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M-22 & M-109 junction route signage in Glen Arbor, Michigan
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M-72 Route Marker On to Next Route:
Western Terminus:    Empire at M-22
Eastern Terminus:    US-23 in Harrisville (cnr Main St & State St)
Length: 156.576 miles
Maps: Route Map of M-72
Notes: One of only three cross-peninsular "M-numbered" state highways in the Lower Peninsula. The others are M-46 (Muskegon-to-Port Sanilac) and M-55 (Manistee-to-Tawas City).
  M-72 between Grayling and Traverse City is a heavily-travelled corridor, carrying travellers between downstate areas and the Grand Traverse region. Because of this, the highway is slowing being upgraded, with several miles of new passing lanes completed over the past couple decades. More development along the corridor plus additional growth around Traverse City may prompt more upgrades to come. One upgrade, a direct connection between M-72 & I-75 in Grayling, had been studied in the past, but no action has been taken to date.
  M-72 started as a short highway in Alcona Co, beginning near Lincoln and heading easterly into Harrisville, before turning southerly to follow the Lake Huron shoreline to Greenbush. Over the years, M-72 was extended westerly in spurts, first in 1923, then again in 1927, 1932, and 1940, when it replaced the M-76 designation west of Grayling. Further extensions in 1946 and 1947 completed the highway from coast-to-coast.
  New! 2024-04 As M-72 was being extended westerly from Grayling toward Lake Michigan in 1940, replacing what had been desigated as M-76 until that point, the portions of the route from US-131 at Kalkaska to US-31 at Acme and from M-22 in Traverse City's West Bay area to Fritz Rd (approximately 7½ miles east of Empire) was not officially under state jurisdiction. In fact, while the 15-mile Leelanau Co gap had been officially established as a state trunkline route in 1935 (as part of M-76), the 17-mile gap in the official route between Kalkaska and Acme had not even been established as a trunkline route yet.
      However, beginning in c.1945, the State Highway Dept began signing the Leelanau Co gap as part of M-72 so that Empire to Traverse City were finally connected by a signed state highway route. Two years later, the Acme–Kalkaska gap was similarly signed along existing county roads, even though those roads remained under county jurisdiction. This was done to help the motoring public as traffic in the corridor grew considerably following World War II. The state and counties came to an agreement to sign the two gaps as part of M-72 but leaving them technically as county roadways with the counties continuing to pay for the level of maintenance the sections had received the year prior to their being signed as trunkline segments. The State Highway Dept contributed additional funding and resources above and beyond that as needed. According to State Highway Commissioner Charles Ziegler, while the Grand Traverse portion of the Acme–Kalkaska gap was already paved, "the section in Kalkaska County was etirely gravel surface. We agreed to alleviate the dust nuisance and put on regular amounts of chloride on the Kalkasa gravel section to make this section more travelable. We also at times, when we had a truck or two available, hauled in some new gravel to improve some locations in Kalkaska County which got pretty bad."
      Unfortunately, for the general public, seeing the two gaps marked on official state highway maps through the 1950s as being part of the overall M-72 route, it was not clear they were not technically under state jurisdiction which correlated to the the lower-quality of those segments. Ziegler noted one of the hold-ups on the Acme–Kalkaska section was a somewhat-contentious proposed "Kalkaska Jet Base" (Air Force Base) would have been located atop the approved alignment, meaning any construction work done and funding used on that segment would have been lost and a new route to the south would have needed to be built. (However, one would assume the Federal government would have paid for the relocation of M-72 as part of the base construction in that case.) The proposed "Jet Base" was originally intended to be built in Benzie or Grand Traverse Cos, but an agreement to construct it at least 15 miles away from the Interlochen Center for the Arts to limit noise at the camp turned the facility into a political football and was actively sought after by Antrim, Kalkaska, Cadillac, and Manistee interests during the 1954–55 timeframe. The Kalkaska site was the one deemed the most desirable by the Air Force which would have begun at the Grand Traverse/Kalkaska Co line on the west, come within two miles of Kalkaska on the east and begin approximately 1½ miles of M-72 on the north. Ultimately, however, the proposed air force base was moved to a site in Manistee Co before being shelved completely. As the base was never built, construction on a permanent route for M-72 in the area went ahead in the late 1950s.
