US-31 Connector

Michigan Department of Transportation | Berrien County, MI

The US-31 freeway project aimed to provide a limited-access freeway connection from the I-80/I-90 toll road in Indiana to the US-31/I-196/I-94 connection in Michigan.

The Benesch-designed project included the reconstruction of I-94 from the existing six-lane divided freeway to a barrier-separated eight-lane freeway; the reconstruction and realignment of I-94 Business Loop; a new roundabout on the I-94 Business Loop; the permanent removal of two bridges; and the construction of four new bridges to accommodate the new freeway and interchange.

In an effort to improve safety and meet current traffic demands, roadway diet methodology was applied to the I-94BL from south of Benton Harbor, MI, to just north of the new I-94BL/US-31/I-94 partial cloverleaf interchange. The existing four-lane divided roadway was reconfigured to a three-lane roadway, including removing the I-94BL/Crystal Avenue at-grade interchange and placing a roundabout.

This unique and innovative application of an existing technique provided added safety to the interchange and allowed a new bike lane to be added from Crystal Avenue north in and out of Benton Harbor, all while meeting current traffic demands and freshening up the exit with a new modern design.

Using a design-build approach, the US-31 Connector was constructed in two years and four months and opened to traffic quicker than traditional Design-Bid-Build delivery suggested.


  • 2023, Merit Award, American Council of Engineering Companies - Michigan