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Highways 70 through 79

M-71 | M-72 | M-73 | I-75 | M-75 | M-77 | M-78 | M-79 | Jump to Bottom

M-71 PLEASE NOTE: The M-71 route information has moved to its own page: M-71 Route Listing.

M-72 PLEASE NOTE: The M-72 route information has moved to its own page: M-72 Route Listing.

M-73 PLEASE NOTE: The M-73 route information has moved to its own page: M-73 Route Listing.

I-75 Southern Entrance: Ohio state line south of Erie and north of Toledo, Ohio
Northern Terminus: Ontario provincial boundary on the International Bridge between Sault Ste Marie, Michigan and Sault Ste Marie, Ontario
Length: 395.40 miles
Map: Route Map of I-75
Notes: I-75 is Michigan's longest route-numbered highway, stretching from Ohio on the south through the entire Lower Peninsula, across the mighty Mackinac Bridge and across the eastern end of the Upper Peninsula, terminating at the Ontario border in Sault Ste Marie. As such, I-75 is often referred to as "Michigan's Main Street." Not only is I-75 a major north-south route in the U.S., it is equally important to commerce and travel within the state of Michigan. On the tourism side, I-75 is the preferred route for Detroiters heading "Up North" on weekends and holidays. Major back-ups regularly occur on southbound I-75 at the end of major summer holiday weekends.
In the Metro Detroit area, I-75 is known as the Fisher Freeway from the Downriver area into downtown, then as the Walter P Chrysler Frwy from downtown northerly to the Pontiac area. I-75 is also Michigan's busiest highway, with and average of more than 200,000 vehicles passing over the highway each day between the M-8/Davison Frwy and I-696/Walter P Chrysler Frwy.
The only route designation to currently cross the Mackinac Bridge and the Straits of Mackinac is I-75. Only two other routes crossed the straits: US-31 did in the 1930s via the state ferries, and US-27 did in the late 1950s when the Bridge first opened.
While several temporary routings of I-75 have existed during the 1960s and '70s in gaps between completed segments, one was longer than the others in both length and existence. Between 1961 and 1973, a rather large gap in I-75 existed between Bay City and US-27 south of Grayling. As this gap was slowly being filled (with the freeway being designated as M-76 in the interim), a temporary routing of I-75 ran northwesterly via US-10 from Bay City to Clare, then northerly via US-27 to the Grayling area. Highway maps of the era, both official and otherwise, showed this routing as "TO I-75" and it has been reported the route was signed similarly in the field (and not using the "TEMPORARY" designation used later on I-69). This route could not be posted as part of I-75 (e.g. without the "TO" signage) as US-27 between Clare and Higgins Lake was only a controlled-access expressway, with intersections at several roads, from 1961 until c.1966. After 1966, US-27 in that area had been upgraded to a full freeway.
  New! In the early 1960s, while the Interstate highway building boom was going full tilt, the program was also suffering a bit of a negative identity crisis. Some were alleging the program was a bottomless pit of waste for taxpayer dollars as some instances of fraud and misappropriation of funds had occurred alongside the building of hundreds of miles of new freeway across the nation. As President John F Kenney took office in 1961, he and those in his administration tried to stem the tide of negative public opinion by initiating several programs to tout the benefits of the new Interstate highway system. One such program was the the weekly supplement to Sunday newspapes, Parade Magazine, cooperating with the Bureau of Public Roads in holding a competition to select America's finest new scenic highways. In an October 1963 issue of Parade, the 22.5-mile segment of I-75 from Vanderbilt to Indian River (part of the so-called "Ohio-to-Soo Freeway" as it was often referred to then) was selected as that year's finest example of a "driver's road" for scenery, speed and safety from across the country. The award was officially called the "Parade Magazine Scenic Highway Award" for 1964, as the selection in late October, 1963 was to be awarded the following year. Unfortunately, the announcement of the selection of this segment of I-75 ended up being pushed aside in many newspapers by the assassination of President Kennedy soon after.
History: 1958 - The first I-75 route markers began popping up in Michigan along the Detroit-Toledo Expressway, which has been designated ALT US-24 until now. This first segment of I-75 signed in Michigan begins at a connection with I-75 and I-280 in Toledo, Ohio and proceeds northerly to West Rd near Trenton in extreme southern Wayne Co. Much of this freeway was opened to traffic in 1956, ironically as the Interstate Highway Act of 1956 was being signed into law by President Eisenhower. Other segments of freeway open to traffic, or being opened to traffic, in 1958 which would become parts of I-75 over the next two years are:
  • US-23: Fenton-Clio Expwy - from the southwest side of Flint to Birch Run, opened in 1957-58.
  • Mackinac Bridge and Approaches - Beginning at US-23/US-27 in Mackinaw City (present-day Exit 338), then northerly across the Bridge, ending at US-2 in St Ignace, designated as US-27. Some sources show the southern approach freeway may have been completed southerly from US-23/US-27 to Nicolet Ave-Mackinaw Hwy (then US-31, now M-108), but that segment may not have been opened to traffic for another year.
  • US-2 - a segment of new freeway opened in 1957 from Evergreen Shores (present-day Exit 348) to M-123 at Exit 352.
  1959-60 - The above segments of freeway are all designated as parts of I-75, and route markers are erected along all parts of those routes by 1960. I-75 becomes a concurrent designation with those freeway segment's former designations, with the exception of the Mackinac Bridge, which becomes just I-75. US-23, US-27 and US-31 are all routed northerly from their respective junctions with I-75 to terminate at the southern end of the actual bridge structure, at the location of the Huron St overpass in Mackinaw City. To this day, a remanant of that still exists: at the Huron St overpass, a three-panel sign assembly consisting of "NORTH," "I-75" and up-arrow markers exist where the assembly that once also included US-23, US-27 and US-31 route markers and "ENDS" plates below each. Also during this time, the I-75/US-31 freeway is extended south of Mackinaw City to present-day Exit 336.
