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Roads and Highways of Indiana

The Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) is responsible for the establishment and classification of a state highway network which includes interstate highways, U.S. highways, and state roads. There is no rule preventing the same numbering between state roads, U.S. routes, and Interstate highways, although traditionally, INDOT has avoided state road numbers which are the same as those on U.S. routes within the state.

The Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) is a governmental agency of the U.S. state of Indiana charged with maintaining and regulating transportation and transportation related infrastructure such as state owned airports, state highways and state owned canals or railroads.

Indiana has a mileage cap of 12,000 miles for its highway syste

Interstate Highways: A list of Interstate Highways within Indiana

U.S. Routes: A list of U.S. Routes within Indiana

State Roads: A list of all state roads within Indiana

Former state highways: A list of former state roads within Indiana


Business Routes in Indiana

Many Indiana cities have business routes, but by law they are maintained by local governments, not INDOT.

Interstate 65 used to have a business loop in Lebanon, Indiana, it is considered decommissioned.
Lebanon is a popular place name for business loops.

A business route (occasionally city route) in the United States and Canada is a short special route connected to a parent numbered highway at its beginning, then routed through the central business district of a nearby city or town, and finally reconnecting with the same parent numbered highway again at its end.


County Roads in Indiana

Most Indiana counties use a numbering system for designating county roads based on a grid (similar to how streets are designated in Salt Lake City). The system is similar to latitude and longitude on the globe, where numbering begins at the Equator and Greenwich Prime Meridian, respectively.

Typically, the north-south road that divides the county into east and west parts is named "Meridian Road", and the east-west road that divides the county into north and south parts is named "Division Road", just as the north-south street that divides Indianapolis between "east" and "west" is named Meridian Street. However, roads along the baselines are given a variety of names in different counties. For example, Rush County designates them both as Base Road. Howard County designates the east-west baseline road as 00 NS. Some Counties, like Gibson, use state roads or other highways as baselines. Gibson County uses US 41 and most of Indiana 64's route in the county as base roads.

Other roads in the county are identified by the distance (in miles) from the baseline, multiplied by 100, followed by the compass direction from the baseline. For example, road "200 E" would be a north-south road located 2 miles (3.2 km) east of the meridian line, and road "350 N" would be an east-west road located 3.5 miles (5.6 km) north of the division line. Roads along a county line may be given a grid designation or may be referred to as County Line Road.

Some county roads still run diagonally, or do not run in straight lines, even in gridded counties; these roads are usually given names rather than numbers. Such roads may also be given an arbitrary numeric designation: an example is NE 80 in Decatur County.

Roads in gridded counties also change names due to jogs in the road, although a small jog (less than 0.05-mile (0.080 km), and sometimes larger) is usually neglected. Road numbers using the ordinary system are seldom seen with digits other than 0 or 5 in the units place (hundredths of a mile); indeed, roads whose numeric designation is not divisible by 25 (one-quarter mile) are not common. Some counties, such as Hendricks end a county road's number with the digit of 1 if the road dead ends or has no outlet.

One reason for implementing this grid-based numbering system related to the 9-1-1 emergency system. The grid system allows a location to be identified much more quickly and accurately than the old system of road names and rural routes.

Alternate grid systems are used in some counties, including systems starting at the edges of the county rather than bisecting lines. For example, Hamilton County continues the street numbering system of Indianapolis all the way across the county from south to north. 96th Street runs east-west along the Marion/Hamilton county line, and the grid continues with 10 "streets" to the mile up to 296th Street in the rural area at the Hamilton/Tipton line. North-south roads in Hamilton County have unsystematic names, although many road signs will indicate the distance east or west of the baseline along with the road name. Marshall County uses a grid that starts at the northern and eastern county lines. East-west roads are given an ordinal number (First Road, Second Road, etc.) or number and letter (1A, 3B, etc.) to indicate their distance south of the northern border, while north-south roads follow its northerly neighbor St. Joseph County's pattern and are named with tree names whose initial letter indicates the distance west of the eastern border (Apple, Beech, etc.) and with the last names of notable local people whose initial letter indicates the distance south of the northern border, although the subsequent letters are not systematic (Hawthorn is west of Hickory). Elkhart County uses a grid system like that of the state route system, except that the numbers for north-south odd-numbered roads increase west-to-east.

Some counties are not gridded. Due to the geography of counties such as Dearborn and Ohio Counties, this grid system is not practical to implement. The southern third of the state, which was not covered by glaciers during the Illinoian Stage and therefore retains an unglaciated landscape similar to central Kentucky, is too hilly for this. Gridding is also difficult or impossible in counties laid out under other quadranglular mapping systems such as the Vincennes Quadrangular, an older style of mapping system using a river for reference. This is the case in parts of Clark, Gibson, Knox, and Vanderburgh Counties.

