State Road 37 South - Marion, Johnson & Morgan Counties

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Guide by Thomas Decker.

Indiana State Road 37 south
Indiana 37 begins its southern leg at the Interstate 465 interchange on the southwest side of Indianapolis. North of the interchange, the road is known as Harding Street, a four-lane arterial road that heads north toward an interchange with Interstate 70 a couple of miles southwest of Downtown Indianapolis. Approaching the Interstate 465 interchange, a couple of circle shields containing the number 37 are present directing traffic to the south, one of a few interesting route markers for this highway along the way. Photo taken 06/21/09.
Just south of that location, the westbound ramp for Interstates 465 and 74 (along with U.S. 36, 40, 52, and SR 67) appears. The interchange was rebuilt in 2011 to allow for the heavy truck and commuter traffic that goes through here. This interchange contains numerous truck stops and businesses and therefore receives heavy freight traffic. The diamond interchange was rebuilt to allow for additional turning lanes at each of the ramps as well as the stoplights to the immediate north and south of the interchange. Photo taken 11/13/11.
The eastbound ramp for Interstate 465 and 74 and for Indiana 37 north appears. SR 37 South is signed with Bloomington as the control city. Photo taken 11/13/11.
The first SR 37 reassurance shield appears over the newly rebuilt Indiana 37 as it approaches the Thompson Road intersection, serving several restaurants and gas stations. Photo taken 11/13/11.
South of Thompson Road, the highway remains six lanes as it approaches the Harding Street intersection. From this point, Harding Street heads due south while Indiana 37 continues toward the southwest. Photo taken 06/21/09.
The first mileage sign on southbound Indiana 37 appears, marking the distances to Martinsville (24 miles) and the control city of Bloomington (45 miles). Photo taken 06/21/09.
As Indiana 37 turns toward a more southerly direction, it loses the inside lane and becomes a four lane expressway with a grassy median. It is around this spot where the new Interstate 69 will join the Indiana 37 corridor from a new interchange that will be built to the west of the current interchange with Indiana 37. Around this point the speed limit on Indiana 37 becomes 55 miles per hour. Photo taken 06/21/09.
The first few miles of Indiana 37 are within Perry Township, on the Southside of Indianapolis. This is one of the few conflict regions for the new Interstate 69 extension which will follow Indiana 37 from Bloomington north toward Interstate 465. The other main conflict region famously is Bloomington itself. Through Perry Township, the highway is a four-lane expressway with stoplights at most intersections, primarily with Edgewood Avenue, Banta Road, Southport Road, and Wicker Road. The route is heavily traveled by commuters from Perry Township and suburban Johnson and Morgan County as well as students and visitors to Bloomington and Indiana University. Photo taken 06/21/09.
Mann Hill is the forested area up ahead as Indiana 37 approaches the Southport Road intersection. Mann Hill (not Crown Hill as often stated) is the tallest point in Marion County and represents the coming change for southbound travelers as the flat Hoosier landscape will give way to a more hilly appearance. Southport Road is a major west-east corridor across the Southside. To the east, the road connects Indiana 37 with Southport and Homecroft as well as Interstate 65 and to the west the road crosses the White River and connects with the town of West Newton in Decatur Township. This will be the first planned interchange of Interstate 69 south of Interstate 465. Photo taken 06/21/09.
At the next intersection, with Wicker Road, the small community of Glenns Valley is present. Photo taken 11/13/11.
The next intersection is County Line Road, and as the name implies, it is the county line between Marion County (Indianapolis) and Johnson County. Here Indiana 37 enters the northwestern corner of Johnson County (Population: 139,694). County Line Road is another planned interchange on the new Interstate 69. Photo taken 11/13/11.
Indiana 37 spends the next few miles within the boundaries of White River Township, more locally known as Center Grove. This is a growing suburban region of the Southside of Indianapolis that is adjacent to, but not a part of Greenwood (Population 49,791). Two roads, Fairview and Smith Valley cross Center Grove on their way toward Greenwood, which is situated along U.S. 31 and Interstate 65. This sign is at the approaching intersection with Smith Valley Road. The next interchange on the future Interstate 69 will be here. Photo taken 11/13/11.
