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Highways 160 through 179

FORMER M-168 | M-179 | Jump to Bottom


M-168 Fmr. W. Terminus: The site of the former Ann Arbor Railroad Ferry Docks in Elberta
Fmr. E. Terminus: M-22 in downtown Elberta
Former Length: 0.95 miles
Map: Route Map of FORMER M-168
Notes: Updated Until its decommissioning in April 2005, M-168 was the second-shortest mainline state trunkline highway in Michigan, not counting Business Connections and unsigned trunklines. Counting Business Connections, M-168 was the fourth-shortest state highway as of 2012.
Updated M-168's historical purpose was to serve to connect the Ann Arbor Railroad Carferry docks with M-22 in Elberta. The Ann Arbor Railroad ran several ferry lines from Elberta, including ones to Milwaukee and Kewaunee in Wisconsin, as well as to Menominee and Manistique in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. As was the practice at the time, the State Highway Department connected the various ferry terminals with the rest of the state trunkline system using short connector highways. M-168 was one such highway in Elberta. Similar highways were created in Menominee, Manistique, St Ignace, Mackinaw City and Muskegon. Those other state highways had since been decommissioned following cancellation of their ferry services; however, M-168 remained for decades as a link to the past when large railroad and automobile ferries steamed into and out of the harbor at Elberta.

Updated The decommissioning of M-168 was not a secret in the years leading up to its tranfer back to local control. An MDOT construction projects spreadsheet generated November 16, 2005 listed a $2.1 million dollar complete reconstruction of the entire trunkline scheduled for 2010, after which the route was scheduled to be jurisdictionally transferred to the Village of Elberta. The entire length of M-168 was reconstructed which included, according to an MDOT press release, "decorative sidewalks, lighting, and landscaping, along with safety and drainage improvements." With the downturn in the economy and for various budgetary reasons at MDOT, the jurisdictional transfer of M-168 took an extra couple years meaning the route was able to witness its 80th anniversary as a highway, although it didn't quite make it to its 81st.

Old Michigan State Highway Dept sources indicate that at some point in its history, M-168 was designated M-229. Unfortunately, it is unclear when it may have bore such designation—prior to it being designated M-168 or at some point after for a period of time. The M-229 designation also never made it to any official highway maps, either, suggesting it may have been a temporary designation or one which was changed back quickly.
History: 1931 (July 15) - A new, 0.8-mile long state trunkline spur highway is commissioned within the Village of Elberta, designated M-168, beginning at M-22 in downtown and running northwesterly via Frankfort Ave and Furnace St, terminating at the Ann Arbor Railroad Carferry docks. It is believed the route is designated M-168 from the outset, possibly being temporarily redesignated as M-229 for a time in the future before being changed back to M-168.
  1932 (Oct 29) - The existing 0.8-mile trunkline routing is cancelled due to an error in mileage, a State Highway Dept source states, while simultaneously being "re-determined" as a 1.10-mile long trunkline along the same routing. It is unclear whether the M-229 designation may have debuted at this time or not. If so, it would be gone by 1934, as M-168 is clearly indicated on official state highway maps from that year on.
  1987 (Nov 16) - MDOT records indicate an additional 0.067-mile of highway is added to M-168 on this date. However it is not clear where this additional length is added, though it likely had something to do with a slight realignment at the M-22 junction.
  2010 New! - All of M-168 in its entirety is reconstructed by MDOT along with the addition of decorative sidewalks, lighting, landscaping and drainage improvements. At this time, with the jurisdictional transfer of the route imminent, the Department does not erect new M-168 route markers at the close of the project. Thus M-168 begins a year-and-a-half stint as an unsigned state trunkline highway.
  2012 (Apr 24) New! - On this date, the jurisdictional transfter between the State and the Village of Elberta becomes official and M-168 ends its 80 years, 9 months, and 10 days as a state trunkline highway, oficially becoming a City Major street.
Freeway/Expwy: No portion of the former M-168 was freeway or expressway.
Photographs:
Weblinks: M-168 @ Michigan Highway Ends - photos of the termini of the former M-168 at Dan Garnell's excellent Michigan Highway Ends website.
  The Carferries of the Great Lakes - general information on the various railroad carferries on the Great Lakes.
  Michigan's Ann Arbor Railroads: Rail to Water New!- an interesting historical overview from CMU's Clarke Historical Library.
  The Carferries of the Great Lakes: The Ann Arbor Fleet New!- photos of two of the Ann Arbor Railroad's fleet of carferries.
  Elberta's Long-Awaited Facelift New!- A story from Interlochen Public Radio about the reconstruction of M-168 and the other changes in Elberta from 2010.
  • Trackdog's Ann Arbor Railroad Car Ferry Page [dead link] - photos of some of the Ann Arbor railroad carferries.
  • Trackdog's Michigan Railroad Car Ferry Page [dead link] - photos of some of the Lake Michigan railroad carferries.

M-179 Western Terminus: M-43, 2.5 miles west of downtown Hastings
Eastern Terminus: US-131 at Exit 61 near Bradley
Length: 16.88 miles
Map: Route Map of M-179
Notes: The modern-day iteration of M-179 is one of several route additions resulting from the Rationalization process of the late-1990s. The state had long-range plans for many years to add a state trunkline connection from Barry Co into Allegan Co and the Rationalization process provided that vehicle. The portion of county-designated highway A-42 east of US-131 was transferred to the state and designated M-179. A source claims the route was to be a westerly extension of existing M-79 (Charlotte-Hastings), but having three concurrent trunkline routes through downtown Hastings was not desirable. Thus, the route bears a related designation instead of M-79 itself.
As an interesting aside, both iterations of M-179 (1935-58 and 1998-Present) terminated at US-131...
History: 1935 - While the precise date of determination is not available, a new 1.0-mile long state trunkline connector is commissioned via 210th Ave from US-131 at cnr of 13 Mile Rd to M-63/14 Mile Rd, southwest of Le Roy. The route, which first appears on official state highway maps in early 1935, acts as the third leg in a "Y" triangle between US-131 and M-63.
  1958 (Sept 16) - The short M-179 connector between US-131 and M-63 is cancelled and the road is given back to local control.
  1998 (Oct 31) - As one of the relatively few jurisdictional transfers as part of the short-lived Rationalization process, all of county-maintained A-42 between US-131 at Bradley and M-43 west of Hastings is transferred to the state. The portion of A-42 west of US-131 is retained locally by Allegan Co, however.
  1999 (Apr 7-8) - M-179 route markers are erected along the new highway over the course of two days. On April 7th, the eastbound route markers are installed as well as plastering over the A-42 markers on the US-131 freeway exit signage. The westbound markers were installed on April 8th.
Freeway/Expwy: No portion of M-179 is freeway or expressway.
Photographs:
Weblinks: M-179 @ Michigan Highway Ends - photos of the termini of M-179 at Dan Garnell's excellent Michigan Highway Ends website.

 

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