MnDOT District 6 Freight Plan

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Welcome to the District 6 Freight Plan virtual open house! Today you will learn more about the Freight Plan, our initial findings about this area, and will have an opportunity to provide your feedback.

Freight System Survey

Complete a short survey to provide feedback on issues and opportunities for improvements in the multimodal freight system. There will be another opportunity to complete the survey at the end of the survey.

Button iconProvide your feedback today!

The entire session should take no more than 15 minutes to complete.

  • Navigate: Continue clicking through to learn more about the District 6 Freight Plan. Use the navigation bar on the left side of the screen by clicking on the text to advance to the next slide or use the arrows along the bottom of the screen to go back and forth between slides.
  • Comment: Provide a comment at any point by clicking the “Comment” button at the top right of your screen. Once finished, please make sure to hit "Submit" to confirm that your comment is sent to the project team. Close the form to continue through the slides.

MnDOT District 6 Overview

Let’s start 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!

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.

District 6 Freight Plan Focus:

This Plan will study the freight transportation system in Southeast Minnesota to better understand the trends, issues and needs of the area. It's focus is on transportation investments that could improve:

Icons identifying mobility, access, and safety as major improvements

District 6 Freight Plan Goals:

  • 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

Plan Development Schedule

Project Schedule

High-level project schedule

Economy and Workforce

We took a look at the District 6 economy and workforce to better understand the key drivers of freight activity in the region.

The District 6 economy is strongly supported by industries that rely on the transportation of goods, due in part to the significance of Grain and Oilseed Milling and Breakfast Cereal Manufacturing industries. Understanding statewide and regional trends will help identify strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities for investment in the freight system future.

The District’s three largest employment categories are:

Health Care/Social Services


Professional Services

Key Takeaways

Freight-related industries contribute to 38.4% of District 6’s Gross Domestic Product (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.

The District 6 economy supports approximately 233,000 jobs across all industries.

Freight-related industries employ 37% of the workforce in District 6.

District 6 Freight System Overview

We took a look at the District 6’s freight system to better understand how each modal type operates to identify the connections in the multimodal freight system.

District 6’s major freight transportation investments primarily focus on highways and railroads, but goods are moved by multiple modes throughout the area!

Icons for 5 modes including roads, railroads, pipelines, aviation, and ports.

The District 6 multimodal freight transportation system includes:

210 miles of Interstate

1,211 miles of US and State highways

1 major air cargo airport

489 miles of rail

2 major ports

1,000 approximate miles of pipeline

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 rail 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.

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?

Stay Connected

Public Involvement

Complete a short survey to provide feedback on issues and opportunities for improvements in the multimodal freight system. Your input on the District 6 Freight Plan will help MnDOT identify freight system needs and issues and evaluate the draft freight-related policies and programs that impact your community.

Button iconProvide your feedback today!

Thank you for your participation!

Share this information

Please pass along the link to this virtual open house to family, friends and coworkers who live or work in the area.

Submit a comment

Make a comment

To submit a general comment or question for the project team, click on the comment button in the top right corner of your screen.

Follow the plan

MnDOT website icon

For more information about the project, please visit:

Contact MnDOT

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

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