Minneapolis-St. Paul Runway Debut Quietly Awaited

South metro residents are listening to hear if the roar of jet engines overhead will disrupt their previously quiet neighborhoods.

In Apple Valley, officials have asked the MAC to bring in more noise monitors and review flight paths to make sure the noise is fairly dispersed. City officials also want a seat on the MAC's advisory noise committee.

"We're closely monitoring what's going on," Mayor Mary Hamann-Roland said.

The runway's opening — originally slated for 2003 — comes at a difficult time for the MAC.

The agency is embroiled in a lawsuit with the cities of Minneapolis, Eagan and Richfield over the cities' contention that the commission is not providing noise mitigation to as many homes as it originally promised. On Wednesday, Bloomington joined the fray by filing a lawsuit of its own against the MAC.

Northwest Airlines' bankruptcy looms as well. Despite the Eagan-based carrier's financial woes, Tigwell said, Twin Cities demographics justify the need to expand.

Minneapolis-St. Paul has been the world's busiest airport to operate with two principal runways. And air traffic at the airport, a Northwest hub, typically increases by about 3 percent per year, according to the MAC.

By 2030, demographers expect the metropolitan area's population will have exploded by 1 million new residents.

"Those people are going to want to get on planes to go places," Tigwell said. "But we do have to watch and wait a little bit, to see how Northwest comes out of this (bankruptcy). We believe, and they have indicated, that this will stay a hub."

Meggen Lindsay can be reached at mlindsay@pioneerpress.com or 651-228-5260.

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