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Southern Terminus:    I-75 at Exit 109 west of Grand Blanc
Northern Terminus:    I-75/US-23 at Exit 136 in Birch Run
Length: Updated 27.148 miles
Maps: New! Route Map of M-54
Notes: The modern-day iteration of M-54 was originally conceived as a replacement for the US-10 designation in the Greater Flint area. When the I-75 freeway was completed through southern Genesee Co in 1962, US-10 was routed via I-75 and I-75/US-23 throughout the area. The Dept of State Highways decided to keep much of the former routing of US-10 and BUS US-10 in the state trunkline system and the M-54 designation was applied to the route. BUS US-10 then became BUS M-54. The new M-54 ran along what had been US-10 from the Oakland/Genesee Co line through Grand Blanc on Saginaw Rd, then turning northerly to bypass Flint to the east via Dort Hwy, returning to Saginaw Rd for a time near Clio, eventually turning northerly to supplant a portion of M-83 into Saginaw Co. At Birch Run Rd in southeastern Saginaw Co, the new M-54 designation was bent to the west, co-signed with M-83, to end at I-75/US-10/US-23 at Birch Run. BUS M-54 followed Saginaw St in its entirety from the southern intersection of Dort Hwy north of Grand Blanc to the northern intersection of Dort Hwy north of Mount Morris.
  Only two main changes to this route have taken place over the past five-plus decades. First, in the mid-1970s, most of the BUS M-54 signage was removed, leaving an unsigned state trunkline through downtown Flint. For much of its route, the former BUS M-54 was replaced by the nearby I-475/UAW Frwy. It was not until the 1990s and early 2000s that much of Saginaw St was actually turned back to county and city control. Then in 1987, the southern Dort Hwy extension was completed, routing M-54 out of downtown Grand Blanc to a more direct connection with I-75.
  New! As originally planned by State Highway Dept planners in 1960, the former route of US-10 through Flint and Genesee Co was originally planned to become a southerly extension of M-83 once the US-10 designation was relocated to the I-75 and US-23 freeway corridor. Similarly, the route of BUS US-10 through Flint was to have been designated BUS M-83. This proposed designation was indicated on official planning maps prepared in 1960. Those maps indicated the proposed BUS M-83 routing would follow N Saginaw St southerly from the northern end of Dort Hwy through downtown Mount Morris and into downtown Flint, then turn easterly along with the proposed BUS M-21 routing via E Court St to a terminus at Dort Hwy (proposed to be M-83). The southern portion of what became BUS M-54 along S Saginaw St from downtown Flint to Dort Hwy near Grand Blanc was to have been turned back to municipal and county control under the plans from 1960. In the end, most of the former US-10 route in Genesee Co was given the M-54 designation (and proposed BUS M-83 was designated BUS M-54) instead.
  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 many changes to existing state highway routes during that timeframe, including the following for the route of M-54 (which wouldn't be reconstituted as a state highway routing for nearly two years in the future):
  • Constructing a southerly extension of Dort Hwy leading from Saginaw St south to a new interchange at I-75/US-10 southwest of Grand Blanc. It would take 27 years for this proposal to be implemented, although the original proposal was for an unlimited-access divided highway, while today's M-54/Dort Hwy Extension was constructed as a four- and five-lane, undivided highway in the 1980s.
  • Jurisdictionally transferring what would become BUS M-54 (signed as BUS US-10 in 1960) to local control from M-54/Dort Hwy northwest of Grand Blanc northerly to M-21/Court St in downtown Flint. This proposal would eventually be implemented when BUS M-54 was transfered to local control in the 1980s and 1990s.
History: c.1920 – The first incarnation of M-54 in Michigan begins at M-16 (later US-16) on the west side of Grand Rapids and continues northerly via the present-day M-37 corridor through Sparta, Newaygo, and White Cloud to end at M-20 (now US-10) in Baldwin.
  1926 – The entire 75.5-mile length of M-54 between Grand Rapids and Baldwin becomes a northerly extension of M-37, and the M-54 designation ceases to exit for 12 years.
  1939 (Mid) New!By mid-1939, the route of US-2A leading from US-2/Cloverland Dr southerly and southwesterly into downtown Ironwood and then onward to the Wisconsin state line at the Montreal River, is redesignated and re-signed as M-54.
  1942 (Aug 10–15) Updated – The route of M-54 in Ironwood, which begins at US-2/Cloverland Dr & Douglas Blvd and continues southerly 7½ blocks to Frederick St, southwesterly one block via Frederick to Suffolk St, southeasterly 2 blocks along Suffolk to Aurora St, then southwesterly 4 blocks to a point approximately 125 feet beyond Albany St where it terminates, is redesignated in its entirety as BUS US-2, with new route markers replacing the existing M-54 signs Aug 10–15. Additionally, the remaining 0.3 mile of Aurora St from the previous end of M-54 to Silver St and Silver St westerly to the Montreal River on the Wisconsin state line is added to the BUS US-2 route. This additional 0.3 mile is officially transferred to state control on Aug 17. The new bi-state business route is craeted after an agreement with Wisconsin highway officials results in a completion of the loop from US-2 into downtown Hurley, then northerly back to US-2 via US-51. As such, the second iteration of M-54 comes to an end.
