The Duluth-Superior area is admittedly not a major metropolitan area. While that may be true, it still has a notable amount of noise from roadway traffic and air traffic. Information from the the Bureau of Transportation Statistics released last week says that 97% of the population of the United States has the potential to be exposed to road traffic and air traffic noise up to 50 decibels. Now, 50 decibels isn't really all that loud - roughly as loud as a humming refrigerator. It's still something researchers are noting.

Getting into cities, airports and major highways and interstates are casting noise levels far above that point, reaching over 80 decibels in some cases, which is as loud as, or even louder than a vacuum cleaner or garbage disposal. Living in an area where this is a common thing with little or no ability to control it would obviously be more annoying than the light noise most of the country experiences.

According to a map that was released as part of this research, the Duluth-Superior area is subject to some places where regular traffic/air traffic noise gets above 70 decibels (louder than a vacuum cleaner). Key areas detailed in the information (as seen in the maps in the gallery above) include the following:

  • Duluth International Airport: 75+ db near airport, with a wide spread along major flight paths
  • Interstate 35 corridor in Duluth: 70+ db
  • I-535 (Blatnik Bridge area): 70+ db
  • Highway 53 in Superior: 70+ db
  • Highway 2 coming off the Bong Bridge in Superior: 70+ db
  • Highway 53 (Trinity Road/Miller Trunk Highway) in Duluth/Hermantown: 60+ db
  • Belknap Avenue in Superior: 60+ db
  • Tower Avenue in Superior: 60+ db

None of these are all that surprising, as the major roadways and airport lead to the most noise. One thing that is worth noting is that this information currently only details road traffic and air traffic. It does not include rail and maritime traffic, which is supposed to be coming soon. Once these factors are added, it would be easy to see West Duluth, portions of Superior, and areas along the shipping docks along the St. Louis River getting a lot "noisier" on the map.

If you're looking to escape the buzz of the highways and airport, your safest bet is obviously to get out of town. If you're looking for some in-town solitude, here are a couple places that might be best (in no particular order):

  • Lester Park - Duluth (map)
  • Superior Municipal Forest - Superior (map)
  • Magney-Snively Natural Area - Duluth (map)
  • Chester Park - Duluth (map)
  • Wisconsin Point - Superior (map)
  • Brewer Park - Duluth (map)