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M-11
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Former M-12
Western Entrance:    Indiana state line at Michiana (just south of New Buffalo)
Eastern Terminus:    Downtown Detroit at cnr of Michigan Ave & Cass Ave, four blocks west of Woodward Ave
Length: 208.90 miles
Map: Route Map of US-12
Niles Area Trunklines Map, 2010–
Notes: Both the original routing of US-12 in Michigan, as well as the current routing, have been important transportation corridors in the Great Lakes region since before the arrival of the Europeans. Two of Michigan's major Native American foot trails ran along both routings of US-12. The predecessor to today's US-12 was once the Great Sauk Trail. Over time as European settlers began to settle across southern Michigan, these foottrails were gradually widened into major highways. The northern route, which was first M-17, then US-12, ran from Detroit, through Ann Arbor, Jackson, Battle Creek and Kalamazoo to St Joseph on Lake Michigan. The southern route, which was US-112, then US-12, ran from Detroit through Coldwater, Sturgis and Niles to New Buffalo on Lake Michigan. The northern route as US-12 fostered the growth of many of the cities along its route; so much so that the route was chosen for the proposed Detroit-Chicago Expressway in the early 1950s. In a time before the Interstate Highway System, a toll-free superhighway of this length (210 miles in Michigan alone) was unheard of. By the late 1950s, with several sections of freeway already complete and open, this entire route was incorporated into the path of I-94. With that, US-12 in Michigan was moved south to occupy the routing of US-112, which ceased to exist as a highway designation.
  New! For more detailed information on the route of US-112, please visit the Historic US-112 page.
  Prior to the construction of the Ohio Turnpike and Indiana East-West Toll Road, the route of today's US-12 (then designated as US-112) was earmarked as a corridor to be upgraded to expressway and/or freeway status. While the historic route of US-12 was the route connecting Detroit with Jackson, Battle Creek, Kalamazoo and Benton Harbor/St Joseph, US-112 was the more direct routing between Detroit and Chicago. Thus the Michigan State Highway Department had planned early on to upgrade the entire corridor to at least expressway status with bypasses of the larger cities and towns along the way. The Niles Bypass was constructed as part of this effort as was a partially-built (but never completed) interchange at M-52 near Clinton, however no other upgrades were ever completed.
  At one time MDOT attempted to alleviate some of the traffic problems along US-12/Michigan Ave in the "West Dearborn" section of Dearborn. MDOT had planned to move westbound traffic onto parallel Garrison St between Brady Rd on the east and Nowlin on the west, keeping eastbound traffic on Michigan Ave. A connection between Garrison St and Michigan Ave was completed on the west end and clearing and initial grading was underway on the east end when, according to Dave, "intense community opposition" halted progress on the project. Today, all US-12 traffic remains squeezed through the center of "Westborn" on Michigan Ave. —Many thanks to Dave Outen for this information!
  Updated While two short segments of US-12 has been previously designated as Historic Heritage Routes, in Saline and Clinton/Clinton Twp, on June 9, 2004 the entire length of US-12 from New Buffalo on the Lake Michigan shore to the eastern terminus of US-12 in downtown Detroit was designated as a Historic Heritage Route in its entirety. And while most of the other Heritage Routes in Michigan have been designated with a descriptive name, this route continues to be known as just the US-12 Heritage Trail. On July 25, 2016, the first 5¾ miles of US-12 in Michigan through New Buffalo was additionally designated as part of the West Michigan Pike Historic Byway, the first time in the state where two Michigan Byways (or, prior to that Heritage Routes) overlap on the same highway.
  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 innumerable upgrades to routes all across the state during that timeframe. As the MSHD was in the process of relocating the US-12 designation over to supplant the route of US-112 during the creation of these maps, the recommendations the planners had for the route of US-112 are presented here. Those recommendations included:
  • A US-112 (US-12) freeway departing I-94 near Union Pier at approximately Mile 5 and heading due easterly running parallel to and within 1½ miles of US-112 (US-12) to the Buchanan area. At Buchanan, the propose freeway bent slightly to the south to angle into a connection with the existing route of US-112 (US-12) at the western jct with BUS US-112 (BUS US-12, now M-139) southwest of Niles. The existing expressway bypass of Niles would then have been upgraded to full freeway standards.
  • From Niles, the US-112 (US-12) freeway would run almost due easterly Edwardsburg, bumping to the north to bypass the Four Lakes area east of Edwardsburg then back southeasterly to an interchange with a vastly upgraded and relocated M-205. The proposed freeway then would continue due easterly to a grade separation (no interchange!) at M-119 (now M-40) immediately north of the existing route of US-112, before jogging slightly to the north and continuing more-or-less easterly past White Pigeon and Sturgis and turning northeasterly south of Burr Oak into Branch Co. The proposed US-112 (US-12) freeway would cross over the existing highway southwest of Bronson and bypass that village to the south before turning northeasterly toward Coldwater. About ½ mile south of the Branch Co Airport, a BUS US-112 (BUS US-12) routing would depart to the northast toward Coldwater, while the US-112 (US-12) freeway turned due east to intersect the US-27 (now I-69) freeway southeast of the city. The proposed freeway would then shift northerly to skirt the north edge of Marble Lake and bypass Quincy to the south then running easterly past Allen and splitting between Hillsdale and Jonesville where the freeway would curve northeasterly past North Adams before turning easterly again running about three miles south of the existing highway through the Somerset area. After interchanging with a proposed US-127 freeway just northwest of Addison, the proposed US-112 (US-12) freeway continued east bypassing Onsted to the north continuing to an interchange with M-50 about two miles west of the existing M-52 & M-50 intersection where US-112 (US-12) would turn northeasterly to pass south of Clinton and then run almost due northeasterly, passing about 2½ miles west of Saline, to an interchange with I-94 about ½ mile southeast of the Ann Arbor-Saline Rd interchange at Ann Arbor. With the exception of the proposed business route through Coldwater, the remainder of the existing route of US-112 was to have been turned back to local control.
