St. Joseph Valley Parkway

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St. Joseph Valley Parkway

St. Joseph Valley Parkway highlighted in red
Route information
Maintained by INDOT, MDOT
Length56.34 mi[a] (90.67 km)
Component
highways
Major junctions
East end US 20 near Elkhart, IN
Major intersections
North end I-94 near Benton Harbor, MI
Location
CountryUnited States
StatesIndiana, Michigan
CountiesIN: Elkhart, St. Joseph MI: Berrien
Highway system
  • Indiana State Highway System

The St. Joseph Valley Parkway is a freeway in the U.S. states of Indiana and Michigan, serving as a bypass route around Elkhart, Mishawaka, and South Bend in Indiana and Niles in Michigan. The freeway runs to the south and west of Elkhart and South Bend and Niles and consists of segments of U.S. Route 31 (US 31) and US 20; those two highway designations run concurrently at the southwestern rim of the South Bend metropolitan area. It continues north to run along the St. Joseph River valley.

The freeway was first built in Indiana in the 1960s, although plans in Michigan date back to the 1950s. Indiana completed its portion of the freeway in 1992, while Michigan opened its last segment in 2022.

Route description

The Parkway begins where US 20 expands to a divided highway southeast of Elkhart. To the east in Indiana the freeway feeds into an undivided segment of US 20 at County Road 17 (CR 17). From there it runs westward along the south sides of Elkhart and Mishawaka. South of South Bend, US 31 joins the Parkway, and then the Parkway turns northward along the west side of South Bend. Along this segment, US 20 turns back west and leaves the Parkway. The Parkway meets the Indiana Toll Road which carries I-80/I-90 before crossing the state line into Michigan.[1] West of Niles, the Parkway meets US 12 and continues northwesterly running west of Berrien Springs. From there it runs northward to end at Napier Avenue east of St. Joseph. The St. Joseph Valley Parkway ends at Napier Avenue, but US 31 continues as a five-lane highway west along Napier to connect with I-94 and the rest of the US 31 routing north of there on I-196.[2]

The Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) and the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) both maintain the sections of the St. Joseph Valley Parkway in their respective states. Additionally, both departments have listed their freeway segments as part of the National Highway System, a system of roads important to the nation's economy, defense, and mobility.[3][4] The two departments conduct surveys to measure the traffic levels along their roadways. This measurement is expressed in terms of annual average daily traffic (AADT) which is a calculation of the traffic volume on a stretch of roadway for any average day of the year. INDOT's figures for 2007 showed that 30,753 vehicles used the freeway near its western end. The traffic volume drops to 19,914 vehicles near the Indiana Toll Road.[5] In Michigan, the levels drop as low as 7,402 vehicles near the Napier Road interchange.[6]

History

Name

The "St. Joseph Valley Parkway" name was chosen by local chambers of commerce in the fall of 1992 as the result of a local contest held by a group of local businesses. The name was officially adopted by Michigan in 1993 (dedicated late 1995) and Indiana in 1995 (dedicated in mid-1995).[7][8]

Indiana section

There had been a southern bypass of the South Bend and Elkhart areas planned since the 1930s.[9] The first section of the highway, started in 1958 as Bypass US 20 (BYP US 20), was completed between US 20 and Mayflower Road (at the time State Road 123) on September 19, 1963.[10] The freeway was extended to just past the SR 23 interchange in late Summer 1965,[11] then further east to US 31, that section opening on December 15, 1967.[12] The BYP US 20 designation was replaced by the US 31 designation in 1978.[13] The exit with the Indiana East–West Toll Road/I-80/I-90 was built beginning in 1979 in conjunction with the northern extension to Michigan.[9] Construction in the early 1990s extended the freeway in sections from US 31/Business US 31 (Bus. US 31) to its current end with US 20 at CR 17, with the portion from US 31/Bus. US 31 to SR 19 opening on December 11, 1991,[14] and the portion from there to CR 17 opening on October 9, 1992.[15] Ramps from Nimtz Parkway were opened November 3, 1997,[16] and the portion in Elkhart was also named the "Dean R. Mock Expressway" in March 2002.[17][18]

