169 Redefine

Project Overview Hwy169Redefine_Logo

The Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) will convert Highway 169 to a freeway, removing all five stop lights from the Mississippi River north through Elk River.

The Highway 169 corridor is an important north-south arterial route in central Minnesota. This route connects Minnesota’s central lakes region and the greater Twin Cities metropolitan area with the growing trade centers of Elk River, Zimmerman, and Princeton. The highway plays an important role serving commuters and recreational users, and connecting economic centers in the state.

The signalized intersections along this stretch of Highway 169 are over capacity, resulting in significant delays on Highway 169 and all adjacent streets. The State of Minnesota Corridors of Commerce grant program seeks to enhance regional commerce through system improvements and improve public safety and is the primary funding source for the project.

Sign up for Notify Me, the city’s online notification tool, to receive updates on the 169 Redefine project sent straight to your email or text messages, whenever new information becomes available.

Redefining the Rumors - FAQs

We want to find out what’s the word on the street about MnDOT’s 169 Redefine project. Tell us what rumors you’re hearing and we’ll have project staff members quickly set the record straight!

View other rumor submissions and the corresponding answers from MnDOT’s project team on the FAQ page.

169 Redefine Word on the Street Graphic Logo Opens in new window

Preliminary Layout Resources169 Redefine Preliminary Layout Simple UPDATE - April 2020

Detailed Preliminary Layout - April 2020

MnDOT Presentation - May 2020 

169 Redefine Visual Resources

Elk River Public Works Director/Chief Engineer, Justin Femrite walks residents through the anticipated changes planned for each impacted interchange as part of MnDOT’s 169 Redefine project in the following short videos:

Hwy 169 & Hwy 10

Hwy 169 & Main Street

Hwy 169 & School Street

Hwy 169 & 193rd Avenue

Hwy 169 & 197th Avenue


Project Inquiries

For questions about 169 Redefine, contact MnDOT Project Manager Darren Nelson via email, or phone at 218-828-5760. There will be more open houses in spring 2020, once final design has been completed. For additional information, please visit MnDOT’s project webpage.

Schedule and Timeline

Schedule and Timeline - Changing Web Graphic Sept 15, 2020 

Project Open House, October 29 Recap

On October 29, 2019, staff from the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT), City of Elk River and Sherburne County, hosted an informal open house to discuss 169 Redefine with interested residents, business owners, and commuters. At the event, attendees were given a number of handouts to help explain the scope of the project that will convert Hwy 169 to a freeway including:

Additional Information 

Community Impact

Residents can expect changes to their daily routes across town during construction. This will change with the project as phases are completed. In preparation for serving the local traveling public, we are considering a local frontage/backage street improvement project which will take place prior to Redefine 169 construction kicking off, in an effort to minimize impacts as much as possible. MnDOT has yet to establish limits of adjacent private property impacts for the Hwy 169 Redefine project. As an adjacent property owner you may have questions on what that process might look like. This guide will answer some of those initial questions.

Those who travel through Elk River can expect reduced speeds and lane shifts throughout the project. The full impacts on travel time through Elk River and access to local businesses during the course of construction will be determined as we advance through preliminary and final design. 

Traffic patterns on the local street networks will change, thus impacting how you access businesses along the Highway 169 corridor. Access modifications and accommodations will be made to assure the businesses can remain open during the project.

Read about the history of this corridor, along with the latest MnDOT study from 2013 here.