  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 and two smaller ones to the route of M-72 during that timeframe, including:
  • Constructing a "cut-off" in southern Leelanau Co beginning approximately ¼ east of Gilbert Run and continuing southeasterly to the cnr of Traverse Hwy, Coleman Rd & Armstrong Rd, eliminating the 90° turn at the corner of CR-669/Coleman Rd & Empire Hwy and the very sharp curve at CR-669/Coleman Rd, Traverse Hwy & Armstrong Rd. The old route was to have been turned back to county control. This proposal was never put into place.
  • Rerouting M-72 from Grandview Pkwy in Traverse City via Division St to a jct with a proposed BUS US-31 route at Front St, then easterly concurrently with BUS US-31 on Front St to Railroad St where BUS US-31 and M-72 would turn to follow Railroad St to 8th St, then transition to a newly constructed alignment parallel to the C&O Railway tracks easterly out of Traverse City. BUS US-31/M-72 would meet a proposed US-31 freeway bypass of Traverse City close to Mount Holiday (just east of the 5 Mile & Mount Holiday Rd intersection) where BUS US-31 would end. M-72 would continue easterly via a proposed US-31 freeway for another 1½ miles to a freeway-to-freeway interchange where the US-31 freeway would turn due northerly and a newly-constructed and rerouted M-113 would feed in from the south. M-72 would continue due easterly from here as a freeway as well, ironically on the same path that was originally proposed for the highway in the 1940s and 50s! Once in Kalkasa Co, the proposed M-72 freeway would shift slightly north and feature interchanges at the existing M-72, and US-131 (proposed as BUS US-131) before interchanging with a proposed US-131/M-66 freeway 1½ miles east of the existing route. M-72 would turn southerly on the US-131/M-66 freeway for 3½ miles, bypassing Kalkaska to the east, to an interchange at the existing route of M-72 at Mitchell Rd, where it would resume its existing route easterly toward Grayling. (See map below for a representation of this.) None of these proposals ever came to frutition.
  • Rerouting M-72 in western Alcona Co to follow M-65 from the intersection of Grosse Pointe Rd southerly to a due westerly extension of the rest of the highway through Alcona Co, then easterly to the other end of Grosse Pointe Rd. Interestingly, this project occurred in late 1959 the year before these planning maps were published!
History: 1917 (Feb 19) – A 10.8-mile long segment of highway is officially established as a state trunkline route beginning at the cnr of F-30/Mikado Rd & Cedar Lake Rd in the community of Greenbush in southeastern Alcona Co and continuing northerly, in part, on present-day Everett Rd, Huron Shore Rd (present-day US-23) and State St into downtown Harrisville. From there, the trunkline route turns due westerly via Main St and present-day M-72, continuing westerly from the west village limit of Harrisville for six more miles to a terminus at T.L. 10 (later M-10, US-23 and M-171, now F-41) south of Lincoln. This trunkline segment is assigned the designation of T.L. 72 (Trunk Line 72).
  1919 (July 1) – T.L. 72 is signed in the field as M-72 as all state trunkline highways in Michigan are signed with route markers.
  1922 (Jan 31) – A 10.6-mile westerly extension of M-72 is officially established as a state trunkline route beginning at the former west terminus of M-72 at M-10 (now F-41) south of Lincoln and ending at O'Donnell Rd southwest of Barton City.
  1924 (May 23) – An additional 5.2-mile state trunkline highway route is established as an extension of M-72, beginning at the eastern terminus of M-72 in Greenwood and continuing southerly via Cedar Lake Rd to Cedar Lake Dr, continuing down the east side of Cedar Lake, terminating at the Alcona/Iosco Co line. Based on maps, this extension of M-72 may not be signed in the field at this time.
  1924 (July 19) – Only two months after and extension of the route of M-72 is officially designated from Greenwood southerly to the Alcona/Iosco Co line, the southernmost 4.1 miles of the route is cancelled as a trunkline and turned back to County control, which includes all of the Cedar Lake Dr route and the portion of Cedar Lake Rd from Cedar Lake Dr northerly to Smith Rd. Simultaneously, a 4.1-mile extension/relocation of M-72 is officially established following Cedar Lake Rd southerly from Smith Rd on the west shore of Cedar Lake, terminating at the Alcona/Iosco Co line.
