MSU to place steel barrier along Red Cedar River where Brendan Santo drowned

Michigan State University is set to place a steel safety barrier along a half-mile stretch of the Red Cedar River after the drowning death of visiting 18-year-old student last fall.

The university installed temporary fencing along a portion of the river where it runs through the East Lansing campus after the body of Grand Valley State University student Brendan Santo was found in the river in January, nearly three months after he was last seen while visiting campus, the Lansing State Journal reported.

Family and friends of Santo, who was from the Detroit suburb of Rochester Hills, started a petition calling for barriers, lighting and warning signs. The section where the new barrier is being built has steep banks down to the river.

Michigan State spokesman Dan Olsen said work on the permanent fencing is expected to begin Tuesday and be finished by the end of August. The fencing will be about 4 feet high and run 2,300 feet, with an estimated cost of nearly $650,000.

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"The installation of the new fencing delivers on the commitment we made earlier this year to improve the safety around parts of the river," Olsen said.