District 7
Freight Plan

Photograph of a freeway with various vehicles, including a large freight truck

Freight Plan Overview

The Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) is developing a Freight Plan for MnDOT District 7, a 13-county area in South Central Minnesota. The freight plan will provide a clear understanding of multimodal freight travel in the region, how freight haulers use the transportation system, and the needs and issues for local freight industries and communities. The findings will help MnDOT integrate freight improvements in future construction projects and prioritize future freight related projects for funding.

The District 7 Freight Plan will:

  1. Assess freight needs and issues specific to District 7
  2. Identify strategies to improve freight mobility in South Central Minnesota
  3. Compile data and findings to include in the next State Freight System and Investment Plan

Visit the following links for more information on MnDOT and freight planning:

Schedule

An icon of a graph, illustrating data summary Summarize existing freight data
Jan-June 2021
An icon of a magnifying glass, illustrating analysis Analyze freight issues and needs
July-Sept 2021
An icon of a truck, illustrating freight, as a concept Identify strategies to improve freight mobility
Oct 2021-Jan 2022
An icon of a clipboard, illustrating an evaluation Evaluate draft District 7 Freight Plan
Jan 2022
An icon of a check mark, illustrating a completed plan Finalize District 7 Freight Plan
Feb 2022
Phases we will be seeking public input

Public Involvement

Your input on the District 7 Freight Plan will help MnDOT staff identify freight system needs and issues and evaluate the draft freight-related policies and programs that impact your community.

Stay tuned for future opportunities to provide feedback for District 7 Freight Plan!

District 7 Overview

Map of District 7

MnDOT is split up operationally into regional districts. MnDOT District 7 covers South Central Minnesota and includes:

13 counties:

Blue Earth
Brown
Cottonwood
Faribault
Jackson
Le Sueur
Martin
Nicollet
Nobles
Rock
Sibley
Waseca
Watonwan

Cities with 5,000+ population:

Mankato
North Mankato
New Ulm
Worthington
St. Peter
Fairmont
Waseca
New Prague
To request a MnDOT document in an alternative format email your request to ADArequest.dot@state.mn.us

Economy and workforce

The District 7 economy is strongly supported by industries that rely on the transportation of goods, due in part to the significance of agriculture and manufacturing industries. Looking into the future, an aging workforce and plateauing population growth could impact the District’s economy and transportation system, as employees may be increasingly difficult to find.

Icon depicting a dollar billFreight-related industries contribute to nearly 40% of District 7’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP)
Icon depicting a briefcaseOver 35% of District 7’s workers are employed in freight-related industries
Icon depicting a group of people
Since 2010, District 7’s labor force has increased by 0.2%

District 7 Freight System Overview

District 7’s major freight transportation investments primarily focus on highways and railroads. However, goods are moved by multiple modes in District 7, including:

A photo of a freight truck on the road.Roads
A photo of a freight train.Railroads
A photo of a plane.Aviation
A photo of a pipeline.Pipelines

The District 7 multimodal freight transportation system includes:

Icon depicting an interstate on-ramp143Miles of Interstate
Icon depicting a car1,326Miles of US and State highways
Icon depicting railroad tracks514Miles of Rail
Icon depicting a bridge476Bridge structures greater than 10 feet
Icon depicting an airplane14Public Airports
Icon depicting a pipe879Miles of Pipelines

District 7 Multimodal Freight Transportation System Map

To request a MnDOT document in an alternative format email your request to ADArequest.dot@state.mn.us

Legend

Population Centers
  • Town
  • City
  • Key Airports
Railroads
  • Class I Rail
  • Class III Rail
Pipelines
  • Crude Oil
  • Petroleum Products
  • HGL
  • Natural Gas
Roads
  • Interstate
  • US Highway
  • MN Highway
  • MnDOT District 7

Roads

Icon depicting a truck
Approximately67% of the goods moved in the District are carried by truck

The key truck corridors in District 7 include:

US-169 Icon
US-14 Icon
I-90 Icon
MN-60 Icon

Challenges for trucking services in the District include:

Icon depicting a road running under a bridge
Pavement and bridges are in poor condition throughout the District and there is not enough funding to make improvements in all places where it is needed.
Icon depicting a truck at a parking space
More truck parking is needed in the District.
Icon depicting a roundabout intersection
Enhance safety and driver education for traveling through intersections like roundabouts and J-turns.

