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M-22 & M-109 junction route signage in Glen Arbor, Michigan
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M-40 Route Marker On to Next Route:
Southern Terminus:    US-12, three miles west of Mottville in southeastern Cass Co
Northern Terminus:    US-31/BL I-196 at the cnr of Lincoln Ave in the southeastern portion of the City of Holland
Length: 74.263 miles
Maps: Route Map of M-40
Notes: Prior to 1971, M-40 ran southwesterly from Paw Paw along the route of present-day M-51 to Niles, while M-119 ran southerly from Paw Paw along present-day M-40 to US-12. The odd jog in M-40 at Paw Paw dates back to the 1920s when M-40 only occupied the Paw Paw-to-Niles routing. In later years, as M-40 was extended to the north and M-119 was extended south of Paw Paw, the portion of highway through Decatur and Dowagiac to Niles came to be a less-than-logical routing for M-40.
  Until more recent times, M-40 continued northerly from its northern terminus at Holland via Lincoln Ave and State St to end at BUS US-31/BL I-196/River Ave-Michigan Ave (now, itself, no longer a state trunkline highway) just south of downtown, but was scaled back to end at US-31 for some reason.
  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 major changes to the route of M-40 during that timeframe, including:
  • Converting the route of M-40 (now designated M-51) from the northern limit of the City of Niles to the Berrien/Cass Co line. This proposal was not implemented.
  • Adding a new nothern bypass of Niles, designated on the planning maps as ALTERNATE M-40, departing M-40 in the North Niles area (approximately 1 mile north of the corner of N 5th St & Lake St) and heading westerly to a connection with the proposed US-31 freeway near the St Joseph River crossing between the Niles-Buchanan Rd and Walton Rd interchanges. This proposal was never implemented.
  • Realignment of M-40 onto a new divided highway alignment from the existing route just south of the southern limits of the CIty of Allegan northwesterly along a bypass (itself continuing the M-89 divided highway bypass beginning at US-131 and continuing south of Otsego and Allegan) running to the southwest of the existing route along Lincoln Rd, merging back into the existing route of M-40 at the jct of M-40 & M-89 (cnr Lincoln Rd & 124th Ave) near Dunningville. The former route was to have been turned back to local control, with the exception of the portion of M-40 along Jenner Dr and N Cedar St in Allegan, which would have become an extension of M-118 (now designated M-222). This proposal was not implemented.
  • Realignment of M-40 to continue on the northwesterly trajectory followed from Allegan through Hamilton and into Holland from where it turns westerly at 48th St in Holland nearly due northwesterly along a new routing meeting back with its existing alignment at the cnr of Lincoln Rd, 32nd St & State St, where it would continue via State St to its terminus at BUS US-31/River Ave-Michigan Ave. This proposal was never implemented.
History: 1913 (Oct 2) New! 2024-01 – The first segment of Trunk Line No.40 (T.L. 40) to be officially established as a state trunkline route is the five-mile segment in northern Cass Co from the Dowagiac north city limit to the Van Buren Co line along present-day M-51.
  1916 (Nov 21) New! 2024-01 – Oddly, the five-mile segment of T.L. 40 established leading northerly from Dowagiac to the Cass/Van Buren Co line over three years prior is cancelled as a state trunkline route, yet immediately re-established along the same route between the same termini and with the same exact mileage. (The reason for this cancellation-and-immediate-re-establishment is unclear at this time.) At the same time, and additional 5.6 miles of T.L. 40 are established from the Dowagiac west city limit southwesterly to the hamlet of Pokagon.
  1917 (May 15) New! 2024-01 – An additional 19.0 miles of T.L. 40 is officially established as a state trunkline route in Van Buren Co beginning at the Cass Co line (at the northern end of the 1913 establishment and the 1916 re-establishment—see above) and continuing northerly via 58th St, easterly along 92nd Ave, northerly on 56th St, easterly again via 90th Ave, northerly along 54th St, easterly on 88th Ave, then northeasterly through the Village of Decatur along Delaware St, then northerly from Decatur via 43rd St and easterly and northeasterly along Paw Paw Rd to Michigan Ave on the Paw Paw west village limit.