  1960 - Three new segments of freeway, noted below, are opened in 1960 and I-75 now exists in four segments:
  • A segment of the I-75/US-10/US-23 freeway opens from the jct of US-23 & M-81, crosses the Saginaw River via four-lane bascule Zilwaukee Bridge and continues northerly past Bay City (where the US-10 freeway departs for Midland), ending in Kawkawlin. The US-10 designation is moved onto the Saginaw bypass and the newly completed freeway northerly to Bay City. The former alignment of US-23 between Saginaw and Kawkawlin becomes an extension of M-13. The former BUS US-23 through Saginaw becomes, in part, BL I-75.
  • From US-27 between Indian River and Topinabee to the south end of the completed freeway south of Mackinaw City (present-day Exit 336 at M-108).
  • From US-2 to the completed segment near Evergreen Shores, bypassing St Ignace. The former route of US-2 through St Ignace is redesignated as BL I-75.
  1961 - Four more changes to I-75:
  • The gap in the I-75/US-10/US-23 freeway from Birch Run to Zilwaukee is filled when the new freeway opens to traffic in 1961. From the north end of the "Fenton-Clio Expressway" at Birch Run to the south end of the freeway opened to traffic in 1960 at M-81 northeast of Saginaw. Between Bridgeport and M-81, the two-lane bypass completed in 1952 is used for part of the new freeway. The former US-23 south of Bridgeport via Dixie Hwy is turned back to local control.
  • Beginning at the northern end of the new US-27 expressway between Higgins Lake and Grayling, a new segment of I-75 freeway opens to traffic past Grayling, Frederic and Otsego Lake, ending at M-32 on the west side of Gaylord. The first five miles of the new freeway were built using the existing US-27 highway. The former US-27 northbound lanes become the southbound lanes of I-75, while the northbound side of the freeway was constructed on new alignment. The old southbound US-27 lanes are still evident today as an extended grassy area on the west side of I-75's southbound lanes. Through Grayling, the former US-27 south of M-93/Hartwick Pines Rd becomes part of a new BL I-75, while the remainder of Old US-27 to Gaylord is turned back to local control.
  • In order to shuttle through traffic between the completed segments of I-75 freeway south of Bay City and north of Grayling, a special "TO I-75" designation is created. TO I-75 begins at the I-75/US-10/US-23 & M-15/M-25 jct west of Bay City and proceeds westerly and northwesterly via US-10 past Midland to Clare. TO I-75 then turns northerly via the brand-new US-27 expressway to the southern end of the completed I-75 segment between Higgins Lake and Grayling.
  • A second "TO I-75" designation is commissioned to replace US-27 between Gaylord and Indian River. This "TO I-75" routing begins at the northern end of the completed freeway at Gaylord and heads easterly via M-32/Main St into downtown, then turns northerly via the former US-27 through Vanderbilt, Wolverine and Indian River to the southern end of the next completed I-75 segment north of Indian River. It is unclear whether the Michigan State Highway Dept ever replaced all of the US-27 shields with "TO I-75" route marker assemblies or not. Hopefully, further research will clear up this point.
  1962 - Four new segments of I-75 freeway are opened to traffic:
  • A new segment beginning at M-24 northeast of Pontiac and proceeding northwesterly to US-23 on the southwest side of Flint is completed. The US-10 designation is transferred from the parallel Dixie Hwy between the Clarkston area and Flint. The former US-10 along Dixie Hwy is turned back to local control, while the former route of US-10 north of the Oakland/Genesee Co line past Flint and Clio is redesignated as M-54.
  • The Gaylord-to-Indian River freeway gap is filled when 31 miles of I-75 opens between M-32 and M-27 in the fall of 1962.
  • A short segment of I-75/US-2 freeway is completed from Tone Rd near Kinross to Mackinaw Trail at Dafter in central Chippewa Co. The former route of US-2 is turned back to local control.
  • With the completion of the new International Bridge linking the twin Sault Sainte Maries and crossing the St Marys River/Soo Locks, the three miles of I-75/US-2 freeway heading southerly away from the bridge is completed. The former route of US-2 into downtown Sault Ste Marie is redesignated as BS I-75.
  1963 - In addition to the five freeway completions and the "TO I-75" designation below, a BL I-75 designation is added to run through downtown Pontiac, replacing the BUS M-24 routing. The other major changes to I-75 are:
  • A short freeway extension is completed north of US-25/Toledo Hwy north of Woodhaven, connecting into northbound US-24/Telegraph Rd. With the completion of this short extension, a new "TO I-75" designation is commissioned in the Detroit area. From the northern end of the new freeway extension in Taylor Twp, this new "TO I-75" runs northerly via US-24/Telegraph Rd for 15 miles to M-102/Eight Mile Rd, then easterly for 9.2 miles via M-102/Eight Mile to the former M-150/Stephenson Hwy, 2/3-mile east of the intersection of John R Rd & Eight Mile Rd. From there, TO I-75 turns northerly via the former M-150/Stephenson Hwy routing for three miles to the southern end of the I-75 freeway in Oakland Co.
  • The first segment of the Walter P Chrysler Frwy is completed between downtown Detroit and I-94/Edsel Ford Expwy north of downtown. The first 1.25 miles are designated as I-375, while the remainder to I-94 is designated as a segment of I-75.
