MnDOT District 6 Freight Plan

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Welcome to the second

District 6 Freight Plan Advisory Committee Meeting!

July 20, 2021 at 1 p.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


District Freight Plan Overview

The MnDOT District 6 Freight Plan outlines how the District, and its public and private sector freight stakeholders could improve freight mobility in Southeast Minnesota.

The District Freight Plan will:

  • Provide an up-to-date assessment of freight needs and issues specific to District 6
  • Identify a list of strategies to improve freight mobility in the District
  • Roll up long-term planning and programming into the next Statewide Freight System Plan
Map of MnDOT District 6

Click all map and table images to enlarge.

Project Schedule

High-level project schedule

Freight Plan Advisory Committee

Thank you for joining us today and for your interest in being part of our Advisory Committee! 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.

Meeting 1:

Reviewed work plan & past work, identified 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

Economic and Freight System Profile Overview

Major Tasks

High-level milestones graphic

Click the image above to enlarge.

Economic Profile

  • Minnesota and the District 6 Economy
  • District 6 Population
  • District 6 Employment
  • Economic Specialization

Freight System Profile

  • Statewide Freight Trends
  • Freight Modes
    • Highway
    • Railroad
    • Water
    • Aviation
    • Pipelines

Economic Profile

Why should we care about this?

Looking at the characteristics of the district population and local businesses will help us to better understand the key drivers of freight activity in the region

This will also guide which industries are most important to reach out to for stakeholder outreach

Understanding statewide and regional trends will help identify strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities for investment in the freight system

Minnesota and the District 6 Economy

The following eight categories have been identified as “freight-related,” consistent with previous MnDOT planning efforts.

  • Freight industries account for 37.2% of Minnesota’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and 38.4% of District 6’s GDP.
  • The industry with the largest share of GDP in District 6 is Health Care and Social Services at 22.3%. This is more than twice that industry’s share of GDP in the state.

Percent of 2019 GDP by Industry

Statewide and D6 comparison of top industries

District 6 Population

  • District 6’s estimated total population of 514,406 accounts for approximately 9 percent of Minnesota’s population.
  • With an average of 76 people per square mile, District 6 is second only to the Metro District for population density.
  • Nearly one-third of the district’s population is located within Olmsted County.

Population Growth by MnDOT District

An increase in D6 population

District 6 Employment

  • The District 6 economy supports approximately 233,000 jobs across all industries.
  • Approximately 37 percent of these are in one of the freight-related industries.
  • The District’s three largest employment categories are:
    • Health Care/Social Services
    • Manufacturing
    • Professional Services

Check out each of the employment industries in the chart to the right.

Employment by Industry

Employment source data for several top industries

Industry Specialization

Industry Specialization measures the proportion of the local industry compared to the proportion of that industry country wide. Higher specialization means that an industry is relatively more important to the local and regional economy.

We took a look at the industries in District 6 to see how they compared to the rest of the country.

  • The industry with the highest level of specialization is Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services, which includes fields such as research, engineering, accounting, and legal assistance.
  • The freight-related industry with the highest level of specialization is Manufacturing which includes anything needed for the physical production or transformation of material goods.

Industry Specialization Location Quotient (2-digit)

2-digit quotient data for several top industries

Input Opportunity! 


Now that you’ve learned a little about the Economic Profile, we want to hear from you!

What surprises you about this information? Did we miss anything? Do you have any questions or comments for the team?

Pull out your phone or an internet browser and go to and enter the code shown on the screen.

Freight System Profile

Why should we care about this?

This comprehensive review of the District 6 freight system helps us to understand how each modal component operates and helps to identify the linkages in the multimodal freight system

Later in the freight planning process, the results of this assessment will be used to identify top freight issues and help the district to prioritize freight investments

Statewide Freight Trends

  • Minnesota truck freight makes up more than half of all freight shipments to or from the state of Minnesota.
  • The top two leading commodities for truck freight include cereal grains and other coal and petroleum products.
  • This is important to District 6 because we specialize in Grain and Oilseed Milling and Breakfast Cereal Manufacturing.

