From 1993 to 2002, Highway 60 was widened from two to four lanes between the MN state lane to Windom, MN. Driven primarily by safety concerns, the widened highway also improved regional access to southwestern Minnesota's agricultural, bio-energy, food processing, and manufacturing industries.
Project Type:Widening Project Mode:Highway Average Annual Daily Traffic:6,270 Length (mi):27.80
Economic Distress:0.87 Population Density (ppl/sq mi):18 Population Growth Rate (%):-107.00
Employment Growth Rate (%):67.00 Market Size:24,217 Airport Travel Distance:88 Topography:
Region:Great Lakes / Plains State:Minnesota County:County
City:Worthington to Windom, MN Urban/Class Level:Rural Local Area:N/A
Impact Area:County Transportation System:N/A GIS Lat/Long:43.845621 / -95.125485
Initial Study Date:1992 Post Constr. Study Date:2010
Constr. Start Date:1993 Constr. End Date:2002
Project Year of Expenditure (YOE): N/A Planned Cost (YOE $):N/A
Actual Cost (YOE $):41,823,669 Actual Cost (curr $):54,158,513
NOTE: All pre/post dollar values are in 2013$
Select a region to display the conditions for that region:
NOTE: All impact dollar values are in 2013$
|Income (in $M's)||13.52||3.08||16.60|
|Output (in $M's)||122.35||27.83||150.18|
Minnesota State Highway (MN 60) in southwestern Minnesota provides an alternative route for shipments from Minneapolis, Southwestern Minnesota and Sioux City, IA and Omaha, NE. Promoted by the advocacy group "The Minnesota Highway Action Corporation" and in partnership with the Iowa Department of Transportation, the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) committed to expanding Highway 60 from two to four lanes within southwestern Minnesota. The expansion was cited as a critical need to improve safety conditions and also expand access for agricultural, food processing, and manufacturing businesses in the region. The expansion has occurred in phases to date, with additional phases planned. The widening between Worthington, MN and Windom, MN occurred between 1993 and 2002, at a cost of approximately $41.8M (2002$'s). Businesses have created an estimated 270 jobs within the counties of Cottonwood and Jackson as a direct result of the highway widening.
2.1 Location & Transportation Connections
Minnesota State Highway (MN 60) runs from the Iowa border (near Bigelow, MN) east-northeast to the Wisconsin border (near Wabasha, MN) and is 219 miles long. Within the southwestern region of Minnesota, MN 60 is considered an expressway between Sioux City, IA and Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN (the Twin Cities). From Sioux City, I-29 continues south to Omaha, NE a major destination for shipping, trade and commerce. A Union Pacific rail line that connects several cities located along the highway runs between Worthington and St. James, MN.
2.2 Community Character & Project Context
The focus of this case study is the section of MN 60 that passes through Cottonwood and Jackson Counties in southwest Minnesota. A 6.3 mile segment of MN 60 connects Brewster to Worthington in Nobles County however this county was not included in the analysis because no economic impacts were identified in Worthington as described in section 4.1.2. This rural region of Southwestern Minnesota is primarily known for agriculture, agricultural processing, ethanol/bio-diesel production, machinery manufacturing, and meat processing. Toro, a manufacturer of lawn maintenance equipment and snow blowers, and New Vision, a grain handling company that also provides feed for livestock, have been in the city of Windom for over sixty years. Since the 1990's, a trucking company, a fertilizer spraying equipment manufacturer, a meat processor, a bio-ethanol plants, a soybean processing plant, and a company that manufactures tree hunting stands have located in the cities of Windom, Heron Lake, Brewster, and Bingham Lake. Road and rail access are critical to these companies for receiving raw and component materials for production and to ship finished goods to distant customer markets.
Companies use one of two routes to ship freight between the Twin Cities and Sioux City, IA. From the Twin Cities, freight can be shipped south on I-35, west on I-90, and then south on I-29 to Sioux City, IA. Alternatively, freight is shipped via MN 60. As truck volumes increased on Route 60, safety and reliable access became an increasing concern. In 1960, the "Southwest Minnesota Highway 60 Action Corporation" was organized to promote the improvement of the highway. The group urged MnDOT to expand the road from two to four lanes. In response, IowaDOT and MnDOT agreed to widen Highway 60 in each of their respective states. The widening project from Worthington to Windom, MN occurred in phases between 1993 and 2002.Further widening was stalled due to lack of transportation funds. However, in response to the I-35W bridge collapse and in recognition of the need to address deterioration of the MN highway system in general, a $6.6B transportation funding package (HF2800) was approved in 2008. It was supported by a 25% increase in the state fuel tax, and was approved by the state house and senate overriding a governor veto. The bill funded the MN 60 widening project from Worthington to the Iowa state line, which was completed in 2012. The widening from Windom to St. James is slated for completion by 2017.
4.1 Transportation Impacts
The widening of MN 60 alleviated safety issues that resulted in a high number of fatal accidents between passenger cars and trucks. The widening also enabled speed increases for truck shipments enabling expanded access to regional and national markets important to the manufacturing, food processing, and transportation oriented business in Cottonwood and Jackson Counties. The average Annual Average Daily Traffic (AADT) along this segment of MN 60 was 5,800 vehicles in 2010. AADT before construction (1992) was not able to be identified.