City routes

City routes are most commonly found in the Midwest United States, although there are exceptions. These routes serve the same purpose as business routes, but they feature "CITY" signs instead of "BUSINESS" signs above or below route shields. Many of these city routes are being phased out in favor of the business route designation.

Another definition of a "city route" is similar to a county route, where a particular city forms its own highway system, usually of beltways. The city of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, for instance, has a colored belt road system. Officials in Charlotte, North Carolina created Charlotte Route 4, a loop of surface streets around uptown. A route in Pawtucket, Rhode Island known as the Downtown Circulator was created by the city to help travelers navigate the downtown area.

Alternate routes

An official alternate route is a special route in the United States that provides an alternate alignment for a highway. They are loop roads and found in many road systems in the United States including the U.S. Route system and various state route systems. Alternate routes were created as a means of connecting a town (or towns) desired to be on a route which had been routed differently to put another important town or city on the route.

Originally, the term for these routes was "optional"; but in 1959, the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) changed the designation to "alternate". In some cases where needed, an additional business route exists as a third alignment (this was the case with former Alternate US 71 which bypassed Joplin, Missouri).

AASHTO defines and specifies that alternate routes of the U.S. Route system should have the following behavior:

An "Alternate Route" shall be considered a route which starts at a point where it branches off from the main numbered route, may pass through certain cities and towns, and then connect back with the regular route some miles distant. Since it is the purpose of the U.S. numbered system to mark the best and shortest route available, an alternate route should be designated only where both routes are needed to accommodate the traffic demand, and when the alternate route has substantially the same geometric and structural design standards of the main marked routing. It is recommended that in case an alternate route is marked, that the shorter and better constructed route be given the regular number and the other section designated as the "Alternate Route". It is further recommended that the Highway Department erect signs at the junction points of the regular and alternate routes giving the distance between the cities or points concerned . . .
 In no instance should an alternate routing be used for the purpose of keeping an obsolete section on the U.S. numbered system after a new routing has been constructed and available to traffic.

In at least one case, the banner "Optional Route" was retained when a second alternate route existed. One example of this occurred in Kansas City, Missouri with U.S. Route 40 which had an alternate and an optional route simultaneously.

In some US states, an alternate route will be designated by adding an "A" after the number instead of a sign marked "Alternate" above it. Example: "US 69A" means "Alternate US 69".

Auxiliary route or Special route

Originally in the United States, the terms used for special routes were "City", "Truck", and "Optional". In 1959-1960, the terms were changed to "Business", "Bypass", and "Alternate", respectively; however, the "Truck" banner is still used today on many routes, especially those where trucks are prohibited on the mainline (for example, Truck Route 1-9 in Jersey City, New Jersey, which routes trucks around the Pulaski Skyway which bans them). The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) has called for the removal of "alternate" routes, though some still exist.

 

In road transportation, a special route (unofficially/neologistically child route or auxiliary route is a prefixed and/or suffixed numbered road that forms a loop or spur of a more predominant route (known as the "parent" or "mainline") that shares same route number and system. Special routes are found in many highway systems in the United States, including the Interstate Highway System, the U.S. highway system, and various state highway systems. There are different kinds of special routes, each having an unique behavior with respect to the parent route.

The special route is typically distinguished from its parent with the use of auxiliary words or suffix letters placed on the route shield or on an adjacent sign. These signs are sometimes known as "plates" or "banners", thus another synonym (coined by roadfans) for special route is "bannered highway" or "bannered route"; however, not all special routes have these banners.


Behavior of some special routes still in existence in the United States

The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) sets the nationwide precedent for special routes, particularly in the area of U.S. Numbered Highways. As of late, the association only advocates business, bypass, alternate, and temporary routes, with the remainder of the types being suggested for decommissioning and/or replacement by another route.

Some old alignments of routes may also be informally known as special routes (despite some which do not intersect the parent route). These older alignments may be given street names like "Old U.S. Highway 52", or in some rare cases, be signed with route shields attached to "Old" banners.

In the case of U.S. state routes, special routes are generally restricted to primary state routes, not secondary state routes, though Missouri has three supplemental routes which have short spur routes.

A few rare highways have two special route designations. Some of these doubly-designated special routes are:

  • Alternate Business US 66 in Springfield, Missouri 

  • Business US 1A in downtown Bangor 
  • Truck Business US 17 in Elizabeth City, North Carolina 

Routes with special designations in the U.S. have typical behavior that distinguishes them from other routes. There are, however, many exceptions to the common behavior, depending on the situation.

