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M-22 & M-109 junction route signage in Glen Arbor, Michigan
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Southern Terminus:    Wisconsin state line (connection w/CTH-B) 9 miles south of Marinesco, ¼ mile north of Presque Isle, Wisconsin
Eastern Terminus:   Jct US-45/S Steel St & M-38 in Ontonagon, south of downtown
Length: Updated 63.764 miles
Maps: New! Route Map of M-64
Ontonagon State Trunkline Changes 2006
Notes: Updated 2023-11 M-64 is one of Michigan's "directionally-challenged" routes, in that its cardinal directions change at some point along the route. From the Wisconsin state line to Silver City, M-64 is signed as a north–south route, while from Silver City to Ontonagon, it is signed as an east–west route.
  M-64 is one of two Michigan state highways having no state-maintained counterpart on the Wisconsin side of the state line (the other is M-95 at Kingsford). M-64 connects with CTH-B (County Trunk Highway B).
  One of the last gravel-surfaced state highways in Michigan, M-64 was fully hard-surfaced in 1961. Since that time, all of Michigan's state highways have been paved.
  Until Oct 11, 2005, the northernmost several hundred feet of M-64, well within sight of its former northern terminus at US-45 in downtown Ontonagon, featured the last swing bridge in use on the Michigan state trunkline system. This bridge, built during 1939 and opened in January 1940, had been in constant use and by the early-2000s was determined to be at the end of its useful life. According to the EPA, "The swing bridge expands when open in hot weather and needs to be cooled down to close, thus creating motorist delays. The bridge provides a substandard opening for both navigation and water flow in the Ontonagon River. Low underclearance in combination with relatively close pier spacing and windrowed ice at the mouth of the river has also created ice jams on the upstream side of the bridge during the spring breakup." After studying several alternatives, including "no build," a new movable span at the same location and several fixed spans upstream, MDOT selected a fixed span to be built just upstream of the existing railroad bridge. Since the railroad bridge has always been a fixed span, it has marked the upstream limits of large craft navigation on the Ontonagon River. Construction on the new bridge began in 2005 and was completed in October 2006, opening to traffic on the 11th of that month. M-64 was then diverted to cross the Ontonagon River via the new bridge and now terminates at US-45 several blocks south of its former junction with M-38. (See the Ontonagon State Trunkline Changes 2006 map.)
  An August 2006 MDOT press release about the dedication of the new Ontonagon River Bridge included the following information:

A project of this magnitude required strong partnerships between MDOT, the village of Ontonagon, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) in order to reach completion," said Michael Premo, manager of MDOT's Crystal Falls Transportation Service Center. "We're very pleased to celebrate this occasion with our partners and the community."

The new bridge features 13 spans and is nearly 1,700 feet long, including two lanes of traffic and a 12-foot-wide pedestrian lane that will accommodate a trail groomer and snowmobiles in the winter. It replaces the Ontonagon River Swing Bridge, which will be removed. The entire project totaled $27 million.

  New! 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 just one change to M-64 during that timeframe. The planners recommended completing M-64 northerly from Bergland toward White Pine along its originally-established alignment from December of 1930. Oddly enough, work was already underway to realign M-64 via its present-day routing north of Bergland as the planning maps were being developed, so while this proposal was not adopted exactly as shown, the change did take place in a slightly broader sense.
History: 1915 (Nov 27) New! – 18.15 miles of new state trunkline route is officially established in Hillsdale Co. The route begins at the Ohio state line southeast of Frontier and proceeds northerly 4½ miles along Pioneer Rd, westerly for 2½ miles via Burt Rd, northerly on Clark Rd for a mile, turning westerly along Montgomery Rd for 1¾ miles through Frontier, then northerly for 6.9 miles via S Hillsdale Rd, ending at the southern limit of the City of Hillsdale at Lynnwood Blvd. This new trunkline is designated as T.L. 64.
  1916 (May 5) New! – Nearly the entire length of T.L. 64 from the Ohio state line northerly to the Cambria–Hillsdale Twp line just south of Hillsdale is cancelled as a state trunkline routing, but is immediately re-established along the same route with the same official length. (The 0.7-mile portion of T.L. 64 from the Cambria–Hillsdale Twp line to the south limits of the City of Hillsdale is not cancelled-and-immediately-re-established for some reason.) It is not clear why this move was made as the result at the end of the day is identical to when the day began!
