Comment soon on proposed upgrades to Wadena's busiest roadways

The project is not until 2025, but MnDOT wants your comments before May 11.

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Hwy 71 and 29 in Wadena will see some much needed improvements with a proposed project in 2025.
Contributed by MnDOT
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WADENA — If you have something to say about the planned improvements on Hwy 71 and 29, which are planned for 2025, you can now view plans and comment through May 11, 2022.
The estimated $7.3 million project includes repaving of US 71 South in Wadena's downtown business district and reconstruction to the north. The northern stretch of US 71 would add 12-foot left turn lanes and proposes a 10-foot walking trail to be added from the current hospital to Four Boys Motor Sports. New sidewalks would also go in from Aldrich Ave. north to Northside Floral on both sides of the highway. ADA compliance issues would be addressed along with sidewalk, curb and gutter and storm sewer improvements.
Repaving would also take place on Hwy 29 from the 71 junction to the Otter Tail line.

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US 71 in Wadena is expected to see a left turn lane added for intersections north of town, part of a safety strategy.
Contributed by MnDOT

It's noted that a road safety review was a driving force behind the addition of two-way left turn lanes on US 71 North. This is planned to work by reducing the existing 10 foot shoulder width and adding a separated trail.
MnDOT and city officials held a workshop to review this proposed layout on March 31.
The Minnesota Department of Transportation is looking to accept comments while they plan for this major construction project, which involves some of Wadena's most traveled roads. You can visit the Wadena City Hall to review maps and fill out comment cards, or you can view the projects online at
The Wadena City Hall is located at 222 Second St. SE, and is open Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. You can also submit comments online or contact MnDOT Project Development Manager Eric Schiller with questions or concerns.

This Hwy 71 ad 29 project is planned due to the deteriorating pavement condition, according to MnDOT. Utilities underground in the Hwy 71 area would also be replaced. Here's a closer look at the road history.

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US 71 North in Wadena is set to see improved sidewalks and a pedestrian trail on the west side of the road from Tri-County Health Care on to Alfred Ave.
Contributed by MnDOT

  • US 71 S Franklin Ave to Aldrich Ave., which includes the core downtown business district, was last reconstructed in 2003. The urban segment was reconstructed in 2009 involving storm sewer and utilities from Franklin to the south.
  • US 71 Elm Ave. to .4 miles north of Alfred Street was last resurfaced in 2006. This was originally constructed in 1947. Preventative maintenance just keep on increasing here.
  • US 71 Birch Ave. to Elm Ave. was last resurfaced in 2006. The city also made utility improvements here in 1995.
  • Hwy 29 at Otter Tail/ Wadena County line to Hwy 71 junction was last resurfaced in 2011. The plan is to resurface this section and update pedestrian sidewalks and ramps.
  • Secondary needs include improvements to existing sidewalks, ADA compliant curb ramps, new traffic signals. A pedestrian trail was identified as a desire by the city of Wadena where the sidewalk currently ends.
    Wadena's infamous Hwy 10 stories
    It's taken over 50 years to move to a four lane road through Wadena. It will be another three years before that work is set to begin.
    All lanes of Highway 10 were reopened Thursday, Oct. 10, in Wadena, ending a detour that's been in place since late August.

This work planned for three years from now would involve road closures, detours and impact sidewalk travel. But wait, there's more. That same year, US Hwy 10 is planned to be expanding 6 miles to four lanes through Wadena.
Find out more about that project at

Michael Johnson is the news editor for Agweek. He lives in the city of Verndale, Minn., but is bent on making it as country as he can until he returns once more to the farm living he enjoys. Also living the dream are his two children and wife.
You can reach Michael at or 218-640-2312.
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