative, and balances six roundabout locations with wide medians.

Alternative one is projected to reduce injury crashes by six percent, while alternative four decreases injury-related crashes by 48 percent.

Several business owners made comments at the Beltrami County Board of Commissioners meeting Tuesday, May 21, on the proposed Highway 197 project.

Many are concerned about roundabouts possibly being constructed along the main strip. Mark Lindy, of Dick’s North Side, said one proposal would put him out of business within six months .

Mark Lindy, of Dick’s North Side Auto Shop

MnDOT is still seeking public comments on the Highway 197 corridor study in Bemidji. According to a release, there is an online survey available through their website, and two public houses are scheduled in the near future for citizens to learn more about the study and provide comment.

An open house will be held at Bemidji City Hall on Tuesday, May 28 from 4 to 5:30 p.m., and another will be held at the Bemidji Public LIbrary from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, June 1.

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