1935: A Muncie SR 67 Bypass That Wasn’t

Anyone traveling up Interstate 69 towards Muncie can tell you about exit 234. This exit connects the “almost” interstate (a name I have given it since it almost reaches Indianapolis, Anderson, Muncie, Marion and Fort Wayne!) back to Anderson and to Muncie. This happens because the exit dumps users off onto both SR 32 and SR 67, both of which (used to) reach both cities. SR 67 had been bypassed along I-69 for years. But, also, SR 67 now bypasses to the east of Muncie. It wasn’t always that way. But, it almost was built in different direction in 1935.

Until the time that it was decided to build that original bypass of Muncie, both SR 32 and SR 67 shared the same roadway between Anderson and Muncie. This was one of the longest multiplexes in the state (a longer one was US 50/US 150 in southern Indiana). SR 32 connected, and still does, Muncie to western central Indiana at Crawfordsville and beyond, bypassing Indianapolis. SR 67 connected to Indianapolis, via Anderson, and then to points southwest on its way to Vincennes. Both roads were heavily used, but SR 67 more so.

The Muncie Evening Press of 02 August 1935 reported that “there was a definate possibility that the proposed by-pass of State Road 67 around Muncie will not be constructed.” Again, at that time, there was only one state road, with two numbers, entering Muncie from the west. The original plan was have SR 67 leave the multiplex of SR 32 near Elm Grove Cemetery (along what is now Kilgore Avenue near Delaware County Road 325W), run north to Andersonville, then east along the Muncie corporation line to the then current SR 67. While many supported this plan, just as many didn’t. Those against the plan believed that this would suck business out of the city of Muncie.

One of the other things brought up when the bypass plan was being floated that SR 67 had 50% more traffic west of Muncie than it did east of the city. To those that opposed the plan, this meant that most traffic originated or ended in Muncie, making the east end of the bypass both expensive and unnecessary. It would be assumed that the state saw the same thing when they ran the numbers.

Somewhere along the way, it was decided that SR 67 would be moved south of the railroad tracks of the Big Four Bee Line/Nickle Plate, connecting to Anderson (along a new SR 232) there as opposed to north of the tracks as it did at the time. SR 67 would separate from SR 9 south of Anderson at 53rd Street, then turn north on Rangeline Road. It would then run along Union Township Pike. SR 32/67 used what is now Mounds Road from Anderson, crossing what is now the Anderson Municipal Airport. This new road, completely new construction, would cost in upwards of $1 million at that time.

Near what is now Madison County Road 1000W, the new SR 67 would aim due east, in a straight line with where SR 32 is now west of the railroad tracks. This ran the new state road construction through Daleville, where the Interstate 69 exit is now. It ran due east until it encountered Honey Creek Road. Here, the road would turn northeast, gently curving again to the east on what is now Fuson Road. Again it would gently curve north onto Madison Street. This is important. The plan was, with the new SR 67 road, that SR 3, SR 21 and SR 32 would be rerouted to use Madison Street, as well. Of the roads that were included, only SR 21 would be moved to Madison Street. Although, by the time this was completed, SR 21 had also become part of US 35 through the state of Indiana.

It was reported in the mentioned newspaper that the “change in plans not only is a possibility, but a ‘definite probability’.” This was stated by an unnamed city official. The state decided that with the building of this new road, Madison Street would be widened and repaved to handle the increased amount of traffic. “Obtaining the right-of-way for this widening is thought to be one of the greatest obstacles.” It was then up to the state and federal highway officials whether the cost was worth it or not. The plan also included an underpass of the railroad tracks, allowing better traffic flow into the city.

SR 67 left Anderson proper around 1966, having been rerouted along the new Interstate 67 from south of Pendleton to Daleville. Ultimately, a bypass of Muncie was built. Not along the original 1935 plans, but continuing east from the then current SR 67 to the east of the city of Muncie. It started in the early-1970s as a US 35 bypass. SR 67 and SR 3 still continued their way into the city. SR 67 would, by 1974, be continued along what had been US 35 from Madison Street to the new US 35 bypass, rerouting both SR 67 and SR 3 to that new bypass.

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