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Author Topic: IN: US 31 South Bend to Plymouth Upgrade report  (Read 82684 times)

mukade

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IN: US 31 South Bend to Plymouth Upgrade report
« on: November 12, 2011, 11:12:15 PM »

On a recent trip through South Bend, I took a look at progress on the US 31 project. This is a 20 mile freeway upgrade project that goes from US 20 in South Bend south to US 30 in Plymouth. Of that length, 15 miles are being built on a new terrain, and from US 30 north for five miles will use the existing roadway. The new road is planned to be open in 2014.

Among the problems are peat deposits that require removal of a substantial amount of material. This is an article from a contractor, ES Wagner. Other questions are answered on the INDOT FAQ page. Some of the project can already be seen in Google Maps east of Lakeville and Lapaz.

Remaining contracts to be let:
  • 02/08/2012 Jackson Road over US 31, various roads over US 20
  • 03/07/2012 Connecting existing highway to new highway (half mile north of US 6) and new US 6 interchange
  • 04/04/2012 Kern Road interchange
  • 10/11/2012 7th Road Interchange, resurface existing US 31


1st Road overpass


Looking north from Tyler Rd.


Pierce Rd - SR 4 extension to new US 31


New US 31 crossing existing US 31






« Last Edit: November 12, 2011, 11:21:08 PM by mukade »
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ShawnP

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Re: IN: US 31 South Bend to Plymouth Upgrade report
« Reply #1 on: November 13, 2011, 01:12:56 PM »

Thanks and it will only be a matter of time for Interstate 67 from Indy to Michigan. I have feeling once the folks get a feel of a upgraded US-31 in Hamilton County, Kokomo and Plymouth-South Bend. They will want more and put the public opinion behind I-67.
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mukade

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Re: IN: US 31 South Bend to Plymouth Upgrade report
« Reply #2 on: November 13, 2011, 04:24:39 PM »

I-67 would be very nice, but there is still quite a distance to upgrade there. The state will put #1 priority on completing I-69 - I support that, but actually the South Bend-Elkhart area is a lot bigger than Evansville metro. The best I think we can hope for in the near term after the three active US 31 projects are complete is maybe the elimination of the remaining stoplights. I think there will be seven left: Peru north of US 24, Peru BR 31 (south), SR 218 north of Grissom, SR 18, Tipton County Division Rd., SR 28, and 236th St. in Hamilton County. Knocking out one or two a year would be great.
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TimF

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Re: IN: US 31 South Bend to Plymouth Upgrade report
« Reply #3 on: February 15, 2012, 10:03:54 PM »

Is it known when construction will start on Kern Road and when it will be closed?
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mukade

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Re: IN: US 31 South Bend to Plymouth Upgrade report
« Reply #4 on: May 28, 2012, 08:13:05 PM »

I checked out progress on US 31 this past weekend.

They are finally paving the part that was graded two years ago. Pictures are below. They are clearing trees and brush at Kern Rd. and look close to doing demolition on a number of houses. The construction contract for the section that goes from Kern Road back to existing US 31 has been let. This is directly north of a section approaching completion.

Another contract that has been let goes from US 6 south to the existing US 31. At US 6, utilities are being relocated, but no signes of actual construction yet.

After those two sections are done, there will be two remaining areas left: work right around US 20 and the upgrade of existing US 31 from US 30 north to where the new terrain road is tying in south of Lapaz.


Getting close to paving around Tyler Rd. in Lapaz


Asphalt paving as seen from Lake Trail east of Lakeville


SR 4 extension and interchange


PCCP pavement as seen from New Road

Google map centered on SR 4 interchange
« Last Edit: May 28, 2012, 08:45:02 PM by mukade »
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ARMOURERERIC

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Re: IN: US 31 South Bend to Plymouth Upgrade report
« Reply #5 on: May 28, 2012, 08:41:43 PM »

There is a newer subdivision just south of Kern Road that looks like it is in the middle of a future ROW
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mukade

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Re: IN: US 31 South Bend to Plymouth Upgrade report
« Reply #6 on: May 28, 2012, 09:18:10 PM »

There is a newer subdivision just south of Kern Road that looks like it is in the middle of a future ROW

From what I saw, the newer subdivision (Lafayette Falls?) will remain - it is west of the new interchange - unless there is another subdivision hidden south of Kern Rd. All the houses with the "STATE OF INDIANA" placards in the windows looked older.

