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M-129
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M-134
M-131 Route Marker (small)Note: This listing includes the history and background of the historic route of M-131 as well as US-131.
Southern Entrance:   Indiana state line 3 miles south of US-12 near White Pigeon
Northern Terminus:   US-31/Charlevoix Ave in Petoskey (cnr of Spring St & Charlevoix Ave)
Length: 268.13 miles
Maps: Route Map of US-131
New! US-131 Constantine Bypass - Before & After
Notes: The total length of US-131 as a whole is approximately 268.8 miles, only 0.67 of which exist outside of Michigan. In the early days of US-131, the "US-131" designation only appeared in Michigan, ending at the Indiana state line. In fact, it wasn't until 1938 that US-131 was connected to its parent route, US-31. Prior to that, it terminated at a jct with M-113 and M-131 near Fife Lake. Over the decades, US-131 has become an important route in Michigan, connecting Kalamazoo and Grand Rapids with the booming North Country. Today, approximately 165 miles of this highway have been completed as freeway with a southerly extension of the limited access highway under study.
  Major upgrades to the route of US-131 have been completed in Wexford Co, including the completion of the "Cadillac bypass" in 2001 and the "Manton bypass" in 2003, both of which are actually just segments of a long freeway extension from south of Cadillac to north of Manton. A northeasterly continuation of the US-131 freeway past Fife Lake toward Kalkaska and beyond had been studied for several years, but at present MDOT has shelved all plans for a US-131 freeway north of the Manistee River bridge between Manton and Fife Lake. Safety and capacity improvements to the corridor have been promised, however.
  New! Planning for some sort of bypass or relocation of US-131 in the Constantine area began in the 1950s as the Michigan State Highway Dept was considering upgrades for many of its heavily-traveled corridors throughout the state. As early as 1951, US-131 from Reed City on the north to the Indiana state line on the south was earmarked to be upgraded to a divided highway under the oversight of then-State Highway Commissioner Charles M. Ziegler. When John C. Mackie replaced Ziegler in that position in 1957, he overhauled plans for the future of the state trunkline highway system, including many more miles of freeway than his predecessor had. By 1960, MSHD plans showed US-131 being converted to a full freeway facility for its entire length in the state, from Indiana to Petoskey. A similar planning map from 1968 confirmed the department was still viewing the entire US-131 corridor as being a freeway at some point in the future.

In the ensuing decades, however, a shift in transportation priorities as well as a lack of funding stalled all freeway conversion in the US-131 corridor south of Kalamazoo at the Shaver Rd intersection north of Schoolcraft. In the 1990s, MDOT proposed a western freeway bypass of the Village of Schoolcraft, but a Prairie Ronde Township trustee objected to the route through his township and the taking of farmland and MDOT committed to maintain the existing heavily-traveled route through the downtown district instead. Farther to the south, however, officials in the Village of Schoolcraft—the first incorporated community US-131 travels through north of its beginning at the I-80/I-90/Indiana East-West Toll Road—were campaigning for a bypass. After studying the route of US-131 through St Joseph Co for many years, MDOT announced in late 2005 that it would not be moving forward with any relocation of US-131 in the county. Following intense pressure from local officials and politicians, MDOT reversed its decision in April 2006. It committed to building the western bypass of Constantine as a two-lane limited-access expressway (with access at most crossroads), but constructed on a four-lane right-of-way which would facilitate conversion to a four-lane expressway or a fully controlled-access freeway at some point in the future, if traffic volumes, political will, and funding allowed. The bypass was opened on October 30, 2013. (Map of Constantine Bypass.)
  While changes have been taking place at either end of the freeway portion of US-131, a major overhaul occurred smack in the middle during 2000. During the 1990s, MDOT discovered the 35-year-old "S-Curve" bridges in downtown Grand Rapids were in need of replacement sooner than originally envisioned due, in part, to the sinking of one of the bridge piers next to the Grand Rapids into the gypsum sub-base being eaten away by groundwater erosion. The entire S-Curve was scheduled to be removed and completely reconstructed to modern-day standards. Formerly a six-lane freeway with no shoulders, improper banking, no acceleration and deceleration lanes at interchanges and deteriorating structures, the new S-Curve would be eight-lanes wide with full weave/merge lanes between interchanges, proper banking, full shoulders and a gentler curve. Instead of attempting to maintain traffic through the S-Curve during reconstruction, which would have stretched the project out to five years, MDOT decided to completely close the freeway through downtown Grand Rapids for 1½ to 2 years. The primary contractor, Kiewit Western Co, however was able to rebuild the northbound lanes in less than eight months and had the southbound side open within ten months!
  Nearly 3½ miles of the US-131 freeway on the north side of Grand Rapids is officially part of the Interstate Highway system, designated I-296. However, since some point in the early-to-mid-1970s, I-296 has not been signed in the field, although the portion of US-131 from I-196/Gerald R Ford Frwy downtown northerly to I-96/M-37 north of the city remains officially an Interstate with the "secret" route designation of I-296.
History: 1926 – Until the debut of the U.S. Highway system, M-13 is a major route up the western side of the Lower Peninsula, running from Indiana northerly via Three Rivers, Kalamazoo, Grand Rapids, Big Rapids, Cadillac, Kalkaska and Petoskey, terminating in downtown Harbor Springs. When the U.S. Highway system is laid out, all of M-13 from the Indiana line northerly to a point between Fife Lake and Kingsley in southeastern Grand Traverse Co (cnr present-day M-113, Keffer Rd & Van's Ln) is designated as US-131. A short segment of unbuilt trunkline from the northern end of US-131 west of Fife Lake to US-31 at the southern tip of the East Arm of Grand Traverse Bay is proposed to complete the connection of US-131 back to its "parent route," US-31. From the point west of Fife Lake northerly through Kalkaska, Mancelona and Petoskey to Harbor Springs, the former M-13 is redesignated M-131. While this may have been potentially confusing, the State Highway Dept has also created a similar situation with US-24 & M-24 at Pontiac and will, in the future, with US-25 & M-25 as well as US-112 & M-112.
