MnDOT District 6 Freight Plan

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Welcome to the first

District 6 Freight Plan Advisory Committee Meeting!

April 22, 2021 at 9 a.m.


Andrew Andrusko

Andrew Andrusko
MnDOT District 6 Project Manager

Heather Lukes

Heather Lukes
MnDOT District 6 Planning Director

Dan Haake

Dan Haake
HDR Project Manager

Kurt Wayne

Kurt Wayne
MnDOT District 6 Planner

Freight Plan Advisory Committee

Thank you for joining us today and for your interest in being part of our Advisory Committee! Each of you were identified as key freight stakeholders in our region, and we value your input in this important planning process. The committee will guide the plan’s development. Over the course of the next year, this committee will meet to share information, review intermediate deliverables and provide feedback on plan development.

Meetings icon

Meeting 1:

Review work plan & past work, identify trends and needs

Meeting 2:

Freight system profile, economic profile

Meeting 3:

Stakeholder outreach results, SWOT, Initial recommendations

Meeting 4:

Major findings, evaluation of projects

MnDOT District 6 Overview

Let’s start today’s presentation with an overview of District 6. MnDOT District 6 serves 11 counties in Southeast Minnesota and has several unique characteristics that are important to know and understand in the development of its freight plan.

District Characteristics

  • Second-highest population density of the MnDOT districts
  • Second-most interstate highway miles in the state
  • Strong manufacturing and medical industry presence
  • The eastern part of the district has hilly terrain along the Mississippi River
  • The western part has flat agricultural plains prone to blizzards
  • The district is bisected by I-35 and I-90 which make it a prime location for truck traffic moving across the state and country
  • Includes two Public Ports: Red Wing, Winona
Map of MnDOT District 6

Click the image above to enlarge.

District 6 Freight Plan Overview

We have been working to implement the statewide freight plan called the Minnesota State Freight System and Investment Plan. One of the key recommendations was to work with each area of the state to create more detailed plans that would identify improvements to connect with the Minnesota Highway Freight Program. This is where the District 6 Freight Plan comes into play!

This Plan is focused on transportation investments that could improve freight mobility, access and safety in the region and will include studying the freight transportation system in Southeast Minnesota to better understand the trends, issues and needs of the area.

Previous MnDOT freight efforts:

MnDOT has completed freight related studies in the past—a southeast Minnesota Freight Study in 2012 and the Manufacturer Perspectives Study in 2018. These focused on building relationships and gathering input about freight needs. We have not done a freight plan at the district level before. The intent for this effort is to link to the Manufacturer Perspectives Studies, combine data and data, and then to see where MnDOT could incorporate freight needs into future construction projects.

The District Freight Plan will:

  • Outline how MnDOT District 6 and their partners could improve freight mobility.
  • Help us better understand the current multimodal freight system in Southeast Minnesota, including how local industries use the system, and freight-related needs and issues.
  • Guide future policy and project decisions to improve the multimodal freight system in the region
  • Produce a list of strategies to improve freight mobility in the Southeast Minnesota region
  • Roll up long-term planning and programming in the next Statewide Freight System Plan
  • Identify opportunities for public and private stakeholders to give their input

Project Schedule

High-level project schedule

Major Tasks

High-level milestones graphic

Click the image above to enlarge.

Input Opportunity!


Now that you’ve learned a little about the advisory committee, MnDOT freight planning and this District 6 Freight plan, we want to hear from you!

Pull out your phone or an internet browser and go to and use the code 1960 8023

Leveraging Past Work in the Area

Before beginning work on the District 6 Freight Plan, it was important to understand and capture key takeaways from relevant studies, plans and work already done by MnDOT and our partners.

Statewide Statewide Freight System & Investment Plan
State Rail Plan
Statewide Ports & Waterways Plan
Statewide Truck Parking Study
Minnesota Weight Enforcement Investment Plan
Minnesota State Highway Investment Plan
Freight Reil Economic Development Study
Rail Grade Crossing Safety Project Selection Study
Connected and Automated Vehicle Strategic Plan
MAASTO Connected and Automated Vehicle eSummit

District/Region Develop MN: Comprehensive Development Strategy for Greater Minnesota
Greater Minnesota Mobility Study
Southeast Minnesota Regional Freight Study
Highway 52 CAV Study
Manufacturers’ Perspectives on Minnesota's Transportation Systems (District 6)
Capital Highway Investment Plan (District 6)
Advancing Transportation Equity (District 6)

Partners ROCOG long Range Transportation System Plan/Transportation Improvement Program
LaCrosse Area Planning Committee LRTP and TIP
Destination Medical Center Strategic Plan & Integrated Transit Studies

Minnesota Statewide Freight System Plan

One of the big plans that was important for us to look at first was the Minnesota Statewide Freight System Plan that describes the state’s multimodal transportation system and its role in the state’s economy, current and emerging industry trends, freight transportation system performance, and current and future issues and needs.

