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|Southern Terminus:||I-75/US-23 at Exit 136 in Birch Run|
|Northern Terminus:||M-15 at Arthur, 5 miles northwest of Richville (cnr N Gera Rd & W Vassar Rd)|
|Maps:||Route Map of M-83|
|Notes:||M-83 is the primary route connecting I-75/US-23 and the major tourist attraction of Frankenmuth. Traffic back-ups are common on weekends when thousands of people flock to Frankenmuth, a Bavarian-themed city, for the world-famous chicken dinners at Zhender's and the Bavarian Inn, as well as other attractions such as Bronner's Christmas Wonderland, the world's largest Christmas store.|
| The early history of the M-83 route designation is a curious one. When the Michigan state trunkline highway system was first laid out and given route numbers in 1919, an eleven mile roadway connecting the small community of Gay in southern Keweenaw Co with Mohawk situated on M-15 (present-day US-41) was identified as a trunkline route and given the designation of M-83. However, the first section of the route was not officially determined as a state trunkline route for more than two years. This, in itself, is not odd, as it often took several years to "improve" many of the initial state trunkline highways laid out in 1919. In some cases, an existing roadway simply needed to be upgraded through surfacing, drainage improvements, and improved bridges, while in other cases it was necessary to construct an entirely new road on a new alignment from scratch.
In the case of M-83, prior to the first 8.6 miles of Mohawk-Gay Rd being officially assumed into the trunkline highway system in September 1921, several official MSHD maps showed an M-83 routing along what eventually became M-48 (present-day H-40) between jct M-12 (later US-2) at Caffey in Mackinac Co and jct M-25 at Trout Lake in Chippewa Co. At the time, M-25 (later incorporated into M-28) was proposed to run southeasterly from the Luce-Mackinac Co line to Trout Lake, then easterly to Rudyard and M-48 itself was signed from Rudyard easterly through Pickford and Goetzvile. Thus, the state highway running between Caffey and Trout Lake required a route designation for signs to be posted in the field. Since the Mohawk-to-Gay trunkline had not been officially assumed into the system yet, the MSHD signed the 9½ mile Caffey-to-Trout Lake route as M-83 in the 1919–1921 timeframe. However, in early 1921, the (unconstructed) route of M-25 from the Luce-Mackinac Co line to Trout Lake was cancelled as a trunkline route, to be replaced by a more direct alignment along the present-day M-28 corridor through Chippewa Co. Because of that, the M-48 designation was simply extended westerly along what had been signed as part of M-25 from Rudyard to Trout Lake, then continuing westerly along the 9½ mile Caffey-to-Trout Lake route to a terminus at M-12 (later US-2).
To date, only a few (albeit official) MSHD maps and some contemporary newpaper construction bulletins have noted the M-83 designation between Caffey and Trout Lake.
|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.|
|M-83 "shares" a name with a French electronic music band led by Anthony Gonzalez, based in Los Angeles. There is no connection between Michigan's M-83 and the band, as the band was named after the "M83" galaxy, more formally known as Messier 83.|
| 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 the following changes to the route of M-83 during that timeframe:
|History:||1919–1921 – As noted in the "Notes" section above, an early iteration of M-83 existed for upwards of two years beginning at M-12 (later US-2) near Caffey in Mackinac Co and continuing easterly for 9½ miles via present-day H-40 to a jct with M-25 (later incorporated into M-28) in Trout Lake.|
|1921 (Apr 19) – The officially-determined (but unconstructed) alignment of M-25 (later incorporated into M-28) from the Luce-Chippewa Co line near Hulbert southeasterly to Trout Lake is cancelled as a state trunkline highway route in favor of a more direct alignment to the east via the present-day M-28 corridor through western Chippewa Co. As a result, the M-48 designation is extended over what had been signed as M-25 from Rudyard westerly to Trout Lake, then further along the M-83 route to a terminus at M-12 (later US-2) near Caffey in Mackinac Co. Assuming the 9½ mile Caffey-to-Trout Lake highway is completely signed in the field as M-83, this then brings an end to the first iteration of M-83.|
|1921 (Sept 8) – While it had been designated a state highway on certain MSHD maps dating back to 1919, the 8.6 miles of Mowhawk-Gay Rd from M-15 (present-day US-41/M-26) in Mohawk east-southeasterly to a point approximately 3 miles northwest of the community of Gay in Keweenaw Co is officially determined as a state trunkline highway route, and designated as M-83.|
|1925 (Sept 9) – The second iteration of the M-83 route designation in Michigan comes to a close when the entire 8.6 miles of the route along Mohawk-Gay Rd from Mohawk toward Gay is redesignated as an extension of M-26. M-26 itself is extended northerly along the newly-designated US-41 (formerly M-15) from Calumet to Mohawk and now turns southeasterly replacing M-83 into Gay, where it terminates. The exact date of this transition from M-83 to M-26 isn't exactly clear—it was still being referred to in newspaper construction reports as M-83 as late as July 1926.