Railroads

A photo depicting a freight train
Icon depicting a railroad track

514miles

of railroad tracks in District 7
Icon depicting a railroad crossing gate

826

at-grade crossings in the District
Icon depicting a railroad crossing sign

28%

of crossings have signals

Challenges for rail services in the District include:

Icon depicting a train crash
Manufacturers and businesses express need forbetter access to rail transportationand intermodal terminals or hubs(MnDOT Southwest Minnesota Regional Freight Study, 2007)
Icon depicting a train
As of 2016, there were 15 at-grade railroad crossings in District 7 that had a high-risk rating for collisions(MnDOT Rail Grade Crossing Safety Project Selection, 2016)

Pipelines

Icon depicting a pipeline
879 milesof pipelines in District 7

Pipelines provide low-cost, high-volume shipping options for liquids and gases, making pipelines a key element of the transportation network for liquid fuels. Minnesota has no petroleum or natural gas resources and primarily imports crude oil, natural gas, and other petroleum products.

Aviation

District 7 has four key airports:

  • Mankato Regional
  • New Ulm Municipal
  • Fairmont Municipal
  • Worthington Municipal
Icon depicting an airplane
Freight shipping by air accounts for a small portion of the freight carried by other modes. However, air freight is still important to the economy as the cargo that is carried by air is typically of high value, low weight, and time-sensitive.

District 7 Freight System Condition and Performance

A photo depicting a freight truck on a highway

MnDOT’s mission of ensuring safety, mobility, and maintaining transportation infrastructure is key to supporting the multimodal freight transportation system. Key findings on the multimodal freight system condition and performance are provided below.

Safety

Icon depicting cars in traffic
Truck crashes in District 7 primarily occur along higher-traffic routes such as such as I-90, Hwy 60, Hwy 169, and Hwy 14.
Icon depicting a truck crashing
Between 2010 and 2019, nearly 1,000 truck-involved crashes happened in District 7, about 2% of which led to fatalities or serious injuries.
Icon depicting a train coming to a rail crossing
Between 2010 and 2019, 55 crashes occurred at at-grade railroad crossings in the District.

Commercial Vehicle Crashes by Severity (2010-2019)

To request a MnDOT document in an alternative format email your request to ADArequest.dot@state.mn.us

Legend

Population Centers
  • Town
  • City
Roads
  • Interstate
  • US Highway
  • MN Highway
  • State Road
  • MnDOT District 7
Commercial Vehicle Crashes
  • Possible Injury Crash (329)
  • Minor Injury Crash (266)
  • Serious Injury Crash
  • Fatal Crash (43)

Mobility

Mobility for freight transportation is important to ensure reliable travel times.

Icon depicting a truck on a road
District 7’s highways and corridors do not experience significant truck mobility issues.
Icon depicting cars in traffic
Average truck speeds tend to be lower where major highway corridors cross larger cities like in Mankato, North Mankato, St. Peter, Fairmont, and Waseca.
Icon depicting a road running under a bridge
District 7 has several corridors that restrict truck movements for oversize/overweight vehicles and have barriers to general truck traffic due to height clearance.

Infrastructure condition

The condition of infrastructure is important for safety and smooth travel. This is particularly critical for freight because rough road surfaces can cause bumps that damage goods.

Icon depicting a road
Pavement surfaces on most major highways in the District 7 are in good or fair condition.
Icon depicting a car hitting a pothole
There are a few segments where the pavement condition is poor. About 4% of bridges across District 7 are considered deficient or need improvements.
Icon depicting a bridge
Faribault County has the highest number of deficient bridges, followed by Martin County, Blue Earth County, and Rock County.

Stay tuned for future opportunities to provide feedback for the District 4 Freight Plan!