As with many other overly-ambitious proposals by the State Highway Dept in the late-1950s and into the 1960s, absolutely none of the US-112 (US-12) freeway recommendation was implemented at any level. with the I-80/I-90/Indiana East-West Toll Road running parallel to the first portion of this proposed freeway route (in parts within 10 miles or less), it is no suprise this freeway was never constructed. While some case could have been made for an upgraded facility between Coldwater and Ann Arbor could have been made, many other higher-priority projects meant this corridor would remain nearly unchanged over five decades later. No active plans for such a freeway have been put forward since.
History: 1920s The original state trunkline designations running along what later became US-12 are: M-11 from the Indiana state line to St Joseph, a concurrently designated M-11/M-17 from St Joseph to Watervliet, and M-17 alone from there to Ann Arbor where US-12 was routed over roads not formerly a part of the state highway system into Detroit.
  1926 Originally to be designated US-10 between Detroit and Chicago, US-12 was commissioned along the Detroit-Ann Arbor-Jackson-Battle Creek-Kalamazoo-St Joseph-Chicago route in 1926 along with the rest of the US Highway System in Michigan.
  1927 In one of the first major projects on the brand new US-12 in Berrien Co, the highway is realigned onto a more direct route from the Sawyer area to just south of Stevensville (along present-day Red Arrow Hwy) at Linco Rd, with the former route being turned back to local control.
  1928 Another segment of US-12/Red Arrow Hwy is completed bypassing downtown Stevensville in Berrien Co, from Linco to Glenlord Rds. The former route is turned back to local control.
  1929 Another segment of US-12/Red Arrow Hwy is completed from Glenlord Rd north of Stevensville in Berrien Co to Cleveland Ave south of downtown St Joseph. The former route of US-12 along Glenlord and Cleveland is turned back to local control.
  1931 Michigan Ave between Kalamazoo and Comstock is designated as US-12A, while US-12 is transferred to a new highway alignment (present-day King Hwy) running parallel to Michigan Ave to the south.
  c.1934 The westbound US-12 designation is removed from Territorial St through downtown Benton Harbor and now both directions utilize Main St. Territorial St between Pipestone and Fair Ave becomes a local street.
  c.1935–36 In late 1935 or early 1936, a new US-12A routing debuts at Battle Creek. Beginning at US-12/Upton Ave west of downtown, the new US-12A runs northerly across the Kalamazoo River to M-37/M-96/Michigan Ave, then turns easterly to follow M-37/M-96 along Michigan Ave through downtown and back to US-12 at the cnr of E Michigan Ave & James St. In 1936, when US-12 is rerouted onto Columbia Ave, the route of US-12A is correspondingly chaned: from the northern jct of US-12 & M-78 at the cnr of Capital Ave SW & Fountain St, US-12A now runs northasterly with M-78/Capital Ave to Michigan Ave, then turns east to follow M-96/Michigan Ave back to US-12 at James St.
  1936 A new alignment of US-12 opens from just east of Galesburg to M-78/Capital Ave in Battle Creek, trimming two miles from the route. The old route through Camp Custer is turned back to local control.
  1937 A new 15-mile long realignment opens from just east of Jackson to Sylvan west of Chelsea. The former route along Michigan Ave through Leoni and Grass Lake is turned back to local control.
  1939 Stadium Dr, a new bypass of the Western Michigan State College (now WMU) campus in Kalamazoo, opens for traffic with the US-12 designation. Beginning just west of downtown at Michigan Ave, Stadium Dr runs southwesterly via an old railroad grade back to Michigan Ave just east of Oshtemo. The former route along Michigan Ave is transferred to local control. Also, in Battle Creek, the route of US-12A along M-78 & M-96 through downtown is "decommissioned," with the existing M-78 and M-96 designations remaining.
  1940 A new 4.5-mile southern US-12 bypass of Chelsea is completed and opens to traffic. The former route along present-day Old US-12 is turned back to local control.
  1941 The southern bypass of Battle Creek (Columbia Ave easterly extension) is completed and is assigned the US-12 designation. Portions of the former route along Fountain, Main and Cliff Sts are turned back to local control. The remainder of the former route of US-12 through Battle Creek is incorporated into a brand-new BUS US-12 routing, beginning at the jct of US-12 & M-78 (cnr Columbia Ave & Capital Ave SW), running northerly with M-78 along Capital Ave into downtown, where the new BUS US-12 turns eastearly to follow M-96 along Michigan Ave back to US-12 at the Columbia Ave intersection east of the city.
  1949 (Dec 1) New! – The first 4½ miles of the two-lane "Jackson North Belt" bypass is completed from the existing alignment of US-12 (at present-day jct of I-94 & BL I-94 northeast of Jackson near former Exit 144) then westerly to M-106/Cooper St north of downtown Jackson. While it isn't clear if US-12 is officially routed over this segment then temporarily to the south along M-106/Cooper St at this point, only automobile traffic is allowed at first with trucks being banned from the route which cost $519,000 to construct.
  1951 (June 22) New! – A 3.86-mile long segment of the relocated US-12 is completed south of Galesburg in Kalamazoo Co. As this new segment of highway does not directly connect back to US-12 west of Galesburg, it is reported that it is not signed as part of the US-12 route at this time. (This segment would be assumed into the route of I-94 later in the decade.)
  1951 (Dec) Updated – An additional 1¼ mile of the "Jackson North Belt" bypass is completed and opened to traffic from M-106/Cooper St north of downtown westerly to M-50 northwest of the city. When this segment opens, the entire Jackson North Belt is officially signed as US-12, which then travels southerly along M-50 and US-127 along N East St into Jackson to rejoin the existing route of US-12 along W Michigan Ave. The former route of US-12 along Michigan Ave and Ann Arbor Rd from M-50/East St easterly to the beginning of the Jackson North Belt is redesignated as BUS US-12. The truck prohibition on the Jackson North Belt is also lifted as it is now open to all vehicle traffic.
