The area of Minneapolis most affected by airport noise is expected to expand over the next two decades, putting another 6,800 houses and apartments in the path of rumbling jets.
That's according to projections from airport officials, who are in the process of updating Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport's 20-year development plan. Member of a City Council committee received an update on the projections last week.
Air traffic in and out of the airport is expected to increase significantly between now and 2035, from about 412,000 flights last year to 511,000 flights annually. To accommodate more flights and more people, it's likely the airport will add more gates and make other improvements at the terminals, including in ticketing and baggage claim areas.
Airport officials told the council it's too soon to say if people newly affected by more airport noise could be in line for help with sound-proofing home improvements, as has been offered in the past. Complaints over airport noise in south Minneapolis have been on the rise in recent months, with more filed in June than in any month in the past three and a half years. Some of those complaints have been linked to an increase in flights late and night and early in the morning or higher use of some runways.
Dana Nelson, the Metropolitan Airports Commission's manager of noise, environment and planning, said her agency can't control where planes take off and land, but said arriving flights typically come in over Eagan and Mendota Heights, while planes taking off fly over Minneapolis.
Some council members said they are keeping tabs on the airport's plans and are interested in the health and environmental impact of planes flying over densely populated areas.
"It has a huge impact on tens of thousands of residents -- virtually every household in my ward," said Council Member Andrew Johnson, who added that he's experienced plenty of airport noise at his home, even though he doesn't live in one of the neighborhoods that sees the most air traffic.
"On a summer night, when I have my windows open and I'm trying to watch Netflix, I can't even hear it," he said.
Above: A plane flies above a softball game at Bossen Field Park in south Minneapolis. Richard Tsong-Taatarii/ Star Tribune