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Duluth, MN 55802 
Northern Minnesota/Northwest Wisconsin Regional Freight Plan
November 2009
The Northern Minnesota and Northwest Wisconsin Regional Freight Plan is a multimodal transportation planning effort that included highway (commercial vehicle operations), rail, waterway, air cargo, pipeline, and intermodal transportation. The plan was sponsored by MnDOT, MIC, ARDC and WisDOT. The study area for this plan is MnDOT Districts 1 & 2 and the 10 counties of northwest Wisconsin. This freight planning effort builds upon prior planning activities throughout the study area and is intended to increase the understanding of the demands from freight being placed on the regional transportation infrastructure. It provides a framework to document the current freight network, identify infrastructure needs, examine local and regional freight issues, accommodate specific freight movements, identify freight program improvements and provide policy and infrastructure recommendations.

You can view the plan HERE.

Specific tasks accomplished during this plan include:

  • Creating a freight system inventory including map generation of freight modes (highways, rail, ports & marine routes, pipelines and air cargo)

  • Identifying key deficiencies in the freight transportation system such as capacity, infrastructure condition, level of service, access to markets, and intermodal needs.

  • Documenting regional freight issues and trends including key industries, logistic patterns, freight flows, regional economic trends, security issues and external markets for the regionís economy.

  • Conducted freight program analysis by examining impacts and opportunities in local regional and state freight programs.

  • Conducted stakeholder outreach by interviewing freight related businesses and holding a Freight Forum.

  • Developed a list of recommendations which included intermodal facility development, port improvements, heavy haul routes, designated tiered truck network, commercial corridors, truck size and weight uniformity and to undertake a number of small inexpensive projects.


  • Project Background and Development
    Staff from the Mn/DOT Office of Freight and Commercial Vehicle met with MIC and ARDC staff in April 2009 to begin a startup project centered on freight movements needs in the Arrowhead region. Also attending were staff from the Duluth Port Authority and UW-Superiorís Transportation Logistics Program.

    The study committee is set to meet on May 25 to discuss the scope of work for the planning effort and to begin to determine participants for an overall project steering committee.

    It is important to reach out to key stakeholders in the region, namely shippers, to gain their input during the planning process. MIC staff and ARDC Regional staff is developing a list of these key stakeholders.

    The Wisconsin DOT involvement in the plan is under consideration by District and Central Office staff. They were at the first meeting and expressed an interest in participating not only on a steering committee level, but also on a financial one. This involvement is most welcome and may prove important in gaining private sector input from Wisconsin based shippers in the MIC area.

    For More Information
    Contact MIC Principal Planner Andy McDonald by phone at (218) 529-7514 or send a message by e-mail. Or you can contact MIC Director Ron Chicka at (218) 529-7506 or send a message by e-mail.