US-31 Relocation, Berrien County
Investment: $111 million
The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) will be completing the US-31 limited-access freeway connection from Napier Avenue north to I-94 in Berrien County.
The US-31 freeway project has been in development for more than 40 years. The objective has been to provide a 30-mile US-31 freeway connection from the I-80/90 toll road in Indiana to I-94 and US-31/I-196 in Michigan. Construction of the US-31 freeway as approved in a 1981 Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) has been ongoing and was completed up to Napier Avenue in 2003.
Since approval of the 1981 FEIS, the Blue Creek Fen (crossed by the original alignment north of Napier Avenue) has been identified as a unique resource. The fen provides habitat to many unique species, including the Mitchell’s satyr butterfly that was listed as a federally endangered species subsequent to the 1981 FEIS.
In 2002, a Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (DSEIS) was prepared as an update to the 1981 FEIS for approximately 4 miles of the approved US-31 freeway alignment between Napier Avenue and I-94. MDOT concluded that there was a potential for significant reductions in construction costs and environmental impacts if the final segment of the freeway was realigned to avoid the Blue Creek Fen. As a result, the 2002 DSEIS compared the costs and impacts of alternatives that avoided the Blue Creek Fen to those of a no-build alternative and the alignment approved in the 1981 FEIS. Analysis of the DSEIS alternatives led to the identification of a preferred alternative that provides a western connection of the US-31 freeway to I-94 south of the existing I-94/I-94 Business Loop (BL) interchange at Benton Harbor. The Record of Decision (ROD) was signed on Aug. 31, 2004.
Starting in 2020, the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) will make improvements to I-94, US-31, I-94BL in Berrien County, including:
- Reconstructing 3.1 miles of I-94 from existing six lane divided freeway to barrier separated eight lane freeway
- On I-94, enclosed median with concrete barrier by adding an auxiliary lane in each direction from new US-31 connection to I-196
- Reconstructing all ramps at I-196 interchange
- Reconstructing and realigning 1.6 miles of I-94BL
- Constructing 2.0 miles of US-31 to new four lane divided freeway
- Removing Highland Avenue and I-94BL over I-94 bridges
- Constructing two new cul-de-sacs on Highland Avenue on each side of I-94.
- New US-31/I-94/I-94BL interchange over I-94
- Reconstructing Territorial bridge over I-94
- Rehabilitating Benton Center Rd bridge over I-94
- New bridges at Empire Ave, Britain Ave, and Benton Center Rd over US-31
Construction will take place in stages to minimize the disruption to motorists and residents.
- On I-94, two lanes of traffic will be maintained in each direction on one bound separated by a temporary concrete barrier.
- Highland Ave will be closed over I-94
- Construction of I-196/US-31 interchange ramps will be staged so access in maintained
- Territorial bridge will be closed, and traffic detoured during construction of the bridge
Details will be available closer to the start of construction.
Public Open House
5:00-7:00 p.m. Thursday, May 23, 2019
Benton Township Hall - 1725 Territorial Rd, Benton Harbor
Open House presentation and flyers will be available along with other project boards.
- Record of Decision (ROD) - On August 31, 2004, the Federal Highway Administration issued the Record of Decision (ROD), which completed the environmental clearance process and cleared the way for design and real estate acquisition.
- Summary of Comments at Public Hearing - Draft Supplemental Impact Statement
- Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement to the 1981 Final Environmental Impact Statement (FSEIS).