  • The portion of I-75 through Oakland Co is extended southeasterly from M-24 northeast of Pontiac, winding through Pontiac Twp (now Auburn Hills), Troy and Royal Oak, ending just north of the intersection of 11 Mile Rd & Stephenson Hwy. The portion of the parallel M-150/Stephenson Hwy from Troy to Madison Heights is turned back to local control, while the portion of the former M-150 between M-102/Eight Mile Rd & 11 Mile Rd is redesignated as a part of a new "TO I-75" (see above).
  • The remaining two uncompleted segments of the I-75/US-2 freeway in the Upper Peninsula are completed and opened to traffic. In both cases, the former routing of US-2 via Mackinac Trail is turned back to local control, with the exception of three miles at Rudyard, which become part of M-48. Those two new segments are:
    • From M-123 north of St Ignace to Tone Rd at Kinross (present-day Exit 378).
    • From Mackinac Trail near Dafter (approximately Mile 384) to BS I-75/Three Mile Rd at Sault Ste Marie.
  1963 (Oct) New! - As detailed in the "Notes" section above, the 22.5-mile segment of I-75 freeway completed and opened to traffic the previous year is given the "Parade Magazine Scenic Highway Award" for 1964, selected as the year's finest example of a "driver's road" for scenery, speed and safety from across the country.
  1966 - One new segment of I-75 is completed and another is begun, both in the Metro Detroit area. With the completion and/or commencement of these two freeway segments, the "TO I-75" designation still exists in the Metro Detroit, however partially relocated. Now, TO I-75 begins at the jct of I-75/Fisher Frwy & M-39/Southfield Hwy in Lincoln Park, and proceeds northerly via M-39 (Southfield Hwy & Southfield Frwy) to M-102/Eight Mile Rd, then easterly via M-102 to the southern end of the "in-progress" freeway segment at Hazel Park.
  • In southern Wayne Co, I-75 is extended northeasterly for 8 miles from the US-24/Telegraph Rd connector (present-day Exit 35) to Schaefer Hwy in southwest Detroit. Construction is underway to connect this new segment with the Walter P Chrysler Frwy north of downtown.
  • The divided highway segment of "TO I-75" running along the former M-150/Stephenson Hwy begins conversion to an urban depressed freeway, with a relocated Stephenson Hwy running along each side of the new I-75 as frontage roads. This new segment under construction runs between 8 Mile & 11 Mile Rds in Hazel Park and Royal Oak.
  1967 - Two more segments of freeway open in 1967:
  • A 30-mile segment of US-23 freeway opens from the existing US-23 freeway 3 miles south of Kawkawlin northerly to end at existing US-23 three miles south of Standish. While signed only as US-23, this freeway segment is the first of several segments filling the Bay City-to-Grayling gap in I-75. The former route of US-23 from Kawkawlin to the north end of the freeway south of Standish is initially designated ALT US-23, but becomes a further extension of M-13 within a year. The three mile segment of former US-23 freeway south of Kawkawlin bypassed by the new freeway is re-designated as CONN M-13.
  • A new portion of the I-75/Fisher Frwy are completed in southwest Detroit. The segment begins about 1/2 mile beyond the northern end of the completed freeway at Schaefer Hwy, and proceeds across the River Rouge Bridge, then parallels US-25/Fort St before ending at the Clark St interchange west of downtown. Apparently, the M-85/Fort St overpass was not completed in 1967, and traffic was directed east on Schaefer Hwy, across M-85/Fort St to Patricia Dr, then north along Patricia Dr to Pleasant St, then jogged back onto the new freeway at that point.

1968 - Four more freeway segments are completed and opened to traffic, each noted below. Even with the second, third and fourth entries below denoting freeway completions in Detroit, the "TO I-75" designation remains along M-39/Southfield Frwy and M-102/Eight Mile Rd, since a gap in the freeway from Clark St to 12th St remains to be filled.

  • A 17-mile segment of freeway is completed from the US-23 freeway southwest of Standish to M-33 at Alger and is designated as M-76. The former route of M-76 from US-23 in Standish to M-33 is turned back to local control as "Old M-76." While posted and designated as M-76, this new freeway was the second segment of freeway built to fill the Bay City-to-Grayling freeway gap.
  • In southwest Detroit, the short portion of the I-75/Fisher Frwy over M-85/Fort St, as noted above, is complete.
  • A portion of the I-75/Fisher Frwy built along Vernor Hwy across the north side of downtown Detroit, is completed between 12th St (present-day Rosa Parks Blvd) and US-25/Gratiot Ave, including the interchanges at BS I-696/John C Lodge Frwy and I-75/I-375/Walter P Chrysler Frwy.
  • The final segment of the Walter P Chrysler Frwy within the City of Detroit is completed, when the segment of freeway from I-94/Edsel Ford Frwy to M-102/Eight Mile Rd is opened to traffic and designated a part of I-75. This section includes the massive interchange with the Davison Expwy (now M-8/Davison Frwy). In addition, the first 1-1/2 miles of the new I-75/W P Chrysler Frwy opens north of M-102 along the former alignment of M-150/Stephenson Hwy. The gap in the freeway remains, however, from just south of Woodward Heights to just north of Lincoln Ave in Hazel Park and Royal Oak, while another massive interchange is built at 10 Mile Rd.
  1969 - Even though no futher freeway completions on I-75 occur in Detroit, including the continued existence of the Clark St-to-12th St gap west of downtown, the "TO I-75" designation along M-39/Southfield Frwy and M-102/Eight Mile Rd is removed.
