This page mainly consists of a year-by-year history of US-27, including route realignments, business connections, bypasses and other changes to the route. A more general historical overview of US-27 can be found on Page 1.
|Before the debut of the US Highway System in 1926, the route of what would become US-27 consisted of two state trunklines: M-29 from the Indiana state line (at a connection with Indiana SR-13) to Lansing; and M-14 from Lansing northerly through Mount Pleasant and Clare to Cheboygan. When the US Highway System was finalized in late 1926, the US-27 designation replaced all of the first iteration of M-29 and all of M-14 north of Lansing, ending in downtown Cheboygan.|
|1927||Some of the first changes to the new US-27 routing this year are:
|1928||(Oct 26) A new alignment of US-27 is added to the state trunkline system in Harrison from south of M-61 to the corner of County Farm Rd and the existing US-27 along what is now BUS US-127. The former route along a now-abandoned road, Larch Rd and County Farm Rd is turned back to local control. Physical construction doesn't seem to have been completed until a year later, though.|
|1929||Several changes to US-27's routing during this year are:
|1930||Several changes to US-27's routing during this year are:
|1931||(Aug 31) A slight realignment takes US-27 to the south side of the Pennsylvania Railroad tracks in Roscommon. Formerly running along North Central Dr from Lake St in downtown Roscommon northwesterly to the Crawford Co line, US-27 now runs along Fifth St, with the former route being turned back to local control. Also just northwest of Roscommon in Crawford Co, two 90° turns are replaced by a direct angling alignment between Merrio and Fletcher Rds, with the old route along Merrio and Fletcher being turned back to local control.|
|1932||A new alignment of US-27 opens between Kalamazoo Rd in Marshall and present-day N Drive North, north of Marshall, in early in the year. The rest of the new alignment of US-27 north of Marshall opens from present-day N Drive North to Garfield Rd later in the year, with the former route of US-27 along Kalamazoo St, 16½ Mile Rd, 16 Mile Rd and Garfield Rd is turned back to local control on Aug 29, 1932.|
|1935||Two changes to the route of US-27 this year:
|1936||Another pair of changes in the route of US-27:
|1937||Three routing changes to US-27 during this year:
|1938||US-27 is relocated on the north side of Lansing onto a newly extended Larch St, meeting up with the former alignment, N East St, at Barnhart St. The former route of US-27 along McKinley & N East Sts is turned back to local control. While the change was official on December 30, 1937, the new route was actually completed and opened to traffic in 1938.|
|1939||(July 13) The route of US-27A, a loop through downtown Shepherd in southeast Isabella Co, is removed and the route is turned back to local control.|
|1940||(Nov 12) With the completion of the new alignment of US-23 along the Lake Huron shoreline east of Cheboygan, the US-23/US-27 concurrency for four miles south of Cheboygan becomes just US-27.|
|1941||(Nov 12) A 3-mile rerouting of US-27 on new alignment just southwest of Houghton Lake near Loxley opens, running along today's Old 27 and Federal Ave. An additional two-mile long northerly extension of this new alignment opens as M-169 (to become a segment of US-27 eight years later). The former route along Nestel & Loxley Rds is turned back to local control.|
|1942||(Jan 28) In downtown Lansing, the US-27/M-78 TRUCK
ROUTE is removed from Washington Ave & Kalamazoo St easterly to Cherry
St and relocated to continue easterly on Main St to Cherry St, then
northerly on Cherry back to Kalamazoo St. The former route is turned
back to local control.
(Aug 17) A slight realignment is completed along US-27 between M-55 and M-157 near Prudenville.
|1945||(June 26) US-27 is relocated onto mostly new alignment north of Grayling from North Down River Rd to M-93/Hartwick Pines Rd (onto present-day BL I-75/M-93). The former route is mostly abandoned and now exists within the limits of the Grayling McNamara Army Air Field.|
|1949||(Nov 7-10) A new alignment of US-27 is
completed, bypassing Houghton Lake and Higgins Lake to the west from
the junction of M-169 (2 miles west of the hamlet of Houghton Lake)
to the existing route 6 miles south of Grayling. The former M-169 is
redesignated as US-27/M-55.
