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M-116
M-117 Route Marker On to Next Route:
Former M-118
Southern Terminus:    US-2 one mile south of Engadine at cnr Country Ave & Lake Michigan Scenic Hwy
Northern Terminus:    M-28 southwest of Newberry, 3 miles west of the western M-28 & M-123 junction
Length: Updated 14.480 miles
Maps: New! Route Map of M-117
Notes: Although a rather short highway by many definitions, M-117 serves an important need: connecting two of the Upper Peninsula's major east-west highways, US-2 and M-28. Except at their western end, US-2 and M-28 come no closer than they do in the M-117 area. Much of the through traffic heading to or from the Central U.P./Keweenaw Peninsula areas and the Mackinc Bridge uses M-117 as a connector between US-2 and M-28.
  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 the following two changes to the route of M-117 during that timeframe:
  • Truncating M-117 to the interchange with the planned US-2 freeway south of Engadine approximately ½ mile north of the existing route of US-2. Obviously, since the US-2 freeway across the eastern half of the Upper Peninsula was never construction, this proposal was never enacted;
  • Canceling the portion of M-117 north of downtown Newberry (to Four Mile Corner) and turning that portion of the route back to local control. Not only was this proposal not acted upon, the route of M-117 was extended by almost 40 miles from Four Mile Corner to connect with the stub end of M-123 at Emerson south of Paradise to provide access to Tahquamenon Falls State Parkj just two years later! Although, this extension would be done as M-123 and not as part of M-117.
History: 1935 (Jan 7) UpdatedThe first iteration of M-117 exists—at least on paper—in Monroe Co. Internal State Highway Dept maps indicate the portion of Lewis Ave from the bend just north of Ida to M-50 and Ida-Maybee Rd from M-50 to M-130/North Custer Rd is officially given the M-117 designation, although not likely signed in the field. Lewis Ave is signed as part of US-23, while Ida-Maybee as part of M-130. M-117 has likely been assigned to this route to take over for the US-23 and M-130 designations once the planned relocation of US-23 in the area is completed—which will never occur.
  1939 UpdatedThe (proposed) M-117 designation along the small portions of US-23 and M-130 in central Monroe Co no longer shows up on internal State Highway Dept maps.
  1940 (Oct) UpdatedAlthough the shoreline alignment for US-2 between Gould City and Epoufette by way of Naubinway in western Mackinac Co was officially determined as a state trunkline route in January 1935, it takes the State Highway Dept almost six years to complete the project. With new US-2 route complete and open to traffic, the former route along Hiawatha Trail west of Garnet is turned back to local control while the north-south portion along Hiawatha Trail between the new US-2 route at Epoufette and M-48 at Caffey Corner (east of Rexton) is redesignated as M-117, signalling the debut of the second iteration of this route (the first physically-signed iteration).
  1949 (Nov 10) Updated Several state trunkline route changes occur in western Mackinac Co .First, the route of M-48 from Garnet northerly to M-28, westerly via M-28 to Newberry and northerly to north of Newberry is officially relocated to a new proposed alignment from Garnet angling directly to the southwest, meeting US-2 just east of Naubinway. Since this new angling alignment is only a proposed "line on a map," the signed route of M-48 supplants the entire length of M-117 southerly to US-2 at Epoufette. Technically, the route of M-117 (via Hiawatha Tr) here is transferred to Mackinac Co on November 10, 1949, but remains "marked and maintained" by the State Highway Dept as M-48 until the new route is constructed. This same day, a new state trunkline route is determined about 20 miles west of the former M-117, beginning at US-2 south of Engadine and proceeding northerly via Country Ave, easterly via Brown Rd, northerly again via Krause Rd and into Luce Co via Co Rd 405 to M-28. The M-117 designation is assigned to this new trunkline. At M-28, the new M-117 routing will officially turn easterly to follow M-28 for 2.2 miles to Newberry Corners where it will turn northerly to follow Co Rd 406 for two miles to existing M-48/M-28A and then will replace those two designations into downtown Newberry. However, until construction to upgrade Co Rd 406 between M-28 and M-48/M-28A is complete, M-117 will continue northerly where it meets M-28 concurrently with M-28A (along present-day Co Rd 405) through Dollarville into downtown Newberry. There, M-117 continues northerly from Newberry replacing the M-48 designation for four miles to a terminus at Four Mile Corner (present-day jct M-123 & H-37). (The route of present-day H-37 from Four Mile Corner to Muskallonge Lake on the Lake Superior shoreline was officially determined as an extension of M-48 on January 1, 1935, but was never officially signed as such, pending reconstruction to state trunkline standards. No documents have been found indicating the State Highway Dept intended to designate this extension as M-117, but one could assume this to be the case.)
     However, according to the State Highway Dept, "in view of the uncertain weather conditions affecting the preparation of the relocated M-117 trunkline," the state will continue to maintain the exisitng route of M-48 from Caffey Corner westerly along Hiawatha Trail through Rexton and Gilchrist, then northerly past Hendricks Quarry into Luce Co to M-28 at McLeods Corner until May 15, 1950.