  1970 - The final portion of I-75 within the City of Detroit is completed, filling the Clark St-to-12th St gap, including and interchange with, and the first 3.5 miles of, the Jeffries Frwy (to become part of I-96). Also in 1970, two segments of the M-76 freeway are completed:
  • From the northern end of the completed freeway at M-33 near Alger to present-day Exit 210 at Cook Rd south of West Branch. A new highway built on new alignment from the Cook Rd exit back to Old M-76 is constructed to carry traffic to and from the new freeway.
  • A short segment of M-18/M-76 freeway opens from the I-75-to-US-27 transition (between Higgins Lake and Grayling) southeasterly to existing M-18/M-76 west of the Village of Roscommon. The former route of M-18/M-76 is turned back to local control.

1971 - In Metro Detroit, the final segment of I-75/Walter P Chrysler Frwy in Hazel Park and Royal Oak is finally complete and open to traffic and a fully-controlled access urban depressed freeway. Included in this segment is a massive triple-deck interchange at 10 Mile Rd which will accommodate the proposed easterly extension of I-696/Walter P Reuther Frwy across the northern suburbs. Until I-696 is completed, the massive "interchange to nowhere" looks rather out-of-place. In addition, two new segments of the M-76 freeway are completed:

  • From the northern end of the completed freeway at Cook Rd south of West Branch to M-55/M-76 west of downtown West Branch, bypassing the city. The former route of M-76 from the Cook Rd interchange into West Branch becomes a newly-designated BUS M-76. Also, the formerly concurrent M-55/M-76 through downtown becomes M-55/BUS M-76.
  • Another short section of freeway opens from the the south end of the short section completed in 1970 west of Roscommon to M-18 south of town (from present-day Exit 244 to Exit 239). It is unclear if this portion between M-18/M-76 west of town and M-18 south of town is designated as M-76, M-18, TO M-18 or what. The Official Michigan Highway Maps of the time show M-18/M-76 being retained on the "through-town" routing, with no indication of what the freeway may have been designated.
  1973 - The final 25 miles of M-76 freeway are completed from M-55 on the west side of West Branch to M-18 south of Roscommon. The freeway, however, opens to traffic as a completed I-75. The entire M-76 designation is "decommissioned" with I-75 supplanting it. Along the Bay City-to-Standish route of the US-23 freeway, I-75 joins as a concurrent designation. The M-18 routing, formerly running via the M-76 freeway northwest of Roscommon, is transferred onto M-144, supplanting that route entirely. BUS M-76 through downtown West Branch is completely redesignated as BL I-75. Also, M-55 joins I-75 as a concurrent designation between Exits 215 & 227. In the Roscommon area, a new BL I-75 routing begins at Exit 239 and runs with M-18 into downtown Roscommon, then turns westerly to run via the former M-18/M-76 back to I-75 at Exit 244. The former routing of M-76 from West Branch to Roscommon via St Helen is retained as an unsigned state trunkline (as "OLD M-76"). In addition, the "TO I-75" designation is removed from US-10 and US-27 with the completion of I-75.
  c.1984(?) - A new BL I-75 is commissioned at Gaylord tbeginning at Exit 279 south of town, running northerly via Old 27 & Otsego Ave into downtown, turning westerly via M-32 back to I-75 at Exit 282. Exact date of the jurisdictional transfer of this route is not clear at this time.
Freeway: The entire route of I-75 is freeway.
NHS: Entire route.
Circle Tour: Lake Erie Circle Tour MarkerLake Erie Circle Tour: Two segments:
  • From the Ohio state line to the southern jct of M-85 at Exit 28.
  • Jct M-85 at Exit 43 in southwesternmost Detroit to the Ambassador Bridge.
  Lake Michigan Circle Tour MarkerLake Michigan Circle Tour: From US-31 south of Mackinaw City to US-2 in St Ignace.
  Lake Huron Circle Tour MarkerLake Huron Circle Tour: Three segments:
  Lake Superior Circle Tour MarkerLake Superior Circle Tour: From M-28 south of Sault Ste Marie into Ontario via the International Bridge.
Business Connections:
  1. BL I-75 - Pontiac. From Exit 75 to Exit 81.
  2. BS I-75 - Bay City. Spur from Exit 162 easterly into downtown via M-25.
  3. BL I-75 - West Branch. From Exit 212 to Exit 215.
  4. BL I-75 - Roscommon. From Exit 239 to Exit 244.
  5. BL I-75 - Grayling. From Exit 251 to Exit 259.
  6. BL I-75 - Gaylord. From Exit 279 to Exit 282.
  7. BL I-75 - St Ignace. From Exit 344 to Exit 348.
  8. BS I-75 - Sault Ste Marie. Spur from Exit 392 proceeding into downtown, then easterly terminating at the Sugar Island Ferry dock.
Continue on: Hwy 17 into Ontario
  I-75 into Ohio - John Simpson's "Ohio Highways" Website
Weblinks: I-75 @ Michigan Highway Ends - photos of the termini of I-75 at Dan Garnell's excellent Michigan Highway Ends website.
  I-75/Sigler Rd Bridge - from MDOT: "Built in 1954, this structure was one of several grade separations constructed in Monroe County for the Detroit-Toledo Expressway."
  I-75/Conrail RR & West River Raisin Bridge - from MDOT: "Completed in 1955, this structure was the largest constructed for the Detroit-Toledo Expressway."
  I-75/Dunbar Rd Bridge - from MDOT: "Built in 1955, this structure is one of 37 bridges and grade separations constructed for the Detroit-Toledo Expressway by June 1956."