  1952 (Nov 25) Updated The remaining portion of the US-12 "Jackson bypass" opens to traffic between Michigan Ave at Parma and M-50/N East Ave north of Jackson along another portion of what would become the I-94 freeway in less than a decade. The former route of US-12 between US-127 in Jackson and Parma is turned back to local control. The BUS US-12 designation at Jackson is extended northerly along US-127 & M-50 to end at the US-12 bypass north of the city.
  Red Arrow Memorial Highway route marker, 19531953 (Mar 22) New! – US-12 is officially dedicated as the "Red Arrow Memorial Highway" at ceremonies in Jackson. The dedication makes US-12 a memorial to the 32nd Infantry Division, a military division largely made up of soldiers from Michigan as well as Wisconsin, which has its own Red Arrow Memorial Highway. News reports note that, "the division was one of the first units called to duty at the start of World War II and saw plenty of action in the Pacific Theatre of operations." Signs along US-12, like the one at right, are mounted on decorative iron posts along the route. (None of these signs are known to exist today, however.)
  1953 (Fall) New! – A 4¾-mile long segment of relocated US-12 from 35th St south of Galesburg (at the western end of the segment completed and opened to local traffic in 1951) westerly to Miller Rd southeast of Kalamazoo is opened to traffic as a two-lane expressway to local traffic only. Through US-12 traffic is maintained on its existing route via Michigan Ave through Galesburg and then into Kalamazoo via King Hwy (present-day M-96). This roadway would be incorporated into the I-94 freeway over the next several years, becoming the westbound lanes of the new facility.
  1953 (Nov 5) Updated – A 10-mile westerly extension of the US-12 "Jackson North Belt" bypass is completed and opened to traffic from M-50 northwest of downtown Jackson westerly to the existing route of US-12 along Michigan Ave west of Parma (at present-day Exit 128). The two-lane limited access expressway utilizes what would become the ebd lanes of I-94 in less than a decade. Interestingly, this segment of highway would not be officially determined as a state trunkline route for more than three years while the former route of US-12 along Michigan Ave from Jackson westerly through Parma officially remains as an unsigned state trunkline highway route.
  1953 (Nov 10) New! – Almost two full years after opening to traffic, the 1.21-mile long segment of the US-12 "Jackson North Belt" between M-106/Cooper St and M-50 on the north side of Jackson is officially determined as a state trunkline highway.
  1953 The concurrent US-12/US-31 routing in the St Joseph and Benton Harbor is reduced to just 8 blocks through downtown St Joseph when a new alignment of US-31 opens north of the city.
  1955 (Jan 26, 8:00 am) Updated– A 2.7-mile long connecting highway linking the recently completed relocation of US-12 southeast of Kalamazoo with the existing route of US-12 along King Hwy east of downtown is completed and opened to traffic as a two-lane controlled-access expressway. (A second set of lanes to make this new connector into a four-lane divided expressway is planned.) With this connection between the relocated and existing US-12 now open, US-12 traffic is finally routed along the Galesburg–Comstock "bypass" running south of Morrow Lake, portions of which were opened to local trffic in 1951 and 1953. The former route of US-12 from the eastern end of the "bypass" (at present-day Exit 88) northwesterly along E Michigan Ave into Galesburg is retained as an unsigned state trunkline for time being, while the segment of E Michigan Ave and King Hwy from Galesburg westerly through Comstock to the western end of the new connector highway is redesignated as a westerly extension of M-96. What had been designated as US-12A along E Michigan Ave between Comstock and Kalamazoo is decommissioned, but remains an unsigned state trunkline highway route for the time being as well.
  1956 (Mar 26) New! – The 7.61-miles of the new US-12 southerly bypass of the Galesburg–Comstock area in Kalamazoo Co, beginning at existing US-12/Michigan Ave (present-day Exit 88) southeast of Galesburg and continuing westerly to Miller Rd southeast of Kalamazoo, is officially determined as a state trunkline highway route. This segment was opened as a two-lane highway for local traffic only from US-12/Michigan Ave to 35th St south of Galesburg in 1951 and from 35th St westerly to Miller Rd in 1953, while the US-12 designation was finally applied to this segment in early 1955. The segment of the former route of US-12 along E Michigan Ave from the beginning of the Galesburg–Comstock bypass northwesterly into downtown Galesburg at M-96 is turned back to county and municipal control, as is the former US-12A alignment along E Michigan Ave from M-96 in Comstock westerly to M-43/Riverview Dr in Kalamazoo.
  1956 (Sept 29, Oct 6) Updated – The US-12 "Ann Arbor Southbelt" freeway is completed and opened to traffic... twice. First, the freeway, which still has a few final details yet to be completed, is opened on Sept 29 between US-23/Carpenter Rd southeast of Ann Arbor westerly to Ann Arbor-Saline Rd to help with traffic for the Univ of Michigan–UCLA football game at Michigan Stadium. Then, after closing later that day, the entire "Ann Arbor Southbelt" from US-23 west to the existing route of US-12 along Jackson Rd (at present-day Exit 172) west of Ann Arbor is officially opened to traffic on Oct 6 in time for the Michigan–Michigan State football game. The "Ann Arbor Southbelt" was initially planned as a westerly extension of M-17 prior to the major route designation swap to be made official one month later.
