Michigan Highways: Since 1997.

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M-22 & M-109 junction route signage in Glen Arbor, Michigan
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Former US-33
M-33 Route Marker On to Next Route:
Southern Terminus:    I-75 at Exit 202 at Alger
Northern Terminus:    M-27 approximately four miles south of downtown Cheboygan
Length: 122.723 miles
Maps: Route Map of M-33
Notes: The portion of M-33 between Onaway and Cheboygan was the former route for US-23 in the 1930s and into the 1940s.
  Michigan State Highway Department sources from the 1930s and '40s show a proposed realignment for M-33 between the present 90° curve between Mio and Fairview in central Oscoda Co and the western jct of M-32 & M-33 in downtown Atlanta. The proposed route would have been a direct northern continuation of M-33 out of Mio into Atlanta, shaving about ten miles from the route. Of course, such a massive relocation of the highway never occurred, and M-33 has continued to use the same Fairview-to-Atlanta routing since the 1920s.
  In addition to the major proposed relocation noted above, the State Highway Department has also long proposed making major changes to the route of M-32/M-33 east of Atlanta on a more direct alignment between that community and Hillman on the eastern boundary of Montmorency Co. As a part fo that proposal, M-33 would extend in a north-northwesterly direction from the current eastern jct of that highway and M-32 to meet up with the relocated M-32, then turn westerly from there into Atlanta. It seems such a realignment may also be doomed to the history books as it may never come to fruition.
  New! 2023-04 In October 1982, the Reflective Systems Unit of MDOT began reviewing the state trunkline sytem and "discovered a substantial number of dual and some triple routing on both the free access and limited access system." The result of which was forwarded to "the Trunkline Numbering Committee in an attempt to reduce as much of this unnecessary routing as possible in an attempt to avoid driver confusion and save funds." That December, the MDOT Traffic & Safety Division stated "We recommend removal of M-33 between M-27 and US-23." In March 1983, the Supervising Engineer of the Reflective Safety Unit concurred and recommended to the Trunkline Numbering Committee those changes be implemented. The M-33 signs along M-27 were likely removed in 1983 or 1984.
  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 several realignments and upgrades to the route of M-33 during that timeframe, including:
  • Connecting a new alignment routing of M-47 to the southern end of M-33 at Alger which would run nearly due southerly to join up with the route of M-47 at its northern end at what is now the US-10 freeway east of Midland. The planning maps did not indicate whether the route designation for M-33 would've been changed to M-47 to unify the corridor under one route number, however. This recommendation was never implemented.
  • Constructing a new alignment M-33 beginning at the 90° turn five miles north of Mio (and four miles west of Fairview) and continuing due northerly largely along the general route of CR-610/Mount Tom Rd to Hill Rd, then continuing on completely new alignment due northerly along the section line to the Oscoda/Montmorency Co line. At the county line, M-33 would then travel north generally along Boiling Springs Rd to north of Fish Lab Rd where it would then proceed northerly along the section line on a new alignment to a point just north of Avery Lake Rd. There, the new alignment would bend slightly to the northwest and proceed directly to Atlanta, merging with existing CR-487 near Airport Rd and reunite with its existing route in Atlanta. The existing route between M-72 at Fairview and the eastern jct with M-32 would be turned back to local control. This proposal was also never implemented.
History: c.1920 – In the early 1920s, M-33 runs along its present-day routing only from M-32 six miles east of Atlanta to downtown Mio. From Mio, M-33 runs westerly and southwesterly along portions of the routes that would later become M-72 and M-144 (later M-18) to end at M-76 seven miles east of Roscommon on the Crawford/Roscommon Co line. At this time, M-33 is the sole north-south route in northeastern Michigan between the "shoreline" route of M-10 (later US-23) and the "up-the-middle" route of M-18 (later M-14, then US-27, now I-75).
  c.1928 – By 1928, M-33 is realigned south of Mio to supplant the route of M-97 to the Oscoda/Ogemaw Co line and continue to follow (roughly) its present-day route through Rose City before ending at M-55 at Campbells Corners (present cnr of Campbell &amp State Rds), 6 miles northeast of West Branch. The former M-33 southwest of Mio to M-76 becomes a part of the newly designated M-72 from M-76 to Mio, then easterly to Harrisville on the Lake Huron shore, then southerly (along present-day US-23) to Oscoda.