4.2 Demographic, Economic & Land Use Impacts
Economic impacts due to the widening of Highway 60 were evaluated for the cities of Windom, Heron Lake, Brewster, and Bingham Lake. The city of Worthington was not included in the evaluation of economic development impacts because the widening of MN 60 from Worthington to Bigelow, MN (near the MN/IA state line) was recently completed (December 2012) and according to the Worthington Planning department and the Worthington Regional Economic Development Corporation (WREDC), no business expansion or attraction has occurred yet that is linked to the highway expansion. The majority of Worthington is located south of I-90 and there are no other cities located between Worthington and Brewster.
In Windom, three companies have been positively affected by the highway widening. The Toro manufacturing plant specializes in production of snow blowers and lawn mowers and has been in Windom for over 63 years. The 340,000 square feet plant is located on Highway 60. On average, 10 semi-trailers a day provide shipments to and from the plant. Currently, the plant employs 615 people and the highway is attributed with contributing a minor role equivalent to 10% of the currently employment or approximately 62 new jobs.
In 2002, PM Beef took over a processing plant in Windom, renovated it, and expanded it in 2003. The plant relies heavily on MN 60 (to reach I-90) and also MN 71. The expansion added an additional 200 employees to the base workforce of 300. The widening of MN 60 is responsible for approximately 50% of this expansion, or the creation of 100 jobs.
Fortune Trucking first came to Windom in 1990 and later expanded operations as a result of the widening of MN 60. Highway access is very important to this firm as shipments are made to all 48 states. The primary shipments are dairy products and agricultural commodities. The highway expansion is credited with increased employment by 25% or 45 jobs.
In Bingham Lake, the POET bio-ethanol plant expanded in 1997 and 2001, tripling production over initial volume of ethanol produced at the facility. It currently produces 35 million gallons of ethanol annually, consumes approximately 12 million bushels of corn from the region and provides 93,500 tons of livestock feed each year for local, regional and national markets. Shippers of grain and corn to the facility used Highway 60. At the height of the harvest season, over 100 semi-trucks make deliveries to the plant. Currently 45 employees work for the plant. The company attributes 5 of these jobs to the highway expansion.
The Heron Lake BioEnergy LLC ethanol plant is located one mile northeast of Heron Lake on the south side of Highway 60. The plant opened in 2007 and produces 59 million gallons of ethanol annually, which is sold to petroleum marketers in Minnesota and across the U.S. Over 21 million bushels of corn are processed at the plant annually. The plant also creates 160,000 tons of distillers dried grains annually as a by-product of ethanol production. This is sold to livestock producers as a high-value nutritional supplement. Currently the plant is staffed by 38 employees and due to the reliance on inbound and outbound shipments, the highway expansion is credited with half of the decision to locate in Heron Lake, equating to an estimated 19 employees.
MN Soybean Processors in Brewster started processing soybeans into soybean oil, soybean meal and soybean hulls in 2003, and added a bio-diesel refining facility in 2005. The facilities are farmer owned and controlled. The firm relies on MN 60 for receiving soybeans and for shipping its products. The highway expansion was an important factor in the firm's decision locate in Brewster, and is credited with the creation of 40 of the 80 jobs at the plant.
In total, an estimated 270 jobs have been created in the two-county region as a result of the widening of MN 60.
Several businesses have relocated within Windom to in order to gain more proximate access to Highway 60. Fast Manufacturing (fertilizer applicators and sprayers) and Big Game (hunting tree stands) have both relocated to the North Windom Industrial Park. The industrial park is approximately 1 mile north of the intersection of Minnesota Highway 60/US Highway 71 at the intersection of Hwy 71 and County Road 15. It is the city's newest industries park and covers an 80-acre subdivision planned for 12 development lots. Available utilities include water, sanitary sewer, electricity, natural gas, and fiber optics.
Ag Builders of Southern MN/GDF has also recently relocated to new area that will enable them to expand to 18,000 square feet, 4 times their current space. It is a $1M project and employment is expected to increase by 15%. Big Game considered locating is warehousing in the North Windom Industrial Park, but decided to expand in its existing location in the Carl Schneider Business Park. None of these relocations have resulted in net new employment and were not included in the estimates of job growth.
Donahoe, Margaret. "2008 Transportation Funding Bill - What it means to your agency." Technology Exchange - University of Minnesota Center for Transportation Studies. Fall 2008, Vol. 16, No. 4.www.mnltap.umn.edu/publications/exchange/2008/fall/2008Transportation.html
Farber, Nicholas. "The 2008 Minnesota Transportation Funding Bill." National Conference of State Legislatures. April, 2008.www.ncsl.org/print/transportation/MNtranbill.pdf
Heron Lake Bio Energy. "History." Company Website. www.heronlakebioenergy.com Accessed December 2014.
Minnesota Soybean Processors. "About Us." Company website. www.heronlakebioenergy.com Accessed December 2014.
PB Consult, Inc., & Maslansky Luntz & partners. "Minnesota Transportation Revenue Program Case Study." NCHRP 20-24(62). September, 2009. www.transportation-finance.org/pdf/featured_documents/nchrp_20_24_62_minnesota.pdf
Poet Energy. "Bingham Lake Biorefining plant." Company website. www.poetenergy.com/binghamlake Accessed December 2014.
Windom, City of. "North Windom Industrial Park.: City of Windom website. www.windom-mn.com/economic-development-authority/available-landdevelopment-sites/north-windom-industrial-park Accessed December 2014.
Heron Lake, City of
MN Soybean Processors
POET Plant, Bingham Lake
Southwest Regional Development Commission
Windom, City of
Worthington Regional Econ. Dev. Corp (WREDC)
Worthington, City of