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M-19
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M-21
Western Terminus:    US-31 at Exit 140, 2½ miles west of New Era
Eastern Terminus:    US-10 at Exit 128 (the eastern BUS US-10 interchange) on the eastern limits of Midland
Length: Updated 133.207 miles
Maps: New! Route Map of M-20
New! M-20/M-120/M-82 Maps (1969–1971)
Notes: Updated M-20, while not a true "coast-to-coast" cross-peninsular route, is still a major east-west travel corridor in the central Lower Peninsula. It runs from near Lake Michigan on the west to Midland on the east, just 14 miles from downtown Bay City near Saginaw Bay. (Indeed, M-20 formerly extended east to Bay City, making it truly a "coast-to-coast" route.) Today, the portion of M-20 between Midland and Mount Pleasant is a heavily-travelled route, while the portions to the west are largely rural in nature and carry a lower traffic volume.
  New! In "State Trunkline Needs, 1960–1980," a set of maps prepared by the State Highway Dept's Office of Planning, Programming Division in 1960 showing possible additions, upgrades and improvements to the state trunkline system over the ensuing twenty years, MSHD staff recommended several upgrades to the route of M-20 during that timeframe. They included:
  • Converting M-20, which then began at Muskegon State Park and continued via North Muskegon, Twin Lakes, Fremont and White Cloud to Big Rapids, to a divided highway between Muskegon State Park and the western edge of North Musekgon and from the eastern edge of North Muskegon through Twin Lakes to the M-20 (now M-120) & M-82 jct west of Fremont.
  • Rerouting M-20 east of Fremont to continue east along 48th St (instead of turning north along Baldwin Ave) for four additional miles, then skirting around the north side of Sylvan Lake before teeing into M-37, 3½ miles north of Newaygo. M-20 would have then run concurrently with M-37 into White Cloud.
  • Rerouting M-20 to run east from White Cloud via Base Line Rd for 6½ miles to Elm Ave, then angling northeasterly on a new alignment before merging back into 8 Mile Rd just east of the Newaygo/Mecosta Co line. It would continue east along 8 Mile Rd to Stanwood where it would bend northeasterly on a new alignment to meet up with Buchanan Rd at 160th Ave, then continuing easterly along Buchanan for 8 miles to 90th Ave. M-20 would then bend northeasterly again on a new alignment between the corner of Buchanan Rd & 90th Ave to 9 Mile Rd & 80th Ave, then continue east along 8 Mile Rd to its existing route one mile to the east. The vast majority of the existing route of M-20 would be turned back to local control in this scenario.
  • Converting five miles of M-20 from 7 Mile Rd easterly to Vance Rd west of Midland to a divided highway.
Of these four recommendations, only half of the third one (rerouting M-20 between White Cloud and Stanwood in 1998—and then, it was only rerouted along existing roadways with no new alignment constructed) and a modified version of the last one (where M-20 was converted to a five lane facility with a continuous left-turn lane instead of a divided highway in the 1980s and '90s) were ever completed.
  A major change in the routing of M-20 took place on October 1, 1998 when the portion of M-20 from M-37 north of White Cloud to the Newaygo/Mecosta County line west of Big Rapids was turned back to county control. Simultaneously, all of county B-88 in Newaygo and Mecosta Cos was transferred to state control. The route of B-88 in its entirety (from White Cloud to US-131 at Stanwood) was then redesignated as M-20. The resultant gap in M-20 between Stanwood and Big Rapids was filled by running M-20 concurrently with US-131 between Exits 131 and 139. The former route of M-20 is now an un-numbered county road in Newaygo Co. The short portion of the former M-20 in Mecosta Co has since been turned back to local control and is now also an un-numbered county road.
  By early February 1999, all but a handful of the M-20 route marker assemblies from White Cloud to US-131 at Big Rapids had been removed, even the ones at the junction of M-20 & M-37, potentially leaving motorists unfamiliar with the area without guidance! As of April 1999, only one lonely M-20 marker remained, obviously overlooked in the process, and all traces of B-88 were removed. Also in April, M-20 route marker assemblies had been erected at the US-131 & 8 Mile Rd interchange (Exit 131) near Stanwood, as well as a solitary M-20 marker on the east side of White Cloud. No other indication of the changes was apparent on M-37 or on eastbound M-20 as one approached the junction with M-37. By May 1999, however, the new highway routing was completely signed.
  From 1926–1969, M-20 ran southwesterly from White Cloud via Fremont to end in Muskegon. The White Cloud-to-Fremont stretch was for many years an un-numbered state trunkline, while the remainder was re-designated as portions of M-82 and M-120. On October 31, 1999, the un-numbered "Old M-21" between Fremont and White Cloud was turned back to county control.
  One of the earlier stretches of freeway of any length in Michigan was the M-20 freeway between Bay City and Midland in 1958. This is now part of the US-10 freeway.
History: 1920 Before the debut of the US Highway system, M-20 begins in Ludington and runs easterly along the present-day route of US-10 through Baldwin, Reed City, Clare to Midland. There, M-20 heads due easterly to end in Bay City.
  1925 When the US Highway system was first proposed, the majority of M-20—from Ludington to the east side of Midland—was to be replaced by a brand new US-12 designation, which would depart M-20 east of downtown Midland to follow M-24 (now M-47) to Saginaw and M-10 into Detroit. However, that plan is greatly revised during 1925 and early 1926 (see below).
  1926 When the final US Highway System plan is adopted in 1926, US-10—not US-12—is designated along most of M-20 in Michigan, along the general alignment that highway uses today. The M-20 designation from Midland westerly is then dropped down onto a new routing via Mount Pleasant, Big Rapids, White Cloud and Fremont, ending in Muskegon at the newly-designated US-31. M-20 will maintain this general routing until 1969.
  1928 The route of M-20 is realigned to run directly from Twin Lakes to Holton in Muskegon Co. The former route along Ryerson and Holton-Duck Lake Rds is turned back to local control.
  c.1932 M-20 is extended westerly from North Muskegon along the north shore of Muskegon Lake to end at the Muskegon Lake Channel in Muskegon State Park.
  1933 M-20 is realigned in the vicinity of Mount Pleasant from Broadway Rd (east of US-27) and Shepherd Rd and onto Pickard Rd, its present-day routing.
  1935 M-20 is realigned onto a more direct routing from Holton to Brunswick in northeastern Muskegon Co. The former route along Marvin Rd from Holton easterly is turned back to local control, while the portion of Maple Island Rd from Marvin Rd northerly to M-20 becomes an extension of of M-213.
  1936 (May 23) New! The State Highway Dept purchases 15 miles of 100-foot-wide Pere Marquette Railway right-of-way from the railroad company from White Cloud northeasterly to the Newaygo/Mecosta Co line for a relocation of M-20. The abandoned railroad runs on a much more direct alignment while the existing highway generally sticks to section- and quarterline roads and features numerous 90° turns. The portion of the former railroad line from the county line into Big Rapids may have also been purchased around this same time as well. (The proposed relocation is never constructed, however, and the State Highway Dept removes the proposed trunkline from its maps by the late 1950s. The former railroad right-of-way is mostly sold off between 1958 and 1961 to either abutting landowners or the Newaygo Co Road Commission.)
  1939 While some sources show M-20 being extended into Muskegon State Park in c.1932, the actual roadway from Scenic Dr southerly to the Muskegon Lake Channel is not completed until this year. (This is now the main park road within the state park.)
  1941 With the completion of a new bridge over the Chippewa River in Mount Pleasant, M-20 is realigned from Broadway St downtown to run along High St, then northerly along US-27/Mission St. The former route is turned back to city control.
  1957 The final few miles of gravel-surfaced M-20 are paved, near Woodville in Newaygo Co.
  1958 (Oct 25) Updated The 13-mile long M-20 freeway opens from US-23/Euclid Ave on the west side of Bay City to Bay City Rd near the Bay/Midland Co line east of Midland. The former route of M-20 along Midland Rd through Auburn is retained as an unsigned state trunkline highway for the time being.
  1959 (Oct 19) New! Just shy of an entire year after the M-20 freeway through southern Bay Co is completed and opened to traffic, the 13.67-mile segment is officially determined as a state trunkline highway route. Simultaneously, the former 13.0-mile alignment of M-20 along Midland Rd is officially turned back to local control.
  1960 With the completion of the new I-75/US-10/US-23 freeway to Bay City, US-10 is rerouted onto the M-20 freeway to Midland. M-20 is then scaled back from Bay City to end at the US-10 & BUS US-10 interchange east of Midland with BUS US-10 and M-20 running concurrently into downtown Midland.
  1961 (Aug 22) Updated M-20 is rerouted in the Muskegon area. Formerly running from North Muskegon along the north shore of Muskegon Lake to a terminus in Muskegon State Park, that segment west of US-31/Whitehall Rd is redesignated as M-213, while the M-20 designation is rerouted to the south concurrently with US-31 over the Veterans Memorial Causeway into Muskegon. At Access Highway where US-31 departs to bypass the city, M-20 now runs concurrently with BUS US-31 southwesterly along Ottawa St. At Eastern Ave, both BUS US-31 and M-20 now split into a brand-new one-way pair: Northbound BUS US-31 and eastbound M-20 follow the existing trunkline route on Clay Ave between Terrace Ave and Eastern Ave, while the State Highway Dept temporarily begins marking and maintaining Eastern Ave from Ottawa west to Western Ave, Western Ave from Eastern to Terrace St, and Terrace St from Western to Clay Ave, back to the existing route of BUS US-31 (now just the northbound/eastbound route). M-20 then continues southeasterly with BUS US-31 along Terrace St. At Webster Ave, westbound M-20 turns southwesterly with southbound BUS US-31/westbound M-46 while the additional block of Terrace to Muskegon Ave becomes just eastbound M-20 concurrent with northbound BUS US-31. Through the remainder of downtown, Webster Ave between Sixth St and Terrace St is sbd BUS US-31/wbd M-20/wbd M-46 while Muskegon Ave between those same streets is nbd BUS US-31/ebd M-20/ebd M-46. At Sixth St (jct US-16), M-20 and M-46 turn northwesterly with US-16 to run via Sixth St, Western Ave and Mart St to collectively terminate on the Wisconsin & Michigan Steamship Company's carferry dock (the Mart Dock) on the shores of Muskegon Lake.
  1962 (Dec 12) Updated The concurrent US-16/M-20/M-46 designation in downtown Muskegon becomes BS I-196/M-20/M-46 with the decommissioning of US-16 in the state of Michigan. The BS I-196 designation replaces US-16 on the Norton-Glade Expwy (Seaway Dr) between the Mart Dock and the western terminus of I-196 at US-31 southeast of Muskegon.
  1963 (Late) The concurrent BS I-196/M-20/M-46 designation in downtown Muskegon becomes BS I-96/M-20/M-46 with the re-designation of I-196 between Grand Rapids and Muskegon as I-96.
  1964 (Oct) Updated With the completion of the US-31 freeway from northeast of Muskegon northerly past Whitehall and Montague, major state trunkline route concurrency changes occur on M-20 at Muskegon. First, the concurrent stretch of US-31/M-20 over the Veterans Memorial Causeway between Muskegon and North Muskegon temporarily becomes M-20/BUS US-31 since the northside expressway connector between downtown Muskegon and the new US-31 freeway is not yet completed. Then, from the cnr of Whitehall Rd, Lake Ave & Holton Rd at North Muskegon, BUS US-31 continues its tempoary concurrency with M-20 along Holton Rd for an additional 2¾ miles to a new (albeit temporary) terminus at the new US-31 freeway & M-20 interchange northeast of North Muskegon (present-day Exit 118).
  1964 (Dec 3) New! – A 0.33-mile portion of the BUS US-31/M-20/Skyline Dr (present-day Moses J Jones Pkwy) is completed and opened to traffic between Eastern Ave on the northeast end of downtown Muskegon and Bayou Ave just shy of the South Branch of the Muskegon River. The new segment of four-lane expressway replaces Prospect Ave along its route. Due to settling problems at Ryerson Creek, the northbound and southbound roadways will not be complete until next year when the tons of sand placed by construction crews has a chance to settle. Until the gap between Spring St and Eastern Ave is completed, southbound BUS US-31/M-20 traffic is directed to continue to use the existing route from Bayou Ave southwesterly into downtown via Ottawa St–Eastern Ave–Western Ave–Terrace St.
  1965 (Jun 9) Updated – The final link in the route of Muskegon's BUS US-31 route of Seaway Dr/Skyline Dr is finally completed and opened to traffic on the northeast end of downtown Muskegon linking Muskegon and Webster Aves at Spring St with the previously completed expressway portion at Eastern Ave. (This was the portion delayed due to settling problems at Ryerson Creek.) At this point, the M-20 designation is also likely scaled back to terminate at the southern end of the Veterans Memorial Causeway where it meets BUS US-31 north of downtown, resulting in the removal of all M-20 route markers from the route of BUS US-31 between that point through downtown to Sixth St and along US-16/M-46 along Sixth St–Western Ave–Mart St out onto the Mart Dock.
  1969 (Mar 28) New! – As part of a long-term project to reroute M-20 to run due westerly from the White Cloud area directly toward the Lake Michigan shoreline region instead of winding its way southwesterly toward Muskegon via Fremont and Twin Lake, a 6.966-mile long segment of state trunkline highway route is officially determined along One Mile Rd in Newago Co (South Ave in Hesperia) beginning at M-82/Division St (present-day M-120) in Hesperia and running easterly to Croswell Ave near the community of Aetna. This portion of One Mile Rd is upgraded to modern trunkline standards, but not yet designated or signed as M-20 while the remainder of the One Mile Rd route easterly to M-37 north of White Cloud is still under construction.
  1970 (Feb 3) New! – The 1970 Michigan Official Highway Map is released by the Dept of State Highways... but with changes indicated that aren't going to be reflected in reality until July. Specifically, the M-20 realignment along One Mile Rd between White Cloud and Hesperia in Newaygo Co is shown as complete (albeit without an M-20 symbol on the map) even though the road will not be complete until July 1. From Hesperia to US-31 at New Era, what had been M-82 is now shown on the map sans route designation! The former M-20 between Muskegon and "Fremont Junction" west of Fremont is shown as M-120, but terminating at "Fremont Junction" instead of continuning northerly supplanting the M-82 designation to Hesperia, which is what the Dept of State Highways had anticipated being the case come July. Because of the premature mapping changes, State Highways maintenance workers hastily erect new route markers largely conforming to what is depicted on the map: M-120 now takes the place of M-20 from Muskegon northeasterly to "Fremont Junction," but also runs concurrently with M-82 to Hesperia (even though the original plan was to remove M-82 from this segment of highway). M-82 signs are swapped out for M-20 markers between New Era and Hesperia and removed from the White Cloud-to-Fremont Junction route. (The former M-20 from White Cloud to M-82 east of Fremont is simply an unsigned trunkline, while M-20/M-82 from that point west through Fremont to "Fremont Junction" is signed only as M-82 now.) However, since the One Mile Rd alignment is not yet complete, M-20 is temporarily a discontinuous route due to the mapping issues and the rushed route signing changes caused by it. See: M-20/M-120/M-82 Maps (1969–1971) for a graphical depiction.
  1970 (July 1) Updated – The 6.548 miles of One Mile Rd in Newaygo Co from Croswell Ave easterly to M-37/Evergreen Dr ½ mile north of the White Cloud city limit as well as the 1.5 miles of Monroe Rd from M-37/Evergreen Dr easterly to existing M-20 at cnr of Monroe Rd & Spruce Ave northeast of White Cloud are transferred to state control and determined as state trunkline routes and part of the relocated M-20 route. Coming from the northwest in Newaygo Co, M-20 now continues westerly along Monroe Rd at Spruce Ave (instead of turning southerly) to M-37, then runs southerly concurrently with M-37 for 1½ miles to One Mile Rd where it turns westerly along One Mile Rd along both the newly-completed portion (to Croswell Ave) and the portion completed and transferred to state control in March of 1969 from Croswell Ave into Hesperia. At Hesperia, M-20 now takes over the former route of M-82 constructed in the mid-1960s to US-31 at New Era. The former route of M-20 along Spruce Ave from Monroe Rd southerly to Base Line Rd, along Base Line Rd westerly to White Cloud, and Pine Hill Ave, Morgan St and Wilcox Ave in the City of White Cloud to the western city limit is turned back to county and city control. Old M-20 on the stairstep route between White Cloud and Fremont via Echo Dr, Bingham Ave, 12th St, Wisner Ave, 24th St, Baldwin Ave, and 48th St becomes an unsigned state trunkline highway route (known internally to the Dept of State Highways as OLD M-20). The rest of M-20 had been re-signed earlier in the year due to the premature mapping changes (see above): M-20/M-82 through Fremont to Fremont Junction becomes just M-82, while the portion from Fremont Junction southwesterly to Muskegon is redesignated as part of M-120.
  1975 (Apr 16, Dec 23) Updated A 2.515-mile long westerly extension of M-20 is officially determined as a state trunkline highway route on April 16 beginning at US-31/Oceana Dr and continuing southwesterly along a newly-built alignment, merging into Garfield Rd between Water Rd and 72nd Ave west of New Era, then continuing westerly along Garfield (present-day Stony Lake Rd), terminating 0.125 mile east of 64th Ave at the currently-under-construction interchange for the future US-31 freeway. The new US-31 freeway is completed and opened to traffic from north of Montague to this new M-20/Stony Lake Rd interchange (present-day Exit 140) on December 23 and US-31 traffic is temporarily routed easterly from the new freeway via the M-20 extension back to Oceana Dr where US-31 turns northerly along its existing alignment.
  1984 M-20/BUS US-131 is realigned along a newly extended Perry St from State St in Big Rapids to the new US-131 freeway on the west edge of town. The former route of M-20 along 15 Mile Rd is turned back to local control and a portion of the former route on the campus of Ferris State University becomes Ferris Dr.
  1998 (Oct 1) The portion of M-20 from the northern jct with M-37 north of White Cloud, northeasterly to the Mecosta/Newaygo Co line is turned over to county control. Simultaneously, the route of B-88 from White Cloud to Stanwood is turned over to state control. The M-20 designation is then relocated onto the White Cloud-to-Stanwood routing of B-88, then northerly along US-131 back to its former alignment at Big Rapids. The former routing of M-20 between White Cloud and Big Rapids is relieved of its state designation and reverts back to Newaygo Co control. In addition, the state-maintained "Old M-20" from White Cloud to Fremont is also turned back to local control.
  1999 February 1999 saw the removal of most of the M-20 route markers between M-37 and US-131. As of April 1999, only one lonely M-20 marker remained and all traces of B-88 were removed. Also in April, M-20 route marker assemblies had been erected at the US-131 & 8 Mile Rd interchange (Exit 131) near Stanwood, as well as a solitary M-20 marker on the east side of White Cloud. No other indication of the changes was apparent on M-37 or on eastbound M-20 as one approached the jct with M-37. All signage changes are completed by May 1999, though.
Controlled-Access: Two segments of M-20 exist as freeway:
  • Concurrently with US-131 from Exit 131 at Stanwood to Exit 139 at Big Rapids. (7.4 miles)
  • Concurrently with BUS US-10 in Midland from Saginaw St to US-10 at Exit 128. (2.5 miles)
NHS: Updated M-20 is part of the National Highway System (NHS) in two different segments:
  • In the Mecosta Co from the southern jct with US-131 at Exit 131 northerly to jct BUS US-131 at State St & Maple St in downtown Big Rapids. (5.9 miles) (The segment of M-20 concurrent with BUS US-131 in Big Rapids was added in 2012 with the passage of the MAP-21 funding and authorization bill.)
  • From the southern jct with BUS US-127 in Mount Pleasant (at cnr High St & Mission St) to the eastern terminus of M-20 at US-10 at Midland. (31.6 miles) (The segment of M-20 in Mount Pleasant west of US-127 was added in 2012 with the passage of the MAP-21 funding and authorization bill.)
Memorial Highway: At present, no portion of M-20 has been designated as part of a Memorial Highway.
Photographs:  
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