  1962 (Oct 25) Updated – With the completion of I-75 south of Flint, US-10 is transferred from its S Saginaw Rd–Dort Hwy–N Saginaw Rd alignment through Genesee Co to run concurrently with I-75. To replace the US-10 routing along Saginaw St and Dort Hwy, a third iteration of M-54 is applied to the former routing of US-10 from I-75 at Exit 106 south of Grand Blanc northerly to jct M-83 at Clio. From there, M-54 replaces M-83 northerly via Clio Rd (in Genesee Co) nd Gera Rd (in Saginaw Co) to Birch Run Rd, where both M-54 and M-83 travel west concurrently via Birch Run Rd to I-75/US-10/US-23. Additionally, BUS US-10 through downtown Flint via Saginaw St between its intersections with Dort Hwy is redesignated as BUS M-54.
  1974 New! – The Dept of State Highways & Transportation removes the BUS M-54 route markers from Saginaw St between the M-54/Dort Hwy intersections, making the former BUS M-54 an unsigned state trunkline route for the time being, until the various segments are transferred to city or county control in the coming years. The reason for the removal of the BUS M-54 designation is the completion of the first segements of the I-475/Buick Frwy between I-75 south of Flint and downtown as well as the segment from I-75/US-10/US-23 northwest of the city and Saginaw St north of the city.
  1975 (July 25) Updated – The one block (0.067 mile or 353 feet) of former BUS M-54/Saginaw St between Water St and the Detroit St/First Ave/Saginaw St intersection largey consisting of the Flint River bridge, ceases to be a state trunkline highway and is turned back to City control, likely in preparation for the future rebuilding of the Saginaw St bridge spanning the Flint River.
  1978 (Nov 21) Updated – The 0.193-mile (1,019-foot) portion of former BUS M-54/Saginaw St from First St north to Water St in downtown Flint ceases to be a state trunkline highway and is turned back to City control according to MDOT documents.
  1980 (Aug 1) New! – The 0.46-mile segment of former BUS M-54/Saginaw St on the northern edge of the City of Flint from approximtely 40 feet north of the centerline of Russell St northerly to the northern city limit at Carpenter Rd is cancelled as a state trunkline and turned back to City control.
  1983 (Jan 12) New! – The one-block of former BUS M-54/Saginaw St in downtown Flint from First St southerly to Second St is officially cancelled as as state highway route and turned back to City control. This segment of Saginaw St includes part of a three-block-long so-called "parking mall" from Third St to Kearlsey St, implemented at the request of downtown business interests during the 18-month closure of the Saginaw St bridge over the Flint River in 1977-78. The parking mall, with space for up to 114 cars, remained for several years after the bridge re-opened to traffic but that segment of Saginaw St was eventually converted back to normal street traffic flow.
  1983 (Jan 12) New! – On the same day as the one-block transfer of a portion of the former BUS M-54/Saginaw St in downtown Flint (above), the 2.8-mile long segment of former BUS M-54/Saginaw St within the City of Burton and into Grand Blanc Twp—from Hemphill Rd at the Flint/Burton city limit southerly to M-54/Dort Hwy northwest of Grand Blanc—is turned back to County control. The Dept of State Highways & Transportation had completely reconstructed and widened Saginaw St between Hemphill Rd and M-54/Dort Hwy in 1976 in preparation for the turnback... that took an additional 6½ years to accomplish.
  1986 (Dec 22) New! – Even though the full Dort Highway Extension project is not yet complete—construction was slowed due to heavy rains during the fall of 1986, putting the project behind—the new interchange with I-75/US-10 (Exit 109) and the portion of the new highway northerly to Grand Blanc Rd is complete and opened to car traffic only. Initially, City of Grand Blanc officials balked at opening the southernmost segment of the extension prior to completing the entire route through to Saginaw St, fearing the vast majority of traffic would turn easterly along Grand Blanc Rd into the already congested downtown area to connect back with the existing route of M-54, MDOT engineers compromised by limiting traffic on the new link between I-75/US-10 and Grand Blanc Rd to automobiles only, prohibiting trucks until the full extension is complete in six to seven months time. (This new segment of highway is not signed as M-54 pending completion of the remainder of the extension.) The interchange and ½ mile of roadway north to Grand Blanc Rd cost $4.6 million to construct.
  1987 (June 26, 10:30 am) New! – After two decades of planning, two lawsuits and countless delays due to lack of funding, the Dort Highway Extension from S Saginaw St southerly to Grand Blanc Rd and on to the I-75/US-10 interchange (Exit 109) that had been completed and opened to traffic the previous December. The final segment of the extension, which shaves 3.6 miles from the overall length of M-54, cost $2.2 million to construct, consists of 1½ miles of new highway from Gibson Rd to Grand Blanc Rd and the resurfacing of the existing portion of S Dort Hwy from S Saginaw St to Gibson Rd. The former route of M-54 along S Saginaw St from Dort Hwy southeasterly to I-75/US-10 Exit 106 remains an unsigned state trunkline route for the time being.
