Friday, July 3, 2009

Construction Update: Football Traffic Update

Some more detailed information has been shared regarding the football parking situation out at the commuter lot, adding to the last update we gave you a few weeks ago.

First, for the Farm Lane project, a firm open to traffic date has still not been set. However, we do know that contractually, they have only until September 22nd to finish all work. If all available time is used, that would have it opening after the first two home games (Sept. 5th, Sept. 12th) but before the Michigan game on Oct. 3rd.

We also have been told that Farm Lane will most likely open to both vehicles and pedestrians at the same time. One thought floated by fans was to open the sidewalks to pedestrians early if possible, so that there would at least be a walkable route to the commuter lot from Spartan Stadium, even if the buses still had to take the detour. It looks like this will not happen.

Second, the Mt. Hope resurfacing project time line is becoming clearer, thanks to the City of East Lansing's Project Clause. While a more detailed schedule will be set once a project bid is accepted, a general timetable is available now. According to the document, the project is divided into several phases. Phase I would begin on July 27th or within ten days of the contract being awarded. Once lane closures began, they would have fourteen days to reopen those lanes, with August 29th being the end point for this phase. Phase II would start immediately following Phase I, and this phase will include lane resurfacing and closures as well. Once that starts, the contractors will have thirty days to complete the work, with a contractual completion date of Oct. 2nd.

One interesting point from the document specifically concerns football game days. From the document:
"No work shall occur that impacts traffic outside of the approved lane/road closures on the following dates:

MSU Student Move-in: August 30, 2009, August 31, 2009 and September 1, 2009
MSU Home Football Game (Montana State): September 5, 2009
MSU Home Football Game (Central Michigan): September 12, 2009
MSU Home Football Game (University of Michigan): October 3, 2009

Any hauling, loading, grading, paving or any other activity that involves any impact on the remaining travel ways on any street shall be prohibited on the above dates."
It is nice to see this requirement specifically laid out early on in the bidding process. It recognizes the issues the project may place on football traffic and shows that there is a conscious attempt to minimize them. It also inadvertently recognizes the potential for project delays by listing a "no work day" on Oct. 3rd, a day after the project's completion date of Oct. 2nd.

Looking at what we know now about the project completion dates for both Farm Lane and Mt. Hope, the "fun" scenario outlined a few weeks ago looks like a strong possibility. This is where Farm Lane opens before Mt. Hope is complete, causing a large increase in traffic to the area, and therefore backups. While the completion dates on the projects suggest this may occur, both completion dates are currently scheduled for after the second home football game but before the third. So, if both can open before their contractual end dates, there will be no issues for the first big home game, against Michigan on Oct. 3rd.

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