Sorry for the delay on this post, but once last Sunday's wedding "after party" stretched on to Wednesday morning, I realized that I could wait until Thursday's Construction Junction for a more complete update. Congrats again to Derek!
First and foremost, it was announced at Thursday's meeting (and it was reported in the State News) that Mt. Hope road will be resurfaced this summer. This wasn't originally on the schedule, but evidently the federal stimulus package is contributing the funds. The stretch of road that will be affected is from the US-127 bridge to Farm Lane. Construction is slated to begin in late July or early August, in order to have the project finished by fall welcome for students (and whenever anyone says "fall welcome for students," think "first football game." That is what everyone really cares about.)
Then there is the bigger issue of the delay to the Farm Lane underpass project that was first discussed on this site back in April. The project appears to be staying on the revised schedule, which should have it completed sometime within the first few weeks of football season. We'll let you know if we hear anything different.
Finally, there is a massive steam tunnel reconstruction going on at Wilson and Birch on campus. This is the area between Wilson and Holden Residence Halls. This project is slated for completion before "fall welcome for students."
Looking at all of these projects together, the first few football games this year have the potential to either be much better traffic-wise than last season, or be much worse for parking and traffic than anything experienced recently. If all projects finish on time or early, football traffic should be a breeze this fall. But, assuming that Farm Lane does not open, than football parking will start with the same busing hassles that fans endured last season. If either the Mt. Hope resurfacing or the Wilson/Birch projects are delayed, fans will be looking at additional issues. Wilson/Birch is very close to the student tailgating area at the Tennis Courts, which can already be a traffic nightmare before some games.
If Farm Lane is closed, and Mt. Hope is delayed, there will not be much of a difference to those parking in the commuter lot. A few extra minutes added to an already much longer trip is not worth complaining about, and many people who would park in that lot are parking in other areas until Farm Lane reopens. However, the "fun" scenario is if Farm Lane opens early, but Mt. Hope is delayed. Fans will flock back to the commuter lot for parking and what will be the quickest bus trip ever to Spartan Stadium. But first, all those fans would have to endure the massive backup caused by the resurfacing in order to get there.
If I were to make a prediction based on my knowledge today, I would guess that Wilson/Birch will finish on time, Farm Lane will open about two weeks into football season, and Mt. Hope will open sometime after the first game. So, parking for that first game could be tricky. Working in fans favor though is MSU's schedule, where the first game is hardly worth printing the fancy glossy tickets. There is a good chance some fans won't be showing up anyway.
We'll continue to monitor the status on these projects.
Image courtesy of Michigan State University.