  1919 (July 1) New! – T.L. 64 is signed in the field as M-64 as all state trunkline highways in Michigan are signed with route markers. The gap in the route within the City of Hillsdale is signed as M-64 but is not officially under state jurisdiction at this point.
  1920 (Feb 16) New! – An additional 0.25 mile is added to the northern end of M-64 when the two blocks of S Howell St in Hillsdale between Lynwood Blvd and Sharp St is established as a state trunkline route. The signed route of M-64 continues northerly on city-maintained Howell St to a terminus at M-34/Broad St in downtown Hillsdale.
  1927 (Feb 27) Updated – In 1920, M-34 had been extended from Hillsdale northerly to Jonesville and, five years later, extended farther northwesterly through Litchfield and into Calhoun Co northerly to U Dr South, where the official trunkline establishment ended. From U Dr South northerly into Homer, the route was apparently "marked-and-maintained" as a trunkline route, but along a certified county road. On February 27, an 8.1-mile segment of state trunkline highway is established beginning at M-60/Main St in Homer and continuing northerly along Webster St to the village limit, then continuing northerly and northeasterly along 25½ Mile Rd and B Dr South to the Albion city limit, then into Albion via Irwin Ave to Superior St and is designated as part of M-64. From Hillsdale, the M-64 designation supplants the M-34 routing through Jonesville and Litchfield and into Homer where it connects with the new Homer-to-Albion routing. M-64 now runs from the Ohio state line northerly to the newly-designated US-12 (formerly M-17) in Albion.
  1928 New! – During 1928, the decision is made to redesignate all of M-64 from the Ohio state line northerly through Hillsdale, Jonesville, Litchfield, and Homer to Albion as M-9 and then extend the M-9 designation northerly along the newly-designated trunkline route from Albion through Eaton Rapids to Lansing. The redesignation is done because the designation across the border in Ohio of the state route continuing southerly all the way to Cincinnati is Ohio SR-9. By making this change, a motorist could drive from Lansing, Michigan to Cincinnati, Ohio on a route bearing the same number throughout: M-9 and SR-9. This means, of course, the existing M-9—the short, 5-mile long spur from US-41 to Eagle Harbor in Keweenaw Co—will need a new state trunkline route designation. The State Highway Dept decides to simply swap the two designations and reassigns the M-64 designation to replace M-9 in Keweenaw Co.
  1928 (Oct–Dec) New! – The State Highway Dept replaces the M-9 markers on the Eagle Harbor Spur in Keweenaw Co with M-64 markers in the fall, with work likely completed by mid-December. However, M-9 route markers are not instantly installed on the new Lansing-to-Albion trunkline route that was established in June, nor are the M-64 markers removed or replaced from Albion southerly to the Ohio line, according to contemporary newspaper evidence, thus, for the time being, there are actually two M-64 routings in the state!
  1929 (Fall) Updated – The remainder of the (Lower Peninsula version of) M-64 is likely converted to M-9 as all remaining route markers are swapped out for M-9 route markers from Albion southerly to the Ohio state line. The only M-64 is now the "new" one which swapped placed with the "original" M-9 in Keweenaw Co. The M-64 and M-9 designations simply traded places—to opposite ends of the state! Ironically, M-64 will again trade places with yet another state trunkline route in just a couple years...
  1929–1931 Updated – M-64 is relocated from its Keweenaw Co routing to one a bit to the southwest in Gogebic and Ontonagon Cos over the course of two years:
  • In 1929, a three-mile long spur route leading from US-2 (at present day cnr M-64 & C.C. Rd approximately 4 miles east of Marenisco in Gogebic Co) to the southern end of Lake Gogebic at the Gogebic Co Park debuts on official state highway maps, although the route itself has not yet been officially established as a state trunkline highway route. This spur route is designated and signed as M-129 for the time being.
  • 1929 (Dec 2) – 9.3 miles of new state trunkline highway route are officially established beginning at US-2 in downtown Marenisco and continuing southerly to a terminus at the Wisconsin state line. This route becomes an extension of M-129, with the portion of US-2 between the northern M-129 signed in 1929 to Lake Gogebic and the southern portion at Marenisco being concurrently designated as US-2/M-129.
