Reconstructing Farm Lane

By Aram Kalousdian, Editor | September 28, 2010

A major reconstruction project on Farm Lane on the campus of Michigan State University in East Lansing is under way. The approximately 1.2-mile project began in the fall of 2007 and it is expected to be completed in November 2009. The project is a joint partnership between the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) and Michigan State University. The project will lower Farm Lane under two existing railroad crossings. The railroad crossings will remain at the existing elevation. In addition, Farm Lane will be widened from two lanes to five lanes between Mt. Hope Road and Wilson Road. New sidewalks and bike paths will also be constructed. Other Farm Lane project improvements include:

  • the creation of new detention basins
  • water main relocation
  • drainage improvements
  • landscaping
  • the reconfiguration of a commuter lot
  • the relocation of Incinerator Road just north of the CSX railroad tracks
  • construction of two new service drives just west of Farm Lane

Eliminating the current at-grade railroad crossings on Farm Lane will increase safety for motorists, pedestrians and cyclists, and decrease response times for emergency vehicles. More than 1 million rail cars travel through this region each year. This could result in delays of 30 minutes or more per crossing.

Lowering Farm Lane will improve access along this main north/south route through Michigan State University's campus. Improved traffic flow will also allow buses to stay on schedule.

C & D Hughes, Inc., of Charlotte was the prime contractor for Phase 1 of the two-phase $42-million project, and Posen Construction, Inc., of Shelby Township is the prime contractor for Phase 2.

"We have to make 30-foot cuts in the ground to take the traffic under the bridges," Blake Zapczynski, project manager for Posen Construction, Inc. of Shelby Township said. The two railroad bridges will be constructed with large steel girders. The girders will be approximately 13 feet tall and approximately 100 feet long. The bridge abutments will be concrete. Each single-span bridge will be approximately 115 feet long by 30 feet wide.

Phase 1 included relocating water main and the installation of sanitary and storm sewer. Phase 1 also included building Auxiliary Drive and West Auxiliary Drive in order to maintain campus traffic.

Phase 2 includes 4,781 cubic yards of substructure concrete; 17,602 feet of 14-inch H-pile; 262,000 cubic yards of earth excavation; 56,665 square yards of aggregate base; two 45-foot-deep pump stations with 25-foot-diameter concrete shafts; 2,847 tons of hot mix asphalt (HMA) approach; 7,349 tons of HMA 3C Special; and 5,524 tons of HMA 4C Special.

C & D Hughes' subcontractors included Aggregate Industries, Spartan Barricading and Wayand Restoration (seeding and mulching). Posen's subcontractors include J. Ranck Electric, of Mt. Pleasant and Rieth-Riley, of Lansing (asphalt). The resident engineer for MDOT is Jeremy McDonald. Soil and Materials Engineers, Inc. (SME) provided geotechnical engineering services and pavement design recommendations for the grade separation on Farm Lane.


Project: Reconstruction of Farm Lane on the Michigan State University campus in East Lansing

Prime contractors: C & D Hughes and Posen Construction, Inc.

Cost: Approximately $42 million