Michiana Road Photos

Note: This page has not been revised since mid-2005. Some information may be out-of-date. This will be corrected in the future.

More recent information can be found on the 2009 roadtrip page, written in 2013

Jump to Indiana Toll Road Photos link and new additions | St. Joseph Valley Parkway | Other Michigan | Other Indiana | Other Indiana outside Michiana | Links

New photos 1 (begin with "bh"); New photos 2

Indiana Toll Road Photos

The St. Joseph Valley Parkway and US-31

The "St. Joseph Valley Parkway" is the name of the L-shaped western and southern bypass of Elkhart/Mishawaka/South Bend, Indiana, and its northern extension into Berrien County, Michigan, which carries US-20 and US-31 in Indiana and US-31 in Michigan. According to this page, the Michigan section (including the unbuilt portion) was named in 1993. Exit guide, Indiana / Exit guide, Michigan (at Archive.org) The portion in Elkhart County was also named "Dean R. Mock Expressway" in March, 2002, for the state representative from Elkhart who retired that year (Bill 1382 had proposed this, and while the bill failed, INDOT decided to apply the name anyway, and posted signs later in 2002). US-31 and some of its older alignments (like County Road A2 in Berrien, Van Buren, and Allegan Counties) throughout Michigan is also known as Blue Star Highway (see this page, this page, and this .pdf for history of Blue Star Highways and this page for a graphic of the sign formerly posted along CR-A2; see also this page). The first part of the highway completed was the South Bend bypass section from US 31 south of South Bend to US-20 west of South Bend, which was completed in stages from the 1950s to the 1970s; subsequently, it was extended in stages eastward to east of Elkhart, Indiana, and is in the process of being extended northward to the south end of Interstate 196 at Interstate 94 northeast of Benton Harbor, Michigan (for a timeline of construction of the Indiana portion see Routes in South Bend and Metro Northern Indiana on this site, and for the Michigan portion see this article as well as Routes in Niles, Michigan - List by designation on this site). Currently, the freeway in Michigan stretches from the Indiana state line to Napier Avenue east of Benton Harbor, where US-31 turns west to I-94 Exit 30, following a section of Napier widened specifically to handle US-31 traffic. The section from Exit 15 (M-139/Old 31) near Berrien Springs to Exit 24 (Napier Avenue) opened on August 27, 2003, at 6:00 pm (with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 2:30 pm). Articles from the opening ceremonies:

Niles Daily Star | St. Joseph/Benton Harbor Herald-Palladium (day of opening, published before the actual opening) | South Bend Tribune

Prior/later articles about this section (all Herald-Palladium articles unless noted otherwise):

September 16, 2004 (photo) | August 23, 2003 | August 20, 2003 | September 1, 2002 | August 23, 2002 | Old Michigan Department of Transportation project page (no longer being maintained)

The final section from Napier Avenue to I-196/I-94 or BL-94/I-94 is under development, with construction scheduled to start in 2005 and completion expected in 2014 or later -- see this MDOT page (corresponding press release | Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement press release, 6/15/04), this press release plus this .pdf, this article, this message, this message, and this story for details.

Chris Bessert provides this map of the Michigan portion and most of the Indiana portion of the freeway. See also his US-31 Freeway in Berrien County page.

Also, interchange diagrams may be viewed at pages on each DOT's respective website: Indiana | Michigan

Note: The Berrien County section (.pdf) of the MDOT Physical Reference/Control Section atlas shows an I-196 marker (it's actually a BR-196 marker with mainline Interstate shield colors) on the St. Joseph Valley Parkway between the Niles/Buchanan area and Berrien Springs. It's possible that this means that MDOT might be considering extending I-196 down the St. Joseph Valley Parkway, or it could simply be a misplaced shield. Thanks to Chris Bessert for the tip-off

Other locations in Michiana


Jump to Interstate 94 | Interstate 196 | Emergency Interstate 94 | Territorial Road | Business Loop 94/M-63 | M-152 | General northern Berrien County | Traffic signal section | Sawyer | Berrien Springs | Niles | Mottville | General photos

Interstate 94

Interstate 94 runs from Billings, Montana, to Port Huron, Michigan. Around Benton Harbor/St. Joseph, it carries Chicago-to-Detroit traffic as well as a significant amount of local traffic (between Exit 22 in Stevensville and Exit 41 in Watervliet (M-140) there are ten exits, including four in a five-mile stretch). Exit guide: Version 1 (at Archive.org) | Version 2

I-94 in Michigan between Benton Harbor and Detroit was to be I-92 and northeastward from there it was to be a northern I-77 (see these maps). I-94 as ultimately built runs along the old US 12 corridor to Detroit then the old US 25 corridor to its eastern end in Port Huron. US 12 was moved onto former US 112 after I-94 was completed in Michigan. In Michiana old US 12 is known as Red Arrow Highway (see photos throughout this page).

Note: Most of these photos were taken when US 31 followed I-94 from Exit 28 (M-139) to Exit 30 (Napier Avenue), where US 31 now joins I-94.

Interstate 196

Interstate 196 runs from I-94's Exit 34 near Benton Harbor to I-96 in Grand Rapids. It was originally planned alternately as a section of a more northerly-routed I-94 by AASHO, now AASHTO (see these maps) and I-67 by MDOT, and ultimately became the western end of I-96 before that designation was switched with the I-196 one west of their split in Grand Rapids. It carries US 31 between its southern end and just south of Holland. See also this page for I-196 information. Exit guide (at Archive.org)

This page has photos of most exits along I-196.

