MSU unveils barriers to protect campus buildings from floods

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EAST LANSING, MI (WLNS) -Michigan State University, as every Spartan knows, is “on the banks of the Red Cedar.” Those are the first words to the school’s fight song.

The song, however, doesn’t mention that the river makes parts of MSU’s campus prone to flooding.

Typically, the area along the river will flood when the waters rise. Floods have also been known to render the baseball and soccer fields on campus unplayable.

But the university is taking a new and different step today as the river continues to rise.

Michigan State University Interim President John Engler will host a news conference this afternoon to discuss the preparations for protecting the campus community from rising flood waters.

Engler is also expected to show media the installation of a flood barrier between the Red Cedar River and campus buildings.

It’s the first time in the school’s 163 year history that MSU is taking such a step.

Since Monday morning, widespread rain has pounded the mid-Michigan area, causing flooding throughout.

MSU’s campus is experiencing some flooding, specifically along the Red Cedar River, causing some road and parking closures.

According to MSU, the rain has pushed the Red Cedar to rise about five feet with a predicted crest of about 9.5 feet on Friday afternoon.

“If the prediction holds, it will be the seventh-largest recorded flood even in MSU’s history,” the university said.

Starting today, Wednesday Feb. 21st , until March 2nd MSU said the following roads and parking lots will be closed:

  • Chestnut Road between Demonstration Hall Road and the Beal Street/Kalamazoo Street intersection (at the Sparty statue)
  • Red Cedar Road from the Chestnut Road intersection to the entrance to Central Services.
  • Northbound Red Cedar Road, north of Shaw Lane will also be closed to through traffic.
  • Lots 62W, 62E and 67, as well as the basement level of Parking Ramp #2, will be closed for the duration of flooding.
  • The Auditorium Road Loop will also be closed for the duration of flooding.

For more information including updates, closures and a detour map click here.

Reporter Alexandra Ilitch will be there for the 4:30 p.m. event. We’ll update this story shortly afterwards and she’ll show you how the barriers work tonight on 6 News at 6.

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