      Interestingly, the existing posted routes of both the Dixie Highway (West Michigan leg) and the Michigan-Detroit-Chicago Highway—two of the so-called Auto Trails of the era—follow a different route between Dowagiac and Decatur. While T.L. 40 runs northerly from Dowagiac before eventually turning easterly into Decatur, the Dixie and Mich-Detroit-Chicago Highways run northeasterly from Dowagiac via Marcellus Hwy and Hatch St to Picketts Corners, then north along Glenwood Rd, east via Fosdick St and north again on Decatur Rd/New Swamp Rd (Co Rd 668) into Decatur. It is assumed the State Highway Dept chose to not establish T.L. 40 along this route due to the "Steep Hill" south of Decatur marked on early Auto Trails maps, a hill still present on modern day Decatur Rd just south of the Van Buren/Cass Co line.
  1920 (Apr 15–30) New! 2024-01 – T.L. 40 is signed in the field as M-40 as all state trunkline highways in the Lower Peninsula are scheduled to be signed with route markers during the last half of April. While there is a gap in the officially established state trunkline route within the City of Dowagiac, that gap, consisting of locally-controlled roadway segments, is still signed as part of the route of M-40.
  1920 (Apr 27) New! 2024-01 – The segment of W Michigan Ave in the Village of Paw Paw from Paw Paw Rd/Johnson Rd (the nothern end of the 1917 establishment) easterly into downtown at Kalamazoo St is established as part of M-17 and M-40. The established length is 0.75 miles, although this is likely in error, as the actual distance between Paw Paw/Johnson Rd and Kalamazoo St via W Michigan Ave is closer to 0.62 mile.
  1921 (Dec) New! 2024-01 – A lengthening of the established route of M-40 in Cass and Berrien Cos and a realignment of the route in Van Buren Co occur at each end of the month of December:
  • (Dec 1) – M-40 is officially established along a 7.5-mile route from the existing southern end of M-40 at Pokagon in Cass Co southwesterly into Berrien Co to the northern city limit of Niles at Pine St. M-40 is then signed along Fifth St and Main St to a new southern terminus at M-58/Third St (later US-31 and US-31/US-33) in downtown Niles.
  • (Dec 29) – The 1½ mile portion of M-40 along 56th St and 90th Ave in southwest Hamilton Twp in Van Buren Co is cancelled as a state trunkline route, replaced by the 1½ segment along 92nd Ave and 54th St, bascially replacing three 90° turns in the route with just one.
  1923 (July 5) New! 2024-01 – With the official establishment of M-60 as a state trunkline route running through Niles (heading westerly through Buchanan toward New Buffalo and easterly toward Cassopolis), the portion of M-40 along Main St between M-58 at Third St and Fifth St where M-40 turns northerly is likely decommissioned, with M-40 now likely terminating at M-60/Main St in downtown Niles.
  1923 (July 6) New! 2024-01 – M-40 is extended northerly from Paw Paw to Allegan, connecting the two county seats when a 22.9-mile trunkline route running roughly along the present-day M-40 corridor through Gobles is officially established. While this segment of M-40 largely follows the present-day route of M-40, it diverges to pass Foster Lake to the east and also to enter Allegan via Linn St to S Cedar St, with the established trunkline route terminating at Cedar & Trowbridge St, with the two blocks of Cedar St from Trowbridge St north to M-89 at Monroe St signed along streets remaining under city jurisdiction.
  1924 (May 28) New! 2024-01 – A new 2.6-mile route for M-40 is oficially established in Van Buren Co, although the segment is not yet constructed and opened to traffic yet. The new segment begins at the cnr of 43rd St & Paw Paw Rd and runs due northerly along 43rd St to M-17 at 56th St between Paw Paw and Lawrence. The existing 4.6-mile portion of M-40 along Paw Paw Rd from 43rd St northeasterly into Paw Paw is cancelled as a state trunkline route, but remains "marked-and-maintained" as part of M-40 until the new route is completed.