  1934 – The M-33 routing is extended from its northern terminus at M-32 five miles east of Atlanta, westerly along M-32 to Atlanta, then northerly for 26 miles to end at US-23 (present-day M-68) on the western limit of Onaway. The portion of the new route from M-32 in Atlanta to the Montmorency/Presque Isle Co line runs via a newly constructed "earth-surfaced" roadway. Also farther south, M-33 is realigned to run due south from Rose City along its present-day alignment to M-55 at Old State Rd.
  1937 (Dec 17, 29) – The State Highway Dept's Highway Advisory Board authorizes a 12.2-mile segment of state trunkline running due southerly from the southern terminus of M-33 at M-55 northeast of West Branch in central Ogemaw Co to a new terminus at M-76 near Alger in northwest Arenac Co on December 17. The segment of highway is officially determined as a state trunkline on December 29, although the route is not yet constructed as a state trunkline and, in the field, the signed route of M-33 will continue to terminate at M-55/State Rd for now. M-55 is in the process of being relocated to a more direct alignment due easterly from West Branch via the Tawas Rd alignment, so construction begins only on the first 2½ miles of the new M-33 extension to the new M-55 relocation with the remainder of the newly-determined M-33 extension to M-76 near Alger an unconstructed, proposed route.
  1938 (Late) – Work on both the M-55 relocation due easterly from West Branch as well as the M-33 southerly extension from former M-55 at State Rd for 2½ miles to the new M-55/Tawas Rd alignment is completed and both routes are opened to traffic. The 2½ miles southerly extension of M-33 in central Ogemaw Co runs along the 1937 determination, but the southern end of the route will remain at M-55/Tawas Rd until construction of the trunkline southerly to M-76 at Alger is completed in the future.
  1940 Updated 2023-04 – With the realignment of US-23 along the Lake Huron shore between Rogers City and Cheboygan, M-33 is extended concurrently with the newly-designated M-68 west from Onaway for 10 miles to Fingerboard Corner, then northerly for another 17 miles as solely M-33 to US-27, then an additional four miles concurrently with US-27 to terminate at US-23 in downtown Cheboygan. Even with the extension, one of the longest continuous sections of paved M-33 is the formerly earthen-surfaced track north of Atlanta, now hard-surfaced into Presque Isle Co.
  1943 – Even while World War II is raging in Europe and Asia and funds for road improvements are nearly non-existant, the southerly extension of M-33 from M-55/Tawas Rd in central Ogemaw Co to M-76 near Alger in northwest Arenac Co is completed and opened to traffic as a gravel-surfaced roadway. (This segment would be hard-surfaced two years from now.) This extension adds 9.7 miles to the length of M-33.
  1951 – M-33/M-72 between Mio and Fairview is realigned onto its present alignment, eliminating two 90º turns.
  1958 – The last segment of gravel-surfaced M-33 is paved, between the communities of Tower and Legrand in Cheboygan Co.
  1968 – M-33 is extended for a very short distance to end at the newly constructed M-76 freeway at Alger.
  1973 – The southern terminus of M-33 at M-76, while physically at the same location, becomes I-75 with the completion of the last segment of I-75 at Roscommon.
  1982 (Oct)—1983 (Mar) New! 2023-04 – In October 1982, some MDOT staffers internally propose terminating M-33 at its jct with M-27 four miles south of downtown Cheboygan, thereby eliminating the concurrent M-27/M-33 route into the city from the south. By March 1983, others within the department concur and plans are made to remove M-33 markers along M-27 which likely happens later in 1983 or in 1984. (See Notes section above for details.)
  1995 – A new alignment of M-32/M-33 opens east of Atlanta smoothing out some of the sharper curves and redesigning the M-32 & M-33 intersection.
Controlled Access: No portion of M-33 is freeway or expressway.
NHS: M-33 is part of the National Highway System (NHS) from its southern terminus at I-75 northerly to the western jct with M-32 in downtown Atlanta. (70.7 miles) (The I-75–to–M-32 east jct segment was added in 2012 with the passage of the MAP-21 funding and authorization bill.)
Memorial Highways:  The following Memorial Highway designation has been officially assigned to a part of M-33 by the Michigan Legislature:
  • Veterans' Memorial Drive – "The part of highway M-33 located in Ogemaw and Oscoda counties between Houghton Creek Road and Miller Road..." From MDOT: "Title 38 of the Code of Federal Regulations defines a veteran as “a person who served in the active military, naval, or air service and who was discharged or released under conditions other than dishonorable.” This definition explains that any individual that completed a service for any branch of armed forces classifies as a veteran as long as they were not dishonorably discharged."
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