  1927 (Feb 7) – Just 2½ years after the cancellation of the M-72 route on the east shore of Cedar Lake in Alcona Co and the simultaneous establishment of the route on the west shore of the lake, the entire 4.1-mile 1924 routing for M-72 along Cedar Lake Dr from Smith Rd southerly is cancelled as a trunkline route and turned back to County control. At the same moment, a brand-new 10.2-mile new trunkline route is established from Cedar Lake Dr at approximately Smith Rd, then southeasterly to the present alignment of US-23, continuing southerly paralleling the Lake Huron shore into Iosco Co, to a new terminus at jct US-23 (formerly M-10) on the northern outskirts of Oscoda.
  c.1927 (Sept 9) – M-72 is subtantially extended from its western terminus near Barton City in central Alcona Co, westerly through Curran and Hardy and into Oscoda Co to Fairview where it meets M-33. (This segment of M-72 is apparently not yet officially established as a state trunkline route at this time, but only a "marked-and-maintained" route until officially established.) From Fairview to Mio, M-72 runs concurrently with M-33 via Miller, Knepp, Kneeland, and Mount Tom Rds. M-72 then supplants the former route of M-33 (which is transferred to run southerly from Mio via the existing route of M-97) from Mio through Luzerne and into southeastern Crawford Co to a terminus at M-76 approximately 6½ miles east of Rocscommon.
  1932 (Oct 29) – A new, more direct alignment for M-72 is established in Crawford Co, southwest of El Dorado. The new 4.5-mile route begins at the corner of Brush Rd & present M-18 and continues southwesterly along present-day M-18 to Hunters Lake Rd, then westerly via Hunters Lake Rd to Forester Rd, southerly on Forester Rd to a terminus at M-76 on the Crawford/Roscommon Co line. The former 5.5 mile route along Brush Rd westerly to the former Hickey Creek Rd, the now-obliterated Hickey Creek Rd southwesterly to the still-extant Hickey Creek Rd to Forester Rd, Forester Rd southerly to Hall Rd, westerly and southwesterly along Hall Rd to Pioneer Rd, Pioneer Rd westerly to Willows Rd, and Willows Rd southerly to a terminus at M-76 is cancelled and turned back to county control.
  1933 (July 12) – Even though M-72 from central Alcona Co via Curran and Hardy to M-33 in downtown Fairview in Oscoda Co has appeared on official highway maps since c.1927, that route was never officially established as a state trunkline route until now. Continuing west from O'Donnell Rd southwest of Barton City in Alcona Co, the officially-established route of M-72 continues due westerly for 3½ miles, then northwesterly vua Grosse Pointe Rd and the present-day M-65/M-72 corridor to Reeves Rd, northerly along Reeves Rd for a mile to Tower Rd, westerly via Tower Rd for a mile to Curran, northerly again along present-day M-65/M-72 for a mile to Flynn Corners, then westerly for 4 miles along present-day M-72 to Hardy on the Alcona/Oscoda Co line. From Hardy, M-72 continues into Oscoda Co on a due westerly alignment mostly along existing roadyway (with the exception of a 1½ mile stretch over Waterhole Hill approximately three miles west of Hardy) including Oaks Rd to Weaver Rd, northerly ½ mile on Weaver Rd, then west one mile on Miller Rd to M-33 in Fairview. M-72 then continues on the route it's been signed along since c.1927.
  1935 (Jan 7) – The 4.5-mile segment of M-72 in southeastern Crawford Co established as a state trunkline in October 1929 is cancelled and turned back to county control. Simultaneously, a new 5.5-mile trunkline routing for M-72 is assumed into the trunkline system beginning at Brush Rd & present-day M-18 and continuing westerly along Brush Rd for ½ mile, then southerly along an unconstructed facility and present-day F-97/Co Rd 502, then westerly via Dry Lake Rd and Hall Rd to the existing route of M-72 at Forester Rd.
  1936 (Aug 20) – The remainder of the new shoreline routing of US-23 between Oscoda and the Alpena/Alcona Co line is completed and opened to traffic north of Harrisville. At this point, the US-23 designation is transferred onto the new Oscoda–Greenbush–Harrisville–Ossineke route, supplanting the portion of M-72 from Oscoda via Greenbush to Harrisville. The new eastern terminus for M-72 is now at US-23 in Harrisville.