  1949 (Nov 10) Updated On the same day as the above changes, the entire route of M-28A through Newberry as well as the route of M-117 via present-day Co Rd 405 southwest of Newberry is cancelled as a state trunkline route, while the route of present-day M-123 from Newberry due southerly to M-28 is assumed as a state trunkline. However, M-28A will remained signed as-is and M-117 will stay routed along M-28A via Dollarville (along present-day Co Rd 405) as "marked and maintained" routes until all new construction has been completed.
  1953 (Summer) Updated The new direct route for M-117 south of Newberry between M-28 at Newberry Corners and the former M-48/M-28A (present-day Co Rd 428) two miles north of that point is completed and opened to traffic. From its junction with M-28 at Pelkys Corners southwest of Newberry, M-117 now turns easterly via M-28 to Newberry Corners, then northerly via the newly-completed highway and then the former route of M-48/BUS M-28 into downtown Newberry before continuing northerly to Four Mile Corner. The former route of M-117/BUS M-28—the marked-and-maintained route via present-day Co Rd 405 through Dollarville—has its route markers removed and falls fully under local maintenance as it was transferred to local control on November 10, 1949. BUS M-28 along Co Rd 403 and Co Rd 428 similarly has its route markers removed and falls back to county maintenance at this time as well.
  1954 (May 15) – The "Muskallonge Lake" extension of M-117 via present-day H-37/Co Rd 407 from Four Mile Corner four miles north of Newberry to the Lake Superior shore at Deer Lake is officially transferred back to local control, although evidence indicates this route was never signed as a trunkline in the field, likely pending complete reconstruction.
  1954 (July) New!A 7.3-mile long project to pave the route of FAS (Federal-Aid Secondary) Route 338 beginning from the northern terminus of M-117 at Four Mile Corner four miles north of Newberry and continuing northeasterly to approximately one mile south of Fordney Tower Rd is completed and opened to traffic. Grading and graveling was completed on this segment in 1953. It is anticipated this segment of highway may someday become an extention to M-117 toward Tahquamenon Falls.
  1957 (Sept–Oct) UpdatedM-117 is realigned via a northerly extension of Country Ave in Mackinac Co beginning at Brown Rd and continuing due northerly into Luce Co to a new intersection with M-28, ¾ mile west of its existing junction southwest of Newberry, where it turns easterly via M-28 back to its former alignment to continue toward Newberry:
  • (Sept 28) – The 7.7-mile long segment of new highway comprising the new alignment for M-117 is completed and opened to traffic. The project took one year to complete and cost $546,549 in total.
  • (Oct 1) – The former route of M-117 via Brown Rd and Krause Rd in Mackinac Co is turned back to local control, ironically nine days prior to the new routing of M-117 (the new alignment extension of Country Ave) is officially determined as a state trunkline!
  • (Oct 10) – The northerly extension of Country Ave in Mackinac Co, continuing along the same line into Luce Co to M-28 southwest of Newberry, is transferred to the state for the realigned routing of M-117. The former route in Luce Co via Co Rd 405 south of M-28 is turned back to local control on this date.
  1961 (Feb 8) New!The State Highway Dept announces plans to extend both M-117 and M-123 via existing county roads to reach Tahquamenon Falls, which are two of the top tourist attractions in the Upper Peninsula.
  1962 (May 18, July 1) Updated After strongly lobbying State Highway Commissioner John C. Mackie to provide trunkline access to Tahquamenon Falls State Park, Joseph P. Rahilly of Newberry, member of the State Conservation Commission, finally achieves his goal when the State Highway Dept plans to extend M-123 north from its current terminus to Paradise, then westerly through the state park, then southwesterly to Four Mile Corner north of Newberry at the northern terminus of M-117. There, M-123 will supplant the M-117 designation southerly through Newberry to a new terminus at M-28 at Newberry Corner. The 37.79 miles of new M-123 trunkline in Chippewa and Luce Cos is officially determined on May 18 while the signing of the new route and the re-signing of M-117 between Four Mile Corner and M-28 to M-123 occurs by July 1. The concurrent M-28/M-117 between Newberry Corners and Deweys Corners southwest of Newberry becomes just M-28 when the new northern terminus of M-117 becomes M-28 at Deweys Corners.
Controlled Access: No portion of M-117 exists as freeway or expressway.
NHS: The entire route of M-117 is on the National Highway System (NHS).
Memorial Highway:  New! The following Memorial Highway designation has been officially assigned to part of M-117 by the Michigan Legislature:
  • 117th Quartermaster Battalion Memorial Highway– "Highway M-117 between M-28 and US-2 in Mackinac County..." From MDOT: "The 117th Quartermaster Battalion was a former National Guard unit based at one time in Kingsford."
Photographs:  
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