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Indicator 5 2 : Unrestricted highways

Goal: Rural areas, small cities and urban neighborhoods throughout the state will be economically viable places for people to live and work. Minnesotans value their freedom to choose where to live. Minnesotans in communities throughout the state also want their youth to be able to make a living without moving away. The indicators for this goal deal with economic and transportation issues that affect the viability of urban and rural communities.

Rationale: This indicator recognizes the need for communities to have reliable year-round highways linking them to cities and trade centers across the state.

Total centerline miles in the state highway system

Year
198012,085
199012,050
199112,054
199212,053
199312,041
199412,026
199511,975
199611,974
199711,914
199811,917
199911,911
200011,905
200111,914
graph

Data source: Minnesota Department of Transportation

State highway miles with no springtime weight restrictions

Year
19807,819
19909,325
19919,485
19929,774
19939,925
19949,999
199510,090
199610,231
199710,302
199810,334
199910,327
200010,504
200110,637
graph

Data source: Minnesota Department of Transportation

Percentage of state highway miles with no springtime weight restrictions

Year
198064.7%
199077.4%
199178.7%
199281.1%
199382.4%
199483.1%
199584.3%
199685.4%
199786.5%
199886.7%
199986.7%
200088.2%
200189.3%
graph

Data source: Minnesota Department of Transportation

About this indicator: The state has made significant progress in improving roads to remove weight restrictions, a 36 percent increase since 1980. Between 1990 and 2001, the number of state-owned and -maintained highway miles changed very little, but the percentage of miles with no spring-time weight restrictions rose from 77 percent to 89 percent.

The transportation of goods on Minnesota's road system is vital to the health of local, regional and state economies. This is especially true for Minnesota communities that are dependent on shipping minerals, timber and agricultural products. This indicator measures the percentage of state trunk highway miles that can handle loads of 10 tons per axle all year. Some restricted roads are not built to withstand loads over seven tons per axle during spring thaws. The greatest concentration of restricted miles is in northeastern Minnesota.

Things to think about: The total number of state highway miles went down slightly from 12,085 in 1980 to 11,914 miles in 2001, primarily because some highways were turned over to counties. Data is not available for county and municipal roads, which are also important to local and regional economies.

Technical notes: Mileage in this indicator is "centerline miles" as defined by the Minnesota Department of Transportation. Centerline miles are the actual physical length as measured in only one direction of a road.

Sources:

  • Minnesota Department of Transportation, Office of Investment Management, Mileage Analysis of Minnesota's Trunk Highway System by Districts (1980-2001), www.dot.state.mn.us

Related data trends:

Technical problems? Contact: demography.helpline@state.mn.us