State Road Numbers Changed With New US Routes

A quick look at a highway map of Indiana would lead one to believe that, with some minor moves and building of the interstates, the state road numbers in Indiana would be relatively static. And in most cases, that is accurate. But as I pointed out in one of the earliest posts on this blog (US Highways: They are actually State Roads), Indiana sees no technical difference between a road marked with a United States Highway shield and one marked with a state outline/square state road sign. For bookkeeping purposes, there are no differences.

Due to these bookkeeping methods of the Indiana State Highway Commission, it wouldn’t lend itself well to bringing new US highways to Indiana. Or, so one would think. There were several times when new US highways were extended to Indiana over the years. There were even times when they were also removed in places. Let’s look at some of the road numbers that were moved or outright changed to make room for those new national highways. All of these numbers come from the system after the Great Renumbering of 1 October 1926.

State Road 11 – This road actually ended up not having been part of the Great Renumbering…but it was. SR 11 has a very strange history. According to the original renumbering plan, SR 11 was to connect Columbus to Madison. Now, a discerning reader will ask, rightly so, “isn’t that SR 7?” Why, yes. Yes it is. But SR 7 wasn’t part of the original plan…at least that published by the Indiana State Highway Commission prior to the Great Renumbering. But SR 11 ended up being pasted on a short highway that entered Ohio as Ohio State Road 11. The National Old Trails Road, east from Richmond along the Eaton Pike, was just a continuation of Ohio State Road 11 into Indiana. By 1935, US 35 would be extended into Indiana along SR 11, and the number 11 would be removed from Indiana. For the time being, anyway.

State Road 35 – At the same time that SR 11 was being removed from Indiana, the ISHC found itself in a strange situation. There was already a SR 35 connecting Indianapolis to Mauckport through Nashville, Brownstown, Salem and Corydon. With the coming of US 35, SR 35 would have to be renumbered. This created a situation that Indiana has one three digit “major” highway, since the SR 35 was renumbered SR 135. Any “daughter” roads with a number of 35 are connected to SR 135, not US 35. For instance, the first daughter road of SR 135 was SR 235, which was actually the original US 50 from Vallonia to SR 135. The original US 50 route also used what is now SR 135 from SR 235 to Brownstown.

State Road 33 – In 1938, the American Association of State Highway Officials (AASHO), the keeper of the United States Highway system (they approved new routes, reroutes, and numbers assigned to such), approved the extension of US 33 into Indiana and Michigan. The route used for US 33 would take over SR 527 from Decatur to Ohio, multiplex with US 27 to Fort Wayne, then take over SR 2 from Fort Wayne to South Bend along the original route of the Lincoln Highway. Suddenly, the already existing SR 33 (two parts – 1] connecting Bennettsville to New Albany and 2] SR 62 west of Edwardsville to Mauckport through Elizabeth and Laconia) had to come up with a new designation. ISHC had just the number that would fit into the state highway numbering system: SR 11. Part one mentioned above became SR 111 originally. The Mauckport to Edwardsville section would be given the “major” number of SR 11.

State Road 133 – This road was renumbered at the same time as SR 33. The idea of having a “daughter” road that was nowhere near its “mother” was the prime reason for this. The old SR 133 became SR 111 in 1938. SR 133 (111) connected New Albany along the Ohio River to New Boston.

State Road 136 – 1951 saw another round of US routes extended to Indiana. The first of these would replace SR 34, which connected Indianapolis west to Crawfordsville, Veedersburg and Covington. It was also one of the old routes of the original Dixie Highway. SR 34 would be completely removed from the state system, replaced by US 136, although SR 34’s daughter roads continued to remain for years to come. This would lead to another renumbering. SR 136, at the time, ran northwest from Danville to North Salem, then west through Roachdale, Russellville and Marshall, ending at US 41 north of Rockville. From US 41 east to North Salem, SR 136 basically ran roughly parallel to its “mother” road, US 36. Due to the number 136 being assigned to the new US Highway, the old SR 136 was given the number SR 236. As an aside, US 136 was/is the only US highway that started/starts in Indianapolis. This replaced the former only US highway that started in Indianapolis – US 36 – which was extended into Ohio within a decade of its creation.

State Road 231 – This was a very short, and short lived, state road that connected US 31E north of Jeffersonville across to SR 62 in New Albany. In 1953, an extended US 231 would be added to the state of Indiana, connecting Owensboro, Kentucky, to US 41 south of St. John. This made the renumbering of SR 231 necessary. The number chosen? SR 131. Although the 1956 Indiana Official State Highway map would again list it as SR 231 – but I believe that that was a typo. Because the 1957 map again shows SR 131. SR 131 was removed in 1963, when Indiana finally decided that US 131 wouldn’t end at the Indiana-Michigan State Line. US 131 was Michigan’s extension of Indiana SR 15 for years. It was removed again in 1964, but part of that was that SR 13 would connect to Michigan’s US 131 in the years to come. (And, the fact that the ISHC marked the US highway on the Michigan side of the state line that was an extension of SR 15 as US 103, and the extension of SR 13 is labeled SR 131 in Michigan until it connected to US 131 as US 12.

Two US Highways that would be completely removed from Indiana maps over the years were US 460 and US 641. US 460 basically followed SR 62 from New Albany to Evansville and SR 66 from Evansville to New Harmony. It crossed into Illinois on the New Harmony bridge. US 460 became redundant with the completion of I-64 from Norfolk, Virginia (where US 460 still exists), to St. Louis, Missouri. US 641 was on maps from Evansville across the Ohio River into Kentucky, using the US 41 route and Evansville bridge. From Henderson, Kentucky, north, it was basically a multiplex, and was removed by Indiana. Two US highways were massively truncated over the years. Those are US 27 (truncated at Fort Wayne) and US 33, which now ends at Elkhart.

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