This plan helped define MnDOT’s overall freight vision for the future of freight in Minnesota.


  • Provide an integrated system of freight transportation in Minnesota – highway, rail, water, air cargo and intermodal terminals – that offers safe, reliable and competitive access to statewide, national and international markets.

Key Recommendation:

  • One of the key recommendations of the statewide plan was to work with each area of the states to create more detailed plans that would identify improvements to connect with the Minnesota Highway Freight Program.

Achieving This Vision

MnDOT developed these five freight planning goals to reflect the aspects of the multimodal freight system that are most important to the public and private sector freight stakeholders in the state. The statewide vision and goals will be used to guide the development of the District 6 Freight Plan.

High-level vision graphic

For example, the project team will use the SFSP goals to organize the development of the project’s SWOT analysis. Ultimately, the SWOT analysis will be used to produce the District Freight Plan’s recommendations.

Click the image to enlarge.

Our Findings

After looking at these other plans, we identified several key themes and system concerns that will be used to help develop the District 6 Freight Plan.

Key themes icon

Key Themes

  • Direct access to two of the five river ports in the state, Red Wing and Winona
  • Both District 6 area public ports have good commercial access via State Trunk Highways, local arterials, and Class 1 railroads
  • The region also has easy access to another major port in La Crosse, WI
  • Land port areas considered ideal for freight shipping purposes are increasingly in competition with residential, commercial, and recreational development
  • Aging Port Infrastructure
  • Intermodal Connectors: Existing intermodal links between the marine system and the road and rail freight systems are, in some cases, in poor condition, and in need of repair. In other cases, additional system connectivity linkages are needed
  • Concerns specifically include that intermodal connectors are adequate for rail track and road pavement condition, travel lane width, turning radii, and vertical and horizontal bridge clearance
  • Minnesota’s two major intermodal container terminals are in the Twin Cities, using BNSF and CP’s Chicago-to Pacific Northwest corridors
  • Many businesses truck containerized cargo to Chicago or Kansas City to access the Ports of Long Beach/Los Angeles
  • A private intermodal terminal in Winona has been built on a similar business model but continues to face challenges of attracting major customers and having only limited support from the servicing railroad
  • While freight is the physical manifestation of an economy in motion, it has several negative externalities that are often felt disproportionately by environmental justice communities. The Plan must integrate freight into our community – not just move focusing on freight at the consequence of everything else that drives our communities
  • When developing project concepts and recommendations, it is important to consider all users, including not freight but also bicycle, pedestrian, transit and MaaS. Considering all modes will led to a better and more equitable quality of life for District 6 residents
  • Projects identified on designated bicycle routes and pedestrian heavy corridors should focus on delivering mobility options that are safe for all users
  • Develop Truck Platooning Network Plan: While this plan would be statewide, the recommendation mentions that District Freight Plans could assess how to improve truck platooning corridor pavements and bridges to improve and maintain oversize overweight corridors and Critical Urban and Rural Freight Corridors
  • Research and Pilot (Connected Autonomous Vehicle (CAV) Freight Technologies: After the development of a Truck Platooning Network Plan conduct industry outreach to encourage the research and testing of CAV freight platooning and automation in Minnesota. Monitor state and federal legal challenges to freight automation
  • Review and Update MnDOT Plans: This recommendation was aimed at updating statewide planning efforts to include truck platooning and related behavior, patterns, vehicle types, these could be considerations for the District 6 Plan as well
  • District 6 shares a border with Wisconsin and is home to two major Interstates. The District 6 Freight Plan must be mindful of the role it plays in multijurisdictional planning for CAVs
  • Explore the use of public-private partnerships (formal or informal) in helping to finance freight infrastructure projects
  • Because of the significant freight volumes in and around the Rochester/Olmstead county region, the MPO is a key partner in delivering the 3C transportation planning process. This includes the freight planning process
  • The MnDOT District 6 Manufacturers’ Perspectives Study mentions the development of the DMC and the impact it may have on overall freight and passenger volumes. A significant amount of growth has been forecasted for this area, which will result in increased freight movement throughout the district to not only support the medical industry but resident’s lifestyles as well
System concerns icon