  I-75/Straits of Mackinac Bridge - from MDOT: "The sheer size and beauty of the Mackinac Straits Bridge still impress first-time viewers. The bridge's total length, 8614 feet, the longest in the world, combined with towers standing 552 feet above the water line, a 155 feet clearance under the bridge, and a total weight of 11,840 tons, is indeed an impressive sight."
  I-75/International Bridge - from MDOT: "This is one of Michigan's five monumental bridges."
  Mackinac Bridge Website - the official website of the Mackinac Bridge Authority.
  International Bridge Website - courtesy of MDOT.
  Zilwaukee Bridge - detailing this lofty and oft-misunderstood structure near Saginaw.
  Mackinac Straits Historical Photos - a collection of photos from the 1950s with scenes during and just after construction of the Mackinac Bridge.

M-75 Southern Terminus: US-131 in downtown Boyne Falls
Northern Terminus: US-131 at Walloon Lake
Length: 12.33 miles
Map: Route Map of M-75
Notes: This highway is basically a "loop route" from US-131 through Boyne City. Although it is geographically close to I-75, M-75 is more than three decades older than I-75. (MDOT does not have any sort of internal "policy" prohibiting the use of a route number on multiple "types" of highways, thus M-75 and I-75 harmlessly co-exist in the state.)
M-75 in Charlevoix Co was originally designated M-57 in the early 1920s, but was renumbered by 1927. The odd thing about this change in designation was it consisted of a "flip" of the numbers on the sign: 5 - 7 to 7 - 5!
History: c.1927 - The M-57 designation through Boyne City is removed and replaced it its entirety by M-75. At the time of its designation as M-75, the route was completely hard-surfaced.
  1966 - The portion of M-75 between Boyne City and Walloon Lake is straightened and some sharper curves are bypassed. The former route is turned back to local control.
Freeway/Expwy: No portion of M-75 is freeway or expressway.
Weblinks: M-75 @ Michigan Highway Ends - photos of the termini of M-75 at Dan Garnell's excellent Michigan Highway Ends website.

M-77 Southern Terminus: US-2 one mile south of Blaney Park
Northern Terminus: Grand Marais (cnr Lake Ave & Canal St) two blocks north of the northern H-58 (Carlson St) junction.
Length: 42.57 miles
Map: Route Map of M-77
Notes: M-77 is one of four north-south cross-peninsular M-numbered state highways in the Upper Peninsula.
History: c.1920 - M-77 utilizes its present-day routing nearly exactly, beginning at M-12 (now US-2) at what would become Blaney Park and ending in Grand Marais.
  c.1950s - Two sharp turns in the route of M-77, one 11 miles north of Seney at Lavender Corner and the other four miles south of Grand Marais, are bypassed with short segments of new highway.
  1958-59 - The last two segments of gravel-surfaced M-77 are paved, from Germfask to Seney and from Snyder Lake to Grand Marais.
Freeway/Expwy: No portion of M-77 is freeway or expressway.
NHS: From X to Y.
Circle Tour: Lake Superior Circle Tour Scenic Spur MarkerFormer Lake Superior Circle Tour SPUR: From M-28 at Seney to northern terminus at Grand Marais. Effectively Decommissioned in 2012–13 with all Senic Spur route markers removed during a route marker replacement project.
Weblinks: M-77 @ Michigan Highway Ends - photos of the termini of M-77 at Dan Garnell's excellent Michigan Highway Ends website.

M-78 Western Terminus: M-66 four miles south of Assyria (7 miles north of Battle Creek)
Eastern Terminus: I-69 at Exit 48 near Olivet
Length: 10.75 miles
Map: Route Map of M-78
Notes: M-78 was once one of Michigan's longer highways, beginning at the Indiana state line south of Sturgis (M-66's current southern terminus) and ending in Flint. Over the years, M-66 and I-69 have replaced segments of this highway so that it is only a shadow of its former self.
History: c.1920 - One of the more ironic facts about the history of M-78 is that its c.1920 routing and its present-day routing are almost identical! In 1920, M-78 begins at M-79 (later M-14, now M-66) between Battle Creek and Assyria and runs northeasterly to Bellevue, then easterly to end at M-29 (later US-27) in Olivet for a total of 13 miles. It wasn't until later that M-78 was extended to Indiana on the south and Flint on the east.
  1922 - The portion of M-78 east of Bellevue is transferred onto Battle Creek Rd—a more direct alignment from Bellevue northeasterly into Charlotte, where the highway now ends at M-29 (later US-27) downtown. The former route between Bellevue and Olivet is turned back to local control.
  1926 - The length of M-78 is extended by 55 miles (for a total of 75 miles) southerly to the Indiana state line. From its former western terminus at M-79, M-78 now continues southerly into Battle Creek, replacing M-79, then southerly through Athens to Sherwood, then southwesterly and southerly again through Colon and Sturgis to the Indiana state line 5 miles south of downtown Sturgis.
  1927 - M-78 pushes closer toward Flint with a 45 mile extension through Lansing to M-47 at Pittsburg. From its northern terminus at Charlotte, M-78 is extended northeasterly concurrently with US-27 through downtown Lansing and northerly to Round Lake Rd at DeWitt. From there, the new M-78 extension runs easterly via Round Lake Rd to Laingsburg, then easterly via Grand River Rd to terminate at M-47 (present-day M-52) at Pittsburg south of Owosso. In addition, the portion of Round Lake Rd from US-27 into downtown DeWitt is shown as part of the state highway system, with the implication that it, too, is a portion of M-78, but that has not been confirmed.
