Farm Lane Bridge, intersections to close for summer semester

Rendering of the new Farm Lane pedestrian and vehicle bridges

Danielle Fowler

February 17, 2023

The East Lansing campus’ main artery over the Red Cedar River will close during the summer semester for the first phase of a $44 million reconstruction project, greatly affecting vehicle and pedestrian traffic. 

The Farm Lane Bridge, originally constructed in 1936, spans the river on the main north-south corridor through the heart of campus. Time and use by generations of Spartans have taken their toll, requiring a full replacement of the bridge. 

“Reconstructing the Farm Lane Bridge is vital to ensuring the safety of Spartans,” said Dan Bollman, MSU vice president for strategic infrastructure planning and facilities. “We know the construction will be a great inconvenience, but the bridge’s heavy use is exactly why this project is necessary. We want to act now before further deterioration results in unplanned closures and more costly work.”


Photo of deteriorating Farm Lane Bridge
The Farm Lane Bridge, built in 1936, is in need of full replacement.

Travelers will need to plan alternative routes throughout the project’s multiple construction phases. Additional detour information will be shared closer to the closures.

During the first phase of bridge work over the summer, the bridge and the Farm Lane roadway from Auditorium Road to North Shaw Lane, including those intersections, will be closed. Additionally, a new dedicated pedestrian bridge will be built, making the crossing safer and less congested for those walking and bicycling across campus.

During fall semester, the bridge and roadway will be open for all traffic. In December 2023 after graduation ceremonies, the bridge will close again for replacement work and is expected to reopen in mid-summer 2024.

Rendering of the new Farm Lane Bridge and pedestrian bridge
The new Farm Lane crossing will feature a separate bridge for pedestrians and bicyclists.

Safety at a Critical Crossing

Though the bridge has served campus well for more than 85 years, continuing deterioration means the bridge has reached the end of its useful life, and must be demolished and replaced. If the bridge’s load limits are reduced much more, snowplows, garbage trucks, fire trucks and other emergency vehicles will no longer be permitted to cross.

In 2019 and 2021, the bridge’s load limits were reduced by the Michigan Department of Transportation, which now has begun inspecting the bridge every six months. As a result of the inspection in 2021, the northbound lane was closed and traffic shifted to the bridge’s middle lane.

On a typical class day, the bridge carries about 12,000 vehicles and 7,000 pedestrians. It also serves as an important piece of utilities infrastructure for campus, containing electrical and telecommunication.

The Farm Lane Bridge also is the only bridge on campus above the 100-year floodplain, making it the only crossing between north and south campus in the event of widespread heavy flooding.

What You Can Expect

April – May 2023

Work will begin in April to reroute the utilities during construction. The bridge will be open to both pedestrian and vehicular traffic during this phase.

View staging areas for this project phase.

May – September 2023

In May, the bridge will be closed to vehicles but remain open for pedestrians and bicyclists. During this phase, the utilities will continue being rerouted and construction of the new pedestrian bridge will begin.

View road and walkway detours for this project phase.

September – December 2023

The Farm Lane Bridge will reopen to traffic and the newly constructed walking bridge will open to pedestrians and bicyclists during the fall semester.

December 2023 – June 2024

The Farm Lane Bridge will be demolished and a new one constructed. Vehicular traffic must use alternative routes during this time.

View road and walkway detours for this project phase.

Project updates and additional information are available at