For people heading up to the cabin, or simply heading up to the Brainerd-lakes area you might want to keep an eye on the MnDOT website. There are plans to reconstruct a popular intersection and change it into a 4-legged roundabout in 2026. So if you use the Highway 18 Highway 169 intersection in Garrison, you've been warned.

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I've got to think that this intersection, Highway 169 and Highway 18, has to be one of the busiest intersections in the state Fridays-Sundays, Memorial Day through Labor Day. People are often backed up to go left, onto Highway 18 to head up to the many resorts and cabins that dot Lake Country in North-Central Minnesota.

Here is what the MnDOT website has to say about the upcoming project.

MnDOT will improve five miles of Hwy 169 from south of Garrison at Crow Wing Co. Rd. 26 to north of Garrison at Pike Ave.; includes city storm sewer, sidewalk, and a new roundabout at the busy Hwy 18 intersection. Work is scheduled for 2026 and may require detours.

Image Credit: MnDOT website
Image Credit: MnDOT website

MnDOT states on the website some benefits from the project will include:

  • New, smoother road surface
  • Improves drainage
  • Reduces congestion, improves traffic flow and access
  • Improves motorist and pedestrian safety

The MnDOT page for this project estimates the total cost will be $7.5 million.

The good news for anyone headed that way this year or next is that it's business as usual, but in two years it sounds like you'll want to steer clear of the area if you can.

You can get updates on the project, including any changes to the construction timetable, by heading here.

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