The former route of US-27 between the ex-M-169 and M-55 at
Houghton Lake becomes part of a rerouted M-55,
while the portion of US-27/M-55 on
the south side of Houghton Lake becomes just M-55.
The former US-27 between Prudenville and Roscommon becomes an extension
of M-18 and the last 10 miles
back to the new US-27 becomes M-18/M-76.
With the re-routing of M-55 along
the former US-27 west of Houghton Lake, then northerly along the new
US-27 (ex-M-169) back to M-55,
the M-169 designation is transferred to the former M-55 through
Houghton Lake Heights. This last change, though, is short-lived, as
the newly-moved M-169 through Houghton Lake Heights is redesignated
BUS M-55 by the beginning of 1950. These changes to the route of US-27
officially take effect on November 7 for the Crawford Co portion and
November 11 for the Roscommon part.
(Nov 7) Also on November 7, US-27 is realigned to follow present-day M-27 between the two intersections with Ranch Rd southwest of Topinabee. The former route of US-27 along Ranch Rd is turned back to local control.
|1950||Two routing changes in downtown Lansing:
|A new route into St Johns from the south opens, when a curving highway on new alignment is completed from the existing route at the corner of Scott & Townsend Rds northwesterly to Whittemore St, then northerly along Whittemore to the jct of the existing US-27 & M-21 east of downtown. The former portion of US-27—in part co-signed with M-21 along E State St and then southerly along Scott Rd—receives a new BUS US-27 route designation.|
|1952–53||(Aug 24, 1953) While officially credited as August 24, 1953, a new four-lane divided alignment of US-27/M-78 opens southwest of Lansing bypassing the hamlet of Millett, with the change first showing up on some of the 1952 official highway maps. The former route is turned back to local control, signed today as Old Lansing Rd.|
|Eleven days before the opening of the Mackinac Bridge between the Lower and Upper Peninsulas, the route of US-23/US-27 is officially transferred onto the approach roadway for the Bridge. While US-23 and US-31 end at the southern end of the new Bridge, US-27 continues across the structure to St Ignace. While the official transfer of the routes is October 21, the new highways open to traffic on November 1st. The former route of US-23/US-27 northerly along Huron St into Mackinaw City to the State Ferry Docks is turned back to local control.|
|In order to increase capacity and safety, the north- and southbound traffic flows along US-27 through the center of Lansing are separated. Nortbound US-27 remains on Larch St while southbound is moved over to the parallel Cedar St from Main St northerly to North St.|
|c.1960||The I-75 designation is applied to the Mackinac Bridge with the opening of additional segments and the US-27 designation is scaled back to end in Mackinaw City once again. US-27 was only the second of three highway designations to ever cross the Mackinac Straits; the first was US-31 in the late-20s and early-30s, the third was, and still is, I-75.|
|The first 2.6 miles of mostly controlled-access US-27 expressway is completed and opened to traffic at Ithaca in central Gratiot Co. Beginning at the northern end of the existing four-lane divided (uncontrolled access) highway southeast of Ithaca, the new expressway diverges to the west from Bagley Rd before turning northerly to pass over the Ann Arbor Railroad and interchange with the existing route of US-27 at Washington Rd east of downtown Ithaca.|
|Another leg in the new mostly controlled-access expressway opens from M-46/Monroe Rd west of St Louis to the south side of Mount Pleasant opens to traffic on Dec 20 at 2:00 pm at a ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by State Highway Commissioner John C Mackie. Interchanges on this new 13-mile long segment are located at M-46 and Blanchard Rd (east of Shepherd), with the remaining crossroads closed or crossing at-grade. This segment of highway is officially added to the state trunkline system ten days later on Dec 30. The former route from the beginning of the expressway southeast of Ithaca to the southern Ithaca interchange, along Bagley & Washington Rds, as well as the segment of former US-27 from M-46 west of St Louis to the end of the new highway on the south side of Mt Pleasant (Luce, Shepherd, Federal, Blanchard and Mission Rds) is turned back to local control on Dec 30 as well.|
|1961||Some major changes come to US-27 this year:
|1962||With the completion of I-96 around
the west and south sides of Lansing, the concurrent M-78 designation
is transferred to that route from US-27 through Lansing. The route
through town becomes US-27/BUS M-78.