  1937 (Aug 30) – A 0.6-mile easterly extension of M-72 is officially established as a state trunkline route in Harrisville. From the eastern terminus of M-72 at US-23/State St, M-72 now continues easterly via Main St for 4 blocks to Huron Ave, then turns southerly via Huron Ave to a new terminus a the entrance to Harrisville State Park.
  1937 (Dec 29) – The new alignment for M-72 in southeastern Crawford Co established in January 1935 is cancelled and the existing roadway segments are turned back to county control. Ironically, the "new" established route for M-72 is the one from October 1932 that was cancelled in January 1935—essentially a reversal of the January 1935 change! M-72 again runs southwesterly from Brush Rd via present-day M-18, then westerly along Hunters Lake Rd, and southerly via Forester Rd.
  Michigan State Highway Dept map showing M-72 and M-208, 19361940 (Nov 12) – The route of M-72 is drastically altered from Luzerne in Oscoda Co westerly. From Luzerne, M-72 now runs westerly along a newly-(re-)established state trunkline routing which had formerly been a route designated as M-208 from January 1935 until November 1939. The route of M-208 had only been signed/completed from US-27 at Grayling to Smith Bridge spanning the South Branch (of the Au Sable) River, whereas the remainder was only an officially-designated route, not actually signed in the field. Now, however, the newly re-designated route from Luzerne westerly for 12.2 miles runs along a curvy, "earth-surfaced" roadway to Smith Bridge where it transitions to use the former 13.3 miles of M-208 from there to US-27 at Grayling. The former routing of M-72 southwesterly from Luzerne to M-76 east of Roscommon is retained as a state trunkline and redesignated as M-144. From US-27 in Grayling heading westerly for 24 miles to M-66 south of Kalkaska, the M-72 designation replaces, ironically, the M-76 designation along the route.
      Additionally, more than 36 miles west of Kalkaska, the route of M-76 designated from M-22 on the west edge of Traverse City to M-22 in Empire is also redesignated as M-72, although at this point, only the first 7.4 miles of the route from Empire easterly to Fritz Rd in south central Leelanau Co is actually signed as M-72 (formerly M-76), while the remainder of the 22.0-mile route (14.6 miles of it) from Fritz Rd easterly to Traverse City is officially designated but not completed or signed in the field. M-72 is now a two-segment, discontinuous route.
  1941 (May 14) – The officially-established route of M-72 in extreme southeastern Leelanau Co is altered, even though this portion of the route does not appear on official highway maps and all sources indicate this portion of the route is not signed in the field. Formerly designated to travel northeasterly then generally easterly along Carter Rd from its present-day alignment to M-22 in downtown Greilickville, then southerly with M-22 into Traverse City, the officially-established (yet unsigned) route moves to its present-day alignment from Carter Rd to M-22 on the Grand Traverse/Leelanau Co line. The former toute along Carter Rd is transferred back to county control. It would be an additional six years before this route was actually completed and signed as part of M-72.
  1942 (Aug 17) – Two relatively minor changes are made to the yet unsigned portion of M-72 in southeastern Leelanau Co west of Traverse City:
  • Until this date, the officially-established route of M-72 utilized Angus Rd looping to the north off the existing route of M-72 between Carter Rd and CR-616/Bugai Rd. The Angus Rd loop is turned back to county control while the official route of M-72 is straightened to follow its present-day alignment.
  • Another short loop of former roadway is bypassed when a new, direct route for M-72 is established between Harrys Rd and Allgaier Rd. The former alignment looping off the present-day route is obliterated as a public roadway.
  • By the end of the year, the State Highway Dept has completed construction on the future route of M-72 from M-22 at Traverse CIty westerly for approximately 3¾ miles to the Elmwood/Solon Twp line, although the highway is likely not signed as part of M-72 at this point.