Michigan section

A plan to relocate US 31 in Berrien County, Michigan, existed as early as 1952.[19] Planning to extend the South Bend Bypass northward into Michigan to I-96 (later I-196) began in 1962.[20] A report issued in 1970 detailed four routing corridors, spawning a lawsuit over how Berrien Springs would be bypassed. Construction was to begin in 1975, but the Michigan State Highways Department delayed construction plans in 1972, pushing the start to 1977. The first section, running from the state line north to US 12, was completed and dedicated August 10, 1979,[21] and opened to traffic by September 6 of that year.[22] From there, US 31 was routed east along US 12 to Bus. US 12 and north along Bus. US 12 to the former routing of US 31/US 33.[23] Final plans for the routing north to I-94 were approved in 1981.[24] The Niles bypass section was opened August 16, 1987,[25] bringing the freeway north to Walton Road northwest of Niles. Bus. US 31 was created along the former routing in Niles and Walton Road was rebuilt as a state trunkline connection between the northern end of the freeway and the former two-lane routing of US 31.[26] The Berrien Springs bypass section was opened in late 1992,[27] the southbound lanes opening on October 23 and the northbound on November 20.[28] As a cost-saving measure, this section was initially an expressway with crossroads,[29] and was converted to a freeway in stages through 1999.[30] Since then, MDOT built a 9.1-mile (14.6 km) freeway segment north to Napier Avenue that was opened on August 27, 2003 at a cost of $97 million (equivalent to $149 million in 2022[31]).[32][33] A proposed spur westward to I-94 in the Stevensville area was never built.[20]

Extension to I-94

Mitchell's satyr

East of Benton Harbor, Michigan, the St. Joseph Valley Parkway extension was under study due to environmental, economical and historical site issues. One of the environmental concerns relates to the habitat of an endangered species, the Mitchell's satyr butterfly that has its habitat in the area of the freeway extension.[34] The 40-acre (16 ha) habitat is home to the second-largest population of the rare butterfly.[35] This freeway connection was originally approved in 1981 as part of a final environmental impact study that included the freeway built from Niles northward to Napier Avenue.[36] Since that approval, the butterfly was discovered in the Blue Creek Fen in the late 1980s,[37] and it was listed an endangered species in 1992. The listing stalled construction of the freeway north of Berrien Springs.[27] The US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) issued an opinion two years later that the freeway project would jeopardize the species.[37] MDOT was given permission to modify the previously approved freeway to cross the Blue Creek on longer bridges; the USFWS also required that any construction be done from elevated platforms,[38] among other restrictions.[35] In the interim, MDOT proceeded with construction of the southern portion of the last freeway segment, completing the freeway northward from Berrien Springs to the Napier Avenue interchange in August 2003.[32]

A revised environmental impact study to account for the butterfly's habitat was approved in 2004.[37] The study compared the original proposal for this extension that involved connecting directly to I-196 at I-94 with a pair of alternate routes that involved connecting US 31 directly to BL I-94 at I-94 near Benton Harbor with auxiliary lanes to I-196. The recommendation was to use the PA-2 version of the alternative connection to avoid the Blue Creek Fen.[39] At the time the last freeway segment was opened in 2003, MDOT expected the remaining segment would not take much longer to complete,[34] but funding was not available for many years.[40] Construction of the extension was not included for this reason in subsequent MDOT five-year highway projects plans, although most of the design work and land acquisition was identified in 2013 as having been finished.[41] Funding for the project was listed in the 2017–21 plan draft released in July 2016, which split the remaining work into three phases.[42][43] MDOT received a federal grant for the project in December 2018,[44] citing at that time a completion date of 2022 or 2023 for the project;[45] construction began in June 2020.[46] The ribbon cutting for this section occurred on September 26, 2022.[47][48] The new routing to I-94 formally opened on November 9, 2022.[49] Until the freeway was completed, US 31 followed a stretch of Napier Avenue, which was upgraded in conjunction with the St. Joseph Valley Parkway opening to that point, westward to I-94.[2] The St. Joseph Valley Parkway name was applied to the new freeway section.[50]

Exit list

StateCountyLocationmi[b]kmExitDestinationsNotes
IndianaElkhartJeffersonConcord
township line
98.65158.76
US 20 east – Angola



CR 17 to I-80 / I-90 / Indiana Toll Road
Old US 20 – Elkhart
Eastern terminus as US 20 becomes a freeway
Elkhart95.55153.77
US 33 south – Elkhart, Goshen
Northern terminus of US 33
ConcordBaugo
township line
92.04148.12 SR 19 – Wakarusa, Nappanee, Elkhart
St. JosephPenn Township84.75136.39
SR 331 north (Elm Road)
Eastern end of SR 331 concurrency
82.75133.17
SR 331 south (Bremen Highway) – Bremen, Mishawaka
Western end of SR 331 concurrency
South Bend81.27130.79Ironwood Drive
78.47–
78.83
126.29–
126.86


US 31 Bus. north (Michigan Street)

