Endangered bats get sewer project, roadwork moving

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Underground sewer improvements along Michigan Avenue and Harrison Road will bring construction and lane closures this spring.

Photo from Department of Public Works

Map illustrating the construction on Michigan Avenue and Harrison Road.

East Lansing’s infrastructure restructure project is meant to increase the sewage collection system’s capacity. It will also improve flow to the Red Cedar Interceptor and Water Resource Recovery Facility, according to a press release.

The improvements will reduce the number of overflows with the combined sewer overflow basin. It will also separate storm flow, which does not need treatment, and send it directly to the Red Cedar River.

There will be several phases to the project. Starting in March, construction will be at the Michigan and Harrison intersection, along Michigan Avenue from Harrison Road to Highland Avenue, on the west side of Brody Complex, and along University Drive and Oak Street.

With the project approaching, preparations have begun. Approximately 30 trees in the median of Michigan Avenue will be removed before March 31. The timeframe on tree removal is due to the Indiana and Northern Long-Eared bats returning in April. Project authorities do not want the bats nesting in trees that will be removed. Trees will be replaced when the project is complete.

Scott House, director of Public Works, said at a City Council meeting, “All of these projects will have tree removal. There is a series of bats that are endangered and therefore requires trees to be removed before the end of March so they do not habitat in there. That would restrict the projects.”

During construction there will be closures, but at least one lane of traffic will be maintained in each direction throughout the project, according to the press release. The Michigan and Harrison intersection will be closed for several weeks in May.

Most construction will be completed by December. Restoration of the site is set for spring 2020.

There will be overview meetings at the East Lansing Hannah Community Center on March 13. A meeting for businesses will be at 4 p.m. and a citizens meeting is set for 6 p.m.

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