  1956 (Oct 15) Updated – New westbound lanes are completed and opened to traffic on the 9-mile portion of the US-12 "Jackson North Belt" bypass from US-127/M-50 northwest of downtown Jackson (present-day Exit 138) westerly to the end of the completed expressway at Michigan Ave west of Parma (present-day Exit 128). The eastbound lanes were completed in 1949. This portion of the bypass route is now a full, four-lane freeway
  1956 (Nov 1) Updated – The State Highway Dept makes several major route designation changes in the metropolitan Detroit/Ann Arbor area involving the Willow Run, Detroit Industrial and Edsel Ford Expressways. US-12, which had an eastern terminus at US-16 at the cnr of Plymouth Rd & Grand River Ave on Detroit's westside since it was first designated in 1926, then later concurrently designated with US-16 along Grand River from Plymouth Rd southeasterly into downtown Detroit, is relocated from the Plymouth Rd alignment between Ann Arbor and Detroit and transferred to a new southerly route. Beginning at the western end of the "Ann Arbor Southbelt," US-12 now runs southeasterly and easterly around Ann Arbor to US-23/Carpenter Rd, then continues easterly supplanting the M-17 designation along the Ypsilanti bypass to US-112/Michigan Ave. From there, the BYP US-112 designation on the Ypsilanti bypass is replaced by the mainline US-112 designation and concurrently designated with US-12. (M-17 is removed from the bypass routing and replaces the BUS M-17 route through downtown Ypsilanti while US-112 through the city is redesignated as BUS US-112.) US-12/US-112 continues easterly onto the Willow Run Expwy to the west tri-level interchange where US-112 continues northeasterly via the former BYP US-112 back to Michigan Ave east of Ypsilanti while US-12 turns southerly along the Wiard Rd alignment of the Willow Run Expwy supplanting the M-112 designation before turning easterly again along the Chase Rd alignment of the Willow Run, heading into Wayne Co. US-12 continues easterly replacing M-112 in its entirety along the Willow Run and Detroit Industrial Expwys to US-112/Michigan Ave on the western limits of Detroit. There, the US-12 designation now travels along the Edsel Ford Expwy from its beginning easterly to, according to news reports, a new terminus at US-10/Woodward Ave north of downtown Detroit, after passing under its former alignment along US-16/Grand River Ave along the way. The former route of US-12 from the west side of Ann Arbor through downtown then northeasterly through Dixboro and Plymouth then easterly into Detroit to US-16/Grand River Ave is redesignated as M-14, while the formerly concurrent US-12/US-16 along Grand River Ave in Detroit from Plymouth Rd southeasterly into downtown reverts back to just US-16. (As a result of these route changes, US-12 and its "child" route, US-112, now run concurrently for the first time.)
  1956 (Dec 28, 10:00 am) Updated – While its original completion date was pegged at the end of October 1957, the 4¼-mile "Kalamazoo South Belt" is completed and opened to traffic from Miller Rd southeast of Kalamazoo then southwesterly to US-131/Westnedge Ave (present-day Exit 76) south of downtown ten months early. While the "Kalamazoo South Belt" is a part of the overall US-12 Detroit–Chicago Expressway, since the western end of the completed freeway does not tie directly back into US-12, the mainline US-12 designation for through traffic remains on its existing route following present-day BL I-94 into downtown Kalamazoo, then westerly out of the city. Interestingly, while an overpass is constructed along the freeway passing over the Pennsylvania RR (now Grand Elk) northeast of the Portage/Kilgore interchange, the Grand Trunk RR and New York Central RR both cross the bypass at-grade west of Sprinkle Rd and west of Lovers Ln, respectively.
  1957 (Jan 21) New! – The 10-mile segment of the former route of US-12 from the western Jackson city limit westerly through Parma to the western end of the US-12 "Jackson North Belt" bypass is turned back to county control, even though it hasn't borne the US-12 designation since 1949 when the Jackson-to-Parma segment of the bypass was completed and opened to traffic. Simultaneously, the "Jackson North Belt" from Michigan Ave west of Parma easterly to US-127/M-50 on the north side of Jackson is (finally) officially determined as a state trunkline highway route, eight years after it first opened to traffic as a two-lane undivided expressway and more than three months after its conversion to a full freeway.
  1957 Updated –The eastbound lanes of the 7.6-mile long segment of US-12 along the "Galesburg–Comstock bypass" from E Michigan Ave southeast of Galesburg (present-day Exit 88) westerly to Miller Rd south of Comstock are completed and opened to traffic, officially converting this segment of highway to a full four-lane freeway along this stretch. Construction on a freeway extension to the east toward Battle Creek is underway.
  1957 (June 24) New! The 4.23-mile long "Kalamazoo South Belt" from Miller Rd southeast of the city to US-131/Westnedge Ave south of Kalamazoo is assumed into the system, although it opened to traffic at the end of December 1956.
  1957 (Nov 4) New! – The US-12 "Ann Arbor South Belt" freeway bypass, opened to traffic in 13 months prior, is officially determined as a state trunkline highway route from US-23/Carpenter Rd southeast of Ann Arbor to the existing route of US-12 along Jackson Rd west of the city.
  1958 (July 29) Updated – A 1.8-mile long segment of Michigan Ave west of Jackson between the western city limit and the new M-60 freeway bypass is re-assumed into the state trunkline highway system after having been turned back to county control a year an a half earlier. This is done as part of a rerouting of the BUS US-12 designation at Jackson, which now continues due westerly from the city along Michigan Ave (instead of turning northerly with US-127/M-50 and terminating at US-12 at present-day Exit 138) to the new M-60 freeway bypass of Jackson, then turns northerly along M-60 to a new terminus at the US-12 & M-60 jct (present-day Exit 136).
  1958 (Oct 3–8) Updated – A 4.6-mile long segment of four-lane divided US-12 freeway is completed and opened to traffic on Oct 3 from the eastern end of the "Galesburg–Comstock bypass"(at present-day Exit 88) southeast of Galesburg in Kalamazoo Co running easterly immediately to the north of the existing alignment of US-12 along E Michigan Ave to an interchange at Mercury Dr-Climax Rd on the Kalamazoo/Calhoun Co line. US-12 is transferred to this new segment of freeway which is then officially determined as a state trunkline route five days later on Oct 8. At the same time, the 4.05-mile former route of US-12 along E Michigan Ave is turned back to county control, also on Oct 8.
