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Walk, run, or bike US-31 event on Sept. 26 in Berrien County

Fast facts:

  • The public is invited to experience the newly built US-31 in Benton Township before it opens to traffic.  
  • After almost two decades of waiting, join the nonmotorized celebration of the US-31 connection to I-94 by walking, running, or biking the new section of highway from Britain Avenue north to the redesigned I-94 interchange.
  • The event will start at 3 p.m. with participants having an hour to complete the 2.5-mile loop.

COLOMA, Mich. ­- The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) will be hosting a public celebration on US-31, recognizing the long-awaited connection of US-31 to I-94 in Benton Township, Berrien County.

The public is invited to walk, run, or bike any or all of the 2.5-mile loop on US-31 from Britain Avenue to the redesigned interchange with I-94 then back to Britain Avenue. Only nonmotorized bicycles are allowed for safety, and guests will be parking on the northbound lanes of US-31 north of Napier Avenue. The Napier Avenue ramp to northbound US-31 will open at 2:30 p.m. with the event scheduled to start at 3 p.m., beginning with a few welcoming comments at the starting line from MDOT representatives.

The current $121.5 million project started in 2020 and has involved building about 2 miles of new highway connecting US-31 to I-94, new interchanges with I-94 and I-196, rebuilding the I-94 Business Loop in Benton Harbor, rebuilding 3.5 miles of I-94, building several new bridges, and repairing several other bridges. $94 million of the funding came from Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s Rebuilding Michigan bonding program and supported 1,206 jobs.

The history of US-31 dates back to 1972, when the freeway project began at the state line. Work was halted at Napier Avenue in 2004 with the discovery of the Blue Creek Fen, home to the Mitchell's satyr butterfly, a federal endangered species since 1991. Planned work on the remaining stretch of US-31 from Napier Avenue to I-94/I-196 was shelved due to a lack of funding, but MDOT engineers redesigned the route in preparation for eventual construction.

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