Michigan Avenue Bridge Overpass Is Getting a Makeover

$107,000 crowdfunded project to be completed this summer

The Lansing Economic Area Partnership (LEAP) has finally announced plans to execute on its successful crowdfunded project for the Michigan Avenue Bridge. Better known as the ‘Under the Bridge Project’, an initiative that aims to revive the US-127 bridge overpass along the Michigan Avenue corridor that joins Lansing and East Lansing, will launch into full swing this spring in partnership with Lansing-based artist, Brian Whitfield. Whitfield was commissioned to create four murals on the slope-pavings underneath. In addition to the artistic touch being added, the Lansing Board of Water & Light (BWL) will add to the new look by installing 24 decorative LED lights that will illuminate the bridge.

“I am honored to have been commissioned for a truly transformative project in my own backyard,” said Whitfield. “The mild-winter has caused uncertainty with the temperatures necessary for creating a mural, and I am eager to begin my work as soon as the weather is consistent.”

Whitfield’s murals will draw connections between Lansing and East Lansing, by visually celebrating the rich history, prosperous future and strengths of the regional community. While Whitfield patiently awaits the perfect moment to begin illustrating, the BWL has already begun installing light fixtures underneath the bridge and will begin placing decorative lights, which will illuminate the bridge in dozens of optional color variations, in mid-May.

“The BWL is committed to our community, and this project will make the underpass a more desirable corridor, especially for those walking,” said Dick Peffley, general manager of the BWL. “Under the Bridge is a great project that allows us to put our values into action to engage with our community and contribute to the future prosperity of the region.”

Making travel between downtown Lansing and East Lansing more convenient and safe has long been an objective of local leaders. In an effort to make the downtown area more attractive and accessible for MSU students and professionals with business extending to both areas, the new project will be a welcomed addition for those looking for new opportunities to commute. Efforts to accomplish similar goals, such as the Bus Rapid Transit, are more intensive and thus are still hanging in the balance. Officials undertaking this project are enthusiastic that this new opportunity will be an enticing change for the area and its residents.

“Under the Bridge is a fantastic example of successful placemaking. Through a well-executed, artistic and functional installation, this project will be instrumental in uniting the Michigan Avenue corridor and showcasing the global vibe of the region,” said Bob Trezise, president and CEO of LEAP. “There is so much economic development activity occurring along this stretch of the corridor, and this highly visible addition will truly bridge two of our greatest regional assets, the State Capital and Michigan State University of East Lansing.” 

The project was viewed as feasible for many area businesses and initiatives as they united to make funding possible. Those most prominently recognized for providing funds to ‘Under The Bridge’ include Michigan Economic Development Corporation, the BWL, Arts Council of Greater Lansing, RISE Development LLC, Sparrow Foundation, Michigan State University, Indian Trails, Feldman Automotive, LAFCU, Lansing Charter Township, City of Lansing, AF Group, Harvest Creative Services, and the Gillespie Company.

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