In Northern Michigan, several segments of what had formerly been part of US-27 are transferred to local control after more of the I-75 freeway is completed in the area. They are:
|1962 (Mid)||The last segment of the US-27 expressway between the northern Clare interchange at Clare Ave and the southern Harrison Interchange at M-61 in Clare Co is completed and opened to traffic, even though the entire route through Clare Co was determined on Dec 4, 1961 and the existing route of US-27 along Clare Ave between Clare and M-61 southeast of Harrison had been officially transferred to county control on that same day.|
|While it had been replaced by the "new" US-27 routing thirteen years earlier, BUS US-27/Scott Rd along the eastern city limit of St Johns from Townsend Rd northerly to M-21 is transferred back to local control. While some official State Highway Department documents label the route as BUS US-27, another source shows it additionally as CONN M-21, although it is not clear precisely which route designations were actually posted in the field.|
|1965 (June)||The section of the US-27 expressway between Ithaca and Mount Pleasant is officially converted to a fully controlled access freeway with the construction of overpasses as the five remaining roads still intersecting US-27 at grade: St Charles Rd and Van Buren Rd north of Ithaca, Coe Rd south of Shepherd, and Summerton Rd north of Shepherd. The five overpasses cost $630,000 total to construct.|
|The conversion of the final portion of partially limited-access "expressway" between Clare and I-75 south of Grayling into a freeway with full control of access (ie. overpasses construced at the remaining intersections) is complete in November.|
|1967||The first segments of the new I-69/US-27
|1967||Three more changes to the route of US-27 this year:
|A new segment of the I-69/US-27 freeway is certified as state trunkline from I-94 at Marshall northerly to the Calhoun/Eaton Co line, although this segment will not be completed until the end of 1970. US-27 remains fully-signed on the existing route for the time being.|
|1970||Three changes to US-27 in this year:
|The BUS US-27 designation is removed from Marshall and the the portion of the former BUS US-27 (recently part of US-27 itself) between BL I-94/Michigan Ave in downtown Marshall to I-94 north of the city is turned back to local control.|
|The five-mile long four-lane divided US-27 freeway bypass of Charlotte in Eaton Co is opened to traffic, with Patricia Schrauben, Miss Michigan 1972, assisting John P Woodford, MDSH Deputy Director, with the ribbon-cutting duties. The two-year, $4.6 million project converted the existing two-lane US-27 limited-access bypass of Charlotte into a fully-controlled access freeway including eight bridges and two new interchanges. (The new M-50 interchange alone replaces an old at-grade intersection which had a 10-year record of 92 accidents, including nine fatalities and 96 injuries.) Building the new freeway bypass involved constructing a new set of northbound lanes next to the existing bypass which becomes the southbound lanes. The bypass with become part of I-69 when the segment of freeway between Charlotte and south of Olivet is completed in 1972.|
|1972||The I-69/US-27 freeway is opened northeasterly from Garfield Rd in northern Calhoun Co past Olivet and along the Charlotte bypass, ending at the junction of US-27, BUS US-27 & M-78 northeast of Charlotte. While truck traffic is now allowed on the I-69/US-27 freeway north of I-94, the former route of US-27 from Marshall northerly to Charlotte is retained as an unsigned state trunkline for about a year. The temporary connector route along Garfield Rd in northern Calhoun Co, however, is turned back to local control on November 20th. At Charlotte, the BUS US-27 routing between the two junctions of I-69/US-27 is retained.|
|1973||Additional changes to US-27 in this year:
|1974||BUS US-27 through Charlotte is redesignated as BL I-69.|
|1974 (Feb)||M-78, concurrently posted with US-27 between Charlotte and Lansing, is scaled back to end at jct I-69/US-27 at Olivet and a designation of TEMP I-69 ("Temporary I-69") is routed along US-27 between Charlotte and Lansing to replace what had been M-78.|