  1930 - The M-78 designation is removed from the Lansing-to-Pittsburg-via-DeWitt routing, with the concurrent US-27/M-78 designation north of Saginaw St in Lansing becoming just US-27, and the solo M-78 designation from DeWitt to Pittsburg is redesignated as M-104, as is the short spur west of US-27 into downtown DeWitt. The new routing of M-78 from the cnr of Larch & Saginaw Sts in Lansing proceeds easterly via Saginaw St through northern East Lansing, to end at the present-day Park Lake Rd & Haslett Rd intersection.
  c.1931-32 - M-78 is once again extended northeasterly, this time all the way to M-21/Court St in Flint, if not in reality then in spirit (there is a 13 mile segment of new highway not yet completed, forming a temporarily-discontinuous highway). The extension begins near East Lansing (intersection of present-day Haslett Rd & Merrit Rd), and proceeds northeasterly on mostly brand-new highway alignment past Shaftsburg to end at M-47 on the north side of Perry. From M-47 to M-71/Durand Rd one mile north of downtown Durand, the route has yet to be completed. Then from M-71, the new M-78 continues northeasterly on new alignment to the newly-designated M-13 south of Lennon. From that point easterly, M-78 runs via Miller Rd through Swartz Creek then into Flint, ending at M-21/Court St.
  1934 - The majority of the new M-78 highway is completed from M-47 at Perry northeasterly past Bancroft to Newburgh Rd west of Durand. From there, the M-78 designation is temporarily routed easterly via Newburgh into downtown Durand, then northerly via Main St for one mile to existing M-78 north of downtown, thus closing the gap between the two discontinuous segments. With the opening of the new M-78 between Perry and Durand, a pair of short (less than 1 mile long) spur highways are also designated to join the downtowns of Morrice and Bancroft with the new highway. M-193 runs from downtown Morrice to M-78, while M-192 begins in downtown Bancroft, terminating at M-78 north of town. These two short highways may have been concessions from the State Highway Dept. for not routing the new M-78 through those towns. Also in 1934, US-27/M-78 is realigned from Washington Ave to Cherry St between Main and Kalamazoo Sts downtown Lansing.
  c.1936-38 - In downtown Battle Creek, M-78 previously ran northerly via Capital Ave to Upton Ave-Fountain St, then easterly via Fountain St (with US-12) to Division St, then northerly via Division St back to Capital Ave northeast of downtown. With the changes in the routing of US-12 through Battle Creek, the route of M-78 changes as well: Approaching downtown via Capital Ave, M-78 is now co-signed with US-12 north of Columbia Ave. At Fountain St, M-78 now continues northeasterly via Capital Ave (now co-signed with a new US-12A), while US-12 continues easterly on Fountain St. At Michigan Ave downtown, M-78 continues northeasterly solo via Capital Ave back to Division St and its former alignment. The former route of M-78 via Division St from Fountain to Capital is turned back to local control. Also at this time in downtown Lansing, a second routing of US-27/M-78 is designated via Capitol Ave through downtown marked as the "Passenger Car Route." The original routing of US-27/M-78 is now marked as the "US-27/M-78 Truck Route." In addition, the final few miles of the new M-78 highway on new alignment near Durand are completed, and the former routing via Newburgh Rd (from M-78 into downtown Durand) is turned back to local control, while the portion of M-78 along Main St becomes a southerly extension of M-71. The two new M-192 and M-193 designations are also decommissioned at Bancroft and Morrice.
  1939 - The concurrent M-78/US-12A designation via Capital Ave in downtown Battle Creek becomes just M-78 with the "decommissioning" of US-12A.
  1939-40 - The 7-mile concurrent segment of M-7/M-78 in the Colon area becomes a concurrent M-78/M-86 when all of M-7 is completely redesignated as M-86.
  1940 - The concurrent US-12/M-78 via Capital Ave from Columbia Ave into downtown Battle Creek is redesignated M-78/BUS US-12 when the remainder of the US-12 bypass around Battle Creek (Columbia Ave) is opened.
  1941 - M-78/M-86 is realigned west of Colon. Formerly running northerly from the western M-78 & M-86 jct on N Sturgis Rd to Marvin Rd, then easterly via Marvin, northerly via Lepley, easterly on Mountain and northerly on Fairfax to the community of Fairfax, the new routing continues northerly via N Sturgis Rd to the New York Central Railroad (later Penn Central, now abandoned), then easterly paralleling the railroad to Fairfax and the existing alignment. The old routing is turned back to local control.
  1946 - In a project which began prior to the outbreak of World War II, a realignment of M-78 is completed near East Leroy and Joppa in Calhoun Co. The rerouting onto new alignment runs from L Drive South to E Drive South, within one mile west of the former route, which is turned back to local control.
  1947 - The final 10 miles of gravel-surfaced M-78 are paved, from Colon to M-60 south of Athens.
  1950 - With the opening of the new Main St bridge over the Grand River in downtown Lansing, the former two alignments of US-27/M-78 are consolidated into one. The former US-27/M-78 "Passenger Car Route" via Capitol Ave and Saginaw St is turned back to local control and the "Truck Route," for the most part, becomes the new through route.
  1958 - In three separate locations in the City of Lansing, the route of M-78 is split to run on two parallel one-way streets. First, from the west city limit, US-27 nbd/M-78 ebd now runs via Main St easterly to Cherry St, while US-27 sbd/M-78 wbd runs via Saint Joseph St from Cherry westerly to the western city limit. Second, US-27 nbd/M-78 ebd runs via Cedar St from Hillsdale Ave northerly to Saginaw St, while US-27 sbd/M-78 wbd runs via Larch St from Saginaw St south to Hillsdale Ave. Third, M-78 ebd is now joined by US-16 ebd on Saginaw St from Marshall St easterly to Grand River Ave, while M-78 wbd joins with US-16 wbd on Grand River Ave from Saginaw to Marshall.
