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M-22 & M-109 junction route signage in Glen Arbor, Michigan
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BL I-96 (Howell)
BS I-96 Route Marker
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BUS US-127 (Jackson)
BS I-96 (Detroit) is a former state trunkline route existing from December 12, 1962 to November 1977.
Western Terminus*:   The eastern terminus (1959–1977) of I-96 at BL I-96/Grand River Ave near Tuck Rd, approx two miles southeast of downtown Farmington.
Eastern Terminus*:   US-12/Michigan Ave at cnr Washington Blvd in downtown Detroit
Length*: New! 2024-01 17.138 miles
Map: New! 2024-01 Route Map of BS I-96 (Detroit)
Notes: * The termini and final length for BS I-96 (Detroit) reflect the beginning and ending of the route and its length as of the time of the route's decommissioning in November 1977.
  New! 2024-01 From 1913 to 1927, Grand River Ave between downtown Detroit and Farmington was part of M-16, which coincidentally became US-16 with the arrival of the US Highway system in May 1927. From then until the US-16 designation was retired in Michigan in December 1962, Grand River was the easternmost part of the route of US-16, which began in downtown Detroit and continued to the eastern entrance of Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming. As of late 1962, the vast majority of the "Detroit-Muskegon Expressway" (today's I-96) was complete and open to traffic and the State Highway Dept made the decision to decommission the US-16 designation entirely within the state. As nearly all of US-16 was concurrently designated with an Interstate route, it was felt the dual designations would be more confusing to motorists and US-16 was truncated back to Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The only part of US-16 which had not been moved onto an adjacent freeway or otherwise had another route designation (e.g. BUS US-31 and BS I-196 in Muskegon) was the segment of Grand River Ave from the eastern end of I-96 two miles southeast of downtown Farmington in to downtown Detroit. The State Highway Dept assigned the Business Spur I-96 (BS I-96) designation to that segment of highway.
  New! 2024-01 At the time of its designation, BS I-96 in Metro Detroit was a de facto extension of the BL I-96 route through downtown Farmington. Running along Grand River Ave, the BL I-96 designation at Farmington had replaced the BUS US-16 designation which itself debuted in late 1957 when the US-16 "Farmington Bypass" freeway was completed and opened to traffic. After existing for about five years, Farmington's BUS US-16 was redesignated as BL I-96 at the same time as BS I-96 debuted from Farmington into downtown Detroit. (Even though Farmington's BL I-96 was removed in 1977 when the I-96/Jeffries Frwy opened into Detroit, it remains an unsigned state trunkline to this day, internally designated within MDOT as "OLD I-96BL.")
  New! 2024-01 When the I-96/Jeffries Frwy was completed from Detroit's western suburbs into downtown, the I-96 designation was removed from the so-called "Farmington Bypass" and relocated onto the Jeffries and then I-275 leading back up to the existing route of I-96 at Novi. The Dept of State Highways & Transportation decided that since none of Farmington's BL I-96 or the beginning of BS I-96 heading into Detroit came in contact with I-96 any longer, the former would be decommissioned in its entirety, while the latter—BS I-96—would need one or more new route designations. From M-102/8 Mile Rd northwesterly along Grand River Ave and then via the Farmington Bypass freeway, the M-102 designation was extended, now ending at the massive I-96/I-275/I-696 interchange. From M-102/8 Mile Rd southeasterly to the first interchange with I-96/Jeffries Frwy, BS I-96 would be redesignated as M-5, joining several other newly-designated single-digit state routes in the Metro Detroit area. However, from the I-96 Grand River/Shaefer interchange (Exit 185) southeasterly into downtown Detroit, BS I-96 was removed from Grand River Ave and became an unsigned state trunkline, internally designated within the Dept of State Highways & Transportation as "OLD I-96" or "OLD I-96BS," and was earmarked as a jurisdictional transfer turnback candidate. In later years, the M-5 designation would be extended northwesterly along Grand River Ave to replace M-102 past Farmington, while MDOT decided to also extend the M-5 designation southeasterly along Grand River Ave into downtown Detroit in 2016, meaning nearly the entire length of what had been BS I-96 from 1962 to 1977 is now designated and signed as part of M-5.