  1924 (Sept 17) New! 2024-01 – Two segments of the signed route of M-40 in the City of Dowagiac following city streets are officially established as state trunkline routes and transferred to state control. They are the 0.2-mile segment of W Main St from the west city limit at Hastings Ave (present-day Paul St) easterly to Lowe St and the 0.4-mile segment of N Front St from the north city limit southerly to Wayne St. The remainder of M-40 through downtown Dowagiac remains signed along streets under city jurisdiction.
  1924–26 Updated 2024-01M-17 is realigned in 1924 between Paw Paw and Lawrence in central Van Buren Co to run along present-day Red Arrow Hwy between 41st St and 56th Ave, although the new alignment is not yet officially established as a state trunkline route. M-40 is scheduled to run concurrently with M-17 from 43rd St easterly once the new segement between Paw Paw Rd and M-17 is completed and opened to traffic. Then in 1926, that segment of M-40, which was officially established in late-May 1924, is completed and opened to traffic. M-40 now runs northerly from Paw Paw Rd via 43rd St to M-17 at the Tea Pot Dome location, then turns easterly with M-17 along Red Arrow Hwy to Paw Paw. The "marked-and-maintained" segment of M-40 along Paw Paw Rd has its route markers removed and state maintenance ceased.
  1927 (Feb 26) Updated 2024-01M-89 is relocated easterly from Allegan to follow the "Allegan-Otsego Beeline" road (present-day Lincoln Rd) while the former segment of M-89 between Allegan and M-13 (later US-131) at Martin via Monroe St and Grand St (in Allegan), 116th Ave, and Allegan St (in Martin) is redesiganted as an easterly extension of M-40. (This is the present-day route of M-222.)
  1928 (June 28) Updated 2024-01 – A 19.2-mile state trunkline route is established beginning at M-89 at the cnr of Monroe Rd–Delano St & "Holland-Allegan Beeline" road northwest of Allegan and running northwesterly along the beeline road (present-day Lincoln Rd) through Hamilton to the cnr of Lincoln Rd, 32nd St & State St southeast of downtown Holland. Most of the roadway already exists as a county road with the exception of the portion between 146th Ave (present-day 48th St) southeast of Holland and the Lincoln/32nd/State intersection, which is unbuilt. M-40 is rerouted from Allegan to run northwesterly along this new trunkline route, using 146th Ave (48th St) and Lincoln Rd as a "marked-and-maintained" route around the unbuilt segment, then following State St into Holland, also as a "marked-and-maintained" route on city streets, then northerly two blocks along River Ave to a new northern terminus at US-31 at 17th St. M-40 is now routed concurrently with M-89 along N Cedar St and Delano St in northwestern Allegan. The former route of M-40 along Monroe St and Grand St (in Allegan), 116th Ave, and Allegan St (in Martin) is redesignated as M-118. Interestingly, an internal State Highway Dept map produced in October 1926 labels the new Allegan–Holland trunkline route as M-118 with M-40 remaining on the Allegan–Martin route. Either this is a cartographic error or it may mean the department may have initially intended to apply M-118 to the Allegan–Holland segment instead of rerouting M-40 along it.
  1930 (Dec 2) Updated 2024-01 – Two official trunkline establishments related to M-40 occur in Allegan and Berrien Cos:
  • At Allegan, a 1.3-mile long trunkline route for M-40/M-89 is established beginning at the Cedar St & Cutler St–Western St intersection and continuing westerly along Western St, then northwesterly along a new highway alignment to the cnr of Monroe Rd–Delano St & Lincoln Rd intersection northwest of town, although this new segment is likely not yet completed and opened to traffic as the contract to build the section for $34,590 is not by the state until mid-October, meaning this segment of M-40/M-89 doesn't likely open to traffic until sometime in 1931. The 1.2-mile segment of M-40/M-89 along Cedar St from M-118/Monroe St northerly to Delano St and via Delano St from Cedar St northwesterly to Lincoln Rd is cancelled as a trunkline route (although remains signed as part of M-40/M-89 until the new alignment is completed and opened to traffic) while the one-block section of Cedar St from Cutler–Western Sts northerly to M-118/Monroe St becomes a short extension of the route of M-118.