|The states of Michigan and Indiana apply to the American Association of State Highway & Transportation Officials (AASHTO) to have US-27 truncated at Fort Wayne, Indiana. AASHTO denies this request, presumably because the Dept of State Highways & Transportation doesn't make clear what they intend to do with US-27 between DeWitt and Grayling. For the time being, US-27 will remain as it has for nearly a half century in Michigan, but it is clear the route has been placed on the endangered list.|
|1975||The US-10/M-115 freeway opens from US-27 westerly, north of Clare and Farwell. US-10 now runs concurrently with US-27 between Clare and the new US-10 freeway.|
|South/eastbound traffic on BUS US-27 in downtown Alma is moved onto a different route via Lincoln, Center & Pine Sts, with north/westbound traffic remaining on Superior St.|
|1982–83||In late 1982 or early 1983, the 3.3 mile segment of future I-69/US-27 freeway from existing US-27 southeast of DeWitt westerly to Airport Rd northwest of Lansing is completed, but is not open to traffic since, according to MDOT officials, doing so "would put a traffic burden on Ariport Road that it is not built to handle." The remaining five miles of freeway from Airport Rd westerly to I-96 at Exit 91 would not be completed and the entire 8.3-mile northern freeway bypass of Lansing opened to traffic for another few years.|
| A ribbon-cutting ceremony is held at the completion and opening of the 7.7-mile long northern freeway bypass of Lansing, designated as US-27, and running from I-96 (at Exits 89–91) on the west to the US-27 & US-127 interchange southest of DeWitt. The freeway segment cost $25.4 million and took approximately five years to construct in two phases—phase one from US-27 westerly to Airport Rd was completed by remained closed to traffic for the past couple years until the full freeway segment was completed. With the new segment of freeway, the US-27 designation now runs northerly from its existing route via I-96 from Exit 98 near Diamondale to Exit 91 northwest of Lansing, then turns northeasterly and easterly across the north side of Greater Lansing back to the existing route of US-27 southeast of DeWitt. All of the former route of US-27 between I-96 (at Exit 98) and US-127 (near DeWitt) is redesignated as BUS US-27. The new US-27 bypass will also bear the I-69 designation once the next segment in that route is completed and opened to traffic between US-127 at DeWitt and exisitng TEMP I-69 southeast of Bath in Clinton Co.
|With the opening of a new segment of I-69 freeway between US-127 and Peacock Rd in southeastern Clinton County on Sept 25, 1987, the I-69 designation is routed via I-96/US-27 northerly from I-96 at Exit 98 southwest of Lansing to Exit 91, then easterly across the north side of Lansing concurrently with US-27 to DeWitt, continuing easterly along US-127 for an additional 2 miles.|
|1991||MDOT once again applies to the American Association of State Highway & Transportation Officials (AASHTO) to have US-27 truncated at Fort Wayne, Indiana and, once again, AASHTO denies this request. It is assumed MDOT again doesn't make clear what will become of the existing route of US-27 between DeWitt and Grayling. While it gets a reprieve for a second time and will remain as it has for 65 years in Michigan, US-27 is clearly on the endangered list and may not be long before decommissioning.|
|The final segments of the new I-69/US-27 freeway open between Charlotte and I-96 southwest of Lansing. The former route of TEMP I-69/US-27 (Lansing Rd) becomes an unsigned state trunkline, as does the decertified BUS US-27 (Lansing Rd) from I-96 into Lansing. BUS US-27 now runs from the junction of I-69/US-27 near DeWitt southerly to end at Michigan Ave in Lansing. BUS US-27 along Lansing Rd between I-69/US-27 Exit 72 and I-496 Exit 4 becomes an unsigned trunkline route, while "officially" retaining the BUS US-27 designation for internal MDOT purposes.|
|The first segment of the new "St Johns Bypass" opens between Price Rd and M-21 east of St Johns. The northern portion between M-21 and US-27 north of St Johns is held up due to the discovery of mastadon bones in the construction zone. Accordingly, this segment is not signed as US-27, but as "TO M-21 EAST" northbound and as "TO US-27 SOUTH" southbound. Through US-27 traffic is maintained on the existing highway through St Johns. Construction on this segment of freeway began in the fall of 1991 and cost $7.1 million.|