  • 1930 (Dec 2) – A 19.0-mile long segment of state trunkline highway route in western Ontonago Co from M-28 at Bergland northerly to the Lake Superior shore at Silver City, then easterly for two miles to the western end of existing M-35 (present day M-64) is officially established as a state trunkline route and designated (initially) as an extension of M-35. However, this route is not yet constructed or open to traffic and, as such, is not signed as part of any trunkline route. At some point soon after (between now and early 1931), it is re-designated as a northerly extension of M-129.
  • 1931 (July 1) New! – A 10.2-mile long state trunkline route beginning at the eastern jct of US-2 & M-129 (present-day cnr M-64 & CC Rd) northeast of Marenisco and proceeding easterly to the Gogebic Co Park, then northerly up the western shore of Lake Gogebic to the Gogebic/Ontonagon Co line. It encompasses the approximately 6½ miles of M-129 already apparently signed as M-129 from US-2 northerly to Lake Gogebic State Park as well as approximately 3¾ mile of unbuilt highway from the state park to the county line which is proposed to become a northerly extension of M-129 to M-28 at Merriweather west of Bergland in Gogebic Co.
  • 1931 (Aug–Sept) Updated – By August or September, the M-129 and M-64 designations in the western Upper Peninsula are flip-flopped, trading places... for reasons which have not been made apparent to date. Up to this time, M-64 has been designated along the five-mile long "Eagle Harbor Cut-off" in Keweenaw Co running from US-41 between Phoenix and Central northeasterly through Copper Falls to Eagle Harbor on Lake Superior. This route had formerly been one of the three M-15 spurs in Keweenaw Co prior to the arrival of US-41 in 1927, then was designated as M-9 from 1927–28 before it was signed as M-64 from 1928–1931. The open and signed portion of M-129 from the Wisconsin state line northerly through Marenisco to Lake Gogebic State Park is re-signed as M-64. Simultaneously, the portion of M-35 from Ontonagon westerly along the Lake Superior shoreline toward Silver City is also redesignated as M-64, leaving the route as a disconnected, two-segment route at this point. At the same time, M-129 is designated along the five miles of what had been M-64 from US-41 to Eagle Harbor in Keweenaw Co. The unconstructed, yet officially-established trunkline segment from Lake Gogebic State Park northerly to Silver City is now officially designated as part of M-64 but is not open to traffic or signed as such.
  1932 (Jan 15) Updated – The 5.2-mile gap between the end of the established trunkline route of M-64 at the Gogebic/Ontonagon Co line northerly to a jct with M-28 at Merriweather is officially assumed into the state trunk highway system and likely opened to traffic as well. (This segment of M-64 will is surfaced during 1933, however, along with the portion south of the county line to Lake Gogebic State Park.)
  1932 New! – During early 1932, the existing county road running from M-28 at Bergland northerly to the beginning of the nothern segment of M-64 at Silver City is officially signed as part of M-64 and, along with the concurrent segment of M-64 along M-28 between Berland and Merriweather, completes M-64 as a continuous route from the Wisconsin state line south of Marenisco to downtown Ontonagon. The Bergland–Silver City segment, however, consists of both officially established trunkline route as well as a portion that is "marked-and-maintained," but not officially assumed into the system. From M-28 at Bergland then northerly for two miles, M-64 runs along the officially established route to the Stanko Lake area. At the first of two 90º turns, the officially established (yet unconstructed) route takes off due northerly while the signed route open to traffic jogs easterly for a mile then turns notherly at the second 90º turn to continue along the "marked-and-aintained" portion for another four miles to the Bergland-Carp Lake Twp line near Bergland Hill where the offically established (and unconstructed) route merges back into the existing roadway. From there northerly to Silver City, M-64 continues along the officially established route where it turns easterly toward Ontonagon to follow what had been signed as part of M-35 until the previous year.
  1932 (Oct 29) New! – The newly-concurrent stretch of M-28/M-64 between Merriweather and Berland is relocated onto a more direct segment of highway officially established as a state trunkline highway between the M-64 junctions. The former route through the communities of Merriweather and Lake Gogebic—today's Old M-28—is turned back to county jurisdiction, while the remainder of the old roadway easterly toward Bergland is either obliterated by the new alignment or is abandoned as a public roadway.
