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St. Joseph Valley Parkway Extension:

Old US 31 to Napier Road, Berrien County

On August 27, 2003, a nine mile extension of the US 31 freeway, known as the St. Joseph Valley Parkway, opened between Old US 31 near Berrien Springs and Napier Road east of Benton Harbor.  The former US 31 between Berrien Springs and I-94 (Exit 28) is now an extension of M-139.  At this time, US 31 will be routed west along Napier Road over to I-94 (Exit 30), then pick up its former routing along I-94 and onto I-196.  In the next few years, analysis will take place to determine how the final gap in the US 31 freeway between Napier Road and I-196 may be resolved.

Following are photos from the newly opened extension of the US 31 freeway, some taken prior to the opening of the freeway, and some afterward.


1 mile advance exit signage for Old US 31 and M-139. (Eric Meier, 8/16/2003)

Gantry signage at the exit ramp to Old US 31 South. The interchange between US 31 and M-139 / Old 31 is a five-ramp parclo. (Eric Meier, 8/16/2003)

Overhead exit signage at the ramp to M-139. The first photo (Eric Meier, 8/13/2003) shows the actually installation of the sign onto the overpass; the second (Eric Meier, 8/16/2003) shows the finished product.

Tabor Road exit signage.  (Eric Meier, 7/23/2003)

Overpass of the Pipestone Creek. The series of signs beyond the bridge announce the impending end to the freeway. (Dan Garnell, 8/28/2003)

FREEWAY ENDS 1 MILE warning sign. The two northbound lanes narrow into one on approach to the Napier Avenue interchange. (Dan Garnell, 8/28/2003)

Napier Avenue exit signage. (Eric Meier, 7/29/2003)

Current northern end of the US 31 freeway. All traffic is defaulted onto the Napier Avenue exit ramp. (Dan Garnell, 8/28/2003)

US 31 North trailblazer on Napier Road, just west of the current northern end of the US 31 freeway. (Eric Meier, 8/13/2003)


Turnoff onto the start of the US 31 freeway from Napier Avenue East. (Dan Garnell, 8/28/2003)

Speed limit and destination signage just after the Napier Road interchange.  (Eric Meier, 7/29/2003)

Overpass of the Pipestone Creek. The Pipestone Road interchange is just around the bend. (Dan Garnell, 8/28/2003)

Pipestone Road exit signage. While northbound Eau Claire is listed as a destination for Exit 18 (Tabor Road), southbound Eau Claire traffic is encouraged to use this interchange, Exit 22. (Dan Garnell, 8/28/2003)

Merge of on-ramp from Pipestone Road. The bridge carries Naomi Road over US 31. (Dan Garnell, 8/28/2003)

1 mile advance exit signage for Tabor Road. 
(Eric Meier, 7/23/2003)

US 31 South shield just after the Tabor Road interchange. 
(Eric Meier, 7/23/2003)

Overpass of the St. Joseph River. This is the northernmost of three US 31 crossings of the St. Joseph in Michigan. The huge guide sign right after the bridge announces the upcoming interchange with the newly extended M-139 in 1 mile. (Dan Garnell, 8/28/2003)

M-139 / Old 31 exit signage. (Dan Garnell, 8/28/2003)

M-139 and Berrien Springs signs on the Exit 15 off-ramp.  This marks the new starting point for M-139 in the northbound direction. The first photo (Eric Meier, 7/29/2003) presents an angular, pre-construction view of the signage; the second (Dan Garnell, 8/28/2003) is a more direct shot, taken the day after the freeway opened. Replacement of US 31 shields with M-139 shields was in progress on that particular day.

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2003, Dan Garnell
Page Created: August 4, 2003
Last Updated: September 23, 2003

US 31 shield courtesy of Barry Camp.