  1927 – Several changes to the route of the new US-131 this year:
  • (Mar 19) – A 1.7-mile realignment of US-131 is added to the state trunkline system between Kalamazoo and Cooper Center while the former route via Old Douglas Ave is turned back to local control.
  • (Mar 28) – The former route of M-131 via Old Mackinaw Tr from just north of the Antrim/Charlevoix Co line northwesterly to M-75/Mill St in Boyne Falls is transferred to local control when a new routing of M-131 on the other (west) side of the Grand Rapids & Indiana RR line is assumed into the state trunkline system (following present-day US-131).
  • (May 27) – A slight realignment removes US-131 from 207th Ave north of Paris from just south of 23 Mile Rd to Meceola Ave on the Mecosta/Osceola Co line, which is transferred to local control, onto present-day Northland Dr.
  • (Jun 30) – The realignment of M-131 in the Boyne Falls area is completed when the remainder of the former route via Railroad St on the east side of the GR&I RR is transferred to local control at the same time as the route of present-day US-131 from M-75 to just north of the Boyne Falls village limit is officially assumed as a state trunkline designated M-131.
  • (Jul 21) – US-131 is realigned to run parallel to the Grand Rapids & Indiana RR northerly from Howard City to the Montcalm/Mecosta Co line. The former route via Garbow, Edgar & Reed Rds is turned back to local control.
  • (Aug 30) – The realignment in Montcalm Co noted above is continued into Mecosta Co when US-131 is certified to run parallel to the railroad from the Montcalm/Mecosta Co line northerly through Morley via Northland Dr (Cass St in Morley). The former route via 190th Ave, Jefferson Rd, an obliterated right-of-way, First St, Scott St, Fourth St, East St and 180th Ave to Northland Dr is turned back to local control.
  • (Oct 18) – A former "stair-step" route from Stanwood northerly to south of the Muskegon River bridge, via Stanwood Dr, Front St (in Stanwood), 8 Mile Rd, 195th Ave, Buchannan Rd and 197th Ave is turned back to local control when a 2.9-mile long, sweeping curve via present-day Northland Dr is completed. This bypasses the main street in the Village of Stanwood.
  1928 – Several more changes to US-131 during 1928:
  • (Mar 6) – A pair of 90° turns just north of Big Rapids is replaced by a sweeping double-curve, cutting 4 10 mile from the route of US-131. The former route via 205th Ave, 18 Mile Rd and 210th Ave is turned back to local control.
  • (May 21) – A 90° alignment west and south of Le Roy in Osceola Co is replaced by a direct routing parallel to the Grand Rapids & Indiana RR tracks, shaving a mile from the route. The former alignment via 210th Ave from south of 14 Mile Rd northerly to Le Roy Rd, then easterly into Le Roy via Le Roy Rd (Gilbert St in town), then northerly via 190th Ave is transferred to local control.
  • (May 21) – On the same day the Le Roy area realignments are made official, a solution comes to an odd situation existing between Tustin in northwest Osceola Co and Cadillac in southeastern Wexford Co. On highway maps published through the 1920s, two state trunkline routes are indicated running between Tustin and Cadillac, however this is only mostly true. The "west leg" is never fully designated a trunkline in Wexford Co and, thus, begins at the cnr of Northland Dr & 19 Mile Rd, proceeding westerly via 19 Mile to Tustin Rd into Tustin, then westerly via 20 Mile Rd to 200th Ave and northerly via 200th to the Osceola/Wexford Co line. This trunkline routing is never officially determined north of this point into Wexford Co, however this does not mean M-13 (later US-131) is not signed on this leg. The "east leg" continues northerly from 19 Mile Rd via present-day Mackinaw Tr to 20 Mile Rd, then easterly via 20 Mile, northerly via 160th Ave, easterly via 21 Mile Rd and northerly again via 150th Ave to the Osceola/Wexford Co line where it jogs westerly for ½ mile via County Line Rd to 43 Rd, then northerly via 43 Rd into Cadillac from the south. Both of these routings are turned back to local control in favor of a new, direct routing on mostly new alignment via present-day Mackinaw Trail.
  • (Jun 28) – A minor realignment routes M-131 via present-day Mackinaw Tr between M-66/Mancelona-East Jordan Rd and Scholl Rd. The former route via Mancelona-East Jordan Rd remains a trunkline as M-66, while Scholl Rd is turned back to local control.
  1929 (May 26) – US-131 is moved onto new highway alignment (present-day Mackinaw Tr) running within 3/4 mile east of the former route via 41½ Rd in east-central Wexford Co, from 30 Rd four miles north of downtown Cadillac to 18½ Rd, then easterly via 18½ Rd to Mackinaw Tr, 1½ miles south of downtown Manton, which is turned back to local control.
  1930 – Two route changes this year:
  • (Oct 3) – A new grade-separation is built to relocate US-131 under the Grand Rapids & Indiana RR 2½ miles north of downtown Morley and a new 7 10-mile relocation is included. The former route is turned back to local control the next year.
  • (Nov 22) – M-131 between Kalkaska and Mancelona is officially determined via a new alignment paralleling and immediately adjacent to the Grand Rapids & Indiana RR on the west, although this alignment is never fully built and the existing route via Bebe, Dorman, Phelps, Leetsville, Wood, Day, Plum Valley, Wheeler Lake, Westwood Rds to the Kalkaska/Antrim Co line and Priest Rd from there into Antrim remain as the marked trunkline, even though it is officially turned back to local control this day.
  1931 – Act 131 of 1931, which gives the State Highway Dept powers to determine, sign and maintain trunklines through cities, sees the transferring of Division Ave through Grand Rapids, from Burton St northerly to Michigan St and Plainfield Ave from Coldbrook St northeasterly to Knapp St to state control. In addition, on May 20, Division Ave from Michigan st northerly to Plainfield Ave at the cnr of Coldbrook St is determined as a state trunkline. Previously, the route of US-131 through Grand Rapids was subject to change, since the City of Grand Rapids could re-route the highway on a whim.