|In preparation for the completion and opening of the full "St Johns Bypass" by the end of the year, Price Rd from the existing US-27 easterly to the interchange with the relocated US-27 freeway interchange is officially transferred to state control as part of the anticipated BUS US-27 route. For its first two years, however, this segment of Price Rd would actually be signed as and used for the mainline route of US-27 until the segment of freeway from Price Rd southerly to the I-69 & US-127 jct is completed.|
|The full "St Johns Bypass" opens around St Johns and the US-27 designation is transferred onto it. The former route of US-27 through St Johns becomes BUS US-27, although the actual "BUSINESS" signs aren't physically erected along the route until late-1997/early-1998.|
|At 9:17am on Monday, August 31, 1998, the northbound lanes of the final link in the long-awaited "St Johns Bypass," were opened to through traffic. The southbound lanes open within a couple hours of the northbound side. US-27 is now a freeway for the first 106 miles in Michigan, with only 15.7 miles of non-freeway divided highway between St Johns and Ithaca yet to be upgraded. With the opening of the new freeway, US-27 gains almost 3.6 miles, while US-127 loses about 1.7 miles in length. This was caused by the US-27 designation replacing the US-127 designation along I-69 between Exit 87 and 89 near DeWitt. The 7.73 miles of former US-27 from I-69 (at Exit 87 near DeWitt) to Price Rd (5 miles south of downtown St Johns) is now an un-numbered state trunkline, erroneously labled as BUS US-27 on some commercial maps. The portion of US-27 temporarily routed along Price Rd from the former US-27 to the new freeway becomes a part of St Johns' BUS US-27, adding 1.25 miles to that highway's route. In all the entire so-called "St Johns Bypass" includes four new interchanges, 14 highway overpasses and four freeway overpasses at the abandoned Central Michigan Railroad east of St Johns.|
|At the April 16, 1999 meeting of the Standing Committee on U.S. Route numbering, MDOT applies once again to AASHTO for truncation of the US-27 designation back to Fort Wayne, Indiana (with the cooperation of InDOT), and for the redesignation of all of US-27 from DeWitt northerly to Grayling as part of US-127, and is given the go-ahead. Specifically, this is done the other way around, first petitioning to redesignate US-27 from DeWitt northerly as US-127, then immediately petitioning to truncate the newly-truncated US-27 back to Fort Wayne. It seems doing it the other way around was what caused AASHTO to deny the truncation eight years earlier. While MDOT intends on carrying through with the changeover, almost no signage changes take place for two years from the truncation approval.|
|The final signalized intersection on US-27 in Michigan is removed with the completion of the M-57 interchange in southern Gratiot Co.|
|2001||Most of the US-27 route markers are removed from the 89-mile portion of the route concurrent with I-69, between the Indiana state line and jct US-127 at DeWitt north of Lansing. Most of the signs were removed in June and July, with most of the stragglers being removed later in the year. A few markers remained, though, into 2002.|
|The Big Changeover from US-27 north of Lansing to US-127 occurs. Starting in May in the Bay and North Regions (Gratiot, Isabella, Clare and Roscommon Counties), new US-127 markers go up along the freeway and the various Business Connections. After 76 years, this signals the end of US-27 in Michigan.|
- US-27... Goodbye Old Friend (via archive.org)- a personal tribute page put together by Bob Nelson. (Appears to have gone offline in 2012, unfortunately.)
- Michigan Old US-27 Motor Tour - a website dedicated to the dual efforts to get the former US-27 desiganted as a historic route as well as to promote the classic automobile tour along the old road itself. As the site notes, "Back in the Day, It Was the Way."
- US-27 designation soon to be deleted from Michigan highways (PDF) - the official MDOT press release from 2002 announcing the emminent demise of US-27 in Michigan.
- End of US highway 27 - from Dale Sanderson's Endpoints of US highways website.
- Mackinac Straits Historic Photos - a collection of photos from the 1950s with scenes during and just after construction of the Mackinac Bridge.
- US-27 in Michigan - a blog posting on the Michigan in Pictures: Photos of the Great Lakes State from 2010.