Indiana 37 from Interstate 465 to Bedford is named the Ruel W. Steele Highway, after the head of the Highway Commission for which the Indiana 37 expressway was built. But as with most Indiana highways that are given names, the highway is only referred to as Indiana 37. Photo taken 11/13/11.
A couple of miles further south, Indiana 37 approaches the intersection with Indiana 144/County Road 144. Indiana 144 is broken up into two separate segments that are joined by County Road 144 in the center. The road begins in Franklin toward the southeast and goes to the northwest toward Bargersville. From Bargersville, it becomes County Road 144 for about seven miles up to the intersection with Indiana 37. West of there, it is Indiana 144 once again as it makes the 8 mile trek northwest to Mooresville. Largely, the road is simply known as 144 by those who pass it by. Photo taken 11/13/11.
The control cities of Bargersville (for County Road 144) and Mooresville (for Indiana 144) appear at the intersection with Indiana 37. This intersection is the last one in the Indianapolis Metro area for those going south and has a couple of gas stations and restaurants to serve travelers along the route. Photo taken 11/13/11.
South of the intersection with Indiana 144/County Road 144, the mileage sign again shows the distance to Martinsville (15 miles) and Bloomington (36 miles). Photo taken 11/13/11.
At around this point, Indiana 37 enters Morgan County (population 68,894). Morgan County represents the midpoint between the Indianapolis and Bloomington areas and most of the residents who don"t work there will commute to either city. This makes Indiana 37 a busy highway throughout the county to serve the traffic that flows from either city. At this point, the intersection with Whiteland Road approaches, serving the town of Whiteland, located nearly 15 miles to the east near U.S. 31 and Interstate 65 in Johnson County. Photo taken 11/13/11.
A sign for the unincorporated area of Waverly, which is located just west of Indiana 37 and south of Indiana 144. Photo taken 11/13/11.
A sign for County Road 650 North, which leads to the unincorporated community of Banta, located just east of the Morgan County line in Johnson County. Photo taken 11/13/11.
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The 15 mile stretch of Indiana 37 between Indiana 144 and Martinsville has the highway going along the edge of a growing hill system as one goes further south. If one is expecting the traditional Hoosier landscape of farmland and flat fields, then they are to be disappointed. Morgan County represents where the glaciers stopped and therefore part of the county remains glaciated. The West Fork of the White River forms a valley across the central part of the county, with Indiana 37 following the eastern edge of the valley. There are currently plans for at least one, if not two interchanges for the new Interstate 69 within this valley, at Egbert Road. Photos taken 05/31/09.
Approaching the intersection with Country Club Road along Indiana 37 south. Photo taken 05/31/09.
A sign announcing the upcoming community of Martinsville and three of the major intersections with Indiana 37 around the city. Indiana 37 is unique in Indiana for being the only highway with signs like this announcing the location of upcoming "exits." In this case, the term intersections are correctly applied. Indiana 252, Ohio Street, and Burton Lane are the three most important, but not the only, intersections around Martinsville. Photo taken 05/31/09.
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Indiana 37 continues south as it approaches Martinsville. Martinsville (population 11,828) is the county seat and largest city in Morgan County. Martinsville is known as the Gateway to Southern Indiana and for those coming south from Indianapolis, it marks the beginning of the transition from the till plains of Central Indiana and the rolling, glaciated hills of Southern Indiana. Martinsville is the only major community in between suburban Indianapolis and Bloomington and contains motorist services along the route. Photos taken 05/31/09.
The first stoplight for Indiana 37 approaches with the junction with Indiana 44. Indiana 44 is the first major west-east state highway across Indiana that is south of Interstate 70. The highway begins at the intersection with Indiana 37 and continues east for 90 miles across the state, touching with the cities of Franklin, Shelbyville, Rushville, Connersville, and Liberty before leaving the state at the Ohio border. As around this point the speed limit drops to 50 as the highway makes its bypass of Martinsville. Photo taken 11/13/11.
Guide signs point to Franklin and Martinsville at the Indiana 44 intersection. To the west of Indiana 37, the road becomes Reuben Drive, which continues on to Morgan Street, the main west-east road across Martinsville. Photo taken 11/13/11.