Business Interstates

Do not exist in Indiana

Interstate 65 in Lebanon, Indiana used to be a Business Interstates however has been removed


Truck routes

Do not exist in Indiana

Alternate and Optional routes

Alternate routes are loops that provide alternative alignment for a parent route. They are usually signed with an "alternate" or "alt" auxiliary or an "A" suffix. They generally traverse through a different settlements or different city neighborhoods than the parent route, but roughly remain parallel to the parent. Unlike business routes and bypasses, their relationship to population centers varies from case to case. Alternates also can be quite longer than most other special routes with some spanning over 50 miles (e.g. US 1A in Maine and US 74A in North Carolina).

Prior to 1960 there were "optional" routes in the United States that were synonymous with alternate routes. As a means of providing uniformity, the "Optional" term was phased out in the 1960s.

AASHTO defines and specifies that alternate routes should have the following behavior:

An "Alternate Route" shall be considered a route which starts at a point where it branches off from the main numbered route, may pass through certain cities and towns, and then connect back with the regular route some miles distant. Since it is the purpose of the U.S. numbered system to mark the best and shortest route available, an alternate route should be designated only where both routes are needed to accommodate the traffic demand, and when the alternate route has substantially the same geometric and structural design standards of the main marked routing. It is recommended that in case an alternate route is marked, that the shorter and better constructed route be given the regular number and the other section designated as the "Alternate Route". It is further recommended that the Highway Department erect signs at the junction points of the regular and alternate routes giving the distance between the cities or points concerned . . .
In no instance should an alternate routing be used for the purpose of keeping an obsolete section on the U.S. numbered system after a new routing has been constructed and available to traffic.

Spur and Connector routes

Spur routes are spurs, splitting from the parent route without returning. They usually end in a settlement or area not served by the parent. Connector routes are spurs that connect the parent route with a nearby prominent route, usually an Interstate highway (e.g. CONN M-44 connects M-44 to Interstate 96). Both Spurs and Connectors are generally very short in length, not spanning more than ten miles (16 km).

Scenic routes

Scenic routes, in terms of special routes, are loops of a parent route that traverse through an area of natural or historical significance. Only two routes in the country remain with the official Scenic designation: US 40 Scenic and US 412 Scenic.

Toll routes

Toll routes, in terms of special routes, are loops that are faster than the parent route, but which are tolled.

Loop routes

Loop routes, in terms of special routes, are loops that form a complete radial around an area, having at least one intersection with the parent route. Because of their circumferential nature, inner/outer directions have been used to sign such routes, as opposed to cardinal directions. Georgia State Route 120 Loop, which encircles a section of Marietta, Georgia, and Georgia State Route 10 Loop, which is the perimeter highway around Athens, Georgia, are two examples.

Temporary routes

Temporary routes complete a gap between two segments of a parent route which exists because the parent route through the area has not been fully constructed yet. They serve as a long-term detour until the parent route's planned path is completed, at which point the Temporary designation is either removed or replaced by another designation such as Alternate or Business. Temporary routes generally traverse along roads which are at a lower standard compared to the planned mainline. An example is US 191 through a copper mine north of Clifton, Arizona.

Emergency detour routes

A rare type of special route, known as the Emergency Detour route, is signed with an auxiliary "Emergency" banner that is colored orange, indicating a temporary traffic control sign. The purpose of these routes is to offer an alternative in the event that the parent route is impassable, due to either a traffic jams, traffic collision, or road closure (for a variety of reasons). Emergency U.S. Route 31, which offers an alternative crossing of the Grand River in the event that the bascule bridge in Grand Haven, Michigan is unavailable for motorists, is one such route. According to the Michigan Department of Transportation, "This route would only be used in emergency situations and worst-case scenarios impacting the entire bridge structure". Emergency Interstate 94 follows Interstate 94 throughout much of southern Michigan.

Other governments have a variation on this concept, though not always a "special route":

A detour is a route around a planned area of prohibited or reduced access, such as a construction site

Standard operating procedure for many road departments is to route any detour over roads within the same jurisdiction as the road with the obstructed area.

Permanent detours

Various areas have systems of permanent detours as part of incident management.

Divided routes

Some U.S. Routes are given directional suffixes to indicate a split of the main route - for instance, U.S. Route 25 splits into U.S. Route 25E (east) and U.S. Route 25W (west) between Newport, Tennessee and North Corbin, Kentucky, and U.S. Route 9W is an alternate of U.S. Route 9 between Fort Lee, New Jersey and Albany, New York. These splits were in the system of United States Numbered Highways from the beginning, and were used when two roughly-equivalent routes existed. They are usually loops, but some have been spurs, though since they use directional letter suffixes, they are not generally considered "bannered routes". The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials no longer assigns these numbers, and in theory current ones are to be eliminated "as rapidly as the State Highway Department and the Standing Committee on Highways can reach agreement". This policy was adopted by 1996; however, many of these routes still exist, mostly in Tennessee.

