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BUS US-127 (Harrison)
BUSINESS
US-131 Route Marker
Constantine
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BUS US-131 (Three Rivers)
Southern Terminus:   New! US-131, 0.63 mile north of Dickinson Rd, 1.6 miles south of downtown Constantine
Northern Terminus:   New! US-131, 0.74 mile south of Garber Rd, 2.4 miles north of downtown Constantine
Length: New! 4.04 miles
Map: Route Map of BUS US-131 Constantine
New! US-131 Constantine Bypass - Before & After
Notes: New! With its debut on October 30, 2013, Constantine's BUS US-131 routing becomes the seventh Business Connection for US-131 in Michigan as well as the farthest south such routing.
  New! Planning for some sort of bypass or relocation of US-131 in the Constantine area began in the 1950s as the Michigan State Highway Dept was considering upgrades for many of its heavily-traveled corridors throughout the state. As early as 1951, US-131 from Reed City on the north to the Indiana state line on the south was earmarked to be upgraded to a divided highway under the oversight of then-State Highway Commissioner Charles M. Ziegler. When John C. Mackie replaced Ziegler in that position in 1957, he overhauled plans for the future of the state trunkline highway system, including many more miles of freeway than his predecessor had. By 1960, MSHD plans showed US-131 being converted to a full freeway facility for its entire length in the state, from Indiana to Petoskey. A similar planning map from 1968 confirmed the department was still viewing the entire US-131 corridor as being a freeway at some point in the future.
  New! In the ensuing decades, however, a shift in transportation priorities as well as a lack of funding stalled all freeway conversion in the US-131 corridor south of Kalamazoo at the Shaver Rd intersection north of Schoolcraft. In the 1990s, MDOT proposed a western freeway bypass of the Village of Schoolcraft, but a Prairie Ronde Township trustee objected to the route through his township and the taking of farmland and MDOT committed to maintain the existing heavily-traveled route through the downtown district instead. Farther to the south, however, officials in the Village of Constantine—the first incorporated community US-131 travels through north of its beginning at the I-80/I-90/Indiana East-West Toll Road—were clamboring for a bypass. After studying the route of US-131 through St Joseph Co for many years, MDOT announced in late 2005 that it would not be moving forward with any relocation of US-131 in the county. Following intense pressure from local officials and politicians, MDOT reversed its decision in April 2006. It committed to building the western bypass of Constantine as a two-lane limited-access expressway (with access at most crossroads), but constructed on a four-lane right-of-way which would facilitate conversion to a four-lane expressway or a fully controlled-access freeway at some point in the future, if traffic volumes, political will, and funding allowed. The 4.201-mile, $18 million bypass was constructed in just nine months and a ceremonial ribbon-cutting ceremony was held on October 18, twelve days before the new roadway actually opened to traffic. With the opening of the bypass to traffic on October 30, the former route of US-131 through Constantine officially became BUS US-131, although actual signage in the field may take some time to be updated. (Map of Constantine Bypass.)
History: 2012 (Nov 16) New! In preparation for the 2013 completion of the Constantine Bypass, MDOT applies to AASHTO for official approval to both relocate the mainline route of US-131 onto the new bypass as well as to designate a BUS US-131 routing to travel along the existing route of US-131 through the village. AASHTO officially approves both requests at their Nov 16, 2012 meeting of the Special Committee on U.S. Route Numbering in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
  2013 (Oct 30, 10:30 am) New! The US-131 Constantine Bypass opens to traffic, first beginning with southbound traffic just after 10:30 am, with northbound traffic shifted to the new roadway around 11:00 am. With the US-131 route designation moving to the new bypass skirting the Village of Constantine to the west, the existing route through the village becomes BUS US-131.
Controlled-Access: No portion of BUS US-131 (Constantine) is freeway or expressway.
NHS: While the former route of US-131 through the Village of Constantine was on the NHS, it is assumed MDOT has or will be petitioning the FHWA to transfer the NHS designation onto the new bypass to keep it on the US-131 mainline route. Therefore, Constantine's BUS US-131 routing is not being shown as being on the NHS.
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