This page mainly consists of a year-by-year history of US-16, including route realignments, business connections, bypasses and other changes to the route. While US-16 did not exist prior to 1926, included in this listing is the history of M-16, which US-16 supplanted in its entirety. (In essence, M-16 and US-16 could be considered to be the same highway, just with differently-shaped route markers.
|When the Michigan state trunkline system is assigned numbers and
route markers are posted along the routes, the route from Detroit through
Howell, Lansing, Portland, and Grand Rapids to Grand Haven is designated
M-16. The specific routing is as follows (using present-day road names):
|1924||The routing in western Clinton and eastern Ionia Cos via Jones, Howe & Peake Rds is turned back to local control when M-16 is routed more directly via present-day Grand River Ave.|
|1925||To major realignments occur in 1925:
|1925||The initial designation for the proposed Detroit-Lansing-Grand Rapids-Grand Haven US Highway is US-18.|
|1926||After initially being tagged for the US-18 designation, all of M-16 in Michigan is given the new US-16 route designation from Grand Haven to Detroit. The M-16 route designation will forever disappear from the state, never to be re-used again!|
|1933||In late 1933, the southern bypass of the City of Farmington is completed via present-day Freedom Rd. The existing route of US-16 through Farmington is retained as a state trunkline. Sources indicate the "bypass route" is restricted to eastbound traffic only, while the "through town" route is open to traffic in both directions.|
|1934||While not incorporated into the route of US-16, a direct new state trunkline highway is constructed and opened to traffic as M-126. This new highway alignment, following present-day Apple Dr from Nunica to Fruitport, 3rd St through Fruitport and Airline Hwy from Fruitport into Muskegon. For the time being, US-16 still continues westerly from Nunica into Grand Haven.|
|1936||A slight realignment in eastern Grand Rapids when US-16 is transferred from Robinson Rd and Lake Dr to continue northwesterly via Cascade Rd to E Fulton St, then westerly via Fulton into downtown Grand Rapids. The former route is turned back to local control.|
|1940||US-16 is finally rerouted onto its "classic" routing when all of M-126 from Nunica through Fruitport into Muskegon Heights, where it is paired with US-31A to run northerly via Peck St into downtown Muskegon, where it ends. The former route of US-16 westerly from Nunica to Ferrysburg is redesignated as M-104.|
|1941–42||One realignment and one "bannered" route are created:
|c.1942||One official and several non-official sources indicate an ALT US-16 ("Alternate US-16") designation is created to run southerly from US-16 southeast of Muskegon via US-31 to Ferrysburg near Grand Haven, then easterly via M-104 through Spring Lake and back to US-16 at Nunica. Interestingly, the portion of this new ALT US-16 along M-104 had been part of the US-16 routing until 1940. As to why an ALT US-16 routing was designated here, the communities bypassed when US-16 was routed directly into Muskegon via Fruitport in 1940 may have still desired the US Highway connection, albeit as an Alternate routing. It doesn't seem this ALT US-16 designation lasted too long, though. It may have been decommissioned within one or two years.|
|A new bridge carrying US-16/Grand River Ave over the Huron River and Kent Lake in western Oakland Co, ½ mile east of the Livingston Co line is completed and opened to traffic. The new $193,206 bridge, higher than the one it replaces, will permit the Huron-Clinton Parkway Authority (now the Huron-Clinton Metropark Authority) to raise the level of Kent Lake.|
|1953||In mid-1953, all of US-16 between the junctions of BYP US-16 in the Greater Grand Rapids area is redesignated as a new BUS US-16 routing. Simultaneously, BYP US-16 is replaced by the routing of US-16 in its entirety. That is a net loss of one BYP US-16 route and a net gain of one BUS US-16 route.|
|1956||During mid-1956, the portion of US-16/Grand River Ave in Lansing from jct M-78/Saginaw St on the east side of town to jct US-27/Larch St north of downtown becomes one-way for westbound traffic only and gains the M-78 (westbound) as well. The eastbound US-16 routing now turns south along US-27/Larch St to M-78/Saginaw St, then runs easterly via Saginaw St back to Grand River Ave.|
|1957||Three segments of new, four-lane divided, limited-access freeway
|An additional 20 mile segment of the US-16 freeway across much of Ionia Co is completed and opened to traffic (more then eight months ahead of schedule) from a temporary ramp constructed at Hastings Rd northwest of Clarksville to Portland Rd (present-day Exit 73) west of Portland. A four-mile gap in the freeway between Kent St and Grand River Ave remains, however, on the south side of Portland. Through US-16 traffic is routed from Portland Rd easterly via Grand River Ave (the former route of US-16) back to the freeway southeast of town. The former route of US-16 along Grand River Ave from Hastings Rd to downtown Portland remains an unsigned state trunkline route for the time being.|
|1959||A massive new highway project in the Muskegon area creates a 4-6 lane, partially-controlled access "loop route" through the city from the junction of US-16 and the new US-31 bypass southeast of town to north side of the city. This new highway, christened "Seaway Dr," is assigned the US-16 and BUS US-31 route designations. US-16 now enters Muskegon via the new Seaway Dr from the south, then turns northeasterly via Muskegon Ave (wbd) and Webster Ave (ebd) to Sixth St, where US-16 departs US-31 and joins with M-46 running northerly via Sixth St, jogging easterly on Western Ave for a few hundred feet, then northerly again via Mart St to the carferry dock for the over-water journey to Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (The Sixth-Western-Mart routing is not new—it has been part of US-16 since 1941–42.) The former route of US-16 along Airline Hwy (Getty Ave to Peck St), northerly via Peck St, southwesterly via Houston St and northerly one block via Sixth St (Houston St to Muskegon Ave) is turned back to local control.|
