More public comment allowed on Washington/210 project

A public hearing for the project is set for the Brainerd City Council meeting on Feb. 21.

Traffic along Washington Street.
Traffic travels along Washington Street on Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2022, in Brainerd.
Kelly Humphrey / Brainerd Dispatch

BRAINERD — Community members will have another opportunity to weigh in on the Highway 210/Washington Street reconstruction project in February.

The Brainerd City Council scheduled a public hearing for Feb. 21, when members of the public can give feedback on the proposed design for the upcoming reconstruction. After the public hearing, the council must vote to give municipal consent before the project can officially begin.

Slated for 2026, the Minnesota Department of Transportation project is proposed to reconstruct Highway 210/Washington Street from Baxter Drive to Pine Shores Road.

The main goals of the project include:

  • Reconstruct or resurface the road.
  • Reconstruct curbs, gutters, raised medians and storm sewers.
  • Update signal systems.
  • Remove signal systems at Fourth Avenue Northeast and Mill Avenue.
  • Realign and improve access at the Highway 210 and Highway 25/Mill Avenue, includes roundabouts.
  • Upgrade city utilities.
  • Upgrade pedestrian sidewalks and approaches and reconstruct/connect the Cuyuna Lakes Trail.
  • Update the Mississippi River Bridge.

A contention point for some residents and business owners is the plan for two consecutive roundabouts at the intersections of Highway 25 and Eighth Avenue Northeast. Project managers believe this design is the best way to accommodate future traffic flow.


While the roundabouts remain as part of the proposed final designs, project managers did make changes based on public feedback earlier this year. Brainerd City Council members looked at design updates during their meeting Monday, Dec. 19.

Additions to the design include:

  • Eastbound bump out at Baxter Drive.
  • Bump outs at Northwest Seventh Street.
  • Eastbound left turn lane at North Fifth Street.
  • Eastbound left turn lane at Kingwood Street.
  • Westbound left turn lane at 10th Avenue Northeast.
  • Bump out/narrowing somewhere east of Eighth Avenue Northeast.
  • Right-in/right-out access to eastbound 210 between the two roundabouts.
  • Remove proposed median closure at Northwest Seventh Street to allow eastbound and westbound turn lanes.
  • Provide additional access to businesses/residents between Northwest Fourth Street and the bridge crossing to compensate for removal of eastbound left turn late at Northwest Third Street.
  • Improve residents’ ability to access eastbound 210 between Gills Avenue and Fifth Avenue.

The new plan also includes the removal of eastbound right turn lanes at Fourth and Eighth streets.
Items mentioned but not added to the design include:

  • A westbound left turn lane at Northwest Third Street.
  • An eastbound left turn late at Northwest Fifth Street.
  • An eastbound left turn late at North Third Street.

A westbound left turn lane at Northwest Third Street is not needed for the low traffic demand and was not identified as a priority by the hospital, project managers said.The other two items were not added because they would require shortening Northwest Fourth Street left turn lane, and long queues at Northwest Fourth Street would consistently prevent left turning traffic at Northwest Fourth Street from accessing the shorter turn lane; Northwest Fourth Street needs to be maintained as a priority; and relatively low traffic demands are easily accommodated by proposed access and local street system.
Northwest Fifth Street was also the site of a fatal crash associated with a vehicle maneuvering through the westbound queue of vehicles.

“It’s come a long way since we finally started meeting in person again,” said council member Gabe Johnson, who sits on the project management team. “... I think it’s ready to move on to the next phase, and I’m happy with where it’s at right now.”

For an overview on the project, visit .

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THERESA BOURKE may be reached at or 218-855-5860. Follow her on Twitter at .

Theresa Bourke started working at the Dispatch in July 2018, covering Brainerd city government and area education, including Brainerd Public Schools and Central Lakes College.
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