  1946 – During 1946, a 5.3-mile long segment of the officially-established (but still unsigned) route of M-72 in southern Leelanau Co from Ruthardt Rd easterly to the Solon/Elmwood Twp line is graveled and the State Highway Dept, thus, considers the entire Empire–Traverse City portion of the route to meet state trunkline standards and now signs the entire segment as part of M-72. (The Empire–Traverse City segment had been officially established as a state trunkline route in 1935 as part of the route of M-76, but was ony signed over the westernmost 4.7 miles of the route running easterly out of Empire.
  1947 (June 15) Updated 2024-04 – After approximately seven years as a two-segment, discontinuous route, the two signed portions of M-72 are joined into one when 18.9 miles of county road between Acme east of Traverse City and Kalkaska becomes a "marked" (but not "maintained") trunkline route, where jurisdiction technically remains with the county, but the roadway is signed as a state trunkline under county maintenance . Official State Highway Dept sources show the permanent route for M-72 was proposed to depart US-31 at the cnr of Four Mile Rd east of Traverse City and run due easterly along the East Bay/Acme Twp line for five miles, then continue due easterly along that same section line, eventually running along Nash Rd to US-131/M-66 north of Kalkaska (where the northern US-131/M-66 & M-72 jct is today). The plan would be to cease the signing the "temporary" route and remove all signage at such time the more direct proposed route is complete. Until then, M-72 departs US-31 at Acme and runs easterly on a mostly direct line through Bates, Williamsburg and Barker Creek where it enters Kalkaska Co and follows a more winding path with several sharp turns. As signing roadways as state highway routes which not under the jurisdiction of (or at least "marked-and-maintained" by) the State Highway Dept has not been a regular practice since the Dykstra Act (Act 131) in 1931 transferred the rest of the urban trunklines under city jurisdiction to the state, this arrangment is definitely an aberration and peculiarity within the state highway system!
  1949 (Nov 10) – Two new segments of M-72 are officially established southern Leelanau Co west of Traverse City, bypassing a total of four sharp turns in the route. An 0.8-mile segment of new highway bypasses a 1.1-mile long segment of the former route from ½ mile east of Cedar Rd to present-day Partridge Run Dr. The segments of former M-72 east and west from Cedar Rd are obliterated as public roadways, while the portion of Cedar Rd making up part of the former route of M-72 is cancelled and turned back to county control. Just to the west, a 1.8-mile segment of highway on new alignment similarly bypasses a 2.4-mile segment of the former route from Cedar Valley Rd westerly to Ruthardt Rd. While the new construction obliterates a segment of the former route between Cedar Run and Tager Rds, the remainder of the former route along Cedar Valley, Cedar Run, Tager and Ruthardt Rds is turned back to county control.
  1951, 1952 (Nov 10) – In late 1951, both M-72 and M-33 are realigned onto their present routing between Mio and Fairview, although the official jurisdictional changes will not occur for over a year until Nov 10, 1952. At that time, the 4.0 miles of Miller Rd from Knepp Rd westerly to Mount Tom Rd and Mount Tom Rd from Miller Rd southerly to Kneeland Rd is transferred to state control (having been "Marked and Maintained" as M-33/M-72 for over a year), while Knepp Rd from Miller Rd to Kneeland Rd and Kneeland Rd from Knepp Rd westerly to Mount Tom Rd is turned back to county control.
  1952 (Nov 11) New! 2023-11 – In a project designed to remove through traffic and trucks from the heart of Traverse City's downtown core, a new shoreline boulevard named Grandview Parkway is constructed along the shoreline of the West Arm of Grand Traverse Bay and opened to traffic. The new thoroughfare begins at the M-22 & M-72 jct on the northwest side of Traverse City, then continues southeasterly along the bayshore as M-22/M-72 to Division St. There, M-22 terminates and US-31/M-37/M-72 continues easterly along the new parkway byassing downtown, merging back into the existing route at Front St near Railroad Ave. Division St from Front St northerly to Grandview Parkway becomes the new signed route for US-31/M-37 from the south. The former route of US-31/M-37/M-72 along Front St from Division St easterly through downtown to the new Grandview Parkway (near Railroad St) is temporarily retained as an unsigned state trunkline route.
