New Minneapolis-St. Paul Int'l Airport Runway to Affect Area Residents

Residents are not quite sure what to expect when the new North-South Runway at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport opens in late October.

Danner's levity turned somber when she talked about her neighborhood's stability.

"I have a neighbor who is moving because of the runway. You do notice more For Sale signs going up," she said. "This is a settled area. Who would ever have thought there'd be a runway going over our house?

"I hope it isn't as bad as we fear."

Most affected south metro residents live in areas where noise levels are below the Federal Aviation Administration's standards to require noise insulation.

In areas where the noise levels called DNL, or Day-Night Average Sound Level were considered too high, the MAC has spent $223 million to soundproof 7,690 homes since 1992.

The mitigation for homes that experienced jet noise at 65 DNL or higher generally included ramped-up doors, windows, insulation, ventilation systems and air conditioning.

But officials in the three cities that sued the MAC say it originally promised the same comprehensive mitigation for more than 5,500 other homes near the airport located in areas with DNL levels in the 60-64 range.

While Eagan and other cities are bracing for more noise, other areas likely will see a drop-off as traffic shifts from the existing parallel runways.

"We've been anxiously awaiting the opening of 17/35. We've been told it will help us, that it could reduce traffic here by at least a half," said Mendota Heights city administrator Jim Danielson.

MAC spokesman Patrick Hogan said he expects some folks in South Minneapolis to get noise relief as well.

"There's no question there will be an impact. But it will be mixed," Hogan said.

That's about how Krahn sums up his feelings about the airport's overall impact on Eagan.

"It's far more complicated than saying shame on you for the noise," he said. "The airport might have a less than desirable impact sometimes, but it pumps a lot of money into the economy, boosts the tax base and brings in jobs. It's an important resource."

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