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169 Redefine Project Set to Enhance Transportation and Streamline Business Development

169 Redefine Project Set to Enhance Transportation and Streamline Business Development Main Photo

12 Aug 2020


The 169 Redefine project is the transformation of Highway 169 into a freeway. The new and improved freeway will enhance the transportation system of the area, streamline business development, open up access to commercial land for sale and improve the overall flow of traffic.

The present-day Highway 169 corridor is a north-south through road located in central Minnesota. The route connects the central lakes region and the greater Twin Cities metro area. Elk River, Zimmerman and Princeton, three growing trade centers, are located along the route. Highway 169 serves an important purpose and provides easy access to and from bustling economic pillars of Minnesota for commuters and recreational users alike, but it needs improvements. 

The current Highway 169 is overused and congested. The five signalized intersections along this stretch of Highway 169 are over capacity. Many users see daily delays along the corridors and the streets that link into it. The project, headed by the Minnesota Department of Transportation and in partnership with the City of Elk River and Sherburne County, will remove all five stop lights from the Mississippi River north through Elk River, improve safety and lead to a freer flow of traffic. 

Plans for the freeway conversion will include: 

  • The reconstruction of all four-lanes of Hwy 169 and adjacent road connections 
  • The construction of four new and more efficient interchanges:
    • Hwy 169 bridge over Main St. 
    • School St./Elk Hills Dr. bridge over Hwy 169
    • Hwy 169 bridge over 193rd Ave.
    • 197th Ave. over Hwy 169
  • Improved and safer pedestrian and cyclist accessibility along city streets
  • Upgraded underground infrastructure and utilities for longer lasting service
  • Improved access at the Hwy 169/101/10 interchange  
  • And the replacement of the northbound Hwy 169/101 bridge over Hwy 10.

The primary funding for 169 Redefine comes from the State of Minnesota Corridors of Commerce grant program. This program seeks to enhance regional commerce and safety through system and infrastructure improvements.


On Monday, August 17th, MnDOT and city staff will present the final layout drawing for the 169 Redefine project to the Elk River City Council. There will be a public hearing on this layout. Following this meeting, the project is expected to move forward. The construction for the 169 Redefine project is expected to start in the fall of 2022. The majority of construction will take place in 2023 and 2024, and the project is planned to be completed by the end of 2024.


Many questions regarding the upcoming changes are addressed via the City of Elk River 169 Redefine FAQ page. To keep up to date with the 169 Redefine plans, visit the MnDOT webpage.

City of Elk River Economic Development
13065 Orono Parkway | Elk River, MN  55330
phone 763.635.1000