  A remnant BS I-96 route marker on Clifford St in downtown Detroit in c.2010New! 2024-01 While BS I-96 itself disappeared in late 1977, some BS I-96 route markers in downtown Detroit remained until the early 2000s, a few even lasted into the 2010s. For many years, the City of Detroit maintained all of the "surface" trunklines in the city (e.g. not the freeways) under contract with MDOT. However, as the City's finances suffered through the 1990s, so did the quality of surface trunkline maintenance in the city. Around 2000, MDOT moved to take over regular maintenance of these routes from the City and began making infrastructure updates to these trunklines which had seen little of it for some time. This included new traffic signals, new street signage and resurfacing of the actual highways themselves. This meant many of the straggler BS I-96 route markers were finally removed, although a few stragglers on what were now City streets (no longer trunklines) in downtown Detroit lasted until being finally removed in the 2010s. [At right: A remnant BS I-96 route marker on Clifford St at Times Sq in downtown Detroit, taken c.2010, almost 33 years after BS I-96 was decommissioned. This route marker assembly was removed by 2011.]
History: 1962 (Dec 12) New! 2024-01 – The final 54½ mile stretch of I-96 freeway from immediately M-100 near Grand Ledge easterly past Lansing and Howell to the Lake Chemung area is completed and opened to traffic. Simultaneously, all of US-16 in the state is "decommissioned" and all US-16 route markers are taken down, ending a 36-year run for the US-16 route designation in Michigan. The easternmost segment of US-16, which had not yet been replaced by a parallel freeway route, from the end of the I-96 freeway at Farmington southeasterly along Grand River Ave into downtown Detroit
  1965 (Aug 3) New! 2024-01 – The first twelve miles of the proposed I-96/Jeffries Frwy from I-75 west of downtown Detroit northwesterly to US-24/Telegraph Rd at Schoolcraft Ave is officially established as a state trunkline route—the route which would someday spell the end for BS I-96—although construction on this segment wouldn't begin for another few years. The new freeway route intersects with BS I-96/Grand River Ave in two locations: First just northwest of Livernois Ave, the second near its intersection with Schaefer Hwy.
  1965 (Oct 26) New! 2024-01 – A short, 0.240-mile long connector route along Short St between BS I-96/Grand River Ave and US-24/Telegraph Rd in northwestern Detroit is officially established as a state trunkline route. The nearly ¼-mile long connector becomes a northbound-only cut-off for nbd US-24/Telegraph Rd traffic to access east- and westbound BS I-96/Grand River Ave.
  1977 (Nov 21, 9:30 am) New! 2024-01 – The I-96/Jeffries Frwy is completed and opened to traffic from M-39/Southfield Frwy in Detroit, through Redford Twp and Livonia, to I-275 near Plymouth. The I-96 designation is applied to this freeway, then runs northerly concurrently with I-275 to the former route of I-96 in Farmington Hills/Novi. The former I-96 freeway spur around Farmington is re-designated as an extension of M-102 (present-day M-5). BL I-96 through downtown Farmington loses is posted route markers, but is retained as an unsigned state trunkline. BS I-96 from the former end of I-96 to M-102/Eight Mile Rd becomes part of the extension of M-102 (now part of M-5), while the portion of BS I-96 from Eight Mile Rd to I-96 at Exit 185 is designated as M-5. From the southeastern end of M-5 into downtown Detroit, BS I-96/Grand River Ave is retained as an unsigned state trunkline as "OLD I-96BS."
Controlled-Access: No portion of Former BS I-96 (Detroit) was freeway or expressway.
NHS: BS I-96 at Detroit, which existed from 1962 to 1977, was decommissioned prior to the creation of the National Highway System in 1995, however the entire route of what was BS I-96 is now on the NHS today.
  • New! 2024-01 OLD I-96BS route listing
  • New! 2024-01 Images of BS I-96 signs in Detroit from the Interstate Guide:
    • BS I-96 marker – "A leftover Business Spur I-96 directed motorists from Middle Street onto Grand River Avenue (old U.S. 16) at the intersection with Cass Avenue in Downtown Detroit."
    • "TO SPUR 96" marker – "Vintage trailblazers for Business Spur I-96, U.S. 10 and U.S. 12 at Washington Boulevard and Larned Street in Downtown Detroit."
  • New! 2024-01 Grand River Avenue Railroad Bridge – From Nathan Holth's Historic Bridges site: "This is a pair of plate girder overpasses noted for surviving R4 railing and other above-average architectural details."
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