Let’s return to my 2007 trip along Old State Road 37 and the Dixie Highway between Indianapolis and Bloomington.
Just before the Marion-Johnson county line, the road swings west, away from State Road 37’s original alignment, and the old road reappears.
I turned in on County Line Road and headed north up the short segment of Bluff Road. It’s the last little bit of the original alignment in Indianapolis.
The road narrows, the pavement ends, and somebody’s gravel driveway begins. I imagine that their driveway once emptied directly onto the old two-lane SR 37.
Looking southbound toward County Line Road from this spot, it’s clear that the grass has overgrown the edges on this short segment.
South of County Line Road, the road is marginally wider as the grass has been kept at bay. Also, the road was striped double yellow down the middle like a highway.
Johnson County clearly considers this a road worthy of maintenance. Marion County (Indianapolis) does only the minimum for its part of this segment.
The end of this alignment came 1.6 miles later. Bluff Road curved and met current SR 37, but a little tail remained.
A new housing subdivision was being built here, and old SR 37 was used for its entrance. Before that, the old road simply ended here. Almost dead center in this photograph, you can see a car on current SR 37.
The next little segment of the old alignment lay a couple miles to the south of County Line Road. On the east side of SR 37, the crossroad is labeled 800N, but on the west side, it’s labeled Old St Rd 37.
Old alignments are almost always rounded off like this to meet the new road more squarely, for safety. But in this case, they did it only to the north end of it.
This photo shows the access road to the segment of old SR 37. It wasn’t clear on the map whether the road emptied out onto State Road 37 or not. The Dead End sign here cleared up that mystery.
Where the road curved south and the old highway took over, I turned around looking for any sign of the old highway as it would have stretched northbound. I stood in the middle of the old road, pointing northbound, to take this photo. Except for the utility poles running on the right in alignment with where the old road had been, you can’t tell a highway ever ran through here.
Turning around from this spot, here’s this old alignment as it heads south.
This alignment ends a half mile later, the pavement ending cleanly at somebody’s driveway. As you drive on current SR 37, you can see the little guardrail just beyond the trash can. If you didn’t know what lay beyond it, you might not give it a second thought.
Turning around from here and looking northbound at the tree-lined old highway, the lovely scene made me long for the day this highway was still in use. Maybe it’s just my fantasy, but I imagine the trip to Bloomington being more pleasant not just because of the narrow road, but because drivers might be more likely to slow down, open the windows, and take in the beauty on either side.
From here to Martinsville, all of the old SR 37 alignment had this two-foot extension on each side. You can see the weeds growing in the crack. I wonder whether this was a tiny shoulder of sorts, or whether this was an attempt to widen the old concrete road. I’m betting the latter.
Next: the old alignment through Waverly, and the single most exciting abandoned road I’ve ever found.
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