The Indiana 44 intersection marks the first of five stoplights along the next couple of miles of Indiana 37 as the highway makes its way around Martinsville. The future Interstate 69 will be routed along the Indiana 37 highway around Martinsville, but as of 2011 there have been no definite plans as to where the exits for Martinsville will be. There are plans for either an interchange with Indiana 44, the upcoming Indiana 252, or one located in between the two. Photo taken 11/13/11.
The next approaching intersection is with Indiana 252, a state highway connecting Martinsville with the town of Morgantown in southeastern Morgan County. The highway continues east from there across southern Johnson County and past Camp Atterbury on its way through Edinburgh and finally into Shelby County where it ends at Indiana 9. The highway is divided into two segments; the main western segment goes for 39 miles from Martinsville to Indiana 9 while the second segment is found in Franklin County in southeastern Indiana. Photo taken 11/13/11.
Control cities of Morgantown and Martinsville for the upcoming intersection with Indiana 252. Morgantown is nine miles southeast of Indiana 37 on a windy stretch of Indiana 252. To the west, the road becomes Hospital Drive, providing access to Morgan Hospital as well as the aforementioned Morgan Street. Photo taken 11/13/11.
Now at the Indiana 252 intersection the highway starts dropping into the valley for which Martinsville is located and the hills of southern Morgan County are present in the background. Photo taken 11/13/11.
Indiana 37 begins its trip around the east and south sides of Martinsville, providing a bypass for the original highway which went through via Morgan Street and Main Street (which links up to the current Indiana 39). As with many communities, much of the retail businesses in Martinsville have located themselves along the Indiana 37, making the road slow going on an otherwise free-flowing transit between Indianapolis and Bloomington. Photo taken 05/31/09.
The highway has stoplights with Green Valley Boulevard, Ohio Street/Mahalasville Road (pictured ahead), and Burton Lane. Currently, the plan for the future Interstate 69 is to have an interchange at the Ohio Street/Mahalasville Road intersection with a likely frontage road system linking up to the businesses along the highway. Photo taken 05/31/09.
Now approaching the Burton Lane intersection, a guide sign for the interchange with Indiana 39 first appears. Indiana 39 is separated into two segmented highways as well and it is from Indiana 37 here in Martinsville that the much longer northern segment begins. The highway goes on for 180 miles as it heads to the north through Monrovia, Danville, Lebanon, Frankfort, Delphi, Monticello, and LaPorte before ending at the Michigan border where it becomes M-239 and connects with Interstate 94. The southern segment exists for only 14 miles in Washington and Jackson Counties in southern Indiana. Photo taken 11/13/11.
Now passing the Burton Lane intersection, the exit ramp for Indiana 39 appears. Around Martinsville, Indiana 39 is known as a connector route around the west side of Martinsville to Indiana 67, which is a four lane highway from Martinsville north to Mooresville and Indianapolis. It is also the only bridge across the West Fork of the White River, a link that is being repaired as of 2011. This interchange also designates the location where the original Indiana 37 came out of Martinsville. Photo taken 11/13/11.
Now leaving Martinsville, the speed limit returns to 60 miles per hour. The next distance sign announces that Bloomington is now 20 miles away while Bedford, the next control city to the south is 42 miles. Photo taken 05/31/09.
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Indiana 37 stays on the western side of the hills as it begins its climb toward Monroe County. These hills are part of the Morgan-Monroe State Forest, which is a popular recreational area in Morgan County. The current routing of Indiana 37 was a route meant to bypass the original route which followed county roads south of Martinsville and through the Morgan-Monroe State Forest. Around the 1950s the highway was moved to the west so that it went southwest of Martinsville before going south into Monroe County toward Bloomington. In the 1970s, as traffic got heavier the entire highway was expanded to four lanes. The southbound lanes are the newer lanes of the highway while the northbound lanes are the original highway. Photos taken 05/31/09.
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At this point, Indiana 37 enters Monroe County (population 137,974), home of Bloomington and Indiana University. Monroe County and Bloomington are the largest county and city in Indiana to have only state highways, until Interstate 69 is built through it anyway. Photos taken 05/31/09.


Photo Credits:

05/31/09, 06/21/09, 11/13/11 by Thomas Decker

Page Updated 11-29-2011.