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M-30
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Former M-31
Southern Entrance:    From Indiana southwest of Niles in Berrien County
Northern Terminus:    I-75 at Exit 336, three miles south of Mackinaw City
Length: 356.04 miles
Maps: Route Map of US-31
Map of US-31 Freeway in Berrien County
Notes: US-31 is a major highway corridor leading up the western side of the Lower Peninsula, connecting the cities of South Bend, Ind., Benton Harbor/St Joseph, Holland, Muskegon, Ludington, Traverse City and Petoskey. Approximately 40 percent of US-31 (about 145 miles) is currently constructed to freeway standards, with two additional freeway segments proposed for the next decade. US-31 is a major artery carrying tourist traffic to Michigan's North Country and, as such, has been experiencing congestion issues in such northern cities as Traverse City and Petoskey for many years now. Improvements in those areas may not be forthcoming, however.
  The US-31 corridor has seen a variety of major activity in each of the last five decades and that activity will continue for at least another two decades! In the 1950s, the highway saw major upgrades between Holland and Grand Haven and even some of the first freeway mileage built in West Michigan. The 1960s saw the freeway mileage extended from Benton Harbor/St Joseph to Holland and from Grand Haven toward Oceana Co. The 1970s saw major freeway projects push ever closer to Ludington through Oceana Co and the beginnings of the freeway upgrades in Berrien Co, which all continued into the 1980s. The 1990s continued that progress, with more of US-31 converted to freeway in Berrien and Mason Cos with even more freeway mileage added in the the first decade of the 21st Century. In the next 15–20 years, the final freeway connection in Berrien Co will be completed and the gap in freeway between Holland and Muskegon will be bridged. At that time, more than 180 miles of US-31 in Michigan will be built to freeway standards.
  Some of the ongoing projects noted above have not been without controversy. In Berrien Co, the completion of the freeway gap there has been delayed for environmental reasons and the design and route of the freeway have been altered as well. Further north in Ottawa Co, the decision to route the US-31 freeway though the largely-agricultural central portion of that county has raised howls of protest. Farther north, the proposed US-31 bypasses of the cities of Traverse City and Petoskey have had no shortage of controvery as well. Full details on each of these US-31 projects can be found on their own pages:
  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 many changes to the route of US-31 during that timeframe, including:
  • Construction of a US-31 freeway from the Indiana state line to St Joseph. The first section looks much like the present-day US-31 freeway west of Niles, with the exception of an interchange at Bertrand Rd and the present US-12 interchange was to have been a freeway-to-freeway interchange with the proposed US-112 freeway. A BUS US-31 routing was proposed to serve downtown Niles. Farther north, interchanges were planned at Rangeline and Shawnee Rds (instead of the current one at Snow Rd) and the proposed freeway was to have stayed to the west of the existing US-31/US-33 route after passing Berrien Springs, with interchanges at Scottdale Rd and I-94 near Lincoln Rd. The freeway was to have continued north-northwesterly along the path of the long-proposed BL I-94 "penetrator" route, with the freeway merging back into Niles Ave at Washington Ave where US-31 was proposed to continue into downtown St Joseph via the existing street routing. With the exception of the BUS US-31 routing at Niles, all of the existing US-31/US-33 route was to have been turned back to local control. In the end, while a US-31 freeway was built through much of Berrien Co, north(west) of Berrien Springs, it took on a much different route than was envisioned in 1960.
  • Conversion of the route of US-31 through Ottawa Co to a full freeway facility, with additional interchanges at a relocated M-40 in Holland, at Port Sheldon Rd between Holland and West Olive, at Lake Michigan Dr (then designated as M-50 and a proposed turnback candidate through all of Ottawa Co!), and Lincoln St south of Grand Haven. No interchanges or grade separations were shown in the City of Grand Haven, however, so the exact plans for freeway conversion through the city weren't clear from the maps. In the end, none of these proposed upgrades were ever completed.
  • Conversion of US-31 through Muskegon Co to a full freeway, although with fewer interchanges in the Muskgon area than were eventually built. As much of this segment was either completed, under construction or in planning at the time these maps were issued, most of the proposed upgrades in Muskegon Co were eventually carried out.
  • Construction of a mostly new-alignment US-31 freeway for the length of Oceana Co, although in a rather different configuration than was built in the 1970s. Instead of crossing to the west side of the existing route of US-31 (Oceana Dr) at the Muskegon/Oceana Co line, the proposed freeway would have run to the east of much of the existing US-31 route with interchanges at Rothbury, relocated M-82 (now M-20) near New Era, at existing M-82/Johnson Rd near Shelby, and at both Polk and Tyler Rds east of Hart. North of Hart, the proposed US-31 freeway would have bent to the west to an interchange with existing US-31 (Oceana Dr) at BUS US-31/Monroe Rd, before turning north and following the existing alignment of US-31 along Oceana Dr to the Mason Co line with interchanges at Cypress Ave and the north jct of BUS US-31 northeast of Pentwater. In Mason Co, the proposed US-31 freeway would have jogged east before turning back north again to run appoximately 1/2 mile east of the existing route (along Pere Marquette Hwy) due northerly to an interchange at US-10 east of Ludington. There, the freeway would have turned northeasterly, through an interchange at Fountain Rd, before it turned to run due northerly again at Freeman Rd into Manistee Co where it would have interchanged with a proposed BUS US-31 routing for Manistee at the existing alignment four miles south of downtown. (Continued in next bullet)
  • Construction of a new-alignment freeway from the proposed BUS US-31 interchange south of Manistee northeasterly through the Village of Stronach (with an interchange at Stronach Rd), then turning due northerly to an interchange with M-55 east of East Lake. The freeway would have turned northeasterly again after crossing the Manistee River cutting through Blacker Airport to a combined interchange for the Manistee BUS US-31 and M-22 at the location of the existing US-31 & M-22 junction. The proposed US-31 freeway would have stayed west of the existing route past Onekama (with an interchange at 8 Mile Rd) before crossing back over the existing route south of Bear Lake near 11 Mile Rd (with an interchange) then passing to the east of Bear Lake through an interchange at 13 Mile Rd. The freeway would have continued northeastly skirting Glovers Lake (with an interchange at Glovers Lake Rd) and into Benzie Co where it would interchange with M-115 and a proposed BUS US-31 routing for Beulah/Benzonia/Honor near King Rd, continuing through an interchange at Homestead Rd near Zimmerman Rd and on to an interchange with the proposed Beulah/Benzonia/Honor BUS US-31 route at existing US-31 about ½ mile east of Valley Rd. (Continued in next bullet.)
  • Construction of a new-alingment freeway from the proposed Beulah/Benzonia/Honor BUS US-31 route at existing US-31 east of Honor turning due easterly to parallel the existing US-31 about one mile to the north through an interchange at Lake Ann Rd before entering Grand Traverse Co and interchanging with an extended M-137 near Cedar Hedge Lake. The proposed freeway would continue due easterly to interchanges with M-37 and a proposed Traverse City BUS US-31 route at Chums Corners and another at River Rd & Beitner Rd just to the east. The freeway would then swing northeasterly past Traverse City through an interchange at Garfield Rd (at Potter Rd) to an interchange with M-72 and the proposed BUS US-31 east of Traverse City at roughly the Mount Holiday Ski Area. The combined US-31/M-72 freeway would continue due easterly from there for approximately 1½ miles to an interchange with M-72 continuing easterly as a full freeway toward Kalkaska and M-113 coming in from the south on a completely new alignment (instead of turning westerly through Kingsley). At this point, US-31 would then split off M-72 to head northerly as a full freeway paralleling Lautner Rd ¼ mile to the west before merging back with the existing US-31 route about two miles north of Acme where the freeway would end.
  • Conversion of the existing alignment of US-31 from the northern end of the proposed freeway two miles north of Acme to the Grand Traverse/Antrim Co line south of Elk Rapids.
  • Conversion of the existing US-31 route from Charlevoix-Boyne City Rd northeast of Charlevoix into Emmet Co to the western limits of Petoskey near Resort Pike.