  1959 - The major change to M-78 in 1959 is the completion of the first segment of the M-78 freeway from M-13 south of Lennon to existing M-78/Miller Rd just east of Elms Rd at Swartz Creek. M-13 is shortened by less than a mile when M-78 is rerouted north of Lansing Rd via M-13 to meet the west end of the new freeway. The former route of M-78 via Miller Rd is turned back to local control. Also, the concurrent M-78/BUS US-12 designation in Battle Creek is extended southerly from Columbia Ave to the newly opened I-94/US-12 freeway. (US-12 was transferred from Columbia Ave onto the new freeway.)
  1960 - M-78 is relocated onto new highway alignment in Calhoun Co, beginning at E Drive South and continuing northerly to the east of the former alignment for 4 miles as limited-access, two-lane undivided "expressway" to I-94/US-12 south of Battle Creek. From there, the new highway continues northerly as a freeway designated as I-194/BL I-94/M-78 northerly to end at Columbia Ave. The M-78/BL I-94 designation then turns westerly via Columbia back to Capital Ave, and M-78's original alignment. The new portion of M-78 from E Drive South to I-94/US-12 is supposed to be developed into a full freeway, with interchanges at D Drive South (near Graham Lake) and Beckley Rd, with an overpass at B Drive South. The right-of-way is acquired, but the freeway will never constructed with only one two-lane roadway ever seeing completion. The other big development in the route of M-78 this year is the completion of a five-mile extension of the M-78 freeway in eastern Shiawassee Co. From the western end of the completed freeway at M-13 near Lennon, the freeway is extended southwesterly past Durand, merging back into the old highway just west of the new M-71 interchange. The former route via Lansing Rd is turned back to local control.
  1961 - Another 13 miles of the M-78 freeway in Shiawassee Co opens to traffic from one mile east of the M-52 jct at Perry to the end of the completed freeway at Durand. The old route of M-78 via Lansing Rd is turned back to local control.
  1963 - With the completion of I-96 bypassing Lansing and the subsequent removal of the US-16 designation from Michigan, M-43 is realigned to run concurrently with M-78 between Cedar-Larch Sts in Lansing and the Grand River Ave & Saginaw St intersection on the west limit of East Lansing on the pair of one way streets. Now M-43/M-78 eastbound runs only via Saginaw St and M-43/M-78 westbound runs only via Grand River Ave & Oakland St.
  1964 - M-78 is routed out of downtown Lansing to bypass it with the completion of the first segment of I-496. From the new I-96 & US-27 interchange southwest of Lansing (present-day Exit 98), M-78 now runs easterly via I-96 to I-496, then northerly co-signed as I-496/M-78/BL I-96 to I-496's (temporary) terminus between Trowbridge Rd and Kalamazoo St. There, M-78 and BL I-96 continue northerly via Homer St (nbd) and Howard St (sbd) to Saginaw St (M-43/M-78 eastbound) and Grand River Ave (M-43/M-78 westbound). The former route of M-78 through Lansing via US-27 and M-43 is redesignated as BUS M-78. Also in 1964, the concurrent BL I-94 designation at Battle Creek is removed when BL I-94 is realigned onto is own routing west of downtown.
  1965 - The southernmost 55 miles of M-78 is redesignated as an extension of M-66 south through Battle Creek and Sturgis to the Indiana state line. The western terminus of M-78 is scaled back to its pre-1926 terminus at M-66 between Battle Creek and Assyria. The portions of former M-78 from that point southerly through Battle Creek and Athens to M-60 become M-66. The portion of the old M-78 from M-60, past Sherwood to Colon is turned back to county control. From Colon west for 5 miles to N Sturgis Rd, the M-78/M-86 concurrent designation becomes just M-86. At N Sturgis Rd five miles west of Colon, the M-66 extension comes in from the north (it turns westerly via M-60 through Leonidas, then southerly to this point). From there south through Sturgis to the Indiana state line, the former M-78 once again becomes a part of the M-66 extension.
  1966 - With the completion of the US-127 freeway from Mason to I-96 southeast of Lansing, the concurrent I-496/M-78/BL I-96 segment becomes I-496/US-127/M-78, and the M-43/BUS M-78/BL I-96 desgination via Saginaw St, Grand River Ave and Oakland St in Lansing becomes US-127/M-43/BUS M-78.
  1967 - After 8 years, the M-78 freeway in Genesee Co is extended easterly from Miller Rd at Swartz Creek to M-121/Bristol Rd southwest of Flint, while construction on the massive I-75/US-10/US-23 & M-78 interchange continues.
  1969 - Three freeway completions occur in this timeframe:
  • In Lansing, the US-127/M-78 freeway is opened from the north end of the completed I-496/US-127/M-78 freeway between Trowbridge Rd and Kalamazoo St northerly to Saginaw St/Grand River Ave. The M-78 designation is transferred onto the new freeway while Homer & Howard Sts become frontage streets for the freeway.
  • The M-78 freeway southwest of Flint is extended northeasterly from M-121/Bristol Rd, through the new I-75/US-10/US-23 interchange, and ending at BUS M-54/Saginaw St downtown. Immediately east of the freeway's new eastern terminus, work on a massive new interchange with the proposed I-475 continues.