US 31 south – Plymouth, Indianapolis
Southern end of US 20/US 31 concurrency; milepost 253.94 on US 31
76.08122.44 SR 23
Portage Township74.38119.70Mayflower RoadNorthbound only exit for westbound traffic
72.51–
72.88
116.69–
117.29
SR 2 (Western Avenue) – South Bend, LaPorte
South Bend70.53
262.24
113.51
422.03

US 20 west – Michigan City
 – South Bend, South Bend International Airport
Northern end of US 20/US 31 concurrency
263.02423.29Nimtz Parkway
263.93424.75 I-80 / I-90 / Indiana Toll RoadExit 72 on Indiana Toll Road
264.87426.27

US 31 Bus. south (Cleveland Road / Brick Road)
 266.02
0.000
428.12
0.000
Indiana–Michigan state line
MichiganBerrienBertrand Township3.2875.2903 US 12 – Sturgis, New Buffalo
Niles Charter Township4.8527.8095Niles–Buchanan Road
6.77710.9077Walton RoadFormer Bus. US 31
Oronoko Charter Township12.98720.90113Snow Road – Berrien Springs
15.47424.90315 M-139 – Berrien SpringsFormer US 31/US 33
Sodus Township18.08029.09718Tabor Road
21.93835.30622Sodus Parkway
Benton Charter Township24.44139.33424Napier Avenue
27

I-94 / US 31 north to I-196 – Chicago, Detroit
BL I-94 – Downtown Benton Harbor
Opened November 9, 2022
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

Notes

  1. ^ Total mileage is a summation of the state mileages.
  2. ^ Milepost numbers reset at the Indiana–Michigan state line crossing. In Indiana concurrent sections and exits use the US 20 mileposts which increase to the east.[51][52]

