SR 342

Terre Haute. The building of the Terre Haute Airport along SR 42 east of the city helped create one of the shortest state roads in Indiana history: SR 342. And given that part of its history includes a span of existence of less than a decade, it could have gone down as one of the shortest lived state roads in Indiana, as well.

1946

The Terre Haute airport (Hulman Field) began to appear on Indiana Official maps in 1946. The airport was located east of SR 46 and west of Chamberlain Street on SR 42. The red circular object on the 1946 map to the right shows the location of the air field. Also notice, at the time, SR 46 does not continue to US 40 as it does today (actually, the road IS US 40 today, but I digress). SR 46 either ends at, or multiplexes with, SR 42, which enters Terre Haute as Poplar Street.

1956

Between 1953 and 1956 (I am looking for maps to nail the exact date down), a new state road was created: SR 342. It was a very short road, only about one half mile long. A notice in the Terre Haute Tribune of 29 July 1964 states that “the Bituminous Materials Co., 444 S. 6th St., was awarded a $116,893.50 contract to repave 5.5 miles of State Road 42 from State Road 342 east to 1.96 miles east of the Clay County line, and State Road 342 south from State Road 42 for a half mile.”

1959

By 1959, the official map showed that Terre Haute had annexed the territory out to the airport along SR 42 (SR 46), with SR 342 being the eastern edge of the city. The 1959 also shows that SR 342 might have moved to the east to be along Chamberlain Street. Looking at a current map, this makes sense. But until 1959, it looked like SR 342 connected to what is now the terminal at the airport.

1963

By 1963, SR 342 would be removed from state official maps. This means that this state road had existed less than a decade. Again, looking at a current map of the area, the former SR 342 does, or more to the point did, connect to both the Indiana Air National Guard and the Indiana Wing Civil Air Patrol. That would, in theory, warrant a state road designation. Or would have at that time.

As an aside, the part of Chamberlain Street south of SR 42 is closed, being blocked by a large barricade. And the road being narrow past that barricade. Yet someone thought far enough ahead to make sure that this ~100 feet long road had a brand new stop sign (installed in 2014 by INDOT). Want to see Google’s image of it, click the link here. There is also another abandoned road just to the east of this location. SR 42 turns to the southeast to connect to a roundabout that allows access to the IANG/Civil Air Patrol area, but a quick glance at a map shows an old road that connected in a straight east/west line to SR 42.

1969

And just when you thought it was over, 1969 shows the return of SR 342. First mention of this return of SR 342 was in the Terre Haute Tribune of 29 March 1967. The legal notice of condemnation of land was published, mentioning that the land was being condemned for use by the United States Department of the Air Force, and that one boundary of said land was the “west right-of-way line of the proposed State Road 342.” This second incarnation of SR 342 would exist around 45 to 50 years, being removed in the mid-2010s. With the rerouting of the entrance to the Indiana Air National Guard facility, the old road was blocked off and the new road never got the state road designation.

In the end, SR 342 existed from 1956 to 1963, and from 1969 to roughly 2015.

2 thoughts on “SR 342

  1. My first wife was in the INANG and worked at that base for many years, so I drove the later 342 more than once. You really had no business being on it were you not in the INANG or “INANG adjacent” as I was.

    A puzzle I’ve tried to solve for years is how 42 is related to the old Bloomington Road between TH an B’ton. 42’s southeasterly curve at Swalls was clearly not always the case; it’s clear that the road (probably before becoming 42) continued straight at Swalls onto what is now Swalls Dr. (The last time I drove 42 the roundabout wasn’t there at 42/Swalls Dr. — but that was an awkward intersection before and the roundabout probably eliminates accidents.) Anyway, I can’t tell whether Poplar St/SR 42 was the Bloomington Road, or Hulman St/Sugar Grove Dr. (which is now truncated by the airport) was. Either could have been, as both roads converge near George Clem Rd. — which were in not for I-70’s rude interruption would travel a continuous line with the Bloomington Road, which Google Maps so marks south and east of I-70. If you follow that, you come to SR 59. On 59, at Ashboro, I believe the Bloomington Road followed Ashboro Rd. east until it comes to SR 46 just west of Bowling Green. Ashboro Rd. is an interesting drive because it passes the Feline Rescue Center and also an abandoned bridge for a rail line that was never completed. https://blog.jimgrey.net/2013/11/06/the-mystery-of-the-unfinished-abandoned-bridge/

    But back to the Bloomington Rd. — I’ve never seen mention of it *anywhere*. Was it a state road? I just don’t know.

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