  • Construction of a notherly extension of the proposed US-131 freeway from Petoskey to I-75 south of Mackinaw City. This would have resulted in US-31 continuing through the heart of downtown Petoskey via Mitchell St, which itself would be converted to a full freeway starting at the eastern Petoskey city limit. US-31 would interchange with the US-131 freeway bypass at approximately Mitchell St & Division Rd, where US-31 would then continue northeasterly through an interchange with the existing route of US-31 east of Round Lakeas well as an interchange at Hathaway Rd (at North Conway Rd), where M-68 would split off and run easterly via a straighened Powers Rd to Alanson. The proposed US-31 freeway would continue roughtly north through interchanges at Brutus Rd, Robinson Rd (west of Pellston), Leavering Rd (west of Levering), and Gill Rd about ½ mile west of Carp Lake. The freeway was then to have continued northeasterly to an interchange at I-75 at roughly its current northern terminus.
  Some of the historical information presented here was clarified by Marc Fannin... many thanks!
History: 1920s – Before the debut of the US Highway system in 1926, the route of present-day US-31 in Michigan consisted of two state highways: M-58, from a connection with Indiana SR-1 at the state line south of Niles to M-11 (later US-12) in St Joseph; and M-11 from St Joseph up the entire western shore of the Lower Peninsula to end with M-10 (later US-23) in downtown Mackinaw City.
  1926 As the US-31 designation replaces the trunkline routings noted above, the former designations—M-58 and M-11—go on to exist on other routes elsewhere in the state. Also, the US-31 designation is chosen over the US-23 designation to run across the state highway ferries at the Straits of Mackinac—the first route designation to cross the Straits. US-31 runs an additional nine miles northerly from St Ignace to end at US-2 at Rogers Park. US-31 is one of only three route designations to ever cross the Straits. The others will be US-27 (1957–1960) and I-75 (1960–).
  1927 Several changes along US-31 this year:
  • (Mar 28) Several small realignments and relocations in western Charlevoix Co straighten out the route of US-31. Most of the former alignments—those portions not obliterated completely—are turned back to local control, including Old Orchard Tr and Schmidt Rd, Ferry Rd easterly to Beatty Rd and Beatty northerly to US-31, Cedarview Dr and Clipperview Dr north of Cedarview, and others.
  • (June 30) A new direct Grand River crossing from Grand Haven northerly into Ferrysburg via an electrically-operated swing bridge was completed on November 11, 1924, replacing an old hand-operated interurban bridge to the east. On this date, that bridge and its approach roadways were incorporated into the state trunkline system and the former route is officially cancelled.
  • (Aug 20) A slight realignment occurs in Muskegon Heights. Entering the city from the southeast via Merriam Ave, the route formerly continued via Merriam to Summit Ave, then westery via Summit for one block before turning northerly along Peck St toward downtown Muskegon. Now, US-31 curves westerly from Merriam Ave onto Lincoln Ave for two blocks, then turns northerly via Peck St. The former route along Merriam from Lincoln to Summit and along Summit from Merriam to Peck is turned back to local control.
  1929 A trio of realignments and establishments in 1929:
  • (July 5) The stair-stepping route of US-31 from the north limits of Saugatuck northeasterly for 2.2 miles is turned back to control when a new, more directly 1.4-mile long alignment is assumed into the state trunkline system. Construction on the new alignment, however, may not have been complete until 1930.
  • (Aug 19) Since originally debuting in 1926, US-31 entered Michigan from Indiana and continued northerly into downtown Niles via 3rd St. On this date, the 3rd St route is transferred to local control and the parallel 11th St alignment is determined as a state trunkline highway and becomes the new route of US-31.
  • (Aug 19) The portion of US-31 from Oden northerly thorugh Alanson to south of Brutus in Emmet Co via Milton Rd/Milton St is turned back to local control when the present-day route is officially established as a state trunkline route. The new route is also 1 10 mile shorter than the former. Construction on the new route, however, is likely not complete until the next year.
  1930 (Sept 10) The route of US-31 undergoes a realignment southeast of Whitehall in Muskegon Co. Formerly turning northwesterly via Bell Rd, then westerly along Lakewood Rd and northerly via Durham Rd to Whitehall Rd, the new route along present-day Whitehall Rd is officially assumed into the state trunkline system and likely opens to traffic soon after. The former route is turned back to local control.
  1930 (Dec 2) A new alignment for US-31 entering Manistee from the south is determined as a state trunkline, but will never be built as specified. The route begins at present day cnr of US-31/Grant Hwy & Preuss Rd and turned northwesterly "across country" to the cnr of Red Apple Rd & Maple St and continued northerly via Maple St to First St, and easterly on First to the existing route of US-31 at Division St. This never-implemented route would be officially cancelled 25 years later.
  1930 The route of US-31 in southwestern Emmet Co is relocated onto a more direct alignment from Bay Shore easterly for 3.4 miles to just east of Townsend Rd west of Petoskey. The former route runs via present-day Church St (in the Bay Shore area) and Old US-31, but in an interesting twist, is NOT transferred to local control while the relocation is also NOT officially established as a trunkline. (See also the November 7, 1949 listing.)
  1930–31 A new shoreline routing for US-31 from downtown Benton Harbor to South Haven is determined on three different dates, although sources indicate the entire route is likely constructed during 1931 and also likely opens at one time. The US-31 routing formerly followed US-12 northeasterly from Benton Harbor to Watervliet, then northerly along what becomes M-140 to South Haven. The new shoreline routing shaves five miles off the total distance. The official determinations for this new shoreline alignment are:
  • 1930 (Nov 22) The route along present-day M-63 from Paw Paw Ave to Eaman Rd north of Benton Harbor is determined. From the cnr of Paw Paw Ave & present-day M-63 southerly into Benton Harbor, US-31 will follow Paw Paw Ave itself, although that roadway is never officially added to the trunkline system, only being "marked and maintained" as a temporary link for several decades.
  • 1930 (Dec 23) The route, via present-day M-63, from Eaman Rd northerly to the Berrien/Van Buren Co line is determined.
  • 1931 (Oct 23) From the Berrien/Van Buren Co line northerly to existing US-31 (present-day M-140) south of South Haven is officially assumed into the state trunkline system. It is assumed the entire highway from Paw Paw Ave north of Benton Harbor to South Haven opens around this time.
  1930–32 A new easterly bypass of downtown Muskegon debuts. On June 30, 1930, the 1.5 miles of Getty Ave from existing US-31 (present-day BUS US-31 in modern-day Norton Shores) northerly to Sherman Blvd is transferred to the state, but remains unsigned until the remainder of the route is assumed into the system in two years. On October 29, 1932, the rest of Getty Ave from Sherman Blvd northerly to Marquette Ave and Marquette from Getty westerly to existing US-31 along Ottawa St is transferred to state control and the entire Getty-Marquette route is designated as US-31A.
  1931 (July 22) A one mile northerly "extension," of sorts, of Pere Marquette Hwy in Mason Co east of Ludington from 6th St northerly to US-10/US-31/Ludington Ave is completed and added to the state trunkline system as US-31A, providing an easterly bypass of Ludington. The mainline US-31 route still turns westerly via 6th St, northerly on Madison St, westerly along 2nd St and northerly again via Washington Ave to US-10 at Ludington Ave where both US-10 and US-31 run easterly out of the city toward Scottville.
  1931 (Aug 31) A brand-new alignment for US-31 is officially established on this date from Beulah to Honor in Benzie Co, bypassing Benzonia in part. Beginning two blocks north of the notherly US-31 & M-115 jct in Benzonia, US-31 now veers easterly off Spring Valley St and enters Beulah via present-day Beulah Hwy, bypassing the downtown district. North of downtown Beulah, the new alignment overlaps the old one for a short distance from Benzie Blvd to Crystal Dr, but then veers northeasterly again and completes the trip into Honor via Beulah Hwy and Honor Hwy. The former route via Spring Valley St from Michigan St in Benzonia to Benzie Blvd in Beulah, along Benzie Blvd from Spring Valley to Beulah Hwy and then via Crystal Dr, Edenhill Rd, Worden Rd and Moss Rd from Beulah to west of Honor is turned back to local control.