  1931 (Aug 31) – The former route of US-131 at the new GR&I RR underpass north of Morley (see Oct 3, 1930 listing above) is turned back to local control. Also on this date, a new routing for M-131 between Kalkaska and Mancelona is determined, replacing the route assumed into the state trunkline system approximately 10 months earlier. This new alignment of M-131 runs via that of present-day US-131. The former alignment, while never constructed, is removed from the trunkline system.
  1932 (Oct 29) – US-131 is realigned onto a more direct alignment north of Schoolcraft. From the cnr of Westnedge Ave & U Ave, US-131 now turns northeasterly via Shaver Ave to Oakland Dr. The former route via U Ave easterly from Westnedge and Oakland Dr northerly from U Ave to Shaver Rd is turned back to local control.
  1933 – M-131 is rerouted from south of Walloon Lake in northeast Charlevoix Co into downtown Petoskey in Emmet Co, thusly:
  • (Mar 20) – A completely new alignment for M-131 is determined from the present-day cnr of Mackinaw Tr & River Rd approximately 1½ miles south of Walloon Lake north-northwesterly into Emmet Co, then northerly to US-31 at the cnr of Spring St & Charlevoix Ave (the present-day northern terminus of US-131). While determined as a trunkline, the new highway wouldn't be completed until the next year.
  • (Jul 12) – The former alignment of M-131 via River Rd from Mackinaw Tr south of Walloon Lake to the south Petoskey city limit, then northerly via Standish Ave & Emmet St in downtown Petoskey, is turned back to local control, pending completion of the new alignment of M-131. On this same date, M-131 is also extended northerly from Harbor Springs along the Little Traverse Bay and Lake Michigan shore via Good Hart to a new northern terminus at Cross Village.
  1934 – The new alignment for M-131 from south of Walloon Lake to the west side of Petoskey, noted above, is completed and open to traffic.
  1934 (Aug 27) – A new route through Rockford is certified, running northerly from the cnr of Fremont St & E Division St for three blocks to Courtland St, then easterly on Courtland, which turns northerly into Northland Dr to N Main St and the former route. Previously, US-131 turned westerly from Fremont St via E Division St, then northerly via Main St, turning easterly via Main to Northland Dr. This former route is temporarily retained as a state trunkline for 4-1/2 months.
  1935 (Jan 7) – The former route of US-131 through Rockford (E Division & Main Sts) is turned back to local control. The new route was certified the previous August.
  1936 (Dec 9) – A new route of US-131 between Constantine and Three Rivers, this one west of the St Joseph River, is officially assumed into the state trunkline system, beginning at the cnr of Washington & Broad Sts on the north side of Constantine and ending at M-60 southwest of Three Rivers. US-131 then runs concurrently with M-60 into Three Rivers, entering the city from the west via Michigan Ave to the former route at Main St.
  1937 (Aug 30) – Three different state trunkline determinations or cancellations are made official on this date:
  • The portion of Washington St in Constantine between Water St (the former route of US-131 via the east side of the St Joseph River) and Broad St (the route determined as a trunkline on December 9, 1936) is transferred to the state while the former route of US-131 from Constantine to Three Rivers via Water St, Featherstone Rd, Centreville-Constantine Rd and Lutz Rd is transferred to local control.
  • A realignment immediately north of Wayland cuts two 90-degree corners with the former alignment via 10th St, Tyler Rd and 11th St being turned back to local control.
  • The July 12, 1933 northerly extension of M-131 from Harbor Springs via Good Hart to Cross Village is, for some reason, cancelled as a state trunkline and M-131 now terminates in downtown Harbor Springs once again.
  c.1938 – A major milestone in the existence of both US-131 and M-131 occurs when the vast majority of M-131—the portion from west of Fife Lake northeasterly to Petoskey—is redesignated as a northerly extension of US-131. The State Highway Dept has, obviously, abandoned their plans to build a highway on new alignment linking Fife Lake with the East Bay area of Greater Traverse City to "complete" the route of US-131 through to its "parent" route, US-31. Now, with US-131's northern terminus at US-31 in Petoskey, the two highways meet for the first time in the dozen years since both highways were commissioned. For the time being, M-131 remains concurrently designated with US-31 through Petoskey and Bay View, then northerly and westerly (via present-day M-119) into Harbor Springs.
  1940 – Changes come to US-131 and the remaining portion of M-131:
  • (Aug 17) – Nearly five miles of new state trunkline alignment are assumed into the system when US-131 is officially determined via its present-day route between Walton Junction and the jct with present-day M-186 on the western edge of Fife Lake. the former route of US-131 from Walton Junction northerly 4 miles is redesignated as an extension of M-113, while the east-west segment from M-113 easterly to the new alignment on the west edge of Fife Lake receives a brand-new route designation: M-186.
  • (Nov 12) – Fifteen additional miles of new trunkline are officially determined from M-186 at Fife Lake to downtown Kalkaska at M-66/M-72 and the former route in Grand Traverse Co via State St & State Rd through Fife Lake and the former route in Kalkaska Co via Ingersoll Rd, Shippy Rd, Woodman Rd, Hudson Rd, E Main St (through South Boardman) and Boardman Rd to Lodi at M-66 is turned back to local control, while the formerly-concurrent US-131/M-66 between Lodi and Kalkaska retains the M-66 designation. However, only the portion of new US-131 from Fife Lake to South Boardman is completed and opened to traffic in 1940, where US-131 traffic remains routed easterly via Boardman Rd to Lodi, then northerly via M-66 into Kalkaska for the time being.
  • (Nov 12) – The route of US-31/M-131 on the west side of Petoskey is routed onto new alignment (Mitchell St). From jct US-31 & US-131 at the cnr of Spring St & Charlevoix Ave, the former route easterly via Charlevoix Ave, northerly via Connable Ave, easterly via Jackson St and northerly via Liberty St to Mitchell St is turned back to local control.