  1937 (Aug 30) UpdatedUS-2 from the Wakefield/Marenisco Twp line west of Marenisco to the community of Gogebic to the east is realigned onto a new, more direct alignment, bypassing the community of Marenisco to the north. The route of M-64 is rerouted at Marenisco to continue northerly from its former western jct with US-2 to follow the former route of US-2 to the new bypass route, then concurrently to the east along the new alignment of US-2 back to the existing route, where it turns northeasterly. The former route of US-2/M-64 from Marenisco easterly to the new bypass is turned back to county jurisdiction (today's Kimberly Rd).
  1939 – On the final several hundred feet of M-64 in downtown Ontonagon, the highway crosses the Ontonagon River. The existing bridge, only about 25 years old, was deemed inadequate and a replacement was designed and contracts let. During 1939, a temporary bridge over the river is built to maintain a crossing at Ontonagon while the former bridge is dismantled and much of the new bridge is constructed.
  1940 (Jan) – The new Ontonagon River bridge, a swing-span, is completed and opened to traffic. The bridge cost $86,431 and would remain in service for almost 67 years.
  1956 (Mar 26) New! – The route of M-64 is realigned onto a new trunkline highway segment established on this date in the vicinity of White Pine and the White Pine Copper Mine in western Ontonagon Co. Beginning approximately 0.3 mile south of Main St, the new alignment runs just west of the existing one, merging back into the exisitng route approximately 0.8 mile north of the Hemlock St intersection. The former route is abandoned as a public road, although it is still largely traceable in aerial photos and on the ground in the mid-2010s.
  1958 New! – In 1958, M-28 from Gogebic Co easterly into Ontonagon Co, past Merriweather and to the western edge of Bergland was reconstructed approximately 40 feet north of the 1934 centerline (in most places), but within the same right-of-way. This includes the concurrent segment with M-64 between Merriweather and Bergland.
  1960 (Oct 14) Updated – A 7.1-mile long portion of the route of M-64 officially established as a state trunkline highway route in 1930 from two miles north of Bergland (at the southern jct of present-day M-64 & Old M-64) northerly to the northern intersection of the same roads, 1.2 miles south of L.P. Walsh Rd is officially cancelled as a state trunkline route. From the southern jct of present-day M-64 & Old M-64 near Stanko Lake northerly and northeasterly 4.1 miles, the actual highway was never constructed, while from the Bergland-Carp Lake Twp line northerly for 3 miles, the former route of M-64 is turned back to county control and named Old M-64. The 5 miles of present-day Old M-64 between Stanko Lake and the Bergland-Carp Lake Twp line had been "marked-and-maintained" as M-64 for thirty years, but was never officially established as part of the trunkline system and maintenance by the Ontonagon Co Road Commission re-commences at this point. The new alignment of M-64 to the west of the old one, also 7.1 miles in length and established on this date and opens to traffic.
  1961 (Nov 15) Updated – The entire length of M-64 from US-2 at Marenisco southerly to the Wisconsin state line is cancelled as a state trunkline highway routing (10.1 miles), while simultaneously being re-established as a 9.7-mile long state trunkline route along generally the same overall route. Several sharper curves and turns along the route are bypassed with a more sweeping alignment and an overall better engineered route. The final 28 miles of gravel-surfaced M-64 are finally paved in conjunction with this project. M-64 was one of the last gravel-surfaced state highways in Michigan.
  1967 (Oct 20) New! – A pair of new trunkline establishments in Ontonagon County occur as part of an effort to re-engineer and reconstruct M-64 between Ontonagon and Silver City. More of the route than is indicated through these two establishments is affected, although in many cases, the former alignment is within the existing higway right-of-way or the realignment results in the old route being obliterated or abandoned as a public roadway. The two establishments—which result in former highway segments being jurisdictionally transferred—are:
  • The western segment of newly-established highway is a 0.53-mile segment between Pine Creek and Duck Creek, with the former route being turned back to county judisdiction and renamed Shady Lane Rd.
  • The eastern segment of newly-established highway runs 1.58 miles from a point approximately 0.3 mile west of Norwich Rd-Stroud Rd west of Ontonagon then easterly to the intersection of Lakeshore Rd (existing M-64) & River Rd, where the new aligment merges back into the old one just shy of the Ontonagon River swing bridge. The former 1.55-mile long route along Lakeshore Rd is turned back to local control.
  2005 – Construction on a new Ontonagon River bridge at Ontonagon begins and will be complete in October 2006 (see "Notes" section above).