  1958 (Oct 8) New! – Also on Oct 8, the 1.96-mile long "Willow Run Bypass" is officially assumed into the state trunkline system and likely opens to traffic around this same time as well. The so-called "Willow Run Bypass" cuts the corner between the US-12/Willow Run Expwy at the 90º turn from the Chase Rd alignment onto the Wiard Rd alignment southwest of Willow Run Airport (present-day Exit 186) and the US-12/US-112 bypass of Ypsilanti (at present-day Exit 185). The new alignment cuts in half the distance US-12 through traffic requires to pass through the Willow Run area. The former route is left over from the original development of the Willow Run Expressway System during World War II when the purpose of the highways in the area was to bring traffic to the Willow Run bomber plant rather than as a through route for traffic between Detroit and Ann Arbor and points west. The former north-south segment of US-12 between present-day Exit 186 and the west tri-level interchange is retained as an unsigned trunkline for the next nine months.
  1959 (July 28) New! – The original 2.2-mile long north-south segment of the Willow Run Expwy southeast of Ypsilanti near the Willow Run Airport—the "Wiard Rd segment" from present-day I-94 Exit 186 to the west tri-level interchange that was stripped of its US-12 designation when the "Willow Run Bypass" was opened in 1958—is transferred to county control.
  Red Arrow Highway route marker1959 (Sept 9) New! – The Van Buren Co Road Commission is granted permission by the State Highway Dept to begin erecting Red Arrow Highway route markers alongside the existing US-12 markers on its stretch of the highway through its county. It is reportedly the first ever instance of a county being allowed to "pre-sign" a state trunkline highway that is earmarked for transfer from the state to county control.
  I-94US-121959 (Fall) Updated – Originally planned for early spring, the State Highway Dept begins erecting I-94 route markers along the completed portions of the US-12 freeway between Kalamazoo and Detroit as well as along the Edsel Ford Expwy through the city of Detroit. State Highway officials note the route from Detroit westerly to the Indiana state line near New Buffalo will continue to be concurrently designated as both I-94 and US-12 until the freeway is complete, then the US-12 signs will be removed.
  I-94US-121959 (Dec 7, 11 am) Updated – December 7, 1959 is a big day in the history of the I-94/US-12 freeway. Three separate segments of new freeway are opened to traffic, while one segment of the freeway is also officially assumed into the trunkline system and one segment of the former route of US-12 is turned back to local control:
  • A 12-mile segment of I-94/US-12 is opened to traffic from the existing route of US-12/Michigan Ave east of Battle Creek near Ceresco (present-day Exit 104) westerly past Battle Creek (the "Battle Creek Southbelt") to the eastern end of the completed freeway on the Calhoun/Kalamazoo Co line at the Mercury Dr-Climax Rd interchange (present-day Exit 92).
  • Another 15.8-mile segment of I-94/US-12 freeway is opened to traffic from the western end of the completed freeway at US-131/Westnedge Ave south of downtown Kalamazoo, westerly into Van Buren Co to a terminus at M-119 (present-day M-40) on the south side of Paw Paw.
  • A third, 10.6-mile segment of I-94/US-12 is opened to traffic from Co Rd 687 (present-day Exit 46) at Hartford westerly past Watervliet and Coloma to a temporary terminus at Hicks Rd, where all freeway traffic is shunted off onto the local road to connect back with the existing route of US-12/Red Arrow Hwy at Twelve Corners northeast of Benton Harbor.
  • Simultaneously, the 9.28 miles of I-94/US-12 freeway from US-131/Westnedge Ave near Kalamazoo westerly to the Kalamazoo/Van Buren Co line is assumed into the state trunkline highway system. (The other segments opened on this date would be officially determined later in 1960.)
  • Also, the former route of US-12 along Columbia Ave and Climax Rd in the Battle Creek area from M-96/Michigan Ave east of the city westerly to I-94/US-12 at present-day Exit 92 is turned back to county control. What had been designated as US-12 between present-day Exit 104 east of Battle Creek and the Michigan Ave & Columbia Ave intersection becomes an easterly extension of BUS US-12/M-96.
  • The former route of US-12 through the city of Kalamazoo from present-day Exit 81 through downtown then southwesterly along Michigan Ave and Stadium Dr to Oshtemo is redesignated as BUS US-12. (9th St from Michigan Ave at Oshtemo southerly to I-94/US-12 at present-day Exit 72 is signed as part of BUS US-12 and will be temporarily assumed into the system as such in January 1960.) From Oshtemo westerly to jct M-40/M-119 in downtown Paw Paw as well as from downtown Hartford westerly to Hicks Rd at Twelve Corners northeast of Benton Harbor, the US-12 route markers are removed as the route is prepared for future transfer to local control.
  • A three-part ribbon cutting ceremony is planned to open the Battle Creek area and Kalamazoo–Paw Paw segments as well as formally dedicating the Battle Creek–Kalamazoo segment already open. A Tri-County Ribbon Cutting Committee sponsors two simultaneous ribbon-cutting events at the Paw Paw and Battle Creek ends of the new freeway segment to occur upon a signal given from State Highway Commissioner John C Mackie from a point near Galesburg, approximately halfway along the entire Battle Creek–Paw Paw stretch. After the simultaneous ribbon cutting, the civic leaders from each event then drive toward each other, meeting up with Mackie in Galesburg where he addresses the gathered dignitaries over lunch. The Kalamazoo Board of Realtors hosts a meet-and-greet at Kalamazoo's Hotel Harris during the afternoon, followed by a 6:30 pm banquet for 800 invited officials and guests at the Western Michigan Univ Student Events Center titled "A Salute to the Highway Department." (Seriously.)