  1941 – The new trunkline alignment for US-131 from South Boardman to downtown Kalkaska determined the previous November is completed and opened to traffic.
  1942 (Jan 28) – A short, half-mile realignment immediately north of the Indiana state line moves US-131 slightly east. The former route via present-day Old M-103 is turned back to local control. Also on this date, official State Highway Dept sources seem to indicate all of M-131 north of US-31 east of Petoskey to Harbor Springs is removed from the state trunkline system, although it seems this cancellation never takes effect (especially considering in three years, M-131 will be extended northerly from Harbor Springs!).
  1943 – Since the 1920s, the State Highway Dept has been slowly building a Grand Rapids Beltline System of highways around all sides of the city, forming a "box of highways" of sorts. By the 1940s, the state has completed the West Beltline (present-day Wilson Ave), the South Beltline (present-day 28th St) and the portion of the East Beltline (present-day East Beltline Ave) north of US-16/M-50/Cascade Rd to US-131/Plainfield Ave. This beltline system is designated M-114. A few years prior, the South and West Beltlines are given the BYP US-16 ("BYPASS US-16") designation to underscore its position as a bypass route for that highway. In 1943, the East Beltline is finally completed from US-16/M-50/Cascade Rd southerly to BYP US-16/28th St and with that completion, all of the East Beltline and the portion of the South Beltline (28th St) from the East Beltline westerly to US-131/Division Ave is assigned the BYP US-131 designation. (A new BYP M-21 between the east and southwest parts of the Beltline is also designated at this time.) US-131 remains designated through Grand Rapids via Division & Plainfield Aves.
  1945 (Jun 26) – The Harbor Springs-to-Cross Village routing of M-131, which existed from 1933–1937 is again re-added to the state trunkline system.
  1949 – A pair of changes to US-131 this year:
  • (Nov 4) – A new alignment for US-131 is determined from the present-day northern jct of US-131 & M-32 northerly to ½ mile south of the Antrim/Charlevoix Co line, running via the present-day route of US-131. The former route easterly from Mackinaw Tr via M-32 (toward Elmira) remains designated M-32, while Dobleski Rd from M-32 northerly to the new route of US-131 is turned back to local control.
  • (Nov 10) – A minor realignment at Addis Rd just north of Boyne Falls in Charlevoix Co eases a sharp turn in the highway. The former route is turned back to local control.
  1952 (Nov 10) – A 0.2-mile realignment in downtown Mancelona moves US-131 onto its present-day alignment.
  1953 – In mid-1953, all of BYP US-131 around the south and east sides of Grand Rapids is redesignated as part of mainline US-131, while the former route of US-131 from the cnr of 28th St & Division Ave south of town to the cnr of East Beltline Ave, Plainfield Ave & Northland Dr northeast of the city is simply redesignated as BUS US-131.
  1954 (Jan 4) – The US-131 "Three Rivers bypass" officially determined as a state trunkline highway routing, between the present-day jcts of BUS US-131. Some official highway maps, however, show this route may have been completed as early as the fall of 1953. The former route of US-131 through downtown Three Rivers is redesignated as BUS US-131.
  1955 – The final portion of gravel-surfaced M-131, from Good Hart to Cross Village, is hard surfaced in mid-1955.
  1956 Updated – Nearly 15 miles of US-131 from jct M-66 north of Mancelona to the northern jct of M-32 northwest of Elmira is "twinned" whereby a second carriageway is constructed adjacent of the existing roadway, which is turned into a four-lane, divided highway, with the exception of approximately 3/4 mile through the community of Alba. From M-66 north to the sweeping curve at Deadman's Hill and Coulter Rds (approx 1.5 miles south of southern M-32 jct), the new lanes are constructed west of the existing lanes, built in the 1920s, while from there north to the northern M-32 jct, the new roadway is built on the east side of the existing highway. The original plans called for the 1920s lanes to be removed, although a decision to leave them in place for now has an unintended side-effect. The new lanes, built to modern (1950s) standards, facilitate easier snow removal than the older lanes and the State Highway Dept makes the determination that US-131 between Mancelona and M-32 WEST will be a seasonalfour-lane divided highway. Each winter, the 1920s lanes of US-131 are blocked off and the new 1956 lanes are converted to two-way traffic until the spring.
  1957 – A few more route changes for 1957:
  • (Jun 15) – A new expressway alignment for US-131, a continuation of the "Three Rivers bypass" northerly to the Moorepark area just south of M-216, is determined as a state trunkline. The former route from the northern jct with BUS US-131 to south of M-216 is turned back to local control. This project also sees the conversion of the existing US-131 bypass of Three Rivers from the southern jct with BUS US-131 to the northern jct into a divided expressway as well.
  • (Jun 17) – A new eastern US-131 bypass of Rockford is determined as a state trunkline, beginning at Northland Dr near Brewer Rd south of Rockford to Northland Dr just north of 11 Mile Rd. The former route through Rockford via Northland Dr, Fremont St, Courtland St and Northland Dr is turned back to local control. Official maps from late-1956, however, show the new Rockford bypass indicating it may have opened to traffic the previous year.
  • (Oct 22) – A brand-new alignment for US-131 between the north city limit of Reed City and the Lincoln/Le Roy Twp line a mile north of Ashton is determined, running parallel to and immediately west of the Pennsylvania (nee Grand Rapids & Indiana) RR line. This new alignment eliminates two grade-level railroad crossings and bypasses the hamlet of Ashton. Site contributor Brian Reynolds notes this alignment is constructed on four-lane right-of-way for future expansion to four lanes divided, which never ends up occurring because divided highway standards are updated soon after and the 1957 realignment of US-131 will never meet those standards. [Many thanks to Brian!] The former route via Mackinaw Tr from Chestnut St at the north Reed City limit northeasterly to 210th Ave, then northerly via Mackinaw Tr/210th Ave to 12 Mile Rd is turned back to local control, although the 2/10 mile portion of Mackinaw Tr between US-131 and US-10 on the north side of Reed City is re-determined as a trunkline in December, acting as a short connector route between those two highways.