  2006 (Oct 11) Updated 2023-12 – The new fixed-span Ontonagon River bridge opens at Ontonagon (see "Notes" section above). M-64 is diverted to cross the river via the new bridge and now terminates at US-45 several blocks south of its former junction with M-38. M-38 continues easterly from the new US-45 & M-64 junction before rejoining its former route on the east side of the village. The two portions of the former route of M-64 which are not removed or obliterated become an unsigned state trunkline as OLD M-64. The former trunkline route consists of the former M-64 route from the newly relocated highway northeasterly to River Rd and the short stub north of the river from the north abutment of the swing bridge then northeasterly across teh Slough Channel bridge to US-45/River St. From River Rd to the south abutment of the swing bridge, the former M-64 is formally abandoned as a public roadway and a portion obliterated. The section of abandoned former M-64 which is not obliterated becomes a long, linear parking lot for the adjacent village park and marina. (See the Ontonagon State Trunkline Changes 2006 map.)
  2006 (Oct 20–Nov 30) – Removal of the 1939 Ontonagon River swing bridge is largely completed. Final removal cleanup will done in Spring 2007.
  2007 (Oct 17) Updated 2023-12 – Just over a year from its debut as an unsigned, old state trunkline route, the two segments of OLD M-64 in Ontonagon are cancelled as a state trunkline highway and transferred to village control. The segments are from existing M-64 relocated west of the new Ontonagon River bridge northeasterly for 0.17 mile to River Rd; and from a point 0.03 mile southwest of Island Rd northeasterly across the Slough Channel bridge to US-45/River St. (See the Ontonagon State Trunkline Changes 2006 map.)
Controlled Access: No portion of M-64 exists as freeway or expressway.
NHS: Two segments of M-64 are on the National Highway System (NHS):
  1. The segment of concurrent US-2/M-64 at Marenisco in Gogebic Co. (2.1 miles)
  2. The segment of concurrent M-28/M-64 between Merriweather and Berland in Ontonagon Co. (4.1 miles)
Circle Tour: Lake Superior Circle TourLake Superior Circle Tour: From the western jct of M-28 at Merriweather to the northern terminus at US-45 & M-38 in Ontonagon.
Memorial Highway: New! The following Memorial Highway designation has been officially assigned to part of M-64 by the Michigan Legislature:
  • Ontonagon County Veterans Memorial Bridge – "The bridge on highway M-64 over the Ontonagon River in the township of Ontonagon..." From MDOT: "Named in honor of United States military veterans with a special connection to Ontonagon County."
Photographs:  
Weblinks:
  • M-64 @ Michigan Highway Ends – photos of the termini of M-64 at Dan Garnell's archivedmMichigan Highway Ends website.
  • Ontonagon State Trunkline Changes 2006 – a map and explanation of the overall state trunkline changes in the Village of Ontonagon based on the completion and opening of the new Ontonagon River Bridge in October 2006.
  • Updated 2023-10 Ontonagon Bridge Removal – a three-page photo gallery of the removal of the 1939 Ontonagon River swing bridge in October and November 2006 archived from CopperCountry.com.
  • M-64 Bridge – from Nathan Holth's Historic Bridges website: "This bridge is a beautifully intact example of Michigan's unique concrete camelback bridge design, in the 60 foot plan format, the largest design that did not feature pierced openings."
  • Updated 2023-10 M-64 / Ontonagon River – from MDOT: "This steel swing-span bridge carried M-64 in the village of Ontonagon, on the south shore of Lake Superior. The structure was comprised of three deck girder spans: the center movable span, featuring center-pivot, plate girders with variable depths, flanked by two uniform-depth fixed girders."
  • Updated 2023-10New Ontonagon River Bridge to open Oct. 11 – archived press release from MDOT: "The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) will open the new Ontonagon River Bridge on M-64 Ontonagon on Wednesday, Oct. 11, now that all of the railing has been installed and pavement markings are complete..."
  • MDOT and partners plan dedication of Ontonagon bridge – archived press release from MDOT: "The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) and the village of Ontonagon will dedicate the new bridge over the Ontonagon River with a ceremony and community bridge walk at 8:30 a.m. EDT on Saturday, Sept. 2..."
  • Environmental Impact Statement/Section 4(f) Evaluation: Ontonagon, Ontonagon County, MI – from EPA: "The FHWA is issuing this notice to advise the public that an Environmental Impact Statement/Section 4(f) Evaluation will be prepared for the proposed M-64 structure replacement over the Ontonagon River..."
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