Springfield Underground Storage

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From the spectacular mountains of the Pacific Northwest to the myriad rock formations in New Mexico, truckers see some of the most impressive sights in America. Topping some lists of cool places to go is “The Caves” in Springfield, Missouri. Formally known as the Springfield Underground, an Erlen Group Company, is an underground industrial park created after removing limestone products. 

According to John Griesemer, President and CEO of the Erlen Group, “The land is about 600 acres that have been mined over the last 70 years. They removed the limestone product for construction products like concrete for roads and bridges. With the open space below, the Springfield Underground was created.”

Fast Facts

  • Springfield Underground contains 3.2 million square feet of leasable space free from exposure to the outdoor elements
  • Buildings range in size from 50,000 – 400,000 square feet
  • The ambient temperature of the former limestone mine is a constant 62 degrees
  • Springfield Underground’s on-site refrigeration maintenance crew manages the temperature of refrigerated buildings ranging from -20F to 55F
  • Process 500-600 tractor-trailers daily
  • Employs 600 people
  • 224 dock doors
  • Over 3.5 miles of lit roadway
  • Over 3 miles of rail siding
  • Clear ceiling height of up to 30 feet
  • Immediate accessibility to I-44 and US-65
  • Protected by fire sprinklers.

According to Griesemer, they primarily work with companies in the food industry – 75% of the 3.5 million square feet is food product storage, and about 60% of the space is refrigerated. The natural temperature of the warehouse is about 60 degrees, making it energy efficient and ideal for storing food products, including cheese and meat.

DAT Freight & Analytics spoke to several drivers who offered several insights. Some reefer carriers noted that trucks with long wheelbase configurations have difficulty negotiating tight turns. Others said no cell phone service was problematic, especially with delayed loads, while one driver said, “There were is a billion pounds of cheese stored in the caves, enough cheese to last Americans for 17 years” 

Surprisingly, several drivers spoke about the psychological effect of being underground, especially those suffering from claustrophobia. There are several underground caves where truckers load in the Midwest, with drivers reporting less anxiety in underground warehouses with higher ceilings. 

Served mainly by large contract carriers, the Springfield Underground Caves are located in the Joplin, Missouri market and ranked 35 out of 135 freight spot markets. There are 76 million people within a day’s drive by truck, encompassing top reefer destinations in Atlanta, Dallas/Fort Worth, and Houston. 

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