I assume this is the subdivision you are talking about: Google Street View of Lafayette Falls entrance
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cabiness42

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Re: IN: US 31 South Bend to Plymouth Upgrade report
« Reply #7 on: July 27, 2012, 09:37:47 AM »

http://www.southbendtribune.com/news/sbt-part-of-kern-road-to-close-starting-monday-20120726,0,6453293.story

Kern Road between U.S. 31 and Locust Road will close to all traffic beginning Monday, the Indiana Department of Transportation has announced.The closure, which will continue through the end of November, is part of the new road and bridge construction project for the new U.S. 31.
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seicer

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Re: IN: US 31 South Bend to Plymouth Upgrade report
« Reply #8 on: July 27, 2012, 10:52:16 AM »

It almost seems as if they are using asphalt with a continuously-reinforced concrete pavement on top, which is similar to the new highway pavement design and construction in Kentucky.

It would be my hope that once US 31 is relocated, that the existing facility can be narrowed down to two lanes. A bike path, north to south from South Bend to Indianapolis, would be a gem.
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tdindy88

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Re: IN: US 31 South Bend to Plymouth Upgrade report
« Reply #9 on: July 27, 2012, 11:13:36 AM »

There is already a trail from Rochester south through Peru and almost to Kokomo, with plans for it to reach Downtown Kokomo eventually. Find a way to connect Rochester and Plymouth and that South Bend to Indy trail is already more than halfway there.
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mukade

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Re: IN: US 31 South Bend to Plymouth Upgrade report
« Reply #10 on: July 27, 2012, 06:11:52 PM »

It would be my hope that once US 31 is relocated, that the existing facility can be narrowed down to two lanes. A bike path, north to south from South Bend to Indianapolis, would be a gem.

I doubt it because only sections in the Kokomo and South Bend areas are new terrain - and they carry sufficient local traffic that they won't need to be narrowed, IMO. From near Lapaz south to Plymouth is being upgraded to freeway. It is not new road.

As for the SR 25 upgrade, most of the old road where it runs parallel to the new one is being completely removed rather than serving as a frontage road.
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mobilene

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Re: IN: US 31 South Bend to Plymouth Upgrade report
« Reply #11 on: July 27, 2012, 11:00:19 PM »

The section of existing US 31 from north of Plymouth (where Old 31 splits off) all the way to South Bend involves the Michigan Road, one of Indiana's oldest highways (built in the 1830s).  The southbound lanes map to the original Michigan Road alignment as far as I can tell all the way.  I'm worried about what the counties will do if/when Indiana cedes Old 31 to them.  I work with a group that last year got the Michigan Road named a State Historic Byway -- it runs from Madison to Michigan City.  We are trying to honor the road's place in state history and encourage heritage tourism along the route.  So it's important to us that this road remain driveable.  Enough of it has already been disrupted, such as about 5 miles of it that are buried under I-74 in Shelby County.  -Jim
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jim grey | Indianapolis, Indiana

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Re: IN: US 31 South Bend to Plymouth Upgrade report
« Reply #12 on: July 27, 2012, 11:05:23 PM »

Wouldn't it be better for historic purposes if the southbound lanes became a trail that allows horse-drawn buggies?
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mobilene

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Re: IN: US 31 South Bend to Plymouth Upgrade report
« Reply #13 on: July 28, 2012, 01:51:37 PM »

Historically, the minute the road was improved beyond its original state -- 100 ft ROW with trees cut down and the stumps ground out in the middle 30 feet -- its historic environment was lost.  We're just trying to preserve the original route so cars can drive it and reach all the towns along the route.
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jim grey | Indianapolis, Indiana

mukade

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Re: IN: US 31 South Bend to Plymouth Upgrade report
« Reply #14 on: July 28, 2012, 05:46:04 PM »

I would think that the construction of the new terrain route around Lakeville and Lapaz and removal of the connection from the old to the new would restore the road closer to what it was.

Have you proposed signing the historic route to INDOT or any counties? If they don't have funding, it seems like the kind of thing the Lilly Foundation might be willing to give a grant for - especially because you got the historic byway designation. Do you know who funded all the Lincoln Highway markers in the state?

Do you know when was Michigan Road widened from US 6 northward? I would guess it has been that way for at least 60 years.
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mobilene

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Re: IN: US 31 South Bend to Plymouth Upgrade report
« Reply #15 on: July 28, 2012, 07:56:38 PM »

I'm actually President of the Historic Michigan Road Association, and one of our first goals is to sign the route. We need to seek funding, and we need to work with INDOT and then also where INDOT doesn't have jurisdiction the counties and towns.  It is going to be a heck of a project to sign all 270 miles of the road. 

The LH markers were kind of a hodgepodge. Last time I drove the route the signs didn't even match county to county.  Given how they were placed in some places I wouldn't be surprised to learn that permission was not always sought.