  • Official highway maps from late-1957 indicate the first segment of US-131 freeway opens to traffic from 100th St in southern Kent Co northerly to US-16/M-21/M-50/28th St just south of Grand Rapids. This section of freeway will not be officially determined as a state trunkline until the next June and the former route of US-131 via Division Ave will not be cancelled until that time as well.
  1958 (Jul 7) – The US-131 freeway from the south city limit of Grand Rapids southerly to the Kent/Allegan Co line is officially determined as a state trunkline, although the portion from US-16/M-21/M-50/28th St northerly to the G.R. city limit is not yet complete and the portion of the freeway from 28th St southerly to 100th St in southern Kent Co was opened to traffic the prior year. In addition, sources indicate the US-131 freeway is completed and opened to traffic this year from 100th St southerly into Allegan Co to a temporary terminus at 135th Ave on the west side of Wayland this year. US-131 traffic is temporarily routed via Superior St between the new freeway and downtown Wayland. The former route of US-131 via Division Ave from the south limits of Grand Rapids to the Kent/Allegan Co line is turned back to local control.
  1958 (Jul 29) – Two miles of new highway on new alignment along with a new Manistee River bridge are assumed into the state trunkline system on this date in northeastern Wexford Co, five miles north of downtown Manton. The former route via  present-day Old US-131 is turned back to local control, however the old Manistee River bridge is removed.
  1959 – A trio of changes to US-131 in 1959:
  • The routes of M-103 and US-131 south of US-12 are "flip-flopped" with each other. Formerly, US-131 turned westerly via US-12 on the west edge of White Pigeon (at jct M-103) to Mottville before turning southerly to the Indiana state line, where it terminated at a connection with IN SR-15. Now, US-131 continues due southerly through the US-12 intersection to a terminus at the state line at a connection with IN SR-13 and M-103 now begins at US-12 in Mottville and continues southerly to the state line, connecting with IN SR-15.
  • (Jul 3) – US-131 in central Kalamazoo is split into two one-way pairs when Park St from Kalamazoo Ave southerly to Park Pl and Park Pl between Park St and Westnedge St is transferred to state control. Northbound US-131 now turns east from Westnedge via park Pl then northerly into downtown via Park St, while southbound US-131 is maintained via Westnedge.
  • The US-131 freeway, as yet to be officially "determined" as a trunkline routing, is extended southerly from 135th Ave at Wayland to M-118 (present-day M-222) at Martin, where US-131 traffic is shuttled back to the former route via the 0.9-mile long segment of M-118 between the new freeway and downtown Martin.
  1960 (Sept 27) – The US-131 freeway in Allegan Co from the Kent Co line southerly past Wayland and Martin to M-89 at Plainwell is finally officially determined as a state trunkline highway on this date, although the portion from Kent Co southerly to M-118 at Martin had already been completed and opened to traffic. In any event, 8 additional miles of freeway are also completed in 1960 from M-118 southerly to M-89 at Plainwell, where US-131 traffic temporarily utilizes M-89 into downtown Plainwell to rejoin the existing highway. The former route of US-131 from the Kent/Allegan Co line southerly to M-89 in downtown Plainwell is turned back to local control.
  1961 (Dec 4) – A short, new alignment along US-131 just south of Cadillac shaves 1/10 mile from the route. Beginning on Mackinaw Tr, ¼ mile south of the southern Cadillac city limit, the newly-determined trunkline routing for US-131 carries the route southerly via 43 Rd for ½ mile before making a sweeping curve first southwesterly then southerly, connecting back with Mackinaw Tr near 46 Rd, north of M-115. The former route is turned back to local control.
  1962 – The US-131 freeway is extended on both ends:
  • (Oct 5) – The next 11 miles of US-131 freeway are determined as trunkline beginning at the southern end of the completed freeway at M-89 west of Plainwell southerly to M-43/West Main St on the west side of Kalamazoo. The freeway itself also opens to traffic in this same timeframe, with US-131 traffic directed from the new southern end of the freeway easterly via M-43/West Main St into downtown Kalamazoo. In addition, the route of the proposed BUS US-131 freeway from the new US-131 freeway northwest of Kalamazoo easterly to Westnedge Ave north of downtown is determined although it will not be opened to traffic until the end of the next year. From the end of the proposed BUS US-131 freeway spur, Westnedge Ave & N Park St are assumed into the state trunkline system as a continuation of BUS US-131 into downtown at M-43/BL I-94/Kalamazoo Ave, however signs will not be erected until the freeway spur noted above is complete. The former route of US-131 via Douglas Rd (Allegan Co) & Douglas Ave (Kalamazoo Co) between Plainwell and Kalamazoo is turned back to local control.
  • Although not yet officially "determined" as a state trunkline, a northerly extension of the US-131 freeway from jct US-131 & M-11/M-21/28th St northerly to the Pearl St interchange downtown Grand Rapids is completed. Since the freeway is not yet complete through the city, the US-131 mainline designation remains on the "Beltline System" of 28th St easterly from the freeway to East Beltline Ave, then northerly via East Beltline to Plainfield Ave northeast of the city. The new freeway from 28th St northerly to the "Downtown" exit (present-day Exit 84B) is designated as BUS US-131, while the remainder from the "Downtown" exit northerly to Pearl St is not given a route designation in the field. BUS US-131 from the "Downtown" exit continues northerly to Oakes & Weston Sts. Northbound traffic is routed easterly via Oakes to Division Ave while southbound traffic uses Weston westerly from Division to the new on-ramp. From Oakes & Weston, BUS US-131 continues northerly via its previous routing on Division & Plainfield Aves.
  • (Oct 15) – The former route of BUS US-131 (formerly US-131) via Division Ave from US-131/M-11/M-21/28th St northerly into downtown Grand Rapids at Oakes St is cancelled and turned back to local control.