  1960 (Jan 6) New! – Three I-94/US-12-related state trunkline highway determinations or cancellations occur today:
  • 6.0 miles of the former route of US-12 along Red Arrow Hwy in Van Buren Co from the east limits of Paw Paw easterly to the Van Buren/Kalamazoo Co line is turned back to local control one day shy of a month after the parallel segment of the I-94/US-12 freeway opened to traffic.
  • The 1.3-mile portion of 9th St in Kalamazoo Co's Oshtemo and Texas Twps from the new I-94/US-12 freeway (at present-day Exit 72) south of Oshtemo northerly into downtown Oshtemo at W Michigan Ave (formerly US-12, present-day Stadium Dr) is temporarily transferred to state control as part of a new BL I-94 routing through Kalamazoo. The new BL I-94 travels north from I-94/US-12 into Oshtemo via 9th St, then runs northeasterly into Kalamazoo via the former route of US-12 along W Michigan Ave and Stadium Dr, then through downtown along Michigan Ave before turning southeasterly supplanting the former US-12 along King Hwy and Amvets Memorial Hwy, terminating at the I-94/US-12 freeway at present-day Exit 81 south of Comstock.
  • As part of a new BL I-94 routing at Albion, a 0.2 mile segment of existing M-99/Eaton Rapids Rd from Michigan Ave (former US-12) northerly to the new I-94/US-12 freeway (at present-day Exit 124) northeast of Albion is slighly realigned. The new M-99 alignment, now also part of BL I-94, is officially determined as a state trunkline highway on this date, while the 0.2 mile of the former alignment—immediately to the east of the new roadway—is cancelled and largely obliterated as a public roadway.
  I-94US-121960 (Mar 25) Updated – A 5.04-mile long segment of the I-94/US-12 freeway in western Jackson Co is officially assumed into the state trunkline highway system and possibly opens on or about this date as well. The segment runs from M-99/Eaton Rapids Rd (present-day Exit 124) northeast of Albion easterly to the end of the completed freeway west of Parma (at present-day Exit 128). The 4.7-mile long former route of US-12 along Michigan Ave between M-99/Eaton Rapids Rd and the freeway interchange west of Parma is turned back to county control except for the portion subsumed by the new freeway, severing the old road which is now obliterated in that area.
  I-94US-121960 (July 1) Updated – A lengthy segment of new I-94/US-12 freeway is completed and opened to traffic on this date in Calhoun and western Jackson Cos. Beginning at the Michigan Ave/11 Mile Rd interchange (later Exits 104-105) near Cereso between Battle Creek and Marshall, the new segment of freeway stretches for 20 miles to the western end of the existing freeway at M-99 northeast of Albion. The former route of US-12 between Ceresco and Albion remains an unsigned state trunkline for the time being.
  1960 (Aug 15) New! – Six weeks after the remainder of the I-94/US-12freeway through Calhoun Co is opened to traffic, the official trunkline determinations and jurisdictional transfers associated with the project occur. The 31.42-mile long segment of the I-94/US-12 freeway from the Kalamazoo Co line easterly to the Jackson Co line—including the Battle Creek "south belt" opened to traffic the previous Dec 7, is officially determined as a state trunkline route. Two segments of the former route of US-12 are simultaneously turned back to local control while two other segments of new trunkline route are officially assumed into the system as parts of new BL I-94 routings:
  • From the new freeway at the Michigan Ave/11 Mile Rd interchange east of Battle Creek (present-day Exit 104-105) near Ceresco easterly 6.8 miles to US-27/Kalamazoo Ave in downtown Marshall, this former US-12 route is turned back to county and city control.
  • From Partello Rd east of Marshall easterly to Eaton St (itself a new route of BL I-94 through Albion) in Albion, the 9.9 miles of former US-12 is turned back to county and city control.
  • The 0.6-mile portion of Partello Rd from Michigan Ave northeasterly to the I-94/US-12 freeway (at present-day Exit 112) is assumed into the trunkline system and integrated ito the BL I-94 routing running through downtown Marshall. Marshall's BL I-94 routing begins at the US-27 interchange (present-day Exit 110) north of the city, and continues southerly with US-27 along Kalamazoo Ave into downtown, then turns easterly via Michigan Ave (formerly US-12) to Partello Rd, then northeasterly via Partello back to I-94.
  • The 1.0-mile long segment of Eaton St in Albion from I-94/US-12 (at present-day Exit 121) southerly to Austin Ave is transferred to state jurisdiction and is officially determined as part of the new BL I-94 routing in Albion. From Eaton St, BL I-94 in Albion then continues via the former route of US-12 through the city: southeasterly via Austin St, southerly along Superior St, then easterly on Michigan Ave to Eaton Rapids Rd, then northerly to its eastern terminus at I-94/US-12 (present-day Exit 124).
  I-94US-121960 (Sept 15) Updated – A 14-mile segment of the new I-94/US-12 freeway in Van Buren Co is completed and opened to traffic from the eastern end of the completed segment of the freeway at Co Rd 687 at Hartford (present-day Exit 46) easterly to the eastern end of another completed segment of the freeway at M-119 (present-day M-40) at present-day Exit 60 at Paw Paw. Joining the completed sections of freeway at either end creates an uninterrupted 109-mile long segment of the I-94/US-12 freeway from Hicks Rd between Benton Harbor and Coloma easterly past Kalamazoo, Battle Creek and Jackson to BL I-94 northeast of Jackson. Associated with this opening are two official changes to the trunkline system:
  • All of the I-94/US-12 freeway in Van Buren Co from the Berrien Co line on the west to the Kalamazoo Co line on the east is officially assumed into the state trunkline highway system, a total of 24.34 miles, even though portions have been open since December 1959.