  1953 (Nov 6) New! 2023-11 – Almost exactly a year after it opened to traffic, Traverse City's Grandview Parkway—part of M-22/M-72 west of Division St and US-31/M-37/M-72 east of Division—is officially established as a state trunkline highway route. The 1.2-mile segment of Division St from Fourteenth St northerly to Grandview Parkway is also officially established as a trunkline route, although the 10-block segment between Fourteenth and Front Sts has been signed as part of US-31/M-37 and maintained as a trunkline since late 1949. At the same time, the former route of M-22/M-72 along Bay St, Elmwood Ave and Front St easterly to Division St and the former route of US-31/M-37/M-72 through downtown via Front St from Division St easterly is officially cancelled as a state trunkline highway route and transferred to city control.
  1954 (Jan 4)M-65/M-72 is realigned from Curran southerly and easterly with the establishment of 3.0 miles of new trunkline route, replacing 3.2 miles of former route mileage. The former route running easterly from the community of Curran via Tower Rd for one mile, then southerly along Reeves Rd for one mile is turned back to County control, while the portion easterly and southeasterly from Reeves Rd is obliterated as a public roadway.
  1957–1958 – Seventeen years after it was designated over the Luzerne-to-Smith Bridge route in western Oscoda and eastern Crawford Cos, the 9.1-mile stretch of M-72 is cancelled and immediately re-designated on on a different but generally parallel route also totalling 9.1-miles, over the course of two construction seasons:
  • 1957 (Nov 6) – In Oscoda Co, the 3.6 miles of M-72 are cancelled and replaced by a new 4.0 mile routing with the completion of work between Luzerne and Meridian Rd on the Oscoda/Crawford Co line. The former route is obliterated as a public roadway and heavily planted with coniferous trees.
  • 1958 (Sept 16) – Continuing the progress from 1957 in Oscoda Co westerly into Crawford Co, the 5.3 miles of M-72 travelling along the somewhat windy "earth-surfaced" route from 1940 is cancelled and largely obliterated, replaced by a new 5.1-mile modern route betwee the Oscoda/Crawford Co line and (what is now) Old M-72 approximately ¾ mile west of the South Branch (of the Au Sable) River bridge. The non-obliterated portion of the former M-72, from the former Smith Bridge over the river westerly back to the new route of M-72 is turned back to county control.
  1958 (Sept 16–Mid Nov) Updated 2024-04 – After the Michigan State Highway Dept discontinues its long-held plans to construct a new-alignment route for M-72 from Kalkaska due westerly to US-31 at the base of the East Arm of the Grand Traverse Bay, the majority of the existing county roadways which have been signed as part of M-72 between US-31 at Acme and US-131/M-66 at Kalkaska are officially established as a state trunkline route on September 16, thus assuming full jurisdiction over the route and all maintenance activities. The exception is the approximately 2½ miles of present-day Old M-72/Birch St long the Little Rapid River from Valley Rd northwest of Kalkaska southeasterly into the village at Mile Rd. This section is not included in the new trunkline establishment, rather a brand-new alignment between those points (along present-day Valley Rd and M-72/Mile Rd) is established instead. Construction on this new roadway segment is completed and opened to traffic in Mid November when the three-mile portion of the route is also hard-surfaced as well. For 11 years, this had been a rather unique "marked-but-not-maintained" route which was still technically a county road but marked as part of M-72 and featuring additional occastional "state assistance" when required to keep the roadway in relatively good repair, due the extra traffic the trunkline marking likely brought to it.
  1959 (Mid June) Updated 2024-04 – The last 6½ miles of the Acme-to-Kalkaska segment of M-72 are paved, leaving only the Luzerne-to-Mio segment unpaved. The Kalkaska Co segment is paved as a stop-gap measure pending the planning and implementation of the eventual modernization and realignment of the rout between Acme and Kalkaska.
  1959 (Nov 6) – A trio of changes come to the route of M-72:
  • A 1.6-mile segment of new state trunkline route is established running from the present-day intersection of M-72 & Grosse Pointe Rd in west-central Alcona Co due westerly to the newly-completed segment of M-65 southeast of Curran. M-72 then runs northerly with M-65 to the previous route of M-72 along Grosse Pointe Rd 2.3 miles north of the new M-65 & M-72 jct. The former route of M-72 along Grosse Pointe Rd is turned back to county control.
