SR 331: A Limited Access Highway Coded into Law

Indiana Code Title 8 defines, by law, “Utilities and Transportation” in the state. This includes everything that falls under utilities, railroads, motor carriers, state roads, and the Indiana Department of Transportation, among many other things. Most of the sections of Title 8 deal with generalities. But there is one specific street, in one specific city, with one specific state road number that is mentioned in not one section, but two. That would be Capital Avenue, in Mishawaka, designated SR 331.

IC 8-23-6-1 describes the “Selection of routes; maintenance; construction of drainage structures.” Subsection (a) states “the Department (of Transportation) shall select the route of highways in the system of highways under its control through cities and towns, and may change the routes as the department determines most convenient for public travel.” The next subsection, (b), makes one minor change to subsection (a): “Notwithstanding subsection (a) and in or near the city of Mishawaka, Indiana, the portion of Capital Avenue lying between: (1) the most recently established US 20 bypass as of January 1, 1997; and (2) the Indiana toll road; is designated state route number three hundred thirty-one (331).”

So the Indiana Department of Transportation can dictate what state roads use which city and/or town streets in the entire state, with the exception of Capital Avenue in Mishawaka.

Subsection (d) of the same section 1 states that funds for SR 331 “shall first be exhausted from: (1) revenue declared excess by the Indiana toll road; (2) federal aid designated for the local metropolitan planning organization; (3) city and county highway funds used for such purpose; and (4) revenue generated from local incremental finance districts; before any funds designated to the department are used for construction or improvement of state road three hundred thirty-one (331).”

There is even more legislation concerning this state road. Title 8, Article 23, Chapter 8, Section 10 of the Indiana Code is specifically titled “State Road 331 in St. Joseph County.” This specific section spells out, in great detail, the designation of this section of SR 331 as a limited access highway. It goes so far as to spell out the exact locations for access locations to this state road. I have clipped the section so that you can read it yourself.

IC 8-23-8-10 laying out the specifics concerning the limited access status of Capital Avenue, Mishawaka, aka SR 331.

Subsection (d) also states that no traffic signal is to be placed at the intersection of Capital Avenue and Ireland Road. Now, I have been to the South Bend/Mishawaka area quite a few times, as my wife is originally from Mishawaka. Most of my experience with Ireland Road is that it is a very busy thoroughfare that runs just north of the US 20 bypass. I had to double check with a map to see what kind of situation exists at Ireland Road and SR 331. That far east, Ireland is mainly a survey road, and not a very big one to boot. So I can see the requirement for nothing more than a stop sign controlling traffic on Ireland Road.

These mentions of SR 331 are the only state road designations that I have found, so far, in the Indiana Code. It makes me wonder exactly what caused this road to be specifically mentioned among the 12,000 (allowed) miles of Indiana Department of Transportation properties. Whatever it was, the section started life in 2009, and was amended in 2010 and 2013.

It should be noted that SR 331 was added to the State Highway Commission official maps in 1933. It ended at Lincolnway in downtown Mishawaka.

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