  • (Dec 28) – Several months after opening, the new BUS US-131 freeway from 28th St northerly into downtown Grand Rapids is officially assumed into the state trunkline system. The determination for the freeway continues northerly from downtown to I-196 (present-day I-96) on the north side of town, generally coinciding with the completion of this portion of the freeway. With this completion, the following changes are made:
    • US-131 is routed off the "Grand Rapids Beltline" system (28th St & East Beltline Ave) and onto the new freeway from 28th St northerly through downtown to the location of future the I-96 /M-21 freeway (present-day I-196) where it becomes concurrently designated with I-296 from there northerly to I-196 (present-day I-96) north of the city, where I-296 terminates. US-131 then runs easterly with I-196 to Plainfield Ave (formerly BUS US-131), then northeasterly via Plainfield supplanting that portion of the BUS US-131 routing to the cnr of East Beltline Ave, Plainfield Ave & Northland Dr where US-131 picks up its former routing.
    • The former route of US-131 via 28th St retains the M-11/M-21 designation, while East Beltline Ave from 28th St northerly to Plainfield Ave is signed as a southerly extension of M-44.
    • Since the former route of BUS US-131 via Plainfield Ave from Coldbrook St northerly to I-196 (present-day I-96) is turned back to local control, the route of BUS US-131 now turns westerly onto Coldbrook St to Monroe Ave, northerly via Monroe to Leonard St and westerly again via Leonard to a terminus at the new I-296/US-131 freeway.
  1963 (Dec 16) – The US-131 freeway is assumed into the trunkline system from M-43/W Main St at Kalamazoo southerly to the Shaver Rd & Westnedge Ave north of Schoolcraft on this date and is opened to traffic roughly at this time as well. The US-131 freeway is now complete from north of Schoolcraft to I-96 (formerly I-196) north of Grand Rapids. The former route of US-131 via Shaver Rd northeasterly from the southern end of the freeway into Portage, then northerly via Westnedge Ave to I-94 at Exit 76 is turned back to local control while the portion of Westnedge Ave northerly from I-94 into Kalamazoo and the Westnedge-Park one-way pair into downtown remain as trunklines for the time being.
  1964 (Sept 30) – The route of former US-131 in Kalamazoo from I-94 at Exit 76 northerly via Westnedge Ave and the Westnedge-Park one-way pair into downtown are cancelled as state trunklines and turned back to local control. Also in 1964, the BUS US-131 freeway spur from US-131 at present-day Exit 41 into the north side of Kalamazoo is completed and opened to traffic. Thus, the BUS US-131 routing at Kalamazoo becomes official, beginning at US-131 at present-day Exit 36 and proceeding into downtown concurrently with BL I-94 via Stadium Dr and W Michigan Ave, then easterly with M-43 via Michigan Ave and northerly via the Westnedge-Park one-way pair from downtown to meet up with the new freeway spur, then northwesterly from Kalamazoo back to US-131.
  1966 (Sept 8) – A new 15.9-mile long relocation of US-131 is determined on this date beginning at the southern end of the new segment of US-131 determined on Dec 4, 1961 just south of Cadillac at Mackinaw Tr, thence southwesterly into Osceola Co, turning generally southerly bypassing Tustin and Le Roy to the west, before merging back into the existing route of US-131 just south of 14 Mile Rd. The new highway opens as a fully controlled-access freeway from just northeast of the Mackinaw Tr overpass south of Cadillac to the Pennsylvania RR overpass north of the Wexford/Osceola Co line. Southerly from that point to just north of Ashton in Osceola Co, the new highway is a two-lane limited-access expressway built on ample four-lane right-of-way. The former route of US-131 from southwest of Le Roy to the Mackinaw Tr overpass over the new freeway south of Cadillac is turned back to local control.
  1967 (Jan 30) – M-131 is removed from its routing via Lower Shore Dr in Emmet Co's West Traverse and Friendship Twps northwest of Harbor Springs and transferred to the present-day route of M-119 via Lake Shore Dr. Lower Shore Dr is turned back to local control.
  1968 (Fall) Updated – The divided highway portion of US-131 from M-66 north of Mancelona to the northern jct of M-32 northwest of Elmira "twinned" in 1956 is "de-twinned" when the original northbound lanes of the highway are closed and torn up with two lanes of traffic maintained on the "new" carriageway. One site contributor familiar with the area notes, "The 'northbound lanes' were tore out ... because there wasn't enough traffic on the road at the time, it cost too much to maintain (i.e. snow removal expenses) and there would be many a drag race in the summertime. Take a trip up there and the old [right-of-way] is still there, very easy to spot." [Thanks Barry Camp!] Indeed, on May 1, 1968, the State Transportation Commission announces the $170,000 project in lieu of the alternative: a $1.5 million project to bring the 1920s lanes up to modern standards. With 1968 traffic volumes not justifying a four-lane divided highway between Mancelona and M-32 and with long-range plans to extend the US-131 freeway from Grand Rapids to the Straits of Mackinac in the next few decades, it is felt future traffic volume increases will be handled by the proposed freeway routing. The old 1920s lanes were completely removed by late fall and US-131 reverts back to a two-lane, unvdivided highway through this stretch.
  1968 (Nov 1) – A northerly extension of the US-131 freeway from I-96 on the north side of Grand Rapids northerly to the Kent/Montcalm Co line is officially "determined," yet the only portion of the new freeway actually under construction is from I-96 to 14 Mile Rd south of Cedar Springs. This determination, interestingly, reverses a State Highway Dept decision to improve the route of US-131 north of Grand Rapids to a four-lane divided expressway on or near its existing route, including the Rockford Bypass via Wolverine Blvd. Plans are now to continue the freeway northerly from Grand Rapids.
  1969 (Oct 29) – The former route of US-131 via Wolverine Blvd & Northland Dr from M-44/Belding Rd northerly to M-57/14 Mile Rd in the Rockford area is turned back to local control at about the same time the new US-131 freeway is completed from I-96 north of Grand Rapids to 14 Mile Rd. US-131 traffic is temporarily routed back to its former route (Northland Dr) via 14 Mile Rd easterly from the new freeway. The former route of US-131 via I-96 retains the I-96 designation, while the portion via Plainfield Ave from I-96 northerly to M-44/East Beltline Ave is redesignated as CONN M-44 ("Connector M-44") and the concurrent US-131/M-44 via Northland Dr & Wolverine Blvd from East Beltline & Plainfield northerly to Belding Rd retains the M-44 designation.