References

  1. ^ Indiana Department of Transportation (2009). Indiana Transportation Map (Map) (2009–10 ed.). Indianapolis: Indiana Department of Transportation. §§ A6–A8.
  2. ^ a b Michigan Department of Transportation (2010). Uniquely Michigan: Official Department of Transportation Map (Map). c. 1:975,000. Lansing: Michigan Department of Transportation. §§ M7–N7. OCLC 42778335, 639960603.
  3. ^ Federal Highway Administration (March 5, 2010). National Highway System: South Bend Indiana (PDF) (Map). Washington, DC: Federal Highway Administration. Retrieved November 23, 2010.
  4. ^ Michigan Department of Transportation (April 23, 2006). National Highway System, Michigan (PDF) (Map). Lansing: Michigan Department of Transportation. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 6, 2014. Retrieved October 7, 2008.
  5. ^ Indiana Department of Transportation (2007). "Indiana Average Daily Traffic and Commercial Vehicles". Indiana Department of Transportation. Archived from the original on May 5, 2011. Retrieved November 23, 2010.
  6. ^ Bureau of Transportation Planning (2008). "Traffic Monitoring Information System". Michigan Department of Transportation. Retrieved November 20, 2010.
  7. ^ Barnett, LeRoy (2004). A Drive Down Memory Lane: The Named State and Federal Highways of Michigan. Allegan Forest, Michigan: The Priscilla Press. p. 196. ISBN 1-886167-24-9. OCLC 57425393.
  8. ^ Von Deylen, Bruce (July 26, 1995). "Bypass Is Now Parkway". South Bend Tribune. p. B3. OCLC 8793233. Retrieved March 21, 2019 – via Newspapers.com.
  9. ^ a b Leuaert, Ray M. Jr. (August 10, 1979). "Transportation Projects Milestones: US 31 Bypass Opens; Interchange Work Starts". South Bend Tribune. p. 1. OCLC 8793233. Retrieved March 21, 2019 – via Newspapers.com.
  10. ^ "Long-Awaited Bypass Open to Traffic". South Bend Tribune. June 19, 1963. § 2, p. 25. OCLC 8793233. Retrieved March 21, 2019 – via Newspapers.com.
  11. ^ Colwell, Jack (October 20, 1965). "Need Survey for Bypass". South Bend Tribune. § 2, p. 57. OCLC 8793233. Retrieved March 21, 2019 – via Newspapers.com.
  12. ^ "Last Segment of Bypass to Open Friday". South Bend Tribune. December 14, 1967. § 2, p. 37. OCLC 8793233. Retrieved March 21, 2019 – via Newspapers.com.
  13. ^ Special Committee on U.S. Route Numbering (October 28, 1978). "Route Numbering Committee Agenda Showing Action Taken by the Executive Committee" (Report). Washington, DC: American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials. p. 2. Retrieved October 15, 2018 – via Wikisource.
  14. ^ Rumbach, Dave (December 12, 1991). "Bypass Quickly Proves Worth: Less Stress". South Bend Tribune. p. C1. OCLC 8793233. Retrieved March 21, 2019 – via Newspapers.com.
  15. ^ Kurowski, Jeff (October 10, 1992). "US 20 Bypass Opens Officially". South Bend Tribune. p. A5. OCLC 8793233. Retrieved March 21, 2019 – via Newspapers.com.
  16. ^ "Interchange Linking Three Highways Opens". South Bend Tribune. November 3, 1997. p. B2. OCLC 8793233. Retrieved March 21, 2019 – via Newspapers.com.
  17. ^ Indiana Department of Transportation. "Memorial Highways and Bridges". Indiana Department of Transportation. Archived from the original on December 15, 2010. Retrieved October 28, 2010.
  18. ^ DeAgostino, Martin (March 21, 2002). "Retiring Lawmaker Rides Road to Fame". South Bend Tribune. pp. D1, D2. OCLC 8793233. Retrieved March 21, 2019 – via Newspapers.com.
  19. ^ Aiken, Scott (September 1, 2002). "US 31 Construction: End of the Road in Sight". The Herald-Palladium. St. Joseph, Michigan. pp. 1A, 12A. OCLC 34793533. Retrieved November 2, 2018 – via Newspapers.com.
  20. ^ a b "State Charts New US 31 Freeway Route". The News-Palladium. Benton Harbor, Michigan. May 2, 1964. p. 22.
  21. ^ "US 31 Dedicated". The Herald-Palladium. St. Joseph, Michigan. August 11, 1979. p. 13. OCLC 34793533. Retrieved November 2, 2018 – via Newspapers.com.
  22. ^ "US 31 Work". The Herald-Palladium. St. Joseph, Michigan. September 6, 1979. p. 15. OCLC 34793533 – via Newspapers.com.
  23. ^ Aiken, Scott (March 27, 1986). "MDOT Plans Route Changes For Berrien". The Herald-Palladium. St. Joseph, Michigan. p. 19. OCLC 34793533. Retrieved November 2, 2018 – via Newspapers.com.
  24. ^ Michigan Department of Transportation; Federal Highway Administration (June 9, 1981). US 31 Relocation, Matthew Road to I-94, Berrien County (Environmental impact statement). Washington, DC: Federal Highway Administration. FHWA-MI-EIS-78-02-F. Retrieved March 3, 2019.
  25. ^ Payne, Norma (August 17, 1987). "2,000 Celebrate Opening of New US 31 Section". The Herald-Palladium. St. Joseph, Michigan. p. 17. OCLC 34793533. Retrieved November 2, 2018 – via Newspapers.com.
  26. ^ "Berrien Road Project Bids Due in Lansing". The Herald-Palladium. St. Joseph, Michigan. June 7, 1986. p. 7. OCLC 34793533. Retrieved November 2, 2018 – via Newspapers.com.
  27. ^ a b "Michigan Butterfly Snarls US 31 Traffic". Science Notebook. Milwaukee Journal. March 14, 1993. p. J2. ISSN 1052-4452. OCLC 298956108. Retrieved December 8, 2013 – via Google News.
  28. ^ Dalgleish, Jim (November 20, 1992). "Berrien Springs' Burden Lifted: Northbound Bypass Open". The Herald-Palladium. St. Joseph, Michigan. p. 1A. OCLC 34793533. Retrieved November 2, 2018 – via Newspapers.com.