St. Joseph Valley Parkway in Indiana

The St. Joseph Valley Parkway is a freeway in the U.S. states of Michigan and Indiana, serving as a bypass route around Niles in Michigan and South Bend, Mishawaka, and Elkhart in Indiana. It lies to the west of Niles, to the west and south of South Bend, and to the south of Elkhart and consists of segments of US 31 and US 20; those two highway designations overlap at the southwestern rim of the South Bend metropolitan area.

It is designated US 31 from Michigan to the US 20/Lincolnway West interchange, then US 20 and US 31 to the US 31/Michigan Avenue interchange, then US 20 until the end of the freeway east of Elkhart.

The Parkway begins where US 20 expands to a divided highway southeast of Elkhart. To the east in Indiana the freeway feeds into an undivided segment of US 20 at Elkhart County Road 17. From there it runs westward along the south sides of Elkhart and Mishawaka. South of South Bend, US 31 joins the Parkway, and then the Parkway turns northward along the west side of South Bend. Along this segment, US 20 turns back west and leaves the Parkway. The Parkway meets the Indiana Toll Road which carries I-80/I-90 before crossing the state line into Michigan. West of Niles, the Parkway meets US 12 and continues northwesterly running west of Berrien Springs. From there it runs northward to end at Napier Avenue west of St. Joseph. The St. Joseph Valley Parkway ends at Napier Avenue, but US 31 continues as a five-lane highway west along Napier to connect with I-94 and the rest of the US 31 routing north of there on I-196.

It has no tolls. No part of it is part of the Interstate Highway System, although some segments are up to Interstate Highway standards and may become part of the Interstate System if and when US 31 between South Bend and Indianapolis is upgraded to or replaced by an Interstate Highway. A few notable exceptions to Interstate-quality elements that exist on this freeway include a nonstandard median barrier with short height. There is a direct driveway to one of Indiana's State Highway Maintenance facilities from the Eastbound lanes near Elkhart. Other than at the St. Joseph County Line, there are no breaks in the median barrier within Elkhart County.

How it got it's Name

The "St. Joseph Valley Parkway" name was chosen by local chambers of commerce in the Fall of 1992 as the result of a local contest held by a group of local businesses. The name was officially adopted by Michigan in 1993 (dedicated late 1995) and Indiana in 1995 (dedicated in mid-1995).

Indiana

The section of the St. Joseph Valley Parkway was completed between US 20 and SR 2. The freeway was extended to SR 23 and construction was started to extend it further to US 31. The freeway was given the BYPASS US 20 designation at this time as well. This extension to US 31 was completed in the mid 1970s. The exit with the Indiana East-West Toll Road/I-80/I-90 was finished in 1979. The BYP US 20 designation was replaced by the US 31 designation in 1982. Construction in the early 1990s extended the freeway in sections from US 31/BUS US 31 to its current end with US 20 at CR 17, with the portion from US 31/BUS US 31 to SR 331/Bremen Highway paved first, by 1991. Ramps from Nimtz Parkway were completed in 1998, and the portion in Elkhart was also named the "Dean R. Mock Expressway" in March 2002.

History

By 1960, section between US 20 and Indiana 2 completed and apparently unnumbered

1964: Completed between US 20 and Indiana 23 and under construction between Indiana 23 and US 31. Around this time the "BYPASS US 20" designation is added.

By the mid 1970's, completed from US 20 to US 31

1979: Completed to the Indiana Toll Road/I-80/I-90 

1982: "BYPASS US 20" designation replaced by "US 31" designation. Some maps show a "BYPASS US 31" designation just prior to this time, but it is unlikely that "BYPASS US 31" signs were actually posted. Also, around this time (1979), the highway is completed to US 12 in Michigan.

Early 1990's: Completed in sections from US 31/Business US 31/Michigan Street to the current end east of Elkhart, with the 31/Bus. 31/Michigan St.-to-Indiana 331/Union Street section completed (paved) in 1991.

1998: Access ramps to Nimtz Parkway (formerly Cleveland Road) completed, complementing the ramps connecting Nimtz to the Toll Road built in 1993

2002: Elkhart portion also named the "Dean R. Mock Expressway".

St. Joseph Valley Parkway's Future

East of Benton Harbor, Michigan, the highway is under study due to environmental, economical and historical site issues. A few alternative extensions to this roadway involve connecting directly to I-196 at I-94, and another involves connecting it directly to BL I-94 at I-94 near Benton Harbor with auxiliary lanes to I-196. As per the study, it is scheduled for completion in 2015, when it will connect to I-196. Until the freeway is complete, US 31 follows a stretch of Napier Avenue, which was upgraded in conjunction with the St. Joseph Valley Parkway opening to that point, westward to I-94.


Indiana Toll Roads

 

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