Harrison Road Project Reducing Four Car Lanes to Three, Adding Bike Lanes

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Gary Caldwell for ELi

The intersection of Michigan Avenue and Harrison Road, site of a lot of construction lately.

Road construction began today on a quarter-mile stretch of Harrison Road between Michigan and Grand River Avenues.

The purpose is to replace stormwater basin leads at the Harrison-Oak and Harrison-Huntington intersections and to enact a “road diet” which will convert the road from four car lanes (and no bike lanes) to three car lanes plus two bike lanes.

Residents and business owners in that area have expressed concerns about traffic backups being caused by the new configuration, but the City says that traffic studies indicate traffic should flow smoothly. Bicycle advocates have expressed a desire to see more streets incorporate designated bike lanes.

The two-phase Harrison Road project is expected to last at least three weeks, weather permitting, according to City of East Lansing officials.

From now until completion of the project, traffic on Harrison Road will be detoured via Grand River Avenue, Delta Street and Michigan Avenue.

Access to Grand River and Michigan Avenues will be maintained to local traffic up to Oak Street and Huntington Road, while access from side streets will be closed to prevent traffic from entering the construction site.

The City has deemed this infrastructure work “essential,” enabling the work to go on in spite of the statewide stay-at-home order.

“The project will have no more than 10 workers on site, and workers will be screened prior to reporting to work in compliance with pertinent COVID-19-related orders at the county and state level,” City Communications Coordinator Mikell Frey stated in a news release issues earlier in the week.

“The scope of work that will commence in May is an asphalt mill and fill project, consisting of milling the top two inches of the road surface and repaving,” Steven Roach, senior engineer for the City, wrote in an email to ELi.

“Sidewalk ramps will also be upgraded to meet ADA compliance,” for people with disabilities, explained Roach. “Following asphalt paving, the roadway will be striped to a three-lane cross section, which will include a single lane northbound and southbound, with a center left turn lane and bike lanes.”

This is similar to how Burcham Drive is now configured.

All the work for this Harrison Road project is scheduled to be completed by the end of June, pending weather delays and any further limitations due to the COVID-19 state of emergency currently in place.

According to Roach, the City is receiving federal funding through the Highway Safety Improvement Program for the asphalt mill and fill work and conversion from four to three lanes.

“Prior to asphalt paving,” Roach said, “we want to complete the necessary sewer utility improvements, which is what is taking place these next two to three weeks on Harrison. “

Community members can contact the Department of Public Works at (517) 337-9459 for more information.

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