U.S. 31 and I-94 to finally be connected

WSBT 22 photo

A reason to celebrate for drivers all over the area.

After decades of waiting, U.S. 31 and I-94 will finally be connected in Berrien County.

MDOT secured a $20 million federal grant to pay for the project.

Thousands of cars travel Napier Avenue every day trying to get between U.S. 31 and I-94. Soon they’ll have a more direct path.

“The corridor will operate more efficiently and more safely because people won’t have to get off the freeway onto a local street and then get back on the freeway,” said Nick Schirripa, MDOT spokesman. “Because they’ll be going from freeway two freeway, it improves the operation of that corridor.”

That new corridor has been a long time coming.

“It definitely has been a decades-long process and something that not just commuters and local folks wanted, but it was also very important for businesses, it was important for commerce in the area.”

“Certainly helps with the economic development, delivering goods and services,” said Jason Latham, director of the Berrien County Road Department. “We certainly have a fair amount of trucks on the road around here so we’re happy about it.”

“It’s been no secret that I’ve been pushing to complete this thing from my first days in Congress. and it’s now done,” said Rep. Fred Upton (R).

Not quite done, but close.

“Were gunning for 2021, maybe 2022, but we are reasonably confident that we will be completed with all of it by the end of 2023,” said Schirripa.

The project isn’t fully paid-for either. The state will have to pick up whatever that $20 million grant doesn’t cover.

“Which ultimately will pay maybe as much as 70percent of the final product,” said Upton. “We’re very excited to see this thing get done and certainly that amount is a great Christmas gift for all of us here in southwest Michigan.”

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