Minnesota Freight Movement by Tonnage and Value (2017)

Most freight moved by truck

Source: HDR analysis of Freight Analysis Framework (FAF5) data

Freight Mode: Highway

District 6 includes the following highway freight features and characteristics:

  • 1,400 centerline miles and 3,700 lane miles of trunk highways.
  • Twelve intermodal terminals distributed primarily along the Mississippi River corridor.
  • The volume of truck freight flows to, from, and within the district was a close third after Metro District and District 3.

District 6 Highway System

D6 highway map

Key Freight Highway Corridors

  • Highways in District 6 experience a significant amount of truck traffic in terms of both total truck volumes and truck percentages.
  • I-35 has an average of 4,000 trucks per day. This is 50% higher than the next highest roadway in the area with is I-90.
Top corridor statistics

District 6 Heavy Commercial Annualized Average Daily Traffic (HCAADT)

Source: MnDOT Traffic Forecasting and Analysis

District 6 Heavy Commercial Percentages

Source: MnDOT Traffic Forecasting and Analysis

Designated Freight Networks

Multiple highway corridors in District 6 are designated as part of national or state designated freight networks. These include:

  • National Highway Freight Network (NHFN)
    • Primary Highway Freight System
    • Non-Primary Highway Freight System
    • Critical Urban and Rural Freight Corridors (State-designated)
  • National Highway System (NHS)
  • National Truck Network (NTN)
  • Strategic Highway Network (STRAHNET)

Designated Freight Networks

Truck Origin-Destination Analysis

We used MnDOT’s StreetLight data to look at truck trip origins and destinations for trips starting or ending within District 6. This is what we found:

  • Nearly two-thirds of the district’s truck trips are “in-district” trips.
  • Key connecting areas for inbound and outbound District 6 truck trips include Sioux Falls, Lincoln, Des Moines, Kansas City, and Madison.

StreetLight Truck Origin-Destination Analysis

Truck Congestion and Travel Time Reliability

Two measures that are important for understanding potential negative impacts to truck freight movement are congestion and travel time reliability. Analysis of these measures for District 6 was completed using the StreetLight Insight platform.

  • Free Flow Factor (FFF) measures how congested a roadway is on average (Average vehicle speed divided by free flow vehicle speed)
  • Truck Travel Time Reliability Index (TTRI) measures how reliable a roadway is during specific time periods (95th percentile travel time divided by 50th percentile travel time)

Take a look at the map to see the areas with congestion and travel time reliability issues.

Congestion (FFF) and Reliability (TTRI) Top Issue locations

Analysis of these measures for District 6 was completed using the StreetLight Insight platform.

Bridges and Superload Corridors

Bridges can potentially pose an impediment to truck trips if the vertical underclearance is not maintained at a sufficient height. We looked at the bridges in District 6 to see how many were under the USDOT’s recommended clearance height of 13’ 6”. Only two bridges in the district are considered categorized as Low underclearance. Bridges were categorized as followed:

  • Low (< 14’ 6”),
  • Average (14’ 6” – 16’ 6”) or
  • High (High: > 16’ 6”)

Take a look at the map below to learn more.

Bridge Vertical Underclearance

Pavement Condition

MnDOT uses a Pavement Quality Index for pavement condition reporting throughout the state. This index is based on both ride quality and surface rating. Here’s what we found in District 6:

  • Highway 21 west of Faribault is considered to be in “poor” condition.
  • The majority of other roadways are considered in “good” condition with some areas considered in “fair” condition.

Take a look at the 2020 Pavement Quality Index in the following chart .

Pavement conditions map

Truck Parking

MnDOT recently completed a Statewide Truck Parking Study in 2019. The study identified existing public and private truck parking facilities and estimated demand for truck parking by hour, by day of week, and by season.