  1988 (Jun 14) New! – The two segments of former BUS M-54/Saginaw Rd from the north city limit of Flint at Carpenter Rd northerly to M-54/Dort Hwy, with the exception of the 1.0 mile mile of Saginaw St within the City of Mount Morris, is cancelled as a state trunkline route and turned back to county control. The southern segment from Carpenter Rd to the Mount Morris south city limit measures 2.52 miles, while the north section from the north Mount Morris city limit to M-54/Dort Hwy is 1.72 miles, for a total of 4.24 miles jurisdictionally transferred.
  1991 (Jan 28) New! – The ½ mile of former BUS M-54/Saginaw St on the southern end of Flint from Atherton St southerly to the city limit at Hemphill Rd is cancelled as a state trunkline highway route and turned back to locak control.
  1992 (Jan 7) New! – The extremely short portion of the former portion of M-54 along Dixie Hwy in extreme northwestern Oakland Co at the Genesee Co line, essentially within the interchange with I-75 at Exit 106, which became an unsigned state trunkline when the M-54/Dort Hwy Extension opened in 1987 is turned back to county control. The remainder of OLD M-54 within Genesee Co remains an unsigned trunkline route at this point.
  1993–94 New! – The land needed to construct the proposed southerly extension of the Dort Hwy Extension (constructed in the 1980s) between I-75 at Exit 109 and the intersection of Cook & McWain Rds just to the south is sold off in two parcels in February 1993 and March 1994. By doing so, MDOT and the Genesee Co Road Commission seem to signal that such an extension is unnecessary.
  1993 (July 6) New! – The remainder of the former route of BUS M-54/Saginaw St on the north side of the City of Flint is cancelled as a state trunkline route and turned back to City control, approximately twenty years after its BUS M-54 route markers were removed and it became an unsigned state trunkline highway. This segment runs from approximately 40 feet north of the centerline of Russell St southerly to the intersection of First St/Martin Luther King Jr Ave (Detroit Ave) immediately north of the Flint River.
  1995 (July 5) New! – The 1.876-mile portion of OLD M-54/Saginaw St in the City of Grand Blanc which has been an unsigned trunkline route since 1987 is cancelled as a state trunkline route and turned back to City control, leaving just the portions of Saginaw St in Grand Blanc Twp southeast of Dort Hwy remaining as unsigned trunkline.
  1996 (Feb 6) New! – The last segments of OLD M-54/Saginaw St in Genesee Co which had been bypassed by the Dort Hwy Extension in 1987 are finally cancelled as state trunkline highway segments and turned back to county control in Grand Blanc Twp. The 4.220 miles of former trunkline include one 0.8 mile segment from M-54/Dort Hwy southeasterly to the northwestern city limit of Grand Blanc (between Frederick St and Case Ave) and a second 3.4-mile long segment from 140 feet southeast of Stephens Ct southeasterly to the Genesee/Oakland Co line at I-75 Exit 106.
  2002 (June 26) – The remaining portions of OLD BUS M-54 (S Saginaw St) between Atherton St in southern Flint and Second St in downtown Flint are turned back to local control. The highway has not been signed as a state trunkline in nearly thirty years. The only portionsof Saginaw St within the City of Flint remaining as state trunkline is the Thread Creek bridge and its approaches, which was not relinquished by MDOT.
  2011 (Feb 4) New! – The final portion of the former route of OLD BUS M-54 in the City of Flint—the Thread Creek bridge and its approaches—is abandoned as a state trunkline highway and jurisdictionally transferred to the City of Flint relinquished by MDOT, a total of 0.06 mile of trunkline route.
Controlled Access: Freeway: No portion of M-54 is constructed as freeway.
  Expressway: The portion of M-54/Dort Hwy from Hill Rd southerly to I-75 is a limited-access, two-lane expressway. (3.0 miles)
NHS: The segment of M-54 from its southern terminus at I-75 at Exit 109 (west of Grand Blanc) to M-57 east of Clio is on the National Highway System (NHS). (28 miles)
Memorial Highways:  New! The following Memorial Highway designations have been officially assigned to parts of M-54 by the Michigan Legislature:
  • UAW Sitdown Strike Memorial Highway – "Highway M-54 in Genesee County beginning at the intersection of M-54 and I-75 and continuing north to the intersection of M-54 and I-69..." From MDOT: "The 1936–1937 Flint sit-down strike against General Motors (also known as the General Motors sit-down strike, the great GM sit-down strike, and other variants) changed the United Automobile Workers (UAW) from a collection of isolated locals on the fringes of the industry into a major labor union and led to the unionization of the domestic United States automobile industry."
  • Marine Corps League Memorial Highway – "Highway M-54 in Genesee County beginning at the intersection of M-54 and I-69 and continuing north to the intersection of M-54 and M-57..." From MDOT: "The M-54 highway runs through the heart of Genesee County and is the site of the home of the Flint detachment of the Marine Corps League. The Marine Corps League is a veteran’s organization of the United States Marines that was founded in 1923 and has more than 50,000 members. The highway where the Flint Marine Corp League will be located is named the 'Marine Corps League Memorial Highway' in honor of the sacrifices the marines made in service to their country."
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