  1973 (Oct 22) – The US-131 freeway from the Kent/Montcalm Co line northerly to Edgar Rd north of Howard City is determined as a state trunkline, as is Edgar Rd and a new highway alignment easterly from the new freeway are also assumed into the trunkline system. The US-131 freeway is also completed from M-57/14 Mile Rd north of Rockford northerly past Cedar Springs and Howard City to Edgar Rd, then easterly back to the existing alignment at Federal Rd. With the completion, the M-46 designation is transferred to the new freeway from M-46 north of Howard City southerly concurrently with US-131 to M-57 at Cedar Springs, then westerly via 17 Mile Rd supplanting the M-57 designation toward Kent City.
  1976 – The two-lane undivided expressway segment of US-131 from Mackinaw Tr southwest of Le Roy to the Penn Central RR overpass south of Cadillac is converted to full freeway with the addition of the northbound bound lanes, overpasses and interchanges. The existing two-lane alignment becomes the southbound lanes on the new freeway.
  1979 – All of M-131 is redesignated as M-119, likely to reduce confusion with nearby US-131, which terminates in Petoskey. M-131-turned-M-119 begins at US-31 east of Bay View and continues via Harbor Springs and Good Hart to a terminus at jct C-66/C-77 in Cross Village. One internal MDOT source, however, indicates M-119 (and M-131 before it) as beginning at jct US-31 & US-131 (cnr Charlevoix Ave & Spring St) on the west side of Petoskey and continuing easterly via US-31 through Bay View to the present-day beginning o M-119 before turning northerly toward Harbor Springs. It is unclear whether M-119 is ever signed along US-31 through Petoskey, but any such signs would be gone within a decade if it is, indeed, posted.
  1980 (Oct 21) – A northerly extension to the route of the US-131 freeway from M-46/Edgar Rd northerly to 19 Mile Rd northwest of Big Rapids is officially assumed into the state trunkline system on this date, although the freeway is only complete and open to 8 Mile Rd at Stanwood. US-131 traffic utilizes 8 Mile Rd between the new freeway at Exit 131 to Northland Dr and 8 Mile is temporarily determined as a state trunkline. The former route of US-131 via Federal Rd (Montcalm Co) & Northland Dr (Mecosta Co) remains an unsigned state trunkline.
  1981 (Sept 30) – The former route of US-131 via Federal Rd in Montcalm Co from the Kent Co line northerly to M-46/Howard City-Edmore Rd is turned back to local control.
  1983 – An additional 11 miles of US-131 freeway is completed and opens to traffic in Mecosta Co from B-88/8 Mile Rd (present-day M-20) at Stanwood northerly to 19 Mile Rd northwest of Big Rapids, where US-131 traffic turns easterly via 19 Mile Rd, now a state trunkline, to Northland Dr and US-131's original routing. The former route via 8 Mile Rd from the freeway at Exit 131 to Northland Dr at Stanwood is turned back to local control, while the portion via Northland Dr from Stanwood to the southern jct of M-20 at Big Rapids remains an unsigned state trunkline. A new BUS US-131 routing at Big Rapids is created, beginning at Exit 139 and heading easterly via M-20 to State St, then northerly with M-20 via State St into downtown where BUS US-131 continues northerly via the former US-131, terminating at US-131 at the cnr of Northland Dr & 19 Mile Rd.
     Site visitor John McDowell wrote in to say that only the southbound bridge over the Muskegon River is complete when the freeway opens—northbound traffic is forced off at 8 Mile Rd easterly to the former route of US-131 via Northland Dr, northerly via Northland to 11 Mile Rd, and westerly back to the new freeway where a temporary ramp provides access to the northbound lanes. —Thanks John!
  1984 – As noted above, the northbound Muskegon River bridge was not yet complete in time for the opening of the US-131 freeway between Stanwood and Big Rapids. It is completed and opened to traffic this year allowing northbound traffic to continue straight through at the 8 Mile Rd interchange. The temporary ramp at 11 Mile Rd is removed. —Thanks again, John!
  1986 – Eighteen miles of new US-131 freeway are completed from B-96/19 Mile Rd northwest of Big Rapids past Reed City to the southern end of the freeway southwest of Le Roy, thus completing the US-131 freeway from north of Schoolcraft to just south of Cadillac. The former route from the 19 Mile Rd interchange easterly via 19 Mile to Northland Dr becomes a northerly extension of the BUS US-131 route at Big Rapids, while Northland Dr (Mecosta Co) & Mackinaw Tr (Osceola Co) between 19 Mile Rd and BUS US-10/Church St in Reed City becomes an unsigned state trunkline. The portion of US-131/BUS US-10 through Reed City retains the BUS US-10 designation, while the portions which remain accessible between Reed City and Ashton are turned back to local control. A portion of the existing US-131 route from 7 Mile Rd to Sylvan Rd north of Reed City is physically replaced by the northbound lanes of the new freeway.
  2000 – Several Grand Rapids "S-Curve 2000" Project related items:
  • (Jan 16, 11:15am) – The entire US-131 freeway is closed from Wealthy St northerly to Pearl St in downtown Grand Rapids for the complete demolition and reconstruction of the fabled "S-Curve" portion of the freeway. Actual demolition on the highway begins five days later and is completed on Mar 1.
  • (Aug 15, 11:47pm) – The northbound lanes reopen 19 days ahead of schedule.
  • (Aug 25) – News breaks in the media that cracks had been found in one of the brand new S-Curve bridge supports a few weeks prior to the opening of the northbound lanes to traffic. While through traffic is maintained, crews have to work to repair the faulty support, partially demolishing the portion to support the southbound lanes, due to open within a few months.
