Minnesota Department of Transportation

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Congressional Transportation Status Report

About District 8

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District 8 Overview

  • MnDOT is focused on stretching taxpayer dollars while continuing to deliver effective and highly valued products, services and programs. Today we are using technology, partnerships, performance-based design, contracting and other methods to reduce costs, save time and limit impacts to travelers, shippers and businesses all to deliver efficient and reliable multimodal transportation.
  • District 8 focuses on investments that preserve highway pavements and bridges. The District utilizes different strategies to ensure the construction dollar is extended such as concrete rehabilitation for concrete panels that have displayed the most severe damage, the utilization of a newer and less expensive material fix, known as Ultra-Thin Bonded Wearing Course (UTBWC) Surface Treatment, as well as more standard pavement restoration practices.
  • Safety is also a high priority for District 8. Many safety projects have been added to help address safety concerns such as the development of a roundabout at US Highway 71 and MN Highway 7 (2017 construction season). In addition, MnDOT, with its partners, recently completed a safety assessment of Highway 23 through Marshall and will begin another safety assessment in 2017 with Kandiyohi County and the city of New London.
  • The District is also working to address urban reconstruction projects. Litchfield and Hutchinson's downtown areas are scheduled to be reconstructed in 2019 and 2020.
  • Improving freight connections and operations is a priority. Currently, District 8, along with local public and private partners, are in the process of developing the Willmar Wye project to improve freight and intermodal connections throughout the region.
  • District 8 is committed to the improvement of mobility on several corridors within the region. Since receiving Corridors of Commerce funding in 2013 to complete the environmental review and preliminary layout work for the MN Highway 23 four-lane expansion projects between New London and Paynesville, as well as Paynesville and Richmond, District 8 has been working to get these projects ready for construction, should funding become available. In addition to addressing the four-lane gaps, MnDOT constructed passing lanes in 2016 from I-90 to Willmar to help alleviate congestion and improve safety.

MnDOT’s Wildly Important Goal

MnDOT’s Wildly Important Goal (WIG) is to earn trust and increase transparency through a customer-centerd organization in which we engage customers, listen to understand and balance the diverse needs of all to acheve the best possible outcomes.  MnDOT will address the WIG with two priorities: (1) Advancing Equity and (2) Improving Intentional Customer Engagement.  District 8 currently has twenty-three work goals working on an aspect of the WIG.  For more information, visit the WIG 2.0 home page.

Manufacturers’ Perspectives on Minnesota’s Transportation System

In 2013, MnDOT District 8 initiated a study to better understand freight customer’s transportation priorities and challenges with the goal of incorporating their feedback into MnDOT’s planning and project development processes.

The project identified concerns and suggested improvements in the areas of infrastructure, maintenance, communications and policy.

The project’s cross-organization interview teams met with 60 manufacturers, 14 carriers and one distributor. The manufacturing firms represented a cross section of the region’s strongest industry clusters including processed food, agricultural products, information technology, building fixtures, equipment, services and heavy machinery.

The project provided new customer perspectives regarding the transportation system in District 8 and statewide. Respondents offered concrete and often location-specific feedback that will help guide near-term infrastructure, maintenance, operations, communications and policy improvements.

To apply the study results to system improvement, MnDOT is currently:

  1. Implementing an action plan that reflects respondents’ priorities and suggestions for District 8’s planning and operations.
  2. Reviewing District 8 data to identify recommendations that can inform statewide planning, development and best practices. 
  3. Building upon District 8 and MnDOT’s relationships among manufacturers, carriers, and economic development professionals to provide ongoing input into District 8 planning and project development.
  4. Adapting and refining the District 8 project approach for application in other regions of the state.