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There are currently 16 known impediments in the freight network that can be improved to enhance the transportation of manufactured and harvested goods in and out of Greater Des Moines, a new report shows.

The impediments are mapped out and detailed in the Freight Barriers report developed by the Des Moines Area Metropolitan Planning Organization. The impediments range from bridges with low height restrictions, too many railroad crossings on key truck routes, road corridors without turning lanes, and intersections with too tight of corners for turning trucks. The report, which is a compilation of previous reports by the MPO and the Iowa Department of Transportation, also identifies eight highway bottlenecks and seven railroad bottlenecks. All locations are identified in the complete report, available here.

“The economic success of the Greater Des Moines region – and the state – hinge on the efficient movement of the goods produced in our factories and fields,” MPO Executive Director Todd Ashby said, noting that the report is offered in the spirit of identifying challenges as a first step to finding solutions. “Our hope is that by highlighting these impediments, we can help encourage the continued effort to make upgrades to the network and ultimately improve the system of infrastructure that supports the regional economy.”

The region’s long-range transportation plan, Mobilizing Tomorrow, sets a target of zero impediments by the year 2050. Several projects are in the works to improve freight movement. The Southeast Connector, a new arterial road connecting downtown Des Moines to U.S. Highway 65 in Pleasant Hill, will alleviate multiple impediments in southeast Des Moines when it is complete. Additionally, the new Des Moines Transload Facility, anticipated to open in 2016, will better connect truck network with the rail network, serving businesses within an estimated 150-mile radius of Greater Des Moines and reducing the average costs of shipping commodities by as much as 50 percent.

For more information, call or email the MPO staff at 515-334-0075 or info@dmampo.org.