  1932 (Oct 29) Three new location trunkline establishments occur on this date along US-31:
  • (Oct 29) An easterly bypass of North Muskegon is also officially determined as a state trunkline in late 1932 and likely opens to traffic at the same time. Beginning at the eastern jct of US-31 & M-20 (cnr Whitehall Rd & Holton Rd-Lake Ave) the new route continues northwesterly back to the original alignment of US-31 at Witham Dr. The former route along Lake Ave and Center St to Ruddiman Ave retains the M-20 designation while the portion along Center north of Ruddiman and along Witham Dr northerly to the new bypass is turned back to local control.
  • (Oct 29) A new route for US-31 entering Charlevoix from the southwest is established along its present-day route from Barnard Rd easterly, then curving northerly into the city to Carpenter Ave where it then continues northerly via Bridge St to M-66 at Garfield Ave. There, US-31 supplants the M-66 designation northerly for five blocks to Antrim St and the former route of US-31. The former route along Barnard Rd from US-31 northeasterly to Carpenter Ave is turned back to county control but will later be removed when the airport runways are built across it in later years. The former route in the city along Norwood Rd northerly to Sheridan St, then northerly via Sheridan to Antrim St and easterly via Antrim to Bridge St is turned back to city control.
  • (Oct 29) A more direct routing for US-31 from Levering to Carp Lake is officially assumed into the state trunkline system on this date, however sources indicate construction on the 4.2 mile route is not complete until 1933, though traffic may have been allowed to use the unpaved alignment starting this year. The former route via Levering Rd westerly from US-31 to Reed Rd, northerly via Reed to Gil Rd and easterly along Gill to the new alignment of US-31 is turned back to local control.
  1933 A variety of occurrences along US-31 this year:
  • (July 12) A new, more direct alongment for US-31 is completed along the route of present-day Oceana Dr between Hayes and Water Rds, halfway between New Era and Shelby. The former route along Hayes Rd and Water Rd is turned back to local control on this date.
  • (July 12) Also on July 12, the new alignment of US-31 from northeast of Bay View northeasterly through Conway and Oden to south of Alanson is officially determined as a state trunkline route and the former route (that portion which does not lie underneath the new alignment), mostly Hiawatha Tr from M-131 (present-day M-119) to Conway, is turned back to local control. The new alignment was completed, however, during 1930 and it is unclear why the jurisdictional transfer takes place three years later.
  • The Manistee River bascule (draw) bridge in downtown Manistee is completed and opened to traffic. The bridge remains in service to the present-day.
  1934 (Oct 10) Two 90° corners in the route of US-31 in western Allegan Co are bypassed by a new curving alignment. Formerly turning easterly from 70th St for one mile along 114th Ave, then northerly for 11 3 mile via 68th St, US-31 now follows the route of modern-day Blue Star Hwy from Glenn northeasterly. The former route along 114th Ave and 68th St, however, remains as an unsigned state trunkine for the time being and is turned back on August 30, 1937. However, the State Highway Dept notes they ceased maintenance on the former route as of January 7, 1935 as per letter dated December 19, 1934.
  1935 (Jan 7) A new route for US-31 in Ottawa Co from Grand Haven southerly to the Lake Macatawa outlet into Lake Michigan is determined, closely following the shoreline of the Big Lake. This route would never see any construction whatsoever and it would be officially deleted 21 years later.
  1936 (late) The final few miles of gravel-surfaced US-31 in Michigan, between Charlevoix and the intersection of Boyne City-Charlevoix Rd in Charlevoix Co., are hard-surfaced.
  1936 (Dec 9) A new shoreline route for US-31/M-72 is established along the East Arm of Grand Traverse Bay between Traverse City and Acme, beginning at the present-day Holiday Rd intersection and continuing northeasterly to the present-day 5 Mile Rd intersection. Not only does the new alignment bring the highway closer to the bay, it also removes a 90° turn and two railroad crossings. The former route along Holiday Rd easterly to 5 Mile Rd and then northerly via 5 Mile back to the the location is retained, however, for nearly a year.
  1937 Several realignments and route determinations during this year:
  • (Aug 30, Sept 27) On August 30, a new trunkline route for US-12/US-31 through downtown Benton Harbor is officially added to the state trunkline system along Main St from Water St easterly to Fair Ave, then northerly via Fair Ave to the existing route along Territorial Rd. The former trunkline route northerly from Main St via Water St and easterly along Territorial to Fair remained in system for nearly a month before being turned back to local control on September 27.
  • (Aug 30) A second new route determination for part of US-31, this one an eastern bypass of Saugatuck in Allegan Co. The former route through downtown Saugatuck via Lake, Gulver, Butler, Francis and Holland Sts is turned back to local control. Sources seem to indicate, however, that construction on the new bypass may not be complete until 1938.
  • (Aug 30) Several sharp turns in the route of US-31 in Mason Co are replaced by a new, sweeping alignment for the highway southeast of Ludington. The former route along Meyers, Hesslund and Lenz Rds is turned back to local control.
  • (Aug 30) The former route of US-31/M-72 in the East Bay area east of Traverse City via Holiday and 5 Mile Rds, bypassed by a new alignment completed in 1936, is turned back to local control.
  • (Aug 30, Dec 29) The final segments of the new alignment of US-2 along the Lake Michigan shore in Mackinac Co between Brevort and St Ignace are officially established as state trunkline segments on Dec 29 and likely open about the same time, however the former route of US-2 from Brevort easterly via Worth Rd to Moran, then southeasterly via Tahquamenon Tr (present-day M-123) to Rogers Park is turned back to local control on Aug 30! While it could be assumed that either of these dates is when US-31 is removed from the U.P. and truncated back to the State Highway Ferry Docks in Mackinaw City, official MSHD maps will continue to show US-2 and US-31 running northerly from St Ignace concurrently to Rogers Park through 1939, where the US-31 designation appears to simply end while US-2 continues northerly toward Sault Ste Marie. One could speculate the state may have had ideas on extending US-31 from that point, possibly northerly along the Tahquamenon Trail (present-day M-123), but no other evidence has been found to date to support that speculation. Additionally, official maps show the spur from US-2 in St Ignace to the "new" State Highway docks as also being M-122 from 1936 on. In any event, US-31 is truncated back to Mackinaw City by 1939 for certain.
  • (Dec 29) A brand new route for US-31, partially on new alignment, partially using existing roadway, is officially assumed into the state trunkline system from 1.4 miles northeast of Saugatuck (at 64th St) northeasterly via Blue Star Hwy to 58th St, then northerly via 58th St to the Allegan/Ottawa Co line, continuing northeasterly via Michigan St to the cnr of River Ave & State St in Holland (although the portion of Michigan from 33nd St to 28th St had been added on December 9 of the previous year). This new route is now signed as the mainline US-31 between Saugatuck and Holland. The former route via 64th St northerly to 32nd St, then easterly for two miles via 32nd to Lugers Rd, northerly on Lugers to South Shore Dr, easterly via South Shore Dr and 17th St to River Ave in Holland is redesignated as US-31A. This route, however, may have been open more than a year before it was officially determined.
  1936–37 The mainline route of US-31 is relocated onto what had previously been the US-31A bypass of Ludington following present-day BUS US-31/Pere Marquette Hwy from 6th St northerly to US-10/Ludington Ave. The former route of US-31 into Ludington via 6th St, Madison St, 2nd St and Washington Ave is temporarily redesignated as M-116 until being transferred to local control on August 30 and September 27, 1937.
  1938 (early) US-33 is commissioned in Michigan, completely co-signed with US-31 from its entrance at the Indiana state line near Niles northwesterly to downtown St Joseph, US-33's northern terminus. (From downtown St Joseph, the co-signed US-12/US-31 route continues northeasterly into downtown Benton Harbor, sans US-33.)
  1938 (Dec 6) US-31A between Saugatuck and Holland is cancelled as a state trunkline and the route is turned back to local control. This route lasted less than on year, as what was designated US-31A between Saugatuck and Holland was part of the mainline US-31 route until December 29, 1937.
  1940 - Five more changes in 1940:
  • The Muskegon bypass, consisting of Getty Ave and Marquette Ave and formerly designated as US-31A in 1932, is redesignated as part of mainline US-31. The former route of US-31 through downtown Muskegon becomes US-31A.
  • (Nov 12) The route of US-31 between Shelby and Hart in central Oceana Co is relocated onto a more direct alignment, along with a great deal of cut-and-fill through the area hills. The former route departed modern-day Oceana Dr two miles north of downtown Oceana and followed Water Rd northerly to Russell St (Polk Rd) on the southern limit of Hart. The new route continues northerly from the Water Rd turnoff via present-day Oceana Dr to Russell St-Polk Rd, turning westerly via Russell back to the former route at Water Rd-State St in Hart.
  • The concurrent designation with M-42 between Chum's Corner (two miles east of Grawn) and Traverse City is redesignated as M-37. This reflects M-37's extension into Traverse City along what had been part of M-42.
  • (Nov 12) Also on November 12, a realignment on the west side of Petoskey relocates US-31 onto its present-day route from the cnr of Charlevoix Ave & Spring St northeasterly to the cnr of Mitchell & Liberty Sts, shaving more than 1 10 mile from the route. The former route via Charlevoix Ave easterly from Spring to Connable Ave, northerly one block on Connable to Jackson St, easterly two blocks on Jackson to Liberty and northerly via Liberty St back to Mitchell St is turned back to local control.
  • The concurrent designation with US-2 is removed between St Ignace and the former junction of US-2 and US-31 at Rogers Park, 9 miles north of St Ignace (the present-day junction of Old M-123 and Mackinac Trail/H-63). US-31 now ends with US-23 and US-27 at the State Ferry Docks in Mackinaw City.
  c.1942–45 At some point during World War II, US-33 is extended northerly nine blocks through downtown St Joseph. Formerly terminating at the southern jct of US-12 & US-31 (cnr Niles Ave & Main St), US-33 now ends at the cnr of Main St & Ship St, where US-12 & US-31 turn easterly toward downtown Benton Harbor. The reason for this extension is unknown, although it may have had something to do with the State Highway Dept's plans for a new bridge to be constructed across the St Joseph River at the northern end of Main St immediately following the War. (See October 27, 1949 entry below.)
  1942 (Jan 28) A new bypass around South Haven is completed and assumed into the state trunkline system along present-day Blue Star Hwy from M-140 south of the city northeasterly around the city, returning to the existing route at North Shore Dr northeast of the city. The former route through downtown via La Grange St, Phillips St, Broadway, Dyckman Ave and North Shore Dr is redesignated as BUS US-31.
  1942 (Jan 28) Also on this date, a new location for US-31 between Charlevoix and Bay Shore in Charlevoix Co is established as a state trunkline highway, but since this is within the first two months of the U.S. involvement in World War II, no work on the new alignment will be done until after the war is over. In the meanwhile, US-31 remains posted along the former route: Charlevoix-Boyne City Rd from Charlevoix easterly two miles, then northeasterly via present-day N Old US-31 to Murray Rd just west of Bay Shore. While this former route is officially turned back to local control, it remains "marked-and-maintained" by the State Highway Department until the new route is completed.
  1943 (Feb 26) A minor realignment at the 109th Ave intersection between South Haven and Glenn removes a sharp curve in the highway and also shortens the route by several hundreths of a mile. The former route via present-day Adams Rd is turned back to local control.
  c.1945 For a time, US-31 is concurrently signed with ALT US-16 between Grand Haven and Muskegon Heights. This concurrent designation is removed by 1947.
  1949 Several changes along US-31 during this year:
  • The new relocation of US-31 between Charlevoix and Bay Shore, established in early 1942, is completed and opened to traffic. While the new alignment is 1 10 mile longer, the former route is a windy, narrow road with many turns, also twice crossing the C&O Railway line.
  • (June 27) Updated The new Charlevoix bascule bridge spanning the Round Lake Channel is opened to traffic, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony three days later on June 30. Construction began on the bridge in May 1947 and was officially dedicated as a memorial to 22 local men who died during World War II.
  • (Oct 27) The new Blossomland Bridge, a bascule span, opens across the St Joseph River in downtown St Joseph, replacing an older structure on State St just downstream. The bridge sits on a northerly extension of Main St in St Joseph. One block south of the new Blossomland Bridge, US-31 continues to turn easterly concurrently with US-12 into dowtown Benton Harbor, however, as a new highway connecting the new bridge to existing US-31 north of the 'Twin Cities' is not complete. For the time being, traffic from the bridge detours west via Oak St to the now-severed N State St (present-day Upton Dr).
  • (Nov 7) The route of US-31 in use since it was completed in 1930 from Bay Shore easterly for 3.4 miles to east of Townsend Rd in southwestern Emmet Co is officially established as a state trunkline while the former route via Church St and "Old US-31," which has not been posted as part of US-31 since 1930, is similarly transferred to local control. It is assumed these jurisdictional transfers are to clean up unfinished business from twenty years earlier.
  • (Nov 10) The southwesterly approach into Traverse City for US-31/M-37 is completely revamped. Starting two miles north of Chums Corners, the highway formerly followed McCrae Hill Rd, a roadway since obliterated from present-day US-31/M-37 northeasterly to the 90-degree curve in South Airport Rd, then South Airport northerly to Veterans Dr (formerly Rennie St), Veterans (Rennie) northerly into Traverse City to 14th St, 14th easterly to Union St and Union northerly to jct M-22/M-72 at Front St downtown. Most of this route is turned back to local control on this date when the newly-completed route following present-day US-31/M-37 is established as a state trunkline from the southern intersection with McCrae Hill Rd northerly to 14th St in Traverse City. Oddly, this leaves a gap in the established route from the cnr of Division St & 14th St and Front St & Union St, although sources indicate the route of US-31/M-37 is likely signed northerly from 14th St along Division St to M-22/M-72/Front St, then easterly along M-22/M-72/Front St back to the former route at Union St.
  1950 A few changes to US-31 during 1950:
  • The concurrent US-33 designation with US-12/US-31 in downtown St Joseph is scaled back nine blocks to end at the jct of US-12/US-31/US-33 (Niles Ave & Main St), as it had prior to the War.
  • A new alignment for the Muskegon bypass opens following Hile Rd easterly from US-31/Grand Haven Rd to Harvey St, then northerly along Harvey to north of Marquette Ave where the route arcs back westerly to the existing US-31 route. The former route along Getty Ave and Marquette Ave is turned back to local control. BUS US-31 at Muskegon is extended slightly at each end to meet with the new mainline US-31.
  • (Nov 30) A new alignment for US-31 is completed and opened to traffic from M-21/Chicago Dr at Holland northwesterly for 9.6 miles to West Olive where it rejoins its former route. The highway is built as a two-lane facility on a four-lane, limited access alignment. The former route remains an unsigned state trunkline for more than a year.
  1951 Two minor realignments in two communities along US-31 this year:
  • (July 2) A minor realignment in New Era shaves 1 10 mile from the length of US-31. When the new "First St extension" is assumed as a state trunkline route on this date, the former route via Ray and 3rd Sts is turned back to local control.
  • (July 19) A new 3 10 mile long southerly approach to the Manistee River bascule bridge is officially determined as a state trunkline via present-day Cypress St from River St at the southern end of the bridge southerly to First St where it rejoins the existing route. The former route westerly from Cypress along River St, southerly via Division St and easterly via First to Cypress is transferred to local control.
  1952 (Feb 14) Fifteen months after being superceeded by a new alignment for US-31 northeast of Holland, the former route from downtown at 8th St northerly via N River Ave, 136th Ave, and West Olive Rd to West Olive is turned back to local control.
  1953 (Nov 6) In a project designed to remove through traffic and trucks from the heart of Traverse City's downtown core, the entire length of Grandview Parkway running along the shoreline of the West Arm of Grand Traverse Bay is established as a state trunkline on this day and likely opens to traffic at the same time. Simultaneously, Division St from 14th St northerly to the new Grandview Pkwy is also established as a state trunkline, carrying US-31/M-37 northerly from the southwest corner of the city to the parkway where both routes turn easterly along with M-72 to follow Grandview bypassing downtown before merging back into Front St near Railroad Ave. (The rest of Grandview Pkwy from Division St northwesterly to M-72 becomes part of M-22/M-72.) The former route of US-31/M-37/M-72 along Front St from Division St easterly to the new Grandview Pkwy is transferred to local control.