  • (Oct 26, 10:01pm) – The southbound lanes reopen 35 days ahead of schedule. MDOT will "officially" declare the last of the S-Curve construction complete in nearly one year from this time on October 10, 2001.
  2000 (Nov 1) – The first 2.9 miles of the "Cadillac Bypass" opens to traffic and while that freeway would eventually bear the US-131 designation, for the next year, it will only be signed as a rerouted M-55. From the north end of the opened freeway about 1½ miles east of downtown Cadillac, M-55 now turns southwesterly via the new freeway (joining with US-131 at Exit 177) to M-115 at Exit 176, then runs concurrently with M-115 northwesterly back to the former route of M-55 in the "Lakes Area" on the west side of Cadillac. For the time being, through US-131 traffic is directed to exit the freeway at Exit 177 to continue into Cadillac and on toward Petoskey.
  2001 (Oct 30) – The remainder of the US-131/"Cadillac Bypass" is opened to traffic on this day from the M-55 EAST interchange (Exit 180) northerly to existing US-131 north of Cadillac. US-131 now officially joins M-55 on the portion of the freeway opened November 1, 2000 between Exits 177 and 180, then continuing northerly to the end of the new freeway segment. The former US-131 from Exit 177 northerly through downtown Cadillac to Boon (34) Rd is redesignated as BUS US-131, which then turns easterly via Boon (34) Rd, terminating at the new freeway at Exit 183. Former US-131 from Boon (34) Rd northerly to the northern end of the new freeway becomes an unsigned/un-numbered state trunkline (although it will take MDOT some time to remove the physical US-131 route markers).
  2003 (Sept 19, 10am) The webmaster's 30th birthday also sees the opening of the so-called US-131 "Manton bypass," from the north end of the freeway north of Cadillac to north of Manton, just south of the Manistee River bridge in northeastern Wexford Co. The former route of US-131 from the former end of the freeway northerly to the south jct of M-42 at Manton becomes an unsigned state trunkline highway, while the formerly concurrent US-131/M-42 becomes M-42/BUS US-131 with the BUS US-131 designation continuing northerly out of Manton via the old route to the northern end of the freeway north of Manton. For the foreseeable future, this concludes freeway-building activity on the north end of US-131… although the same was said at I-96 north of Grand Rapids in the 1960s!
  2005 (Feb 1) – The segment of OLD US-131 along S Chestnut St from the southern Reed City city limit northerly to BUS US-10/Church St is turned back to city control. This former trunkline was superseeded by the US-131 freeway when that route was completed past Reed City in 1986. At this time, though, the portion of OLD US-131 from the southern Reed City city limit into Mecosta Co toward Big Rapids remains as a unsigned trunkline.
  2012 (Nov 16) New! In preparation for the 2013 completion of the Constantine Bypass, MDOT applies to AASHTO for official approval to both relocate the mainline route of US-131 onto the new bypass as well as to designate a BUS US-131 routing to travel along the existing route of US-131 through the village. AASHTO officially approves both requests at their Nov 16, 2012 meeting of the Special Committee on U.S. Route Numbering in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
  2013 (Oct 30, 10:30 am) New! The Constantine Bypass opens to traffic, first beginning with southbound traffic just after 10:30 am, with northbound traffic shifted to the new roadway around 11:00 am. The new bypass begins along existing US-131 approx 0.3 mile north of Dickinson Rd (or 1.3 mile north of US-12) north of White Pigeon and veers to the west intersecting Stears Rd 0.6 miles west of the existing route before curving back to a due northerly alignment as it intersects with Riverside Dr. The new bypass crosses the St Joseph River, intersects with North River Rd and then Quarterline Rd-Birch St. At the Youngs Prairie Rd intersection, the US-131 bypass curves to the northeast, then intersecting Zerbe Rd before merging back into the existing route approx 0.6 mile south of Garber Rd. Construction on the 4.201-mile, $18 million bypass took just nine months and a ceremonial ribbon-cutting ceremony is held on October 18, twelve days before the new roadway actually opens to traffic. The entire bypass is constructed as a two-lane limited-access expressway on a four-lane right-of-way to accommodate future expansion as a four-lane expressway or freeway. The former route of US-131 through Constantine is retained in the state trunkline system as BUS US-131. (Map of Constantine Bypass.)
Controlled-Access: Freeway: From Mile 29 at Shaver Rd southwest of Portage (north of Schoolcraft) to jct BUS US-131 north of Manton.
  Expressway: Three segments of US-131 exist as expressway:
  1. New! The Constantine Bypass, from south jct of BUS US-131 south of Constantine to north jct of BUS US-131 north of Constantine, is a two-lane expressway built on a four-lane right-of-way for future expansion to a four-lane expressway or freeway.
  2. From just north of jct M-60 [EAST] & BUS US-131 on the west side of Three Rivers to Wilbur Rd just south M-216 at Moorepark, US-131 is a four-lane, divided expressway.
  3. From jct BUS US-131 north of Manton northerly to jct M-113 at Walton Junction is a two-lane limited-access expressway, converted from the original two-lane uncontrolled access highway.
NHS: The entire length of US-131 in Michigan is part of the NHS.
Business Connections:
  • New! BUS US-131 – Constantine. From US-131 south of the village to US-131 north of town.
  • BUS US-131 – Three Rivers. From jct US-131 & M-60 on the west side of town to US-131 north of the city.
  • BUS US-131 – Kalamazoo. From Exit 36 to Exit 41.
  • BUS US-131 – Grand Rapids. From Exit 84B to Exit 87.
  • BUS US-131 – Big Rapids. From Exit 139 to Exit 142.
  • BUS US-131 – Cadillac. From Exit 177 to Exit 183.
  • BUS US-131 – Manton. From Exit 191 to US-131 north of the north end of the freeway at Mile 196.25.
Continue on: Updated US-131 into Indiana - via the Indiana Highway Ends website
Photographs:  
Weblinks:
M-129 Route Listings Home M-134