A third iteration for M-83 then immediately debuts, this time in the Lower Peninsula. The route of M-31—which ran from Saginaw through Reese, Gilford, Fairgrove, Akron, Unionville, and Sebewaing to Bay Port then easterly across the width of Huron Co through Pigeon, Elkton, Bad Axe and Verona to M-27 (present-day M-25) at Harbor Beach—is given over to various other route designations. Beginning at the former eastern terminus of M-31 at M-27 in Harbor Beach, M-83 now runs westerly along present-day M-142 through Verona to Bad Axe, northerly for 1½ miles with M-53, then westerly again along the former M-31 (and present-day M-142) through Elkton and Pigeon to a western terminus at M-29 (present-day M-25) just south of Bay Port.
On a wider scale, with the removal of the M-31 designation, the entire length of M-27—which ran from Port Huron along the Lake Huron shoreline to a terminus at M-53 in Port Austin—is redesignated as a northerly extension of M-29. M-29 itself is proposed to continue along the Saginaw Bay shoreline from Port Austin through Caseville and Bay Port to the new western terminus of M-83. From there, M-29 supplants the M-31 designation through Sebewaing to Unionville, while M-31 from Unionville through Akron, Fairgrove and Gilford to M-81 east of Reese is redesignated as M-84. Since the trunkline route along the Saginaw Bay shoreline from Port Austin through Caseville to Bay Port is not yet constructed, the route of M-29 is temporarily signed along M-53 from Port Austin to Bad Axe, then along the newly-designated M-83 from Bad Axe to the Bay Port area.
|1928 (June 28) – A brand-new 15.7 mile long state trunkline route is officially determined beginning at US-10/US-23 approximately 1¾ mile north of downtown Clio in Genesee Co then northerly into Saginaw Co, through Frankenmuth, to M-24 (present-day M-15) along Vassar Rd (which has not yet been officially determined as a trunkline route and, thus, is only "marked and maintained" as M-24 at this time) near the community of Arthur. While the portion of the newly determined trunkline from Frankenmuth southerly toward Clio is not yet "improved" and signed, the entire 15.7 mile route is given the M-83 designation.
To connect this new segment of M-83 with the existing route in Huron Co—45 miles distant!—the M-83 designation is co-signed with M-24 northwesterly through Arthur to M-81, then easterly with M-81 through Reese into Tuscola Co to Bradleyville Rd. From there, M-83 supplants the M-84 route designation northerly through Gilford, easterly to Fairgrove, northerly then easterly thorugh Akron and northerly again to Unionville. From Unionville, M-83 is now concurrently designated with M-29 (present-day M-25) through Sebewaing to the previous western terminus of M-83 near Bay Port.