  1954 (Jan 4) The "Elk Rapids bypass" realignment for US-31 is officially established, departing the exisiting route south of the village and swinging northeasterly then northerly following the Elk River shoreline bypassing downtown, across the Elk River, terminating at the existing route along Dexter St-Ames St, where all US-31 traffic turns easterly onto Ames St. The former route of US-31 through Elk Rapids via South Bayshore Dr, Ottawa St, Spruce St, River St and Dexter St is turned back to local control.
  1954 (Jan 25) A new alignment of US-31 opens beginning in downtown St Joseph at the corner of Ship & Main Sts, then north-northeasterly parallelling the Lake Michigan shoreline for about 4 miles to the former alignment at Paw Paw Ave. This former alignment along Paw Paw Ave from US-12/Main St in downtown Benton Harbor to the new highway is redesignated as an extension of M-139. This new route utilizes the new Blossomland Bridge, a bascule span over the St Joseph River, opened nearly 4½ years earlier.
  1955 Several occurrences along the route of US-31 this year:
  • (Aug 3) While the short portion of the "Holland Bypass" from M-21/Chicago Dr southerly to 16th St was determined as a state trunkline on November 3, 1950, the remainder of the bypass around the east and southern sides of the city are determined on this date and the whole route likely opens at the same time. The fomer route through downtown via Chicago Dr, 8th St, River Ave, Michigan St and Washington Ave becomes BUS US-31.
  • (Aug 3) Also on this date, a new 4.99-mile long bypass (of sorts) of Pentwater is assumed into the state trunkline system and opened to traffic. The new alignment runs along present-day Oceana Dr between Monroe and Washington Rds and shaves three miles from the route of US-31 through downtown Pentwater, which is now redesignated as BUS US-31.
  • (Nov 18) The US-31 realignment project south of the Manistee River bascule (draw) bridge in Mansitee begun in 1951 with the opening of the first phase is completed with a rerouting/realignment of the highway through the remainder of the city. From First St, US-31 now continues southerly via Cypress Ave to 8th St where it bends southeasterly via a new highway alignment along present-day Manistee Hwy before merging back into the existing route near the present-day intersection with Stronach Rd. The former stair-stepping route of US-31 is turned back to local control on this day. —Thanks to John McDowell for the heads-up!
  1956 (Mar 26) The route of US-31 in western Charlevoix Co is completely reconstructed from the west Charlevoix city limit southwesterly toward Norwood. While much of the 1956 alignment lies directly atop the previous route, a few minor relocations result in abandonments and obliterations of the old route. The one major relocation and cancellation occurs just southwest of the Charlevoix Municipal Airport where the road known today as "Old US-31 S" is bypassed by the present route of US-31 and turned back to local control.
  1956 (Mar 26) The shoreline routing of US-31 in Ottawa Co from Grand Haven southerly to the Lake Macatawa outlet, unconstructed since its determination in 1935, is officially removed from the books and cancelled as a potential trunkline routing.
  1957 Various changes to the route of US-31 during this year:
  • (June 17) A new, more direct highway alignment is completed and opens to traffic from the center of Grand Haven Twp northerly via its present-day alignment and Beacon Blvd to Jackson St in the middle of the city of Grand Haven. The former route of US-31 from Ferris St northerly along 168th and Beechtree Sts, westerly via Fulton St and northerly again via 7th St to Jackson St is turned back to local control.
  • (June 24) The remaining portion of the former route of US-31/M-37 along McCrae Hill Rd southwest of Traverse City, from Silver Pines Rd northerly to US-31/M-37, is turned back to local control. The rest of this former route of US-31/M-37 had been transferred in 1949 and its is unclear at present why this portion was retained for eight additional years.
  • (Oct 21) One week prior to the opening of the new Mackinac Straits Bridge between Mackinaw City and Saint Ignace, the freeway approach highway is officially assumed into the state trunkline system from US-31/Nicolet Ave northerly to the foot of the new bridge. It is unclear whether the freeway opens to traffic as far as the Jamet St interchange for this next week or if traffic is only allowed on as of the bridge's opening on November 1st, however it can be assumed US-31 remains posted on its existing route to the State Highway Ferry Docks until that time when it is transferred to the freeway approach on the 1st, terminating with US-23 at the southern end of the bridge. Officially, though, the former route of US-31 along Nicolet Ave, the "Old 31" cut-across and along Huron st from the US-23/US-27 jct northerly to the ferry docks is transferred to local control on this date.
  • (Nov 25) A new easterly bypass of Hart is officially assumed into the state trunkline system from Russell St-Polk Rd on the southern city limit northerly to N State St north of the city and likely opens to traffic at this time as well. The former route of US-31 through Hart via Russell St and State St is turned back to local control.
  1959 Major changes come to US-31 from Grand Haven northerly through the Muskegon area:
  • (July 24, Oct 22) The first portion of US-31 freeway is completed from the Grand River in Ferrysburg to just north of the US-16 & BUS US-31 jct southeast of Muskegon. The freeway is built parallel to Old US-31/Grand Haven Rd within a mile to the east, curving to the east north of Sternberg Rd and merging into the 1950 Harvey St bypass at Airport Rd just north of Airline Rd. The portion of the freeway in Ottawa Co is determined on July 24 (with the former route along 174th Ave transferred to local control) while the portion in Muskegon Co on October 22 (again, with the former route via Grand Haven Rd turned back to local control). The entire freeway likely opens in October.
  • (Oct 22) In a major trunkline realignment project, a brand-new limited-access expressway route into downtown Muskegon from the southeast side is completed. The new Seaway Drive route, initially known as the "Norton-Glade Expressway," named for two of the existing streets the highway runs parallel to, is given the US-16/BUS US-31 designation and bypasses Muskegon Heights en route into downtown Muskegon where the route splits into two, parallel one-way streets, Muskegon Ave (nbd) and Webster Ave (sbd), to M-46/First St. The former BUS US-31 route along Merriam and Peck Sts is returned to local control.
  1958 (Sept 9) In a northerly continuation of the 1954 "Elk Rapids bypass," US-31 is relocated onto a new limited access alignment for approximately 7 miles beginning at Dexter St-Ames St in Elk Rapids northerly, merging back into the former route at Cairn Hwy north of Kewadin. The highway is a two-lane facility built on four-lane right-of-way, though the proposed northbound lanes would never be constructed. The former route along Ames St and Cairn Hwy from Elk Rapids through Kewadin is turned back to local control.
  1959 A new drawbridge and a new freeway completion for US-31:
  • (June 12) Updated A new six-lane bascule (draw) bridge is completed spanning the Grand River between Grand Haven and Ferrysburg, replacing the 1924 swing bridge. The new structure consists of nine spans, is 750 feet long, and clears the river channel by about 25 feet. The 1924 bridge, sitting immediately upstream from the new bridge, is removed in 1960.
  • (Nov 25) Two miles of new freeway are completed and opened to traffic from the Nicolet St interchange (present-day Exit 337) south of Mackinaw City southerly and a new freeway connection is made with I-75 three miles south of Mackinaw City. From Mackinaw Hwy, US-31 now turns northeasterly for a short distance and merges into the new freeway to continue northerly with I-75 to end at the foot of the Mackinac Bridge. (The future direct alignment from the corner of Mackinaw Hwy and the new US-31 ramps southwesterly to Carp Lake would not open for more than two more years.) The former route of US-31 along Mackinaw Hwy from the Nicolet St interchange southerly to the ramps from present-day Exit 336 is turned back to local control.
  1960 A pair of changes along the route US-31 this year:
  • The 1950 "Harvey St bypass" route along the east side of the City of Muskegon is converted from a two-lane surface route to a fully-controlled access freeway from the northern end of the completed freeway (1959) near Airport Rd southeast of the city northerly either atop (Airport-Laketon) or immediately adjacent to (Laketon-Lawrence) the Harvey St route to Lawrence Ave approximately ¼ mile north of the M-46/Apple Ave interchange, where it temporarily merges back down into the two-lane Harvey St alignment. (The portion of this route from Laketon Ave northerly to Lawrence Ave is determined as a trunkline and the former route via Harvey St is turned back to local control on October 12, 1961, however sources indicate it was likely complete and open to traffic in 1960.)
  • The US-33 designation is also extended along US-31 northerly from St Joseph for about 10 miles, in preparation for the realignment of US-31 via the new freeway under construction northerly from I-94.
  1960 (Aug 19) A sweeping curve is added to the route of US-31 in northernmost Mason Co to replace two sharp 90° turns in the highway. The former route via Hoague and LaSalle Rds is turned back to local control on this date. —Thanks to John McDowell for the heads-up!
  1961 (Sept 25) The "downtown Petoskey bypass" route for US-31, also known as Sunset Dr, is officially determined as a state trunkline and likely opens at this time as well. The new two-lane bypass takes traffic out of Petoskey's downtown core and removes three 90-degree turns from the route as well. The former route along Mitchell St from Elizabeth St easterly to Howard St, northerly via Howard to Bay St, easterly on Bay to Lewis St and northerly via Lewis back to Sunset Dr is turned back to local control.
  1962 Two changes come to US-31 this year:
  • While not yet officially determined as a state trunkline routing (that would happen the next year), the first seven-mile segment of the I-96/US-31 freeway is completed and open from I-94 to US-31/US-33/Hagar Shore Rd near the Berrien/Van Buren Co line. The US-31 designation is routed northerly from Scottdale via the ex-M-139 to I-94, then northeasterly with I-94 to the new freeway (at present-day Exit 34) and then northerly to the end of the freeway at Hagar Shores Rd (at present-day Exit 7). The former route of US-31 through St Joseph between Scottdale and Hagar Shore Rd becomes solely US-33.
  • In the Muskegon area, with the decommissioning of US-16 in Michigan, the routing of US-16/BUS US-31 into downtown Muskegon becomes BS I-196/BUS US-31.
  • (Sept 29, Nov 15) On Sept 29, the new two-lane, controlled-access realignment of US-31 from Carp Lake northeasterly to Mackinaw Hwy at the new I-75 interchange south of Mackinaw City officially becomes a state trunkline and likely opens at the same time. The former route via Mackinaw Hwy and Paradise Tr is transferred to local control. On Nov 15, the short portion of the US-31 alignment east of Mackinaw Hwy to the I-75 interchange is officially determined as a state trunkline (the same day all of I-75 in Cheboygan Co is similarly determined), but this is likely just an official date of transfer, as I-75 and the US-31 interchange had been complete here for two years.
  1963 (Sept 30) The I-196/US-31 freeway (recently redesignated from I-96/US-31 within two years) from I-94 northeast of Benton Harbor northerly to the Van Buren/Allegan Co line at South Haven is determined as part of the state trunkline highway system. The first seven miles from I-94 to Hagar Shore Rd opened to traffic in 1962, while the remainder northerly from there past South Haven likely opens at this time. The former route of US-31 along Blue Star Hwy from Hagar Shore Rd in northern Berrien Co northerly to M-140 south of South Haven is turned back to local control, while the portion bypassing South Haven is redesignated as part of a brand-new BL I-196 routing.
  1963 (Sept 30) Also determined on this date in Manistee Co are two slight realignments to the route of US-31: from northeast of Milarch Rd northeasterly to Lyman Rd in the Norwalk area and in the immediate vicinity of the 9 Mile Rd Linderman Rd intersection. The two segments of the former route of US-31 are both turned back to local control.
  1963 (Dec 16) Two trunkline determinations for the I-96-turned-I-196 freeway in Allegan Co, with the route likely being determined as I-196/US-31 instead of the originally-proposed I-96/US-31 designation. The determinations are from the Van Buren/Allegan Co line to existing US-31 (at Exit 36) south of Douglas, and from existing US-31 (at Exit 41) northeast of Saugatuck to existing US-31/Washington Ave on the southside of Holland. The former route of US-31 from the cnr of Dyckman Ave & North Shore Dr in South Haven to south of Douglas and from northeast of Saugatuck to the southside of Holland is turned back to local control.
  1964 (June 30) A major extension of the US-31 freeway from Lawrence Ave (north of M-46/Apple Ave) in Muskegon northerly past Whitehall and Montague is assumed into the state trunkline system and likely opens to traffic at this time. The new freeway narrows down immediately north of the Fruitvale Rd interchange north of Montague and merges back into the existing highway near Meinert Park Rd. The former route of US-31 along Whitehall Rd from M-20 (present-day M-120/Holton Rd) in North Muskegon northerly to Colby Rd on the east side of Whitehall is turned back to local control. In related transfers, Colby Rd from Whitehall Rd easterly to the new US-31 freeway interchange and Fruitvale Rd from Whitehall Rd easterly to the freeway are transferred to state control as part of a new BUS US-31 route through Whitehall and Montague, running primarily along the former route of US-31 through those cities.
  1964 (July 31) The I-196/US-31 Douglas/Saugatuck "bypass" is determined from existing US-31 at Exit 36 to existing US-31 at Exit 41 and likely opens at the same time. The former route of US-31 along Blue Star Hwy is turned back to local control.
  1965 To compliment the Seaway Dr alignment completed in late 1959 leading into downtown Muskegon from the southeast, the loop route is certified as a state trunkline in two segments this year and likely opens as BUS US-31 at this same time:
  • (Jan 20) A new northside limited-access connector is completed and certified as a state trunkline on this date from the present-day intersection of Skyline Dr (Moses J Jones Pkwy) & Bayou Ave on the north side of Muskegon northerly a short distance to a complex new intersection with M-20 (present-day M-120) before turning easterly to a new tri-level interchange at the US-31 freeway northeast of the city. With the new highway opening, the BUS US-31 temporary routing via M-20 north across Veterans Memorial Causeway into North Muskegon then northeasterly to US-31 is removed and transferred to its new permanent route. The following segments of the former route of US-31 not subsumed under new highway alignments include:
    • Ottawa St from Bayou Ave northerly to the cul-de-sac near the BUS US-31 & M-20 (present-day M-120) junction;
    • Access Hwy from west of Getty St easterly to the US-31 freeway at Broadmoor St;
    • Harvey St from north of Brusse Ave southerly to Marcoux Ave near Mercy General Hospital.
  • (June 25) The final piece of the new BUS US-31 loop through Muskegon is completed when Skyline Dr (Moses J Jones Pkwy) is certified as a state trunkline from Bayou Ave southerly to Muskegon Ave (nbd) and Western Ave (sbd), continuing southwesterly through downtown via Muskegon-Webster to M-46/First St, meeting up with the 1959 portion of the new business route. At the same time, the former route of BUS US-31 along First St from Webster Ave to Clay Ave and Clay Ave-Ottawa St from First northeasterly to Bayou Ave is turned back to local control.
  1966 (July 1) Two realignments to the route of US-31 in northeastern Grand Traverse Co are officially certified on this date. The first realignment at Yuba straightens the route of the highway with the former route being either abandoned or obliterated. The second relocation removes two sharper turns in the highway beginning at Bates Rd and continuing southwesterly, with the former US-31 from Bates Rd southwesterly being abandoned as a public road and the portion along Bates Rd itself being turned back to local control.
  1967 (June 16) A minor realignment in the Village of Honor in Benzie Co shaves a few hundredths of a mile from the route of US-31, with the former route being turned back to local control.
  1969, 1971 The former US-31 (Blue Star Hwy) between South Haven and Holland is designated as A-2 in 1969, one of two original County Designated Highways. A-2 is extended in 1971 southerly along Blue Star Hwy to end at US-33 in Berrien County.
  1972 The former US-31/Blue Star Hwy alignment around South Haven, designated as BL I-196 in 1963, is redesignated as a portion of A-2, although it remains a state trunkline into the 1980s. (This, ironically, was the original bypass of South Haven from the mid-1940s, which itself was bypassed twenty years later.) The route of BL I-196 is then transferred to the downtown route through South Haven on its present-day alignment.
  1972 (Dec 15) A minor realignment just west of Petoskey in Emmet Co shaves a few hundredths of a mile from the route of US-31 between Black Bird Rd and Resort Pike, with the former route being relinquished and obliterated.
  1973 The new I-196 freeway is completed between exisiting I-196/US-31 southwest of Holland and Grand Rapids. At this time, a new BL I-196 designation is routed along US-31 northerly toward Holland, then northerly on BUS US-31 into and through downtown, and finally easterly along the former M-21 past Zeeland back to I-196.
  1975 Two new freeway developments in Oceana and northern Muskegon Counties:
  • (Apr 16) An 18.09-mile long northerly extension of the US-31 freeway from just north of the Fruitvale Rd interchange north of Montague northerly to Polk Rd west of Hart is officially determined as a state trunkline highway routing. The freeway is not yet complete at this time, however, and would be opened in two stages, the first of which would come later in the year. Also transferred to state control on this date is Polk Rd itself from the new US-31 freeway interchange easterly to State St and State northerly from Polk to Lincoln St, ostensibly for a new BUS US-31 route once the freeway is completed and is likely not signed in the field at this time.
  • Later in 1975, the first stage of the US-31 freeway extension into Oceana Co opens from the northern end of the completed freeway three miles north of Montague to the new M-20 extension at Stoney Lake Rd near New Era, where US-31 temporarily turns easterly via the M-20 extension back to its former alignment. The former US-31 routing via Whitehall Rd in Muskegon Co (north of B-15/B-23/Fruitvale Rd) and OLD US-31/Oceana Dr in Oceana Co becomes an unsigned state trunkline.
  1976 Two more freeway developments in Oceana Co:
  • Another new portion of US-31 freeway is completed and opened to traffic from M-20 at New Era northerly to Polk Rd west of Hart. There, US-31 traffic is routed easterly via Polk Rd to the existing US-31. OLD US-31/Oceana Dr from M-20 northerly through Shelby to Polk Rd at Hart becomes an extension of the unsigned state trunkline.
  • (Dec 14) With constrution yet to begin in earnest, a 5.66-mile long extension of the US-31 freeway in Oceana Co from Polk Rd at Hart northerly to just north of the BUS US-31/Monroe Rd interchange southeast of Pentwater is officially determined as a state trunkline. This portion of the freeway would not open for nearly two years.
  1977 (Mar 23) The 0.37 mile portion of Polk Rd at Hart from State St easterly to Oceana Dr is "temporarily" transferred to state control on this date, primarily because Polk Rd is now operating as the temporary connector between the northern end of the new US-31 freeway west of Hart and the existing highway along Oceana Dr southeast of downtown. As of 2006, this "temporary" connector is still an unsigned state trunkline.
  1977 A nine-mile stretch of US-31 Freeway in the wooded hills of Oceana Co is named most beautiful highway in the country in a forest environment in a national competition sponsored by the Federal Highway Administration.
  1978 The US-31 freeway is extended northerly 5½ miles from Polk Rd at Hart to the southern leg of BUS US-31 (at the Monroe Rd interchange) southeast of Pentwater and US-31 is temporarily directed easterly via Monroe Rd (formerly part of BUS US-31) back to its previous route at Oceana Dr. OLD US-31/Oceana Dr from Polk Rd at Hart northerly to Monroe Rd becomes yet another extension of the unsigned "OLD US-31" state trunkline, as does Polk Rd from the US-31 freeway easterly to Oceana Dr/OLD US-31.
  1979 (Jan 24, 1980) A portion of the new US-31 freeway extending northerly from Indiana near South Bend to US-12/Pulaski Hwy just southwest of Niles is opened to traffic in late 1979. From the northern end of the new freeway, US-31 is routed easterly via US-12 for approximately one mile, then northeasterly via BUS US-12 (Chicago Rd, Lincoln St/Grant-St Joseph Sts & W Main St) into downtown Niles, where it meets up with its former route and the co-signed US-33. The former US-31/US-33 between South Bend, Indiana and Niles becomes solely US-33. Oddly, though, the freeway itself from the state line to US-12 is not officially determined as a state trunkline until January 24, 1980. —Thanks to Marc Fannin for clarification on this routing!
  1980 (Oct 16–21) The US-31 freeway in Oceana Co is extended northerly from the southern leg of BUS US-31 (at the Monroe Rd interchange) southeast of Pentwater to the northern jct of BUS US-31 & US-31 on the Oceana/Mason Co line, where the new freeway merges back down into the existing two-lane alignment of Pere Marquette Rd just inside Mason Co. This designation is official on October 16 and the freeway likely opens to traffic at this time. OLD US-31/Oceana Dr between the junctions of BUS US-31 east of Pentwater becomes an extension of the existing unsigned state trunkline. Across the county line in Mason Co, a further northerly extension of the US-31 freeway is officially determined as a state trunkline a few days later on October 21 all the way from the county line to US-10 east of Ludington. It would be a decade before all of this portion of the freeway will be open to traffic, however.
  1984 The entire routing of BS I-96 in Muskegon/Muskegon Heights is removed and BUS US-31 becomes the sole routing along Seaway Dr.
  1986 (Aug 25) US-31's companion route through much of Berrien Co, US-33, is drastically scaled back from north of Coloma to end at jct US-31 & BUS US-12 in downtown Niles. The former US-31/US-33 between Niles and Scottdale becomes solely US-31 and all of the ex-US-33 between Scottdale and I-196/US-31 at Exit 7 north of Coloma is redesignated as M-63. While the changeover from US-33 is made official on this date, it's unclear precisely when the route markers themselves are changed, although it appears to be around this same time.
  1987 A couple changes to US-31 and associated routes in 1987:
  • The US-31 freeway bypass of Niles is extended northerly from US-12/Pulaski Hwy to Walton Rd northwest of Niles, where US-31 now turns northeasterly via Walton back to its existing route. A new BUS US-31 routing at Niles is then created by cobbling together a variety of different routes: From the US-31 & US-12 interchange, the new BUS US-31 proceeds easterly via US-12 to US-33/11th St, then northerly via 11th St supplanting the US-33 routing into downtown Niles, then westerly via BUS US-12/Main St to Front St (the former route of US-31), then northerly via Front St and the former US-31 to Walton Rd, where it terminates. The former route of US-31 (not assumed into the new BUS US-31 routing) via BUS US-12 (Chicago Rd, Lincoln St/Grant-St Joseph Sts & W Main St) in Niles retains the BUS US-12 designation. —Thanks to Marc Fannin for clarification on this routing!
  • A new "spur" business routing debuts as BUS US-31 via Polk Rd and State St into downtown Hart.
  1989 The US-31 freeway is extended northerly from BUS US-31 at the Oceana/Mason Co line to the existing route southeast of Ludington, approximately three miles south of US-10. The former route of US-31 via Pere Marquette Hwy from the Oceana/Mason Co line to the northern end of the new freeway segment becomes an extension of the unsigned "OLD US-31" state trunkline.
  1990 The second segment of the US-31 freeway in southern Mason Co is completed and opens to traffic from the end of the existing freeway at the Old US-31/Pere Marquette Hwy interchange southeast of Ludington to US-10/US-31 east of the city. The section of former US-31 via Pere Marquette Hwy between the US-31 freeway interchange and US-10 at Ludington is retained as an unsigned state trunkline as "OLD US-31," but would become BUS US-31 fifteen years later.
  1991 A new two-lane Scottville bypass is completed from US-10 around the west side of Scottville in Mason Co. The former route of US-31 from US-10 in downtown Scottville to the new bypass is turned back to local control.
  1992 The US-31 freeway is extended northerly from Walton Rd (Exit 7) northwest of Niles to existing US-31 (present-day Exit 15) immediately northwest of Berrien Springs. This highway, orignally intended to be a fully-controlled access freeway, is opened as a four-lane, divided, partially-controlled access expressway with access only at the many crossroads. This new expressway was first opened with two-way traffic on one side of the highway in early November, with the other half of the expressway opening approximately a week later. (Thanks Marc!). The portion of what had been signed as US-31 along Walton Rd between Old 31/BUS US-31 is now signed as an extension of BUS US-31, while the remainder of the former route from Walton Rd northerly through Berrien Springs becomes an unsigned state trunkline designated as "OLD US-31" while locally referred to as "Old 31."
  1996–97 Conversion of the US-31 expressway in Berrien County to full freeway is all but completed (with the exception of the Matthew Rd intersection) with four new overpasses and two new interchanges constructed. Also, the concurrently designated portions of BUS US-31 (with US-12 and BUS US-12) between Exit 3 and downtown Niles is removed, making BUS US-31 at Niles a "spur-route" into downtown from the north.