  • A 5.3-mile long trunkline route southwest of Niles in Berrien Co is also officially established along Chicago Rd from present-day US-12/Pulaski Hwy (not yet constructed in 1930) southwesterly to a point approximately ¼ mile east of Oak Forest Rd (northwest of South Clear Lake) where the established trunkline route veers away from Chicago Rd southwesterly along an unbuilt alignment to the Indiana state line approximately ½ mile west of South Clear Lake. This new trunkline route, although officially part of the route of M-40, is not signed as part of M-40. The new highway is intended to be part of a new route connecting Niles with US-20 near New Carlisle, Indiana and that state's highway department is said to be also be interested in constructing their portion of the route.
  1931 (Mar 5) New! 2024-01 – The segment of Chicago Rd from the future route of M-60 (currently under construction—and part of modern-day US-12/Pulaski Hwy), at the northeast end of the portion of Chicago Rd established as a trunkline route the prior December 2, then northeasterly along Chicago Rd to River Rd at the Niles west city limit is established as a state trunkline route as part of the M-60 realignment between Niles and Galien. As such, it will also function as part of the proposed route of M-40 heading southwesterly from Niles toward New Carlisle, Indiana, once the route is constructed.
  1931 (May 19) New! 2024-01 – Act 131 of 1931—the Dykstra Act—is passed allowing the State Highway Dept to take over control of state highways running into and through incorporated cities, thereby officially incorporating them as state trunkline highways. The following segments of formerly city-controlled streets are established as state trunkline highway routes as part of M-40:
  • In Niles: 1.6 miles of the future route of M-60 (and proposed M-40 southwest extension) from the west city limit at River Rd northeasterly along Chicago Rd, northerly four city blocks along Lincoln Ave, easterly via existing signed M-60/Grant St for two blocks, northerly for one long block on St Joseph Ave, then easterly across the St Joseph River bridge and along Main St through the central business district to Fifth St.
  • Also in Niles: 0.7 mile of existing signed M-40 along FIfth St from M-60/Main St northerly to Pine St at the north city limit.
  • In Dowagiac: 1.0 mile consisting of Main St from Lowe St southeasterly to Front St, and Front St from Main St northeasterly and northerly to Wayne St.
  • In Holland: the northernmost 1.1 miles of M-40 from the Lincoln Ave/32nd St/State St intersection northwesterly along State St to Michigan Ave & 19th St, then northerly two blocks to US-31 at 17th St.
  1935 (Jan 7) Updated 2024-01 – The 5.3-mile portion of proposed M-40 along Chicago Rd southwest of Niles from M-60 (present-day US-12/Pulaski Hwy) southwesterly to a point approximately ¼ mile east of Oak Forest Rd (northwest of South Clear Lake) then southwesterly along an unbuilt alignment to the Indiana state line approximately ½ mile west of South Clear Lake is officially cancelled as a state trunkline route, having never been built in the four-plus years it had existed as an established route. The original plan was to extend M-40 from downtown Niles southwesterly with M-60, then continue southwesterly along Chicago Rd to a connection with a new highway constructed in Indiana heading toward US-20 near New Carlisle, Indiana. It can be assumed this segment of established trunkline is cancelled because Indiana no longer wishes to complete their portion of the route. It is unclear if any M-40 route markers had ever been erected along the portion of the route southwest from Niles.
  1936 New! 2024-01 – Two changes along the northern portion of the route of M-40 include:
  • A slight relocation of the route of M-40 in the Dunningville area between Allegan and Hamilton.