  • A disconnected segment of the new M-78 freeway opens from Center Rd on the east side of Flint to M-15/State Rd on the south side of Davison. There is no evidence the M-78 designation is temporarily routed via other roads between the two segments of freeway while the Saginaw St-to-Center Rd gap is being completed. Parallel route M-21 is retained.
  1970 - With the completion of I-496 through Lansing, the BUS M-78 designation is removed in its entirety. The M-78 routing around Lansing via I-96, I-496/US-127 and US-127 is unaffected.
  1971-1972 - The M-78 freeway through Flint is completed as well as an eastern extension from Davison to M-24 at Lapeer. It is at this time the M-78 designation is scaled back from Davison to end at the new interchange with I-475 in downtown Flint. The new I-475-to-Center Rd freeway segment is designated only as M-21, and the former M-78 freeway to Davison is redesignated as M-21, as is the new Lapeer extension. The routing of M-21 is changed to follow M-13 southerly through Lennon to M-78, then easterly concurrently with M-78 into downtown Flint where M-78 now ends.
  1972 (Nov 20) - M-78 is transferred back onto its pre-1922 routing from Bellevue in southwestern Eaton Co easterly to I-69/US-27 at Olivet. From there, M-78 is routed concurrently with I-69/US-27 to Charlotte and its existing alignment. The former route of M-78 from Bellevue to Charlotte via Battle Creek Rd is retained as an unsigned state trunkline.
  1973 - This is a watershed year for the route of M-78 in Michigan. All of M-78 from Olivet to Flint is removed and the route takes its present state and length of 10.75 miles from M-66 to I-69/US-27. The concurrent I-69/US-27/M-78 routing from Olivet to Charlotte becomes just I-69/US-27, while all of M-78 beyond Charlotte becomes either I-69 or TEMPORARY I-69. From Charlotte to I-96 southwest of Lansing, US-27/M-78 becomes US-27/TEMP I-69. The new TEMP I-69 designation replaces M-78 bypassing Lansing via I-96, I-496/US-127 and US-127 becoming co-signed with those routes. From US-127 on the Lansing/East Lansing line northeasterly to the Perry area, M-78 is also redesignated as TEMP I-69. From the beginning of the freeway 1 mile east of the M-52 jct along the freeway past Durand and Swartz Creek into Flint, M-78 is redesignated as an east-west alignment of I-69, ending at I-475 in downtown Flint.
  1981 (Dec 7) - The route of OLD M-78 via Battle Creek Rd from Bellevue northeasterly to Charlotte, which had been signed as part of M-78 until 1973, is finally transferred to local control.
Freeway/Expwy: No portion of M-78 is freeway or expressway.
Weblinks: M-78 @ Michigan Highway Ends - photos of the termini of M-78 at Dan Garnell's excellent Michigan Highway Ends website.

M-79 Western Terminus: M-37 three miles southeast of Hastings and 2 miles west of Quimby (cnr Quinby Rd & Bedford Rd)
Eastern Terminus: Jct BL I-69 & M-50 in downtown Charlotte (cnr Lawrence Ave & Cochran Ave)
Length: 24.89 miles
Map: Route Map of M-79
Notes: On October 1, 1998, the portion of county-maintained A-42 from US-131 at Bradley to M-43 west of Hastings was assumed into the state trunkline system as a part of the Rationalization process. Instead of M-79 being routed westerly through Hastings, then onto A-42 westward to US-131, resulting in a potentially-confusing triple-concurrency, MDOT chose to designate the new highway as M-179.
History: c.1920 - In the early 1920s, M-79 exisits partially along its present-day route. At this time, the highway begins at M-37 in downtown Hastings and proceeds southeasterly via Quimby to Nashville, then turns southerly, then westerly, then southerly again to run via Maple Grove and Assyria to end at M-17 (later US-12) in downtown Battle Creek.
  1926 - M-79 is shortened by 6 miles when the portion of the route from M-78 south into downtown Battle Creek becomes part of a 55-mile extension of M-78.
  1930 - The portion of M-79 from Nashville south to M-78 is redesignated as part of a new M-14 running northerly to Edmore. The Hastings-to-Nashville routing of M-79 is unaffected, and a new eastern extension of the highway is designated: from downtown Nashville, M-79 now runs easterly via Nashville Rd for 4 miles to Ionia Rd south of Vermontville, then northerly one mile to end in downtown Vermontville.
  1934 - The portion of M-79 from Assyria Rd (3 miles west of Nashville), through Nashville, to Vermontville is redesignated as M-214. M-79 is rerouted southerly via Assyria Rd for 3 miles to Lawrence Rd, then easterly via Lawrence for 15 miles to end at M-78 in Charlotte.
  1953 - M-214 is "decommissioned" and M-79 is rerouted along the former M-214 for three miles west of Nashville. At Nashville, M-79 now turns southerly via M-66 back to the former alignment of M-79 two miles south of town. The former M-79 alignment via Assyria Rd and the concurrent M-66/M-79 routing via Lawrence Rd is turned back to local control.
  1960 - The final 9 miles of gravel-surfaced M-79 are paved, in western Eaton Co.
  1964 - M-79 is realigned between Hastings and Quimby, from State St and Nashville Rd onto Quimby Rd—its present-day alignment—ending at M-37 three miles south of downtown Hastings. Also, a pair of sharp curves east of Quimby are "smoothed out."
Freeway/Expwy: No portion of M-79 is freeway or expressway.
Weblinks: M-79 @ Michigan Highway Ends - photos of the termini of M-79 at Dan Garnell's excellent Michigan Highway Ends website.


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