  • The 18.25 miles of the former US-12 in Van Buren Co from the Berrien Co line easterly through Hartford, Lawrence and Paw Paw to the eastern limits of Paw Paw are transferred to county and municipal control.
  I-94US-121960 (Nov 3) Updated – The 12.3-mile long segment of the I-94/US-12 freeway through central Berrien Co bypassing the twin cities of Benton Harbor and St Joseph and referred to in the local media as the "Golden Belt" is completed and opened to traffic. Beginning at the temporary western end of the freeway at Hicks Rd northeast of Benton Harbor, the new freeway section continues southwesterly past the twin cities to a temporary ending north of Stevensville where traffic from the freeway is shunted directly onto Red Arrow Hwy just southwest of the Red Arrow Hwy interchange (present-day Exit 23).
  I-94US-121960 (Nov 10) New! – The first half of the completion of the I-94/US-12 freeway in eastern Jackson Co is completed with two-way traffic using the one side of the freeway while work continues on the other half of the freeway. From the east jct of Jackson's BL I-94 (present-day Mile 144) easterly for 3¾ miles to the Leoni/Grass Lake Twp line ½ mile east of Race Rd, the freeway was constructed on a new alignment to the north of the former (1936–1960) route of US-12. From that point easterly, the existing US-12 was subsumed into the new freeway alignment. This entire section of freeway was to have been completed by this time, however as construction was underway, federal standards and specifications for minimum overpass clearance on Interstate highways were established and the overpasses along this route had not been designed to that new specification. The State Highway Dept decided to lower the freeway by two feet, resulting in only one-half of the freeway being opened at this point. Lowering of the other half of the freeway continues as traffic begins using the completed side.
  1960 (Nov 17) New! – The former route of US-12 in northern Berrien Co from M-139 in Benton Harbor northeasterly through Coloma and Watervliet to the Van Buren Co line is transferred to county and municipal control. This 6.12-mile long transfer comes two weeks after the segment of the I-94/US-12 freeway bypassing Benton Harbor and St Joseph is opened to traffic.
  I-94US-121960 (Dec 19, 10:00 am; Dec 30) Updated – An 18-mile long segment of I-94/US-12 freeway is completed and opened to traffic on Dec 19 from the Jackson Rd interchange west of Ann Arbor (present-day Exit 172) and the Washtenaw/Jackson Co line between Chelsea and Grass Lake. From the Jackson Rd interchange westerly for 9.85 miles to Fletcher Rd (present-day Exit 162), the new freeway was built on a new alignment to the north of the former route of US-12 along Jackson Rd, while the portion from Fletcher Rd westerly past Chelsea to the Washtenaw/Jackson Co line was a "twinning" of the 1935–39 US-12 alignment. On Dec 30, the 9.85-mile segment of I-94/US-12 freeway between Jackson Rd west of Ann Arbor and Fletcher Rd is officially determined as a state trunkline highway, while the 9.68-mile segment of Jackson Rd (former US-12) between the same to points is turned back to county control.
  I-94US-121961 (June 9) Updated – The remaining half of the I-94/US-12 freeway which was still being lowered two feet when the first side opened on Nov 10, 1960 is now completed and opened to traffic from BL I-94 northeast of Jackson (present-day Mile 145) easterly to the Jackson/Washtenaw Co line. This segment is now fully-controlled access, four-lane divided freeway.
  1961 (Sept 9) New! – The BL I-94 connector from the I-94/US-12 freeway east of Benton Harbor (at present-day Exit 33) westerly along the Main St corridor to M-139 on the eastern limits of Benton Harbor is completed and opened to traffic three weeks ahead of schedule. This completes the full BL I-94 routing through the twin cities of Benton Harbor and St Joseph almost a year after the I-94/US-12 "Golden Belt" freeway bypass of the cities was completed.
  1961 (Oct 4) New! – The 7.62-mile long portion of the former route of US-12 along Red Arrow Hwy in Berrien Co from the future I-94/US-12 Bridgman interchange (present-day Exit 16) to the Red Arrow Hwy between Stevensville and Shoreham (present-day Exit 23) is officially cancelled as a state trunkline route and turned back to county and municipal control. The parallel segment of the I-94/US-12 freeway, however, would not be open to traffic for another seven weeks. During that interim time, US-12 remains "marked and maintained" along the Red Arrow Hwy alignment.
  I-94US-121961 (Nov 21) Updated – The I-94/US-12 freeway is completed and opened to traffic in Berrien Co from the end of the completed freeway immediately southwest of the Red Arrow Hwy interchange between Shoreham and Stevensville (present-day Exit 23) southerly for 11.3 miles to the Sawyer interchange (present-day Exit 12). Through traffic uses the ½ mile of Sawyer Rd between the temporary freeway terminus and existing US-12 along Red Arrow Hwy to the west. The segment of freeway opened at this time was originally planned on extending southerly to the US-112 interchange (at present-day Exit 4) near New Buffalo, however a construction contractor's strike halted work on the highway and completion of the remainder of this segment is delayed until 1962. (Upon its opening, US-12 route markers may not have been erected along this stretch of freeway as State Highway Dept officials have been preparing for the removal of the US-12 designation along I-94 for some time. To place US-12 markers only to remove them within 6–8 weeks later may have been deemed unnecessary.)
  I-94US-121961 (Dec 11) Updated – The 3.7-mile long segment of I-94/US-12 freeway in eastern Jackson Co from BL I-94 northeast of Jackson (present-day Mile 145) easterly to the Leoni/Grass Lake Twp line, completed and opened to traffic in phases in December 1960 and June 1961, is officially determined as a state trunkline highway route. Simultaneously, the former route of US-12 along Ann Arbor Rd between those same to points is turned back to county control.