  • The US-31A designation is routed concurrently with M-40 in Holland along River Ave between State St and US-31 at 17th St when the new US-31A route is opened to traffic between Saugatuck and Holland.
  1937 New! 2024-01 – When the route designations of US-31 and US-31A between Saugatuck and Holland are "flip-flopped" and swapped out with each other, the concurrent US-31A/M-40 in Holland becomes US-31/M-40, unless it is at this point that the northern terminus of M-40 is scaled back by two blocks to end at US-31 at the State St, Michigan St & River Ave intersection.
  1937 (Dec 8, 1:40 am) New! 2024-01 – Precipitation from a winter storm causes the Paw Paw municipal hydroelectric dam to fail, sweeping away both the dam's power plant as well as a bridge and 75 feet of M-40 between Maple and Ackley Lakes just north of Paw Paw, rendering the highway impassable. Luckily the only two injuries from the washed out segment of roadway are two Michigan State Police officers who drive into the gap, which is obscured by driving snowfall. M-40 between Paw Paw and M-43 is closed until repairs are made.
  1938 (Mar 8) New! 2024-01 – Exactly three months to the day after the bridge and 75 feet of M-40 between Maple and Ackley Lakes on the northern end of Paw Paw is washed away in a storm, the higway is reopened to traffic after emergency repairs are made.
  1945 (June 26) New! 2024-01 – The 0.2-mile segment of M-40 in the southern part of the City of Allegan running along Linn St between Spruce and Linn Sts is cancelled as a state trunkline route when the 0.2 miles of Spruce St from Linn St to Cedar St and Cedar St from Spruce St to Linn St are established as the new routing for M-40.
  1946 – The final 6 miles of gravel-surfaced M-40 are paved, between Dunningville and Hamilton in central Allegan Co.
  1950 (Nov 3) New! 2024-01 – A new alignment for M-40 in south-central Allegan Co is officially established as a state trunkline route from south of 108th Ave to south of 106th Ave, bypassing Foster Lake to the west. The existing route of M-40 between those same points, but passing to the east of Foster Lake, is cancelled as a state trunkline, although remains "marked-and-maintained" as part of M-40 until work on the new alignment is completed and opened to traffic.
  1951–54 New! 2024-01 – The route of M-40 from Allegan southerly to the Allegan/Van Buren Co line is modernized and improved, along with the realignment to the west of Foster Lake (see above) over the course of four years. In 1951, the segment from just north of 108th Ave southerly to the Van Buren Co line is modernized, including the Foster Lake west bypass, and given a gravel surface. The next year in 1952, the modernization of the portion of M-40 to the north into the City of Allegan is completed, also with a gravel surface. Then in 1953, the south segment is paved, while the north segment from 108th Ave into Allegan is also hard-surfaced.
  1952 – In mid-1952, M-89 is rerouted in central Allegan Co and its concurrent designation with M-40 is extended by seven miles.
  1955 (July 19) Updated 2024-01 – A new direct, curving alignment for M-40 in outhern Van Buren Co approximately six miles west of Decatur is established, replacing the former "stair step" route. The new 2.465-mile route consists of partially new highway alignment (92nd Ave to 56th St) and partially reconstructed existing roadway (56th St to 54th St), while the former 3.0-mile route along 92nd Ave and 56th St is cancelled and turned back to local control. The new route eliminates two 90° turns in the route.
  1956 (Mar 26) New! 2024-01 – A new routing for M-40 is established leading into the City of Allegan from the south along a new alignment. The new 2.2-mile long alignment which begins 1.2 miles south of the Allegan city limit and continues northerly directly via present-day Jenner Dr to M-89/Cedar–Marshall Sts just south of the intersection of Cedar, Ely & Hubbard Sts in downtown Allegan. Portions of the former route of M-40 which aren't subsumed under the new highway are either obliterated as a public roadway, or become local county roads or city streets, namely Huber St south of Allegan and Linn St & S Cedar St in the city.
  1960 (Aug 15, Sept 15) Updated 2024-01 – Several changes occur to the route of M-40 related to the construction and opening of the I-94/US-12 freeway through Van Buren Co in the Paw Paw area:
  • February 2: The M-119 overpass spanning the I-94/US-12 freeway on the south side of Paw Paw is completed and opened to traffic. The remainder of the relocation for M-119 is likely opened to traffic as well. M-119 has been relocated onto a new alignment west of its previous route as part of the interchange project for the new freeway. The segment of M-119 from existing US-12 in downtown Paw Paw southerly to the new freeway will become part of the route of M-40 once the freeway west of Paw Paw is completed and opened to traffic.
  • February 10: The 1.4-mile long M-119 relocated noted above and opened eight days earlier is officially established as a state trunkline route, with the former route cancelled and turned back to local control.
  • August 15: The 14½-mile segment of the I-94/US-12 freeway segment from M-119 at Paw Paw westerly to Hartford in central Van Buren Co is completed and opened to traffic. US-12 from Paw Paw westerly toward Hartford is relocated off Red Arrow Hwy onto the new freeway as is M-40 between Paw Paw and its route heading south toward Decatur. M-119 is scaled back from downtown Paw Paw to a new northern terminus at the M-40/M-119 interchange south of downtown Paw Paw. M-119 is shortened by ¾ mile while the route of M-40, relocated from Red Arrow Hwy onto the I-94/US-12 freeway gains one-tenth of a mile in the overall length of the route.
  • September 15: Exactly one month after opening to traffic, the six-mile segment of the I-94/US-12/M-40 freeway from Paw Paw westerly is officially certified as a state trunkline route while the 0.684-mile segment of former M-40 from the new freeway north to Red Arrow Hwy and the 3.95-mile portion of former US-12/M-40 along Red Arrow Hwy easterly into Paw Paw is cancelled as a trunkline route and turned back to county and village control.
  1971 (Sept 8) – The State Highway Dept announces a change in highway route designations involving M-40 and M-119 in Van Buren, Cass and Berrien Cos to go into effect later in the fall. From Paw Paw, M-119 will be supplanted in its entirety by a rerouted M-40, which will now continue south from Paw Paw through Lawton and Marcellus, terminating at US-12 west of Mottville. The former route of M-40 between I-94 west of Paw Paw southerly through Decatur and Dowagiac to Niles will be redesignated as M-51. The concurrent I-94/M-40 segment between Exits 56 and 60 becomes just I-94. Reasons given for the change by State Highway Dept officials include "motorist confusion" with having M-40 routed along I-94 for four miles and the M-119 route from Paw Paw southerly being a much more logical routing for M-40 to follow.
  1971 (Nov) – Following completion of a widening project along M-40 in downtown Dowagiac, the route designation changes for M-40 and M-119 announced earlier in the year take effect. All M-119 route markers are changed out for M-40 signs, while all M-40 signs between I-94 at Exit 56 and downtown Niles are swapped out for new M-51 markers. The M-119 route designation is retired at this point and the overall route length of M-40 is shortened by 9½ miles.
  1994 (June 30) Updated 2023-12 – The 1.544-mile northernmost portion of M-40 from the US-31 Holland Bypass northerly via Lincoln Ave and northwesterly via Staet St to BUS US-31/BL I-196 in (at cnr State St, Michigan Ave & River Ave) south of downtown Holland is cancelled as a state trunkline route and turned back to city control. M-40 now terminates at the US-31 Holland Bypass.
Controlled Access: No portion of M-40 is freeway or expressway.
NHS: M-40 from jct M-89 (at cnr Jenner Dr & Marshall St-Cedar St) in Allegan northwesterly to the northern terminus at US-31/BL I-196 in Holland is on the National Highway System (NHS). (21.3 miles) (The segment of M-40 from M-89 in Allegan to I-196 at Exit 49 in Holland was added to the NHS in 2012 with the passage of the MAP-21 funding and authorization bill.)
Memorial Highway: At present, no portion of M-40 has been designated as part of a Memorial Highway.
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