I'm under the impression that the 4-laning of 31 from SB south happened in the early 70s sometime.
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jim grey | Indianapolis, Indiana

mukade

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Re: IN: US 31 South Bend to Plymouth Upgrade report
« Reply #16 on: July 28, 2012, 10:29:56 PM »

I'm under the impression that the 4-laning of 31 from SB south happened in the early 70s sometime.

I just looked at my 1959 Indiana highway map, and US 31 (Michigan Rd.) was marked as divided from US 6 northward. I think I have a 1956 map somewhere and will check that. US 31 from Keystone north to SR 47 (present day 236th St.) was also divided then. Kokomo and Indy also had divided sections. US 31 went thru downtown Peru and downtown Plymouth back then.

I know that US 31 from Plymouth south to Peru (or thereabouts) was made divided in the 1970s, but I don't think any of that is Michigan Road.


Update: The 1952 and 1957 official highway maps show US 31 as divided from Lakeville northward.

The 73/74 map still showed US 31 as two lanes from Plymouth to SR 16.

FWIW
« Last Edit: July 28, 2012, 10:49:03 PM by mukade »
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rickmeck

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Re: IN: US 31 South Bend to Plymouth Upgrade report
« Reply #17 on: August 03, 2012, 02:57:25 AM »

A local TV station in South Bend did a video tour of the South Bend - Plymouth section of U.S. 31.


http://www.wsbt.com/videogallery/71558015/News/A-look-at-the-road-yet-traveled
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mobilene

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Re: IN: US 31 South Bend to Plymouth Upgrade report
« Reply #18 on: August 03, 2012, 02:47:03 PM »

Wow, that story was pretty well done.
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jim grey | Indianapolis, Indiana

tdindy88

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Re: IN: US 31 South Bend to Plymouth Upgrade report
« Reply #19 on: August 03, 2012, 09:44:38 PM »

Seeing that video, I noticed a few signs that are already on the new highway such as one mileage sign with the distances to US 20, South Bend and Benton Harbor (Niles has been mentioned as a control city at the current interchange with 31 and 20, though Benton Harbor is a control at Cleveland Road and US 31.) Also, in the distance of one shot was a sign bridge for I presume Kern Road and US 20 with controls of Michigan City and Elkhart (it looks like it at least.) Are there any sign plans online that anyone knows of?
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JREwing78

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Re: IN: US 31 South Bend to Plymouth Upgrade report
« Reply #20 on: August 03, 2012, 10:01:35 PM »

I see US 31 is being posted for only 65, while comparable Interstate freeways get posted for 70. Of course, a stretch of comparable freeway in Wisconsin (WIS 26) was posted for 55 for nearly a year (they finally raised it to 65 a couple weeks ago), so it could be worse.

Seems a bit ridiculous though when US 30 (side roads, driveways, and all) merits posting for 60 for much of its length.
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mukade

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Re: IN: US 31 South Bend to Plymouth Upgrade report
« Reply #21 on: August 03, 2012, 10:07:43 PM »

I think only Interstates have 70 MPH speed limits in Indiana. Other freeways are 60 or 65.
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Revive 755

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Re: IN: US 31 South Bend to Plymouth Upgrade report
« Reply #22 on: August 03, 2012, 10:22:41 PM »

^ I thought it was interstates could be 70, four lane roads could only go up to 60?
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tdindy88

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Re: IN: US 31 South Bend to Plymouth Upgrade report
« Reply #23 on: August 03, 2012, 11:01:18 PM »

Four-lane, non-interstate freeways can go up to 65 MPH, and I think the US 20/US 31 bypass around South Bend is an example (if not the only) of that. Also on that note, there are very few freeways in Indiana that aren't interstates, so the examples are very few. Four lane highways that are not freeways can go up only to 60 miles per hour. Only interstates can go up to 70.
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mukade

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Re: IN: US 31 South Bend to Plymouth Upgrade report
« Reply #24 on: August 03, 2012, 11:30:57 PM »

Seeing that video, I noticed a few signs that are already on the new highway such as one mileage sign with the distances to US 20, South Bend and Benton Harbor (Niles has been mentioned as a control city at the current interchange with 31 and 20, though Benton Harbor is a control at Cleveland Road and US 31.) Also, in the distance of one shot was a sign bridge for I presume Kern Road and US 20 with controls of Michigan City and Elkhart (it looks like it at least.) Are there any sign plans online that anyone knows of?

Very difficult to find. One contract is 30128 and the CIB for that contract has some (all for Kern Rd.). South Bend's US 31, like Hamilton County's has no exit number tabs, but Kokomo's US 31 signs do. Weird.

I suppose you can find contract numbers if you go through the CIBs.

BTW, the speed limit on this section is 60, just like the Fort-Port (US 24) freeway. Kokomo's US 31 originally showed 65 MPH signs, but the current ones show 60 MPH.
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