Superior Street Reconstruction Update

Exploring the Historic Transformation in Downtown Duluth

Downtown Duluth’s Superior Street Reconstruction Project (SSRP) is providing a much-needed upgrade for one of the city’s busiest roadways. The SSRP has been many years in the making and a lot of coordination and logistics have gone into the plan for improving infrastructure, maintaining parking for customers of Downtown businesses, and enhancing the overall pedestrian experience in Downtown Duluth. As a business that spends a considerable amount of time in Downtown Duluth, it seemed only logical that The Duluth Experience would dig into the project and play a role in providing information that might help locals and visitors better understand the scope of this historic transformation.

Check out this quick update on the project’s progress. Let us know what you think in the comments below. Thanks!

superior street reconstruction plan for downtown duluth

This image is from the project design memorandum dated December 2015 for preliminary visualization. Streetscape and roadway features depicted are subject to change without notice and the final build condition will/may vary from what is shown. Image: superiorstreet.org

Related: Walking Tour Showcases History and Progress in Duluth

superior street annie haralaIn early July our City Tour Team did a walkabout with Annie Harala – Public Information Coordinator with Northland Constructors – to get an update on the project and explore the project in more depth. A significant part of Annie’s job is to coordinate with Downtown businesses, The City of Duluth, and the Greater Downtown Council. The current project area, which is referred to as phase one, extends from 7th avenue west to 3rd avenue west. According to Annie, the Northland Constructors team is on track to finish up this first section of Superior Street by the end of October.

What’s Being Upgraded?

superior street reconstruction projectSo what’s actually being replaced underground? We learned that the answer to that question is… a lot! Below the roadway, electrical ducts are being installed along with large concrete casks that provide much improved stormwater drainage. Gas lines are going in. New water mains are being installed along with new hot water lines.

At the surface you’ll start to see concrete taking the place of Duluth’s bricks (installed in the 1980s). According to the update we got from Annie, there will be multiple shades of concrete used to delineate different areas (e.g., the driving lanes, parking areas, buffer zones, cross walks, and sidewalks. We even heard that the sidewalks concrete will have a bit of a sparkle to them.

Superior Street Reconstruction

Overlooking the 2019 Superior Street Reconstruction Project Area during the SSRP Walking Tour. Image: Greater Downtown Council.

What About the Old Bricks?

The City of Duluth is going to salvage 1,000 commemorative bricks (circa 1985) and will be selling them for $15 a piece. You can purchase these bricks down at Duluth City Hall room 107 – cash or check only. The bricks are being imprinted with “City Of Duluth” and make for a pretty cool souvenir from a part of Downtown Duluth’s rich history. Northland Constructors will retain rights to the remaining bricks for future purposes.

superior street bricks

Superior Street bricks are for sale at City Hall for $15 each… and there are only 1,000 of them available! Image: City of Duluth.

Superior Street is one of Duluth’s oldest streets. It started as a trail cut through the wilderness and became a commercial and retail hub that serves as the focal point for Duluth’s Downtown. As the main route through Duluth, the street has undergone a series of transportation improvements throughout its history. In fact, I suggest that you check out Superior Street’s historic timeline on the Superior Street Construction website.

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Learn more about our Superior Street Reconstruction Project Walking Tours!

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