Final Portion of Superior Street Reconstruction Project to Reopen Today
The street will reopen at 6:30 p.m. on Friday
DULUTH, Minn. – After four years of construction, the final portion of the Superior Street Reconstruction Project is reopening today, according to city officials.
Work started on the $31.5 million project in 2018 to replace bricks on the street’s surface as well as replace utilities that dated back to the 1880s.
“In the first phase of the project, it was amazing the things we found during the construction,” said Duncan Schwenson, City of Duluth Senior Engineer and lead on the project. “We found everything from trolley tracks to vaults that were never documented – our team learned a lot from this project.”
The project was initially slated to be completed in three years and extended from the 600 block of West Superior Street to the 400 block of East Superior Street.
However, due to weather delays and unforeseen findings below the roadways, the project ended up taking four years to complete.
“We are ready and reset. This once-in-a-generation project took all we had – the patience of our downtown community, the financial investment of partners, and vision for a sustainable future,” Mayor Emily Larson said. “It’s all a part of our new downtown. I’m thrilled today for our entire community. We’re a city on the rise, and we’re poised for a generation of success.”
Kristi Stokes, president of the Greater Downtown Council, agreed.
“We’re excited to cross the finish line on this project,” she said. “While it’s never easy for our businesses to have construction out their front door, they now have a transformed main street with new infrastructure and amenities. It will be such a milestone to see the last of the barricades removed and watch traffic freely flow to all of our businesses along Superior Street. We’re grateful to Northland Constructors and the City of Duluth for working closely with the stakeholders throughout the entire job.”
“The City is proud that a large percentage of the workers on the project were people who are considered socially disadvantaged individuals,” Mayor Larson said. “Thanks to Workforce Development, Northland Constructors, and subcontractors, people of color, low-income workers, people who have and are experiencing homelessness, at-risk youth, among others found not only employment through this project, but are trained and can have careers in the construction trades. Their futures are bright, and they can be proud to see what they have helped to create and the impact that their work will have for generations to come.”
Mayor Emily Larson goes on to say this project is a huge accomplishment for the city and a long time coming.
“We have missed the opportunity to gather at different places. Not just because of the pandemic, but because of the construction and the rerouting. You know, how important the gathering spot is at superior and lake avenue. We’ve learned a lot from the inside out and I’m not sure we’ll have a project of this kind in this community,” Duluth Mayor Emily Larson says.
Some businesses in the area are also grateful for the construction to be completed like the Sheraton hotel which just recently received a complete interior makeover to the rooms along with several amenities in the hotel.
The staff there say, this construction was worth the wait.
“In the long run, it’s sometimes those short pain points that have long term gains. To know that we are going to be a more efficient building with our energy and our utilities that’s worth what we went through,” Sheraton Duluth Hotel General Manager, Karen Pionk says.
Over the next couple weeks finishing touches will be added to the street which officials say won’t affect traffic flow.