  1997 Construction begins on the third of three pairs of St Joseph River bridges at Berrien Springs as work commences on the fourth of five "phases" of US-31 Freeway construction in Berrien Co. This "phase" will eventually include the extension of the freeway northerly from the existing US-31 routing at Berrien Springs to Napier Ave east of Benton Harbor.
  1998 The conversion of the third "phase" of the US-31 freeway to full freeway standards is complete as the seemingly-unnecessary Matthew Rd overpasses northwest of Niles are completed. Until this time, the speed limit on this portion of US-31 had to be artificially lowered from 65 mph (then the upper limit of freeway speed limits in Michigan) to 55 mph because of this one remaining intersection. With the overpassing of Matthew Rd, a narrow, gravel-surfaced, sparsely-inhabited country lane, the last intersection on the US-31 freeway north of Walton Rd has been removed and the speed limit is raised to 70 mph, the recently-increased maximum rural freeway limit.
  1999 (June 21) MDOT announces its selection of the 120th Ave Corridor in Ottawa Co as it's choice in the completion of the US-31 freeway in the area. Their choice is the so-called "F/J1" alternative, which includes a new Grand River crossing almost eight miles upstream from the current Grand Haven US-31 drawbridge. Construction is projected to begin in 2010 running through 2024. More info: US-31 Freeway in Ottawa County.
  2000 (Nov 9) All 1.08 miles of OLD US-31/First St (Oceana Dr) within the Village of New Era and the 1.83 miles of OLD US-31/State St in the City of Shelby, both in Oceana Co, are turned back to local control.
  2001 (Oct 9) The two miles of OLD US-31/Oceana Dr from the Muskegon/Oceana Co line northerly to the south limits of Rothbury in southern Oceana Co are turned back to local control.
  2002 (Sept 24) MDOT announces it will not proceed with plans for the proposed Petoskey Bypass at this time and the project is declared dead. More info: US-31 Bypass at Petoskey.
  2002 Several jurisdictional transfers along OLD US-31 in Muskegon and Oceana Counties:
  • The 1.96-mile long stretch of OLD US-31/Whitehall Rd in northern Muskegon Co from jct BUS US-31 & B-15 north of Montague northerly to the Muskegon/Oceana Co line is turned back to local control.
  • (Mar 20) Two additional segments of OLD US-31/Oceana Dr are transferred to local control on this date: 2½ miles from the north limits of Rothbury to the south limits of New Era and 0.37 miles from the north limits of New Era to M-20.
  2003 (Aug 27) A 9.1-mile extension of the US-31 freeway in Berrien Co is opened to traffic, connecting the northern end of the existing freeway at Berrien Springs with Napier Ave east of Benton Harbor. This is the fourth of five informal "phases" of the freeway in Berrien Co and it removes through traffic off the rather dangerous former route of US-31 between Berrien Springs and I-94. This portion of the freeway features the third (and final) pair of St Joseph River crossings as well as interchanges at Tabor Rd, Pipestone Rd/Sodus Pkwy and Napier Ave. The former route of US-31 between the freeway at Berrien Springs (at Exit 15) and I-94 south of Benton Harbor/St Joseph is redesignated as an extension of M-139, instead of an extension of M-63 as had been originally proposed and confirmed by several MDOT documents. More info: US-31 Freeway in Berrien County.
  c.2004 The 6.71 miles of OLD US-31 along Pere Marquette Hwy in southwestern Mason Co is transferred to local control from BUS US-31 on the Oceana/Mason Co line northerly to the US-31 interchange with Pere Marquette southeast of Ludington.
  2005 (Spring) A brand-new BUS US-31 designation is signed for the first time along Pere Marquette Hwy, the former route of US-31, on the east side of Ludington, from the Pere Marquette Hwy interchange along the US-31 freeway northerly to US-10. As of early May 2005, BUS US-31 route marker assemblies are posted along the new route, but not along the intersecting highways. It is also unclear if MDOT will sign this new route as a spur, terminating on the north at US-10, or as a full loop, by co-signing it along US-10 between Pere Marquette Hwy and the US-31 freeway interchange.
  2005 (Aug 3) An additional 8.4 miles of OLD US-31/Oceana Dr in Oceana Co is turned back to local control: beginning at the north end of the South Branch Pentwater River bridge north of Hart and continuing northerly to the north jct of BUS US-31 & US-31 on the Oceana/Mason Co line. Also transferred on this date is the 1.11-mile long segment of OLD BUS US-31 along Monroe Rd between US-31 and OLD US-31/Oceana Dr, also in northern Oceana Co.
  2006 (Nov 8) MDOT announces the route designation for the northernmost seven miles for the proposed US-31 Freeway in Ottawa County will be M-231.
Controlled Access: Freeway: Three segments of US-31 exist as freeway:
  1. From southern entrance at the Indiana state line northerly to Napier Ave east of Benton Harbor. (24.1 miles)
  2. From jct I-94 (at Exit 28) & I-196 northeast of Benton Harbor to Central Ave on the south side of Holland. (47.4 miles)
  3. From the Grand River bascule bridge on the municipal limits between Grand Haven and Ferrysburg to US-10 east of Ludington. (66 miles)
  Expressway: Four segments of US-31 exist as expressway:
  1. Updated In the Holland area, from the northern end of the freeway segment on the south side of Holland (at Central Ave) to Stanton St north of West Olive. (13.7 miles)
  2. In northwestern Ottawa Co, from Ferris St to Robbins Rd on the south side of Grand Haven. (2.6 miles)
  3. Updated A very short segment—actually the lead-in to the third freeway segment (see above)—from the Grand River (South Channel) bridge to the Grand River bascule bridge over the main channel at the beginning of freeway segment No.3. (0.4 mile)
  4. Updated A two-lane, limited-access expressway segment from Paradise Trl on the southern edge of Carp Lake in notheastern Emmet Co to the northern terminus of US-31 at I-75. (5.0 miles)
Circle Tour: Lake Michigan Circle Tour in six segments:
  1. From M-63 at Hagar Shores to the southern jct of BL I-196 at South Haven.
  2. From the northern jct of BL I-196 at South Haven to the southern jct of BUS US-31 in Norton Shore. NOTE: With the removal of BUS US-31 at Holland in August 2004, the LMCT no longer runs through downtown Holland. Signage to this effect was finally corrected in 2010.
  3. From the northern jct of BUS US-31 at Muskegon to the southern jct of BUS US-31 at Whitehall.
  4. Updated From the northern jct of BUS US-31 at Montague to the southern jct of BUS US-31 southeast of Pentwater. NOTE: With route marker signage changes in 2011, it is unclear whether the official LMCT route still uses BUS US-31 through Pentwater. If attempting to follow the LMCT route, understand there may no longer be LMCT signs through Pentwater.
  5. From the northern jct of BUS US-31 northeast of Pentwater to M-22 northeast of Manistee.
  6. From the jct of M-22/M-72 & US-31/M-37 in Traverse City to northern terminus of US-31 south of Mackinaw City.
NHS: The entire length of US-31 in Michigan is part of the NHS.
Business Connections:
  • FORMER BUS US-31 – Niles. A former spur route from US-31 at Exit 7 to BUS US-12 in downtown. Decommissioned in the field, 2010.
  • FORMER BUS US-31 – Holland. Formerly ran from US-31 (at Exit 47) on the south side of the city to jct US-31 & BL I-196 east of downtown. Decommissioned in August 2004.
  • BUS US-31 – Muskegon. From jct US-31 & I-96 in Norton Shores to US-31 northeast of downtown Muskegon.
  • BUS US-31 – Whitehall/Montague. From US-31 east of Whitehall to US-31 north of Montague.
  • BUS US-31 – Hart. Spur route from US-31 west of Hart into downtown.
  • BUS US-31 – Pentwater. Loop through Pentwater from the Monroe Rd interchange southeast of town to the Oceana Dr interchange northeast of town.
  • BUS US-31 – Ludington. From US-31 at the Pere Marquette Hwy interchange southeast of Ludington to US-10 east of the city.
Photographs:  
Continue on: Updated US-31 into Indiana - via the Indiana Highway Ends website
Weblinks:
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