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Final year of project connecting US-31 to I-94 begins Monday

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Posted at 10:10 AM, Mar 31, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-31 10:10:54-04

BENTON TOWNSHIP, Mich. — Lane closures on I-94 in Berrien County will kick off the final year of a three-year project that will finally connect the US-31 freeway with I-94 and I-196.

The project will achieve goals held by the Michigan Department of Transportation for decades. The US-31 freeway to connect South Bend with I-94/I-196 in Berrien County began in 1979 and was constructed through various projects until work stopped in 2003 where the US-31 freeway met Napier Avenue.

Work resumed in 2020 with a total spending plan of $122 million.

Related: (History) US-31/I-94 Connector Design Build

This year’s work starts Monday, April 4, with a right lane closure on I-94 from I-196 to the southern end of the project at the Britain Avenue overpass.

Related: After nearly 20 years, US-31 freeway will get connected to I-94

Beginning April 11, eastbound traffic will be shifted over to share the other side of the freeway with westbound traffic while the eastbound pavement is torn up and replaced between the Britain Avenue overpass on the south and I-196 on the north. In the process, a new weave/merge lane will be added on the right from the interchange at Mile 33 and the exit to I-196. That will create the ability to transition from US-31 to I-196 without leaving the freeway system.

Beginning April 15, the interchange of I-94 at I-196 will be affected:

  • Ramp from eastbound I-94 to northbound I-196 closed. 
  • Detour: Go east on I-94, exit at M-140 Watervliet, enter I-94 westbound to I-196. 
  • Ramp from southbound I-196 to eastbound I-94 closed. 
  • Detour: Exit early from southbound I-196 to Red Arrow Highway Exit 1, east to M-140, south to I-94. 

Summary of MDOT’s plan for this year:

  • Complete the final 1.8 miles of new freeway on US-31 and connect the freeway to I-94. 
  • Rebuild 3.5 miles of eastbound I-94 between Britain Avenue and I-196, including a new extra right lane between Mile 33 and the I-196 exit. 
  • Completing the interchange at I-94 and I-94 BL at Mile 33, where the new connection with US-31 will be made. 
  • Completing work on the I-94 interchange at I-196. 

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