In Depth: News & Articles
The original intent of the Michigan Highways website back in 1997 was to list every state trunkline within Michigan and various information about each. As time has marched on additional in-depth information has been added in order to round out the site, much of which is now linked from this page.
- Controlled-Access Highways - What's a "freeway?" What's an "expressway?" And how do the terms "controlled-access highway" and "limited-access highway" relate to them? And how are these terms used on the Michigan Highways website? This article sorts all that out!
- Diagonal Highways, 1935-36 - from the 1935-36 "Sixteenth Biennial Report of the State Highway Commissioner," detailing the state's plans for several new diagonal highways criss-crossing the Lower Peninsula. Includes a present-day epilogue to show which plans came to fruition and which didn't.
- Early Willow Run, Detroit Industrial & Edsel Ford Expressways - Year-by-year historical breakdown of developments along what would later become part of I-94, prior to its signing as such.
- Historic Auto Trails - Prior to the coming of the state trunklines—and part of the reason for the trunklines—a system of named Auto Trails cris-crossed the country. Dozens of these trails existed around the state and are detailed here.
- The History of Roads in Michigan - a comprehensive article by Dorothy Pohl and Norman Brown chronicling the historical development of the public road system in Michigan.
- Holland Business Routes: The Turnback - Detailing the transfer of control of both Business Connections in the City of Holland—BUS US-31 and BL I-196—to local control due to a perceived lack of parking downtown. This page explains some of the other negative side-effects of the transfer and attempts to offer other possible solutions.
- M-26: Eagle River Timber Bridge - a pair of articles reprinted from an early-1990s MDOT newsletter about this rather unique structure in Eagle River.
- M-35: The Highway Henry Ford Stopped - Automobile magnate Henry Ford actually helped stop a highway being built through the Huron Mountains in the U.P.
- M-37: Proposed Hastings-Battle Creek Expressway-Freeway - Information and maps detailing the never-built realignment of M-37 between Hastings and Battle Creek.
- Memorial Highways - Since the earliest days of the state trunkline system in Michigan, certain highways have been dedicated in memory of an individual or group. The Memorial Highways page details these dedications.
- Michigan Left - Often maligned, often misunderstood, the Michigan Left-hand Turn is an operation which causes much consternation among out-of-state drivers and nary a second thought from locals. This page describes not only the operation itself, but its history as well.
- Michigan's Route Markers: The Clearview Future? - In early 2005, MDOT began replacing all of the freeway guide signs across the state with new ones featuring a new typeface: Clearview. However, most route markers still use the cherished former FHWA typeface... for now.
- National Highway System - The National Highway System (NHS) is a federal program identifying certain "key" routes in each state forming a backbone of crucial routes receiving additional federal funding. This page looks into the Michigan portion of this system.
- Rationalization - A process begun in 1998, Rationalization was a plan in which the state was to assume control of thousands of miles of county-maintained roads. While some mileage was transferred into the state trunkline system, the program has largely faded from the spotlight. The Rationalization page explores this project indepth.
- The Tug of War That Was the US-23 Freeway - Describes the proposed US-23 freeway to link Standish with Tawas City and Oscoda in the 1990s.
- US-31 Major Projects:
- US-31 Freeway in Berrien County - the past, present and future of the US-31 freeway in Berrien Co, from south of Niles to northeast of Benton Harbor.
- US-31 Freeway in Ottawa County - find out why decisions made in the early 1950s resulted in controvery in the 1990s and early 2000s.
- US-31 Traverse City Bypass - future article planned.
- US-31 Petoskey Bypass - future article planned.
- Zilwaukee Bridge - Michigan has its share of "big bridges"—Mackinac, Blue Water, Ambassador, International, even the Houghton-Hancock—but one of the more interesting ones is the Zilwaukee Bridge spanning the Saginaw River. This part of the website looks into the storied past of this structure and how it came to be.