Emergency Interstate 94

In the 1990's Michigan set up an "emergency Interstate" system. This system is designed as a permanent set of detours for Interstates in case an impassable problem occurs on the Interstates (in the case of I-94 in this area, the problem is usually very heavy lake effect snow). When the marker assemblies were first installed, the "EMERGENCY" plaque on top was white-on-blue like the directional plaques (the "WEST"/"EAST" signs). On Pipestone Road Northwestbound at Napier Avenue near Benton Harbor

Territorial Road

Territorial Road begins in downtown Benton Harbor and runs eastward towards Decatur, then turns northward and merges into Red Arrow Highway west of Paw Paw. (It is disconnected due to Interstate 94, but retains its name across the gap.) Established in 1829, it was the predecessor to a route which would later become part of US 12, now Red Arrow Highway in Southwest Michigan and Michigan Avenue elsewhere in Michigan (see this page for the likely origin of the name), making it the main route between St. Joseph and Detroit and possibly between Chicago and Detroit. If anyone has specific details about Territorial Road, please contact me at musxf579@hotmail.com (alternate: musxf579@kent.edu ).

West to east:

Business Loop 94 and Michigan 63 in St. Joseph and Benton Harbor

Many states have Interstate Business Loops, usually a surface-street loop connecting an Interstate to a town center. Michigan's are full state highways, and are fully signed with the exception of not being identified on guide signs on the parent Interstate for the Business Loop in the opposite direction.

Business Loop 94 in St. Joseph and Benton Harbor runs from I-94 south of St. Joseph along former US 12 into St. Joseph, then goes eastward on former US 12 through Benton Harbor until the Main Street/Fair Avenue (BL-94/M-139 Southbound) intersection, where BL-94 continues eastward on Main Street, which turns into a short, part-expressway, part-freeway divided highway. This divided highway is interesting for a couple of reasons; see the end of this section for details. The eastern end of that divided highway section is also the eastern end of BL-94 at I-94. BL-94 was at one time planned to follow what is now M-63 south to the Washington Avenue split, where it would then follow a new alignment due south to I-94 (see this article), and for a short time was even planned past that point, curving eastward to what is now the US 31 freeway (see the 1968 Michigan State Trunkline System planning map (see here). On the other end, where BL-94 ends at I-94/US 31 just southwest of I-196, a short eastward extension may have been planned here as well to the proposed US 31 freeway (see this page).

M-63 through the area was US 33 until 1986 when that route was truncated south of Niles (see this page for details). Before that, it carried US 31 and US 33 into St. Joseph from the south and US 31 from the north.

A dangling state highway

Maps which show M-152 ending at the Berrien/Van Buren County Line are correct, as this photo shows (the green sign in the background beyond the M-152 assembly is an MDOT-standard "Enter Berrien County" sign -- see below). Facing west

General northern Berrien County

New Nickerson Avenue at Pipestone Road

A couple miles south of I-94 the eastern end of Nickerson Avenue was rerouted from southeast to east to meet Pipestone Road a few hundred feet north of where they had met (the stub of the old road dead-ends near the western end of the new section). There is right-of-way cleared for an eastern extension of the rerouted road, though I haven't heard what's going on with that. Update: This is Sodus Parkway, which will now be the main route southeastward, making Pipestone Road somewhat of a frontage road. See this map (.pdf), this article and this response letter. Stephon Watson supplies this photo (better one to be taken later) of the intersection from the north after Sodus Parkway opened.

Red Arrow Highway (old US 12) Westbound approaching Benton Center Road

Notice the Emergency I-94 assembly in the distance.

Various signal assemblies

Michigan's traffic signal assemblies consistently have certain features not usually found in other states, most notably internally-lit ("back-lit") signs. Note that these features may also be found in conjunction with flashing beacons as well.

A Red Arrow Highway junction assembly near Sawyer

Here is another example of the Red Arrow Highway sign (see the Keeler entry in the Territorial Road section above for a link to the first). Photo contributed by Stephen Summers

Old 31 in Berrien Springs

When US 31 was moved to the portion of the St. Joseph Valley Parkway completed in 1992 (see above), the section of 31 between the temporary northern end of the freeway and Business US 31 north of Niles retained its state maintenance but became known as "Old 31". Old 31 is not marked with markers, except here in downtown Berrien Springs -- workers simply placed "OLD" signs above the previously-existing US 31 assemblies. This is Old 31 Southbound, which actually turns from southeast to northeast at this intersection (Cass and Ferry Streets).

Niles area

To better understand the Niles pictures, visit my Routes in Niles, Michigan page.


Camelback bridge formerly on US 12 Courtesy Brian Reynolds from April 2002

US 12 crossed this bridge from its construction in 1922 until 1990 when a new span was built immediately west (upriver).

Standard Michigan advance street signage

Signs like these are found on all state highways prior to intersections with all but the most minor intersecting roads. Sometimes a sign with a town will be added below if the town is nearby (see the M-140 portion of the "Territorial Road" section above). On M-140 Southbound south of Territorial Road

Standard Michigan non-Interstate county line signage

The sign says "ENTER/VAN BUREN/COUNTY" On M-152 Westbound at the Cass/Van Buren County Line

Berrien County Adopt-a-Highway sign

These have a similar design to MDOT's. On Benton Center Road Southbound south of Red Arrow Highway


Jump to South Bend | Elkhart

South Bend

Elkhart area

Hoosier Roadway Photos -- This is a page for Indiana road photographs outside of the Michiana region.


This page created August 5, 1999 (old version)/Page revamped August 2, 2000/Transferred to roadfan.com April 14, 2001/Last revised June 27, 2005

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