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I-94 and US-31 lanes reopening this week in Benton Township

Fast facts:

  • All lanes of I-94 are reopening today, while crews are putting the final touches on US-31 for an anticipated weekend opening.
  • When complete, US-31 will connect to I-94 and I-196, allowing motorists to remain on the freeway.
  • The completion of the $121.5 million project, started in 2020, will complete building of the US-31 freeway first started in 1972.

COLOMA, Mich. ­- The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) will be completing the $121.5 million project in Benton Township, Berrien County, to complete US-31 and the connection to I-94 this week. All lanes are expected to be open by the weekend.

All lanes of I-94 are reopening today, while contract crews are putting the finishing touches on US-31 this week. Weather pending, all lanes of US-31 and the connection to I-94 are expected to open to traffic this weekend.

Work 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.