Northwest District Freight Plan

MoDOT’s Northwest District has 20 counties covering more than 10,770 square miles. Residents of Missouri’s northwest region enjoy an excellent quality of life with the cost of living far below the national average, and good access to excellent hospitals, educational institutions and outdoor recreation. St. Joseph, Chillicothe and Maryville are the largest cities in the district. Top industries in the region include agribusiness, animal health, and manufacturing, with major companies such as Farmland Foods, Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, and Kawasaki Motors all choosing to locate their operations in the area.

Freight moves by multiple transportation modes in the Northwest District. Major area roads include I-29, I-35 and I-229, as well as US-24, US-36, US-59, US-65, US-69, US-71, US- 136, US-159, US-169 and US-275. Regional airports are located in Cameron, Chillicothe, Maryville, St. Joseph and Trenton. Major rail access is provided by Burlington Northern Santa Fe, Canadian Pacific Railway, Missouri North Central, Norfolk Southern and Union Pacific. The region also has a Missouri River port facility in St. Joseph.

Northwest District Insights

What are the most important issues, needs and concerns for freight movement in the Northwest District? Here is what we have heard during listening sessions so far:

  • Locks and dams along the Mississippi River need improvement. Port stakeholders in this region mentioned the deteriorating condition of the lock and dam system as a challenge for Missouri freight in the future.
  • Road capacity upgrades are important in the region. Despite I-70 passing outside of the district to the south, stakeholders indicated that it should be improved to a six-lane facility. Stakeholders also suggested increasing capacity to four lanes between I-29 and I-35 through Maryville. US-36 is an important corridor for business owners and should be considered for interstate designation. One private truck freight fleet operator called US-36 a “national best-kept secret.” He explained that it is a safer route and that it saves his drivers an hour in drive time to Indianapolis.
  • There is a dwindling rail presence in the district. Stakeholders pointed out that there were more freight rail options in the past and many of those options no longer exist in the district.
  • Economic development efforts, such as the Eastowne Business Park in St. Joseph, need adequate roadway access. In addition, food industry businesses, such as Farmland Foods, could benefit from investment in intermodal access.
  • Low water levels and water quality in the district port and throughout the State concern stakeholders, as does local funding for the port.