169 Redefine

Project Open House, October 29169 Redefine Project

You’re invited to join staff from the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT), City of Elk River and Sherburne County, on Tuesday, October 29 from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. at Elk River City Hall (13065 Orono Parkway) for an informal open house to discuss 169 Redefine. At the event, attendees can view the preliminary design that will convert Hwy 169 to a freeway.

Project Overview 

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 on a daily basis. This congestion leads safety concerns from fatal accidents to emergency responders unable to move through the corridor during peak commute times.

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.

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


Preliminary design: In progress
Right-of-way acquisition: 2019-2022
Construction: 2022-2024

Any changes to the timeline and status of construction are courtesy of the official MnDOT project webpage.

Project Lead & Funding Source

MnDOT District 3, will be leading this project under the direction of James Hallgren, MnDOT Senior Project Manager. The City of Elk River and Sherburne County will be heavily involved throughout all stages to assure local interests are being met.

The total cost of the project is $157 million, funded by the State of Minnesota Corridors of Commerce program.

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.

MnDOT Redefine 169 Map