  • The intersection of I-35 and I-90 near Albert Lea contains some of the highest density of truck parking capacity in the state.
    • Petro Albert Lea alone contains more than 300 truck parking spaces.
  • The area adjacent to I-35 between Faribault and Northfield has exceeded truck parking capacity the most in the state.
Map of Minnesota truck capacity amounts
Map of Minnesota truck demand to capacity amounts

Highway Crash Analysis

  • Truck-related crashes make up 11 percent of all fatal and severe injury crashes in District 6.
  • There have been 38 fatal truck-related crashes in the past 5 years, ranging between 4 and 13 per year.

Truck Crashes (Fatal and Severe Injury)

Freight Mode: Railroad

Rail plays a critical role in District 6’s freight system, connecting ports on the Mississippi River with major industrial centers around the state.

  • There are nearly 500 miles of rail line in the District and over 700 highway-rail grade crossings.
  • Canadian Pacific Railway (CPRS) makes up the largest share of both track miles and grade crossings.

Railroad Mileage and Grade Crossings

Map of area railroad crossings

Railroad Ownership and Highway-Rail Grade Crossings

Rail Volumes, Speeds, and Safety

  • The CPRS line adjacent to the Mississippi River has the heaviest train volumes and the fastest train speeds.
  • Six fatal grade crossing crashes have occurred within the District in the past five years. Four of these occurred on the CPRS line in Winona.
    • The Winona pedestrian crossing at Carimona Street has had two fatal crashes in this time period.

Take a look at the map graphic below to see maximum train speeds, average daily train counts (shown proportionately using line widths), and the locations of crashes and fatal crashes at grade crossings throughout the District within the past five years.

Railroad Volumes, Speed, and Grade Crossing Crashes

Freight Mode: Water

  • 2 major ports are located in District 6 on the Mississippi River at Red Wing and Winona Commercial Harbors.
  • The water cargo system in the district consists of 26 individual docks and 7 lock chambers.
  • Water cargo movement is a highly seasonal activity with the majority of activity occurring between July and November.

Tugboat Activity by Month (2019)

Tugboat activity in 2019

Mississippi River Docks and Locks

Freight Mode: Aviation

Air cargo is used primarily for high-value, low-tonnage commodities such as electronics and other equipment.

Three airports in District 6 currently handle freight or have handled freight in the previous five years. These Rochester International Airport, Houston County Airport, and Winona Municipal Airport. Of the three, Rochester makes up the majority of freight shipments handled.

The key origin and destination for air cargo is Memphis, with FedEx shipments making up the majority of those trips.

  • Other connecting cities include Indianapolis, Minneapolis, and Fort Wayne.

Freight Mode: Pipelines

  • MnDOT has little direct influence on the development of pipeline infrastructure, but pipelines locations can have impacts on other freight modes.
  • District 6 pipelines include Natural Gas, Petroleum Products, Hydrogen Gas Liquid, and Crude Oil.

Pipelines in District 6

Input Opportunity!


Now that you’ve learned a little about the Freight System Profile and each of the modes, we want to hear from you!

What surprises you about this information? Did we miss anything? Do you have any questions or comments for the team?

Pull out your phone or an internet browser and go to and enter the code shown on the screen.

Key Takeaways

  • 37 percent of District 6 jobs are in freight-related industries.
  • Specialized industries in the district include Scientific Research and Development Services, Grain and Oilseed Milling, and Farm Product Material Wholesalers.
  • Albert Lea has the highest concentration of truck parking activity and capacity in the state. Truck parking needs are greatest in the area between Faribault and Northfield.
  • Water cargo is an important mode, particularly for grain and oilseed shipments at ports in Red Wing and Winona.
  • Winona is a hotspot for highway-rail grade crossing crashes with four fatal crashes in five years.
  • Air cargo out of the Rochester airport supports shipments of high value goods like electronic components and precision instruments.
Map of MnDOT District 6

Click the image above to enlarge.

Next Steps and Contact Information

Next Steps

Short Term:

  • Stakeholder Outreach and Interviews
  • Public Engagement
  • SWOT/Initial Recommendations

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: