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M-22 & M-109 junction route signage in Glen Arbor, Michigan
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Former M-41
M-42 Route Marker On to Next Route:
Western Terminus:    Cnr Michigan Ave (BUS US-131 northerly and OLD US-131 southerly) & 7th St (BUS US-131/M-42 easterly) on the south side of Manton.
Eastern Terminus:    M-66 at cnr Morey Rd & Hillbrand Rd, two miles north of Lake City
Length: 10.340 miles
Maps: Route Map of M-42
Notes: Before M-37 was completed north of Wolf Lake, M-42 ran along the present-day alignment of M-37 between Mesick and Old Mission.
  All of M-42 from Manton westerly to its former western terminus at M-37 was transferred to county control in June 2007. After more than 85 years as a state trunkline highway, the 14.39 miles of 16 Rd from the west city limit of Manton westerly to M-37 was be turned back to the Wexford Co Road Commission. The 0.497-mile portion of W Main St from BUS US-131/Michigan Ave to the west city limit has not been transferred, however, and will become an unsigned state trunkline highway as OLD M-42. While it would seem logical for the western terminus of M-42 to be situated at the US-131 freeway interchange with the 1.32 mile long remainder of what is now M-42/BUS US-131 signed solely as BUS US-131 in Manton, MDOT has chosen to end M-42 at the Michigan Ave & 7th St intersection (what had been the southern M-42 & US-131 junction for many years). As currently signed, M-42 and BUS US-131 run concurrently for the short stretch between US-131 and Old US-131/Michigan Ave, where M-42 terminates and BUS US-131 continues northerly through Manton. Prior to the transfer, M-42 was 25.72 miles in length.
  One source notes the reason for the recent transfer of M-42 from Manton westerly lied mostly with seasonal weight and load restrictions. The 15 miles of M-42 along 16 Rd between M-37 and Manton were classified as "flexible pavements" on the 2006 MDOT "Truck Operator's Map" and, therefore, subject to restrictions on the weight and types of trucks that can use the highway during the springtime (all other state trunklines in Wexford Co—and all surrounding counties—are of the "all-weather" type). Reportedly, the Wexford Co Road Commission, after finding that upgrading M-42 west of Manton to all-weather standards was too cost prohibitive, proposed that MDOT transfer the segment to the county so the county could set less-restrictive load levels, to which MDOT agreed.
  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 one major change to the route of M-42 during that timeframe—a change that, unlike most of what was proposed in the set of maps, actually came to pass for the most part! The planners suggested truncating M-42 to the then-proposed US-131 freeway southeast of Manton, turning back all of M-42 west of US-131 all the way to Mesick. Just 47 years later, this recommendation was actually implemented when MDOT turned back all of M-42 from Manton westerly to M-37 near Mesick to county control. The primary difference between the 1960 planning maps and what occured in 2007 was that the portion of M-42 from the US-131 freeway (which was completed in 2003) westerly to Michigan Ave (Old US-131) was retained in the system and concurrently designated with BUS US-131.
History: 1913 (Aug 6) New! 2024-01 – A new 34.5-mile long state trunkline route is officially established beginning at T.L. 13 (later M-13, then US-131) on the west village limit of the Manton in Wexford Co, continuing westerly for 14½ miles along 16 Rd to 13 Rd northeast of Mesick, where it turns northerly via 13 Rd for 6½ miles, then easterly for one mile along 2½ Rd and Wexford Ave into downtown Buckley, then northerly again along First St and into Grand Traverse Co and northerly along present-day M-37 for 12 miles to a terminus at T.L. 11 (later M-11, now US-31) at Chums Corners south of Traverse City. This new trunkline is assigned the T.L. 42 designation.
  1920 (Apr 15–30) New! 2024-01 – T.L. 42 is signed in the field as M-42 as all state trunkline highways in the Lower Peninsula are scheduled to be signed with route markers during the last half of April.
  1921 (Apr 15) – The Grand Traverse Co Board of Commissioners adopts a resolution naming the segment of M-42 (present-day M-37) from the southern Grand Traverse Co line near Buckley northerly to its northern terminus at Chums Corners, then the portion of M-11 (present-day US-31) from Chums Corners south of Traverse City northerly through Traverse City to the Grand Traverse/Antrim Co line south of Elk Rapids as the "Hamilton Way" in honor of Traverse City's Frank Hamilton, the so-called "father of the good roads movement in Northern Michigan." The suggestion for the naming originated with the Traverse City Rotary Club. "Four or more suitable markers" are planned to be erected at first with eventual plans to place signs along the highway each mile bearing the name "Hamilton Way" and the distance to Traverse City.
  1927 (Mid) Updated 2024-01 – In January, the State Administrative Board approves a new trunkline route between Manton and M-66 north of Lake City, but the route is not yet officiall established by the State Highway Dept. By June, an easterly extension of M-42 from Manton into Missaukee Co to M-66/Morey Rd north of Lake City begins showing up on official road maps. As this segment of roadway has not yet been established, but media reports seem to indicate is is signed as part of M-42, it becomes a "marked-and-maintained" route form the time being.
  1928 (May 21) New! 2024-01 – The easterly extension of M-42 from Manton into Missaukee Co is officially established as a state trunkline route. From the Manton west city limit, M-42 is now concurrently desgnated with US-131 along W Main St from Sturtevant St into downtown, then southerly, still with US-131 along S Michigan Ave for ½ mile where it turns easterly along its newly-established route. That portion of the route travels east from Manton via Seventh St, which becomes 16½ Rd outside Manton, to the Wexford/Missaukee Co line. In Missaukee Co, the M-42 extension runs easterly along Mike & Tony Rd for a mile, then southerly via Brown Rd for ½ mile, easterly again for 1½ miles on Packingham Rd, southerly once more for ½ mile via Lucas Rd to the hamlet of Arlene. There, M-42 turns easterly via Walker Rd for 2 miles, southerly and southeasterly along Hilbrand Rd for another 2 miles, southerly ½ via Al Moses Rd, then easterly for ½ mile along a roadway which may not be physically constructed at this time to a new eastern terminus at M-66/Morey Rd about two miles north of downtown Lake City.
  1928 (July 30) New! 2024-01 – Just over two months after being officially established in Missaukee Co, a portion of the newly-extended M-42 route is rerouted. Beginning at the cnr of Hilbrand, Al Moses & Gaukell Rds, the 0.5-mile segment of Gaukell Rd between Al Moses Rd and M-66/Morey Rd is officially established as the new route for M-42, while the 0.5 mile of Al Moses Rd from Gaukell Rd southerly and the apparently-unbuilt 0.5-mile long roadway segment from Al Moses Rd easterly to M-66/Morey Rdare cancelled as a state trunkline route.
  1935 (Jan 7) New! 2024-01 – A 17.6-mile long state trunkline route is officially established from US-31 at Traverse City northerly up the Old Mission Peninsula, terminating at the Old Mission Point Lighthouse at the end of the peninsula. The new route uses Peninsula Dr for the first mile from US-31/Front St out onto the peninsula where the route transitions to using Center Rd from there northerly. Construction is not yet complete on the new trunkline route which is given the M-42 designation. M-42, which had terminated at US-31 at Chums Corners southwest of Traverse City is extended northerly with US-31 into Traverse City, then easterly through downtown to the south end of the new peninsula route.
  1935 (Sept 26, 2pm) New! 2024-01 – What is known as the "Queen's Highway"—the newly-extended M-42 from Traverse City northerly along the Old Mission Peninsula—is completed and officially opened to traffic by State Highway Commissioner Murray D. Van Wagoner, Traverse City Mayor Mose Champney, State Rep William Ward, and Genevieve Pepera, 1935 National Cherry Festival Queen, at the "split" where the new M-42 diverges from US-31 east of downtown Traverse City. The $228,501 project involves improving the route with a 20-foot wide paved surface for the first 6.4 miles of the route, from US-31/Front St northerly along Peninsula Dr for a mile, then northerly via Center Rd for 5.4 miles, to Bluff Rd. The remaining 8.3-mile portion of M-42 from Bluff Rd northerly through Mapleton to Old Mission Rd southwest of the hamlet of Old Mission is completed with a 21-foot gravel surface. The final 3½ miles of the route from Old Mission Rd to the tip of the Peninsula is not yet complete or open to traffic. The new highway is billed as a "road to market" for 220 commercial cherry orchards on the peninsula, which is reportedly home to "almost a half a million cherry trees." The dedication ceremonies, which take place after a luncheon at the Park Place Hotel, features "free cider, cherry juice and doughnuts" for attendees.
  1936 (Feb 20) New! 2024-01 – A new 2.9-mile alignment for M-42 in northwest Missaukee Co is officially established from Lucas Rd in the hamlet of Arlene northwesterly to the Wexford Co line. The 3.5-mile long former route, northerly along Lucas Rd from Arlene for ½ mile, westerly via Packingham Rd for 1½ mile, northerly along Brown Rd for ½ mile, and westerly for a mile along Mike & Tony Rd is cancelled as a state trunkline route and turned back to county control. Official State Highway Dept sources, however, show this section of roadway to have been completed in 1934, likely meaning it has been signed as the route of M-42 since that time.
  1939 (Fall) New! 2024-01 – An additional 2¾ mile segment of M-42 on the Old Mission Peninsula north of Traverse City is completed and opened to traffic from Old Mission Rd northerly to the southern boundary of the Old Mission Point State Park. The final section of the established route of M-42 from the north end of this completed segment to the Old Misison Point Lighthouse is planned but not yet constructed.
  1940 Updated 2024-01 – Several developments along the northern portion of M-42 occur this year:
  • In late-April, State Highway Commissioner Murray D. Van Wagoner agrees with local civic leaders and tourism boosters that M-42 from Mesick—where the M-115 Frankfort-Clare Diagonal highway (currently under construction) will intersect when completed—and its northern end on the Old Mission Peninsula will be redesignated as M-37 in anticipation of the highway dept filling the gap in M-37 between Peacock in central Lake Co and Mesick in northwest Wexford Co. When completed, M-37 will form a complete highway route from Battle Creek through Grand Rapids, Newaygo and White Cloud to Traverse City.
  • The remaining unpaved portion of M-42 on the Old Mission Peninsula in Grand Traverse Co is paved with an oil aggregate surface from Bluff Rd to the end of the completed highway at the south boundary of the state park at the tip of the peninsula.
  • In the Fall of 1940, the route designation promised by Van Wagoner earlier in the year takes place when all of M-42 from Mesick northerly through Buckley and Traverse City to the end of the Old Mission Peninsula is redesignated as M-37, creating the two-segment discontiguous route noted above. The western terminus of M-42 is now at M-37 northeast of Mesick and will remain so for nearly seven decades.
  1951 – The last 11 miles of gravel-surfaced M-42 are paved, from Manton to M-66.
  2007 (June 6) – As noted in the "Notes" section above, the 14.39 mile section of M-42 from M-37 at Mesick easterly to the Manton west city limit is cancelled as a state trunkline route and transferred to county control. The 0.497 miles of M-42 along W Main St from the west Manton city limit at Sturtevant St/41½ Rd easterly to BUS US-131/Michigan Ave becomes unsigned as OLD M-42, while the 0.494 miles of what had been concurrently designated M-42 and BUS US-131 along Michigan Ave retains just the latter designation. The western terminus for M-42 is now at the Michigan Ave (BUS US-131 northerly) & 7th St (BUS US-131/M-42 easterly) intersection on the south side of Manton.
  2016 (Dec 20) Updated 2024-01 – The 0.497-mile-long, unsigned OLD M-42 trunkline route in Manton along W Main St west of BUS US-131/Michigan Ave to the west city limit at Sturtevant St/41½ Rd is transferred to city control and is no longer an unsigned state trunkline highway. As part of the transfer agreement, MDOT agrees to pay the City of Manton $299,872.79 for the City to reconstruct the downloaded segment instead of MDOT undertaking the project.
Controlled Access: No portion of M-42 is freeway or expressway.
NHS: No portion of M-42 is on the National Highway System (NHS).
Memorial Highway: At present, no portion of M-42 has been designated as part of a Memorial Highway.
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