|1929 (Dec 2) – A 3.9-mile segment of M-24 (present-day M-15) along Vassar Rd in eastern Saginaw Co from the Tuscola/Saginaw Co line northwesterly to M-81/Washington Rd near Arthur is officially determined as a state trunkline highway, although it has likely been signed for a few years. This segment includes the concurrent M-24/M-83 route.|
|1931 – The 9.4 miles of M-83 officially assumed into the trunkline system from Frankenmuth southerly to US-10/US-23 north of downtown Clio is improved, opened to traffic and signed as part of M-83. At this point, M-83 runs for a total of 101 miles—the longest the route will ever be.|
|1939 (July 13) – The 5.0-mile long segment of Bradleyville Rd between M-81/W Caro Rd and M-138/Fairgrove Rd in western Tuscola Co is turned back to county control and cancelled as a trunkline route. As this severs M-83 into two discontinuous pieces, several additional route changes take place. From a new northern terminus for M-83 at M-24/Vassar Rd (present-day M-15) near Arthur in Saginaw Co, the concurrent M-24/M-83 and M-81/M-83 segments become just M-24 and M-81, respectively. The portion of M-83 in Tuscola Co from the cnr of Bradleyville Rd & Fairgrove Rd north of Gilford easterly to Fairgrove, northerly along Hinson Rd and easterly via Akron Rd through Akron, then northerly on Unionville Rd to jct M-29 (present-day M-25) in downtown Unionville is redesignated as an easterly extension of M-138. (The former segment of M-31 along Fairgrove Rd west of Bradvilleyville Rd into Bay Co and via Munger Rd through Munger to M-24/Tuscola Rd, was an unsigned state trunkline highway between 1928 when the M-31 designation was removed from it in 1928 and c.1931 when it was re-signed as M-138.) The former M-29/M-83 from Unionville through Sebewaing to Bay Port becomes just M-29, while the remainder of what had been designated M-83 from Bay Port easterly through Pigeon, Elkton, Bad Axe, and Verona to Harbor Beach is given a brand-new route designation: M-142.|
|1940 – The final 3 miles of gravel-surfaced M-83—between the Pere Marquette RR tracks at Gera and M-15/M-24—are paved.|
|1962 (Nov 5) – Nearly a full year after the segment of the new I-75/US-10/US-23 freeway between Birch Run and Bridgeport in southeast Saginaw Co is completed and opened to traffic, the completion of a different segment of the I-75/US-10 freeway 21 miles away results in several trunkline route changes in the Birch Run area. Until now, US-10 has bypassed Flint to the east along Dort Hwy and continued northwesterly past Clio via Saginaw Rd which becomes Dixie Hwy in Saginaw Co. For the past year, US-10 has used Birch Run Rd as a short trunkline connector to transition from Dixie Hwy onto the freeway heading northwesterly toward Saginaw, which was used previously as the connector for US-23 traffic to transition between Dixie Hwy and the Fenton-Clio Expwy from 1958–1961.
However, with US-10 being moved to run concurrently with I-75 from Clarkston past Flint and Saginaw to Bay City, Dixie Hwy from M-83/N Clio Rd near Clio to Birch Run Rd at Birch Run is transferred to county control, while Birch Run Rd from Dixie Hwy (just east of I-75/US-10/US-23) easterly 1¾ miles to M-83/Gera Rd is transferred from county to state control as a state trunkline highway. The route which replaces US-10 through most of Genesee Co—M-54—is routed northerly from Clio along what has been M-83 via N Clio Rd (Genesee Co) and Gera Rd (Saginaw Co) to Birch Run Rd where it turns westerly via Birch Run Rd to a northern terminus at I-75/US-10/US-23. The M-83 route designation is also modified to turn westerly from Gera Rd south of Frankenmuth to travel concurrently with M-54 along Birch Rd Rd to a shared terminus at I-75/US-10/US-23. This results in what some highway buffs call a "wrong-way concurrency," as it's nbd M-54 and sbd M-83 running together to the west along Birch Run Rd, while in the other direction it's sbd M-54 and nbd M-83 traveling in tandem.
|1969 (Nov 5) – As part of a $1 million project to modernize the route of M-83 through the City of Frankenmuth, ½ mile of trunkline highway on new alignment is constructed to connect the existing route of M-83 along Gera Rd at Dead Cr to Eischer Rd just south of the Frankenmuth city limit, where Eischer Rd becomes Main St. The remaining ½ mile of Eischer Rd-Main St northerly back to the existing M-83 at Jefferson St is turned over to state control as part of a realigned M-83. The former route of M-83 along Weiss St south of the city then northerly Jefferson St and Jefferson from Weiss westerly to Main St is turned back to local control. The new route for M-83 shaves approximately ¼ mile from the route and eliminates two 90° turns.|
|Controlled Access:||No portion of M-83 is freeway or expressway.|
|NHS:||No portion of M-83 is on the National Highway System.|
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