  29. ^ Aiken, Scott (March 11, 1998). "Contract Awarded for New US 31 Bridges". The Herald-Palladium. St. Joseph, Michigan. p. 2B. OCLC 34793533. Retrieved November 2, 2018 – via Newspapers.com.
  30. ^ Aiken, Scott (April 13, 1998). "$23 Million in Road Repairs Under Way". The Herald-Palladium. St. Joseph, Michigan. p. 1C. OCLC 34793533. Retrieved November 2, 2018 – via Newspapers.com.
  31. ^ Johnston, Louis & Williamson, Samuel H. (2023). "What Was the U.S. GDP Then?". MeasuringWorth. Retrieved December 19, 2023. United States Gross Domestic Product deflator figures follow the Measuring Worth series.
  32. ^ a b Aiken, Scott (August 28, 2003). "'Ready for a Freeway': New Section of US 31 Highway Finally Opens". The Herald-Palladium. St. Joseph, Michigan. pp. 1A, 8A. OCLC 34793533. Retrieved November 2, 2018 – via Newspapers.com.
  33. ^ Martin, Julie A. (August 27, 2003). "US 31 in Berrien County Opens Today!" (Press release). Michigan Department of Transportation. Archived from the original on December 25, 2011. Retrieved March 26, 2013.
  34. ^ a b Aiken, Scott (October 20, 2013). "When, Oh When, Will 31 Be Done? MDOT Says Linking the Freeway to I-94 East of Benton Harbor Is Years Away". The Herald-Palladium. Benton Harbor, Michigan. Archived from the original on October 24, 2013. Retrieved November 13, 2013.
  35. ^ a b Greenberg, Joel (2004). A Natural History of the Chicago Region. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. pp. 302–3. ISBN 978-0-2263-0648-3. OCLC 48803715. Retrieved December 8, 2013 – via Google Books.
  36. ^ Project Planning Division (April 2004). "Section 1.0 Summary of the 1981 Final Environmental Impact Statement for the US  31 Freeway in Berrien County" (PDF). Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement to the 1981 Final Environmental Impact Statement, Proposed US 31 Freeway Connection to I-94 (PDF). Michigan Department of Transportation. p. 1-1.
  37. ^ a b c Project Planning Division (April 2004). "Section 4.0 Affected Environment" (PDF). Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement to the 1981 Final Environmental Impact Statement, Proposed US 31 Freeway Connection to I-94 (PDF). Michigan Department of Transportation. pp. 4-1, 4-8.
  38. ^ "Bridge OK Could Save a Butterfly". Chicago Tribune. Knight-Ridder. April 24, 1994. Retrieved December 8, 2013.
  39. ^ Project Planning Division (April 2004). "Executive Summary" (PDF). Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement to the 1981 Final Environmental Impact Statement, Proposed US 31 Freeway Connection to I-94 (PDF). Michigan Department of Transportation. p. iii.
  40. ^ Haroldson, Tom (September 4, 2013). "MDOT Officials Concerned Funding Issues Can Delay, Kill Needed Projects". Kalamazoo Gazette. Archived from the original on July 14, 2014. Retrieved September 5, 2013.
  41. ^ Lersten, Andrew (September 5, 2013). "Don't Hold Your Breath". The Herald-Palladium. St. Joseph, Michigan. Archived from the original on September 5, 2013. Retrieved September 5, 2013.
  42. ^ Michigan House Republicans (July 5, 2016). "Rep. Pscholka: US 31 Back on the Build List and on MDOT's Five Year Plan" (Press release). Michigan House Republicans. Retrieved July 6, 2016.
  43. ^ Matuzak, John (July 6, 2016). "Back from the Dead". The Herald-Palladium. St. Joseph, Michigan. Retrieved July 6, 2016.
  44. ^ Wilbur, Tom (December 6, 2018). "Upton Announces $20M Grant for US-31" (Press release). Office of U.S. Representative Fred Upton. Retrieved December 8, 2018.
  45. ^ Wittkowski, Tony (December 7, 2018). "A Long Road Ahead". The Herald-Palladium. St. Joseph, Michigan. Retrieved December 8, 2018. MDOT anticipates completing the project in 2022. It will be done by 2023 at the latest, [MDOT spokesman Nick Schirripa] said.
  46. ^ Smith, Cory (March 5, 2021). "US-31 – I-94 Connector Design Build: 50 Years of History, Engineering, Ecology, and Economics". ArcGIS StoryMap.
  47. ^ Knot, Juliana (September 27, 2022). "Upton, Whitmer Commemorate Newly Extended U.S. 31 Project". The Herald-Palladium. St. Joseph, Michigan. Retrieved September 27, 2022.
  48. ^ Peterson, Mark (September 26, 2022). "After 19 Years U.S. 31 Now Links to I-94 in Berrien County". South Bend, Indiana: WNDU-TV. Retrieved September 27, 2022.
  49. ^ Springgate, Jack (November 9, 2022). "New US 31 Route Opens to Warm Receptions". 16 News Now. South Bend, Indiana: WNDU-TV. Retrieved November 10, 2022.
  50. ^ Michigan Legislature (2001). "250.1049 'St. Joseph Valley Parkway'". Michigan Compiled Laws. Retrieved September 29, 2019. The portion of highway US 31 beginning at the Michigan–Indiana state line and extending north to the intersection with I-94 in Berrien County shall be known as the 'St. Joseph Valley Parkway'.
  51. ^ Indiana Department of Transportation (2004). Reference Post Book (PDF). Indianapolis: Indiana Department of Transportation. U-20, U-31. Archived from the original (PDF) on June 15, 2011. Retrieved August 6, 2010.
  52. ^ Michigan Department of Transportation (2021). Next Generation PR Finder (Map). Michigan Department of Transportation. Retrieved October 11, 2021.

External links