East Lansing’s Transportation Commission discussed the details surrounding the anticipated Burcham Drive resurfacing project at its meeting on Dec. 6. The project in part aims to make it safer to walk to school as East Lansing High School, MacDonald Middle School, and Marble Elementary School are all located along Burcham Drive.
The upgrades to the area around Burcham Drive include:
- Resurfacing Burcham Drive between Abbott Road and Timberlane Street.
- Closing sidewalk gaps on Burcham Drive east of Hagadorn Road.
- Closing sidewalk gaps on Haslett Road between Merritt Road and Hagadorn Road
- Adding sidewalks on Snyder Road between Gunson Street and Stoddard Avenue.
- Adding three pedestrian islands to Burcham Drive.
This project was programmed in 2018 to begin construction three years later in the beginning of 2022. Because the Department of Public Works (DPW) allows public input on projects four or more years in advance, the City of East Lansing did not officially solicit public feedback on this project.
However, Interim Director of the Department of Public Works Nicole McPherson reassured the Commission on Dec. 6, that while there was no official opportunity for public input, DPW has integrated ideas from the public into the project, including adding pedestrian crossings and other school safety features since three schools are located along the upcoming construction on Burcham Drive.
McPherson reiterated that public input should be prioritized in future projects, but that even without it, aspects can be added to project plans past the four year public input deadline.
The project is slated to begin as soon as MSU’s spring semester ends on May 9, 2022. DPW intends to fully complete the project before September 2022, which is approximately four months after the anticipated start date.
McPherson also mentioned her plans to propose adding a driveway to ELHS’s Varsity Baseball Field on the north side of Burcham just west of Timberlane (located behind MacDonald Middle School). Since traffic in and out of the baseball field currently shares one drive, an additional driveway will allow for one-way traffic while both entering and exiting the complex.
Safe Routes to School, (SRTS), a federal program “to make it safe, convenient, and fun for children, including those with disabilities, to bicycle and walk to school,” is funding two of the three pedestrian islands being constructed on Burcham Drive, as well as the sidewalks that will be constructed on both sides of Snyder Rd. City Council voted to approve this in October.
The three pedestrian islands that will be established through this project will be located at the following intersections with Burcham Road:
- Division Street
- John R Street
- Lexington Avenue
The latter two islands are the two being funded by the SRTS Major Infrastructure Grant. The island to be installed around Division St. is still up for debate since DPW has gone back and forth to determine the best spot for it.
This project is being funded through the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) Local Agency Program, and therefore will be bid through MDOT bid letting procedures. Bids will start being accepted in the spring and a decision is expected to be made before May.
In addition to the state funds from MDOT that will partially cover the cost of the Burcham Project, City staff told ELi that DPW plans to obtain additional funding by working with Tri-County Regional Planning Commission, our region’s Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO).
Correction: This article initially spelled Timberlane Street incorrectly. It has since been updated.
Do you appreciate ELi’s reporting? Support us today!