System Concerns

  • Minnesota businesses must use Chicago-area intermodal yards to access to Port of LA/LB and ports on the east coast
  • Trucks use the crossings to access river ports in Wisconsin
  • Workers and supply chains live/operate on both sides of the River. A 10-day shutdown of the Winona Bridge in 2011 for preventive maintenance highlighted the fact that almost a fourth of Winona’s labor force commute from Wisconsin, and the concentrated manufacturing and transportation business in Winona faced reduced transportation options, significant cost increases for detours, and reduction in business levels
  • Western part of District 6 has flat agricultural plains prone to blizzards
  • Freight stakeholders identified snow and ice removal as a primary employee safety and commuter issue. Specific areas of concern:
    • Highway 14: snow drifts, icy conditions.
    • Highway 63 from Zumbro Falls to Stewartville: snow drifts, icy hills.
    • I-35 from Owatonna to Albert Lea: snow drifts, blowing snow, ice.
    • I-90: snow drifts, blowing snow.
  • The Northfield area has the second highest likelihood of unmet parking demand statewide. District 6 businesses often said that trucks park in inconvenient or unsafe locations and pointed to a need for traffic management around private truck stops
  • Rochester-Olmstead Council of Governments listed cable barriers in their current Transportation Improvement Program
  • Parking is likely an issue due to the prevalence of manufacturers and the presence of I-35 and 90
  • Safety impacts of heavy truck traffic in/near neighborhoods and schools were identified as an equity issue
  • Three new weight enforcement facilities have been identified within District 6:
    • I-90: Between Rochester and Fremont
    • I-90 Nodine Pull-Off Sites (EB & WB)
    • US 52: Weight in Motion #32
  • Southeast Minnesota terminates an unusually large number of over-size/over-weight truck loads that require special permits for routes and curfews, and often require special services including escorts and heavy equipment such as cranes to accomplish their moves
  • Virtually all moves needed for wind turbine installations in Southern Minnesota
  • Frac Sand: Area is home to significant mining operations for Frac Sand
  • Several super-load entry sites:
    • US 69/65: Alternative crossing points due to vertical clearance constraints on I-35 at the Minnesota/Iowa border
    • US 63: Alternative crossing point due to vertical clearance challenges on I-90 in southeast Minnesota
    • Other important alternative corridors include portions of MN 16, MN 44, and MN 56
  • Current road conditions were good but had shippers had concerns about a possible future decline in highway maintenance because of funding issues
  • District 6 roads stay busy with the area’s relatively dense population, and the many manufacturers, highways, and interstates in the district. Combined with curvier roads in the east and slow-moving agricultural equipment elsewhere, District 6 freight users value passing opportunities
  • The Manufacturers’ Study reported that, Businesses around the district described how difficult it can be to merge into fastmoving traffic, particularly during peak traffic hours. Vehicles and employees can be delayed and may risk crashes trying to enter intersections
  • Roads can become congested during shift changes at nearby businesses. Congestion is projected to increase significantly in the Rochester area, due to the Destination Medical Center development
  • Shippers noted that truck routes and local connections to businesses were adequate for today’s need. Concerns were shared about recognizing the size of semi-tractor-trailer rigs now in common use, often with a total rig length of 70 feet or more, and a total wheelbase of up to 67 feet (WB67) and designing safety features and turn geometry
  • The trucking community has been generally very receptive of innovative intersection design innovations, with the caveat that design should be monitored and given public review in order to easily handle long, heavy commercial vehicles safely, and that crossing traffic consisting of heavy trucks (on the minor route) not be compromised by these installations

Previously Identified Needs

We also looked at the District 6 Manufacturers’ Perspectives on Minnesota’s Transportation System, Greater Minnesota Mobility Study, Minnesota Weight Enforcement Investment Plan (DRAFT) and the District 6 Advancing Transportation Equity Report that listed location-specific freight needs.

As part of the District 6 Freight Plan update, we will review this list to eliminate projects that are not feasible, have been constructed or already fully funded. The remaining needs will be evaluated and prioritized with the issues identified by the project team’s analysis and stakeholder feedback.

Explore the map here to ake a look at what we found:

Issue Type Location Manufacturers’ Report Greater MN Study Advancing Equity Weight Enforcement
Intersection/Interchange Bridge Avenue/I-90 Ramps
Intersection/Interchange I-90 and Highway 52
Intersection/Interchange I-90 and Highway 63
Intersection/Interchange Highways 43 and Highway 61
Intersection/Interchange Highway 61 and Cannon River Avenue
Intersection/Interchange Highway 16 (south intersection) with Highway 63
Intersection/Interchange Highway 30 and Highway 52
Intersection/Interchange Highway 44 and Esch Drive
Intersection/Interchange Highway 61 at 54th Avenue
Intersection/Interchange US 61 at MN 16/CSAH 6
Intersection/Interchange I-90 at US 63
Intersection/Interchange I-90 at Oakland PL SE
Signal Timing US 61 (US 14 to CR 129): Huff Street
Signal Timing US 61: CSAH 19 to Downtown Red Wing
Passing Lanes Highway 14 between Dodge Center and Owatonna
Passing Lanes Highway 61 between Red Wing and Wabasha
Passing Lanes Highway 52 between Chatfield and Rochester
Passing Lanes Highway 56 north of Kenyon
Passing Lanes Southbound Highway 63 south of Zumbro Falls
Bypass Lanes Highway 218 at the Steele County landfill
Bypass Lanes Highway 52 at Union St. in Chatfield
Bypass Lanes Southbound Highway 61 at 5th Grant Boulevard West in Wabasha
Turn Lanes TH 14 left turn lane to CSAH 25
Turn Lanes Kwik Trip entrance length, off Highway 14
Turn Lanes Utica intersection of multiple roads with Highway 14
Turn Lanes I-90 and Highway 52
Turn Lanes Highway 3 at multiple intersections in Faribault, including at 20th Street NW
Turn Lanes Highways 30 and 218
Turn Lanes Highway 63 in Stewartville, including Olmsted County Road 6
Turn Lanes From westbound 16th Street in Rochester to northbound Highway 52
Turn Lanes Highway 43 and Highway 61 (longer lanes needed)
Turn Lanes Dodge County Road 9 and US 14 (longer left and right turn lane needed)
Acceleration Lanes I-90 and Highway 63
Acceleration Lanes Eastbound Interstate 90 and Highway 52.
Acceleration Lanes Olmstead County Highway 104 southbound onto westbound Highway 14.
Acceleration Lanes Highway 61 and Bundy Boulevard (NB and SB)
Four Lane Highway 14. Sections are still two lanes
Four Lane Highway 43 from Winona to Interstate 90
Four Lane Highway 52 from Rochester to Iowa
Four Lane Highway 60 from Faribault to Mankato
Four Lane Highway 61 from north of Red Wing through Lake City
Shoulder Widening Highway 43 close to Winona and Highway 61
Shoulder Widening Highway 60 from Mankato to Highway 52
Shoulder Widening Highway 63 north and south of Rochester
Shoulder Paving Highway 26 from La Crescent to the Iowa border
Shoulder Paving Highway 30 between Blooming Prairie and Interstate 35
Shoulder Paving Highway 52 between Fountain and Marion
Signage Request Highway 52 to the southbound Highway 63 ramp (sharp curve)
Signage Request St. Olaf Avenue onto Highway 3 (sight distance)
DMS Request Before the Highway 19 exit on NB I-35 and the Elko Exit on SB I-35
DMS Request I-35, 90 and Highway 52 and 63
Pavement Quality Highway 61 (multiple locations)
Pavement Quality Highway 14 (near Winona has been worn down from frac sand hauling)
Pavement Quality Highway 52 (Preston and near Cannon Falls)
Pavement Quality Highway 63 (Lake City and Rochester as an area with rough pavement)
Pavement Quality Highway 14 at the junction of CSAH 22 to 200 feet west
Pavement Quality Interstate 35 between 14 and the northern limits of Owatonna
Pavement Quality Highway 16 adjacent to Preston
Pavement Quality Highway 30 from Hayfield to Interstate 35 has many potholes and bumps
Pavement Quality Highway 58 bridges on each side of Goodhue County Road 16.
Winter Weather Highway 14: snow drifts, icy conditions
Winter Weather Highway 63 from Zumbro Falls to Stewartville: snow drifts, icy hills
Winter Weather I-35 from Owatonna to Albert Lea: snow drifts, blowing snow, ice
Winter Weather I-90: snow drifts, blowing snow
Speed Issue MN 19 (I-35): Speed issues with trucks going to/from Flying J
Safety I-90 (US 14): Left exits, curves, weaving/merging
Safety US 52 (MSAS 118/Armstrong Ave to MN 3)
Safety Main Street outside of Hormel and near school
Safety I-35 and CR 46
Safety Grade Crossings in Winona
Reliability US 218 (I-90 to CSAH 27)
Weight Enforcement I-90: Between Rochester and Fremont
Weight Enforcement I-90 Nodine Pull-Off Sites (EB & WB)
Weight Enforcement US 52: Weight in Motion #32

Input Opportunity!

You're invited to share your thoughts using the interactive map embedded below. To make a comment select a point on the map to drop a pin and enter your feedback. We appreciate your input and knowledge of the area.

Not sure what to say? Here’s what we want to know from the community.

  • What are your thoughts on our initial findings?
  • What transportation issues are in the region?
  • How well is the transportation system operating today?
  • What are the biggest challenges facing Southeast Minnesota?
  • What has changed and how have things changed over the past decade?
  • What transportation trends do you see happening in the next 5‐10 years?

Next Steps and Contact Information

Next Steps

Short Term:

  • Development of Freight System Profile
  • Stakeholder Outreach

Long Term:

  • Identification of Needs and Issues
  • Prioritize Freight Needs
  • Develop Project Concepts

Contact Information

Heather Lukes, MnDOT District 6 Planning Director | 507-286-7552

Kurt Wayne, MnDOT District 6 Planner | 507-259-8074

Follow the Plan: