background_fid.png
Inform, Entertain, Inspire
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

U.S. 31, I-94 to be connected by new interchange in Berrien County set to open this November

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer speaks during a press conference celebrating the soon-to-open interchange between U.S. 31 and I-94.
Provided
/
Office of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer speaks during a press conference celebrating the soon-to-open interchange between U.S. 31 and I-94.

The St. Joseph Valley Parkway in Berrien County is finally getting linked to I-94 with a new interchange. It’s expected to save time for travelers and improve the local economy.

A direct interchange between U.S. 31 and I-94 has been planned for more than 50 years but stalled from completion for almost as long thanks to a number of issues including potential impact on the habitat of the endangered Mitchell's satyr butterfly.

A new route was selected in the early 2000s, but then the connection faced a lack of funding.

However, that issue was resolved last year thanks to a combination of Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s $3.5 billion rebuilding Michigan plan and federal dollars secured by Republican Rep. Fred Upton through the bipartisan infrastructure bill.

And state and federal officials, including Whitmer and Upton, were on-site Monday to celebrate that progress.

According to a press release from the governor’s office, the new interchange is expected to save three minutes per trip, reduce traffic on local roads and improve safety by reducing the risk of crashes.

Construction on the interchange has been underway for the past several years, and it is expected to open this November.

“Connecting US-31 to I-94 will save drivers time, keep them safer on the road, and lower their costs,” Whitmer said in the release. “After decades of delay, we are getting this critical Southwest Michigan project done without raising taxes.”

Upton called the interchange’s completion a story of “persistence.”

“For some 50 years it persisted as a problem and for 50 years we persisted in trying to solve it,” Upton said in the release. “Today, after long efforts by folks in the community, state and at the federal level, we can finally celebrate the opening of this road and the end of the persistent headaches created when it was not completed.”

Contact Jakob at jlazzaro@wvpe.org or follow him on Twitter at @JakobLazzaro.

If you appreciate this kind of journalism on your local NPR station, please support it by donating here.

Jakob Lazzaro comes to Indiana from Chicago, where he graduated from Northwestern University in 2020 with a degree in Journalism and a double major in History. Before joining WVPE, he wrote NPR's Source of the Week e-mail newsletter, and previously worked for CalMatters, Pittsburgh's 90.5 WESA and North by Northwestern.