|After being severed by the Brighton-Farmington Expwy two years earlier, a new Grand River Ave bridge spanning the Huron River at the outlet of Kent Lake in western Oakland Co is completed and opened to traffic. The original alignment of Grand River Ave at the Huron River was subsumed into the alignment of the new freeway in 1957, thereby causing Grand River Ave to be discontinuous between Livington and Oakland Cos. After complaints from both local residents and business owners, a new alignment for Grand River is constructed immediately to the south of the freeway alignment.|
|The US-16 freeway is extended westerly from Hastings Rd in western Ionia Co into Kent Co, to a temporarily ending at Whitneyville Ave southeast of Cascade. The temporary connection at Hastings Rd is removed when the freeway to the west is opened to traffic. The former routeof US-16 along Grand River Ave (Ionia Co) and Cascade Rd (Kent Co) has its US-16 route markers removed, but remains an unsigned state trunkline—with the exception of the portion between Segwun Ave and Alden Nash Ave near Alto, which becomes part of M-91—for the time being.|
|The four-mile gap in the US-16 freeway around the south side of Portland is completed and opened to traffic from Portland Rd west of the city (present-day Exit 73) to Grand River Ave southeast of town (present-day Exit 77). The former route of US-16 along Grand River Ave through downtown Portland remains an unsigned state trunkline route for the time being.|
|1959–60||Sources seem to indicate it was either in 1959 or 1960 when the first Interstate route markers began appearing along the several freeway segments of US-16. The new I-196 is posted along the US-16 freeway from Coopersville to Marne, while new I-96 signs are erected along the US-16 freeway from southeast of Cascade to east of Eagle and from Brighton to Farmington.|
|The US-16 freeway through Ionia Co from the Kent Co line easterly to the Clinton Co line is officially determined as a state trunkline highway route, even though it opened to traffic in stages during 1958 and 1959. Simultaneously, the entire length of the former US-16 route along Grand River Ave in Ionia Co from the Kent Co line to the Clinton Co line is turned back to county control (and municipal control through Portland), approximately 15 months after much of it was bypassed by the new US-16 freeway.|
|1961||The route of BUS US-16 via Grand River Ave through Farmington is redesignated as BL I-96 in its entirety.|
|An additional eight miles of I-96/US-16 freeway are completed beginning at the temporary connector at Whitneyville Ave southeast of Cascade in central Kent Co and continuing northwesterly toward Grand Rapids. The first four miles of the new freeway from the former Whitneyville Ave connector (which is removed) to the former route of US-16/M-50 on 28th St west of Cascade is designated as part of I-96/US-16. The remaining three miles from 28th St northwesterly to Cascade Rd is designated as BUS US-16/BUS M-50, a designation which had formerly run along Cascade Rd from 28th St in Cascade northwesterly toward Grand Rapids. Until the remainder of the Detroit-Muskegon Frwy (I-96/US-16 and I-196/US-16) around Grand Rapids is completed, through US-16 traffic will contiue to be directed around Grand Rapids via the "South Beltline" (28th St) and "West Beltline (Wilson Ave), although the future route number for this route has already been chosen for when the freeway is complete: M-11. The former route of US-16/M-50 along Cascade Rd between Whitneyville Rd and 28th St and along 28th St from Cascade Rd to the new freeway as well as the former BUS US-16/BUS M-50 following Cascade Rd from 28th St to the new freeway (at present-day Exit 39) both remain state trunkline routes, albeit unsigned ones for the time being.|
|The 15.45 miles of the Detroit-Muskegon Frwy from the Ionia/Kent Co line westerly to Cascade Rd east of East Grand Rapids (designated as I-96/US-16 from the Ionia Co line to M-50/M-91/Alden Nash Ave, I-96/US-16/M-50 from Alden Nash Ave to 28th St, and as BUS US-16/BUS M-50 from 28th St to Cascade Rd) is officially determined as a state trunkline route, even though portions have been open since 1959 and 1960. Simultaneously, the 6.6 miles of Cascade Rd in central Kent Co (formerly designated US-16/M-50 from Whitneyville Ave to 28th St and as BUS US-16/BUS M-50 from 28th St to the new freeway opened to traffic in 1960) and the 1.8 miles of 28th St (formerly designated US-16/M-50) from Cascade Rd to the new freeway interchange (present-day Exit 43) is turned back to county control, even though the freeway replacing these routes has been open for well over a year.|
|The remainder of the Detroit-Muskegon Frwy (I-96 and I-196) around the city of Grand Rapids in Kent Co (14.97 miles total) is officially assumed into the state trunkline highway system, although it does not open to traffic until _________.|
|1961–62|| Three new segments of freeway are completed, two of which allow motorists
to drive 86 miles from Muskegon to nearly Lansing on limited-access
highway with no traffic lights or intersections.
|The final 59 miles of freeway between the Eagle/Grand Ledge area
and Brighton are completed and opened to traffic, including the bypass
of Lansing. As of this time, all of US-16 in the state of Michigan
is "decommissioned" and all US-16 route markers are taken down, ending
a 36-year run for that route designation in the state. The final segments
of US-16 are designated thusly:
- Indian Trails - from the Geography Department at Michigan State University.
- Grand River Trail Historical Marker - from the Michigan Historical Markers website.
- End of US highway 16 - from Dale Sanderson's End US Highway website.
- Current and historic US Highway ends in Detroit - also from Dale Sanderson's End US Highway website.