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$9M project likely to cause traffic problems near Michigan State

Posted: 9:00 PM, Feb 26, 2019
Updated: 2019-02-27 12:36:27Z
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EAST LANSING, Mich. — There will soon be a lot more noise near Michigan Avenue and Harrison Street in East Lansing as the public works department upgrades the city's underground sewer system.

"We're modernizing and upgrading the current infrastructure to meet not only the needs of today but also tomorrow," said Scott House, director of Public Works for East Lansing.

The pipes were installed in the 1920s.

House says they need to be able to hold more water.

The project is expected to wrap up in December, meaning there will be ongoing construction during football season.

"This is going to be a long project, but the goal is to mitigate any impact to special events," said House.

"It will be crazy; however, the sewer system, if anything goes awry with that, we could really be inconvenienced," said Cookey Whitaker, East Lansing resident.

Project managers say there will be one open lane of traffic on Michigan Avenue at all times, but the intersection at Michigan and Harrison will be closed for two or three weeks. There will also be some sewer work happening next to MSU's Brody Complex and on Oak Street.

"There's at points in May when the intersection will be closed, but people will still be able to get through by making turns and they'll be able to navigate that," said House.

Thirty trees, which could become a nesting ground for endangered long-eared bats, will have to be removed as part of the construction.

"The purpose there is we don't want any endangered species to become nested and damaged by this project; however, for every tree we remove, we will replace it in kind at the end of the project, as well," said House.

Business owners in the area didn't want to go on camera but said it will likely impact their bottom line.

Some residents say it's for the greater good.

"I think it is far more important for us to have our underground sewer system properly working than me being inconvenienced," said Whitaker.

Residents can learn more about the project during a meeting at 6 p.m. March 13 at the East Lansing Hannah Community Center.