  1961 (June) Even as the above realignments to the route of US-12 are taking place, the Michigan State Highway Department petitions the American Association of State Highway Officials (AASHO) to have the US-12 designation removed from its route between New Buffalo and Detroit—nearly the entire length of the route in Michigan!—and moved to supplant the existing US-112 designation between those cities. Approval is granted in June and preparations begin. (More information on this and the rest of US-12's history across the U.S. can be found at the Federal Highway Administration's website.)
  1962 (Jan 1) Updated One of the biggest changes ever to US-12 occurs on January 1, 1962 when the concurrent US-12 designation is removed from I-94 between New Buffalo in Berrien Co and Detroit in Wayne Co, with the exception of the Ypsilanti bypass, where the two routes remain co-signed. The US-12 designation is routed along US-112 for its entire length and US-112 is decommissioned forever. The former BUS US-112 routes through Niles and Ypsilanti are re-designated as BUS US-12 in each city. According to site contributor Ron Wilbanks, instead of erecting all new "US-12" route markers along the former route of US-112, the State Highway Department instead blocked out the first "1," leaving only an off-center "12" on the highway shields between New Buffalo and Detroit. Over time, as the signs need replacement, they were replaced by "real" US-12 route markers. —Thanks Ron for the information!
  1966 The concurrent M-60 designation between New Buffalo and Niles is removed.
  1971 The BUS US-12 designation between I-94 Exit 181 and downtown Ypsilanti is moved from Michigan Ave onto Huron St between I-94 Exit 183 and downtown. The former trunkline routing along Michigan Ave is turned back to local control.
  1981 (June 25) New! – At its regular meeting in Dallas, the U.S. Route Numbering Subcommittee of the American Association of State Highway & Transportation Officials (AASHTO) approves a request from the Michigan Dept of Transportation to extend the route of US-12 in downtown Detroit from its terminus at M-3 then southerly along M-1/Woodward Ave to a new terminus at US-10/Jefferson Ave.
  1994 (Jan 3) – The portion of BUS US-12 from BUS M-60/Oak St southeasterly via Main St to the US-12 & M-60 interchange southeast of Niles is removed from this routing and transferred onto the 11th St alignment, joining BUS US-31 there and supplanting the US-33 designation in the process. US-33 is scaled back to a terminus at the US-12 interchange south of the city at the new eastern terminus of BUS US-12 as well. Main St from BUS M-60/Oak St southeasterly to the Berrien/Cass Co line is turned back to local control, while the (very) short portion of the former BUS US-12 from the county line to the US-12 & M-60 junction remains as a short unsigned state highway stub. It has been reported, however, that this change may have been made in 1987 in terms of signage in the field with the actual jurisdictional transfer taking place in 1994. —Thanks Marc! (See Niles Area Trunklines Map, 2010–)
  c.1997 – The concurrent BUS US-31 designation along BUS US-12 from jct US-12 & US-33 (now M-51) to downtown Niles is removed, leaving only the BUS US-12 designation along the route.
  2001 (Mar 15) During a spate of jurisdictional transfers in the City of Detroit, which includes several former state trunklines in the Campus Martius area of downtown being transferred back to City of Detroit control, US-12 is shortened by four city blocks, or approximately ¼-mile. The eastern terminus of US-12 is now Griswold St, which is the western boundary of Detroit's Campus Martius project. Map of Campus Martius transfers.
  2005 (June 8) An additional 0.23 mile (approximately three blocks) of US-12/Michigan Ave in downtown Detroit from Griswold St westerly to Cass Ave is transferred to city control along with a lump-sum payment of $1,321,000 in lieu of any improvements to the street itself. This transfer is very likely related to the early-2001 transfers and the Campus Martius Project.
  2016 (July 25) New! The West Michigan Pike Historic Byway is officially unveiled at a ceremony in Muskegon's Heritage Park. Running from the Indiana state line south of New Buffalo up Michigan's west coast to Ludington, the Byway runs along the segment of US-12 from the state line to I-94 at Exit 4 northeast of New Buffalo.
Controlled Access: Freeway: Around Ypsilanti concurrent with I-94 between Exits 181 and 185.
  Expressway: Two segments of US-12 exist as expressway:
  1. At Niles from US-31 southwest of Niles to jct M-60.
  2. At Ypsilanti from I-94 at Exit 185 easterly to the jct of BUS US-12 east of Ypsilanti.
NHS: Updated US-12 is part of the NHS in two different segments:
  • In the Niles area from US-31 at Exit 5 southwest of Niles to jct US-12 & M-60 southeast of Niles. (5.3 miles) (This segment was added in 2012 with the passage of the MAP-21 funding and authorization bill.)
  • From US-131 at White Piegon easterly to US-12's eastern terminus in downtown Detroit. (107 miles) (The segments of US-12 from US-131 at White Pigeon to I-69 at Coldwater, from Ecorse Rd at Willow Run east of Ypsilanti to Bellville Rd in Canton Twp, and from M-10/John C Lodge Frwy east to Griswold St in downtown Detroit were added to the NHS in 2012 with the passage of the MAP-21 funding and authorization bill.)
Circle Tour: Lake Michigan Circle Tour MarkerLake Michigan Circle Tour: From Indiana at Michiana to I-94 at Exit 4 northeast of New Buffalo.
Pure Michigan
Byway:
Historic Heritage Route MarkerUS-12 Heritage Trail: From New Buffalo to downtown Detroit.
  Historic Heritage Route MarkerWest Michigan Pike Historic Byway New!: From Indiana near New Buffalo to I-94 at Exit 4.
Business Connections:
  • FORMER BUS US-12 - Niles. From US-12 southwest of Niles, through downtown to jct US-12 & M-51 south of Niles. Decommissioned, 2010. West poriton is now part of M-139, east portion retains the concurrent M-51 designation.
  • BUS US-12 - Ypsilanti. From I-94/US-12 south of Ypsilanti, through downtown to US-12 east of town.
Continue on: US-12 into Indiana - via the Indiana Highway Ends website
Photographs:  
Weblinks:
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