  • A 1.4-mile segment of new state trunkline route is officially assumed into the system bypassing the former hamlet of Hardy on the Alcona/Oscoda Co line between Curran and Fairview. The new alignment consists of gentler curves than the former 1.5-mile one. The portion of the former M-72 from McCollum Lake Rd easterly (on the north side of the new alignment) is obliterated as a public roadway, while the portion west of McCollum Lake Rd (south of the new alignment) is turned back to county control as Old M-72.
  • A 5.2-mile segment of new state trunkline route is established along the present alignment of M-72 from Hack Rd, six miles east of Fairview in eastern Oscoda Co, westerly toward Fairview to Weaver Rd. The former officially-established route from Hack Rd westerly 3 miles to Rogers Rd (across Waterhole Hill) was never constructed and is cancelled as a trunkline routing, while the next two miles to the west along Oaks Rd from Rogers Rd to Weaver Rd and for ½ mile along Weaver from Oaks to M-72/Miller Rd is turned back to county control. The entire stretch of highway from M-33 at Fairview to M-65 north of Curran is also paved in the process.
  1961 (Jan 3) – The 3.6-mile portion of M-72 in Oscoda Co from the Lost Creek bridge, approximately 5 miles west of Mio, to CR-489/Deter Rd & CR-490 in Luzerne is cancelled as a state trunkline highway route, replaced by a new 3.4-mile routing along its present alignment (Cripps Rd). A portion of the new highway alignment—between approximately Lenroy Valley and Gorton Rds—lies atop the original alignment, while the remainder is new construction. The two remaining segments of the former route along CR-489/Park Rd, Lenroy Valley Rd and Gorton Rd are turned back to county control. This project also paves the last several miles of gravel-surfaced M-72 between Luzerne and Mio.
  1961 (Oct 27)–1962 (May 1) Updated 2024-04 – The first phase of the modernization and relocation of M-72 between Acme and Kalkaska from the Grand Traverse/Kalkaska Co line easterly to just west of Kalkaska is completed and opened to traffic on October 27, 1961. The $594,000 project replaces the older, winding route of M-72 mostly unchanged from the time when the state took it over from the county in 1958 and featuring two 90° turns along the way. Then, a bit more than six months later on May 1, 1962, the new 5.5-mile alignment from Hill Rd east of Barker Creek to Valley Rd west of Kalkaska is officially established as a state trunkline route, with the former 6.8-mile route along Hill Rd, Rapid City Rd, Old M-72 and Valley Rd being cancelled as a state trunkline and turned back to county control. A short portion of the former route betwen Rapid City Rd and Old M-72 is obliterated as a public roadway.
  1963 (June 28) – The 0.6-mile easterly extension of M-72 along Main St and Huron Ave in Harrisville officially designated in 1937 to serve the main entrance of Harrisville State Park is cancelled as a state trunkline route and turned back to village control. The Harrisville State Park main entrance is now off US-23 south of town.
  1966 (Mid Nov–Dec 13) Updated 2024-04 – An 8.4-mile, $1.4 million project to modernize and relocate, in part, the section of M-72 from US-31 at Acme easterly to the Grand Traverse/Kalkaska Co line, completing the modernization of the Acme–Kalkaska portion of the route and is opened to traffic in Mid-November. From Acme easterly through Bates, the highway is modernized on its existing alignment or shifted slightly to the south, widening the roadway from 20 to 24 feet in width. East of Bates to the Kalkaska Co line, M-72 is relocated to bypass Williamsburg to the south and to eliminate two railroad grade crossings. The 3.782-mile relocation of M-72 is officially established as a state trunkline route on December 13 from ½ mile west of Moore Rd to east of Skegemog Point Rd, while the 4.174-mile former route is cancelled as a trunkline route and much of it is turned back to county control. Some portions of the former route, including the diagonal segment from Watson Rd northeasterly to east of Skegemog Point Rd, are obliterated as a public roadway.
  1974 (Jan 7)M-66/M-72 is realigned on the south side of Kalkaska onto a 0.78-mile long new highway constructed as a continuance of M-72 westerly from M-66 to US-131 southwest of downtown. M-66/M-72 then continues northeasterly via US-131 into downtown to the highways' former alignment. The former routing of M-66/M-72 via (present-day) Old M-66 and Court and Elm Sts is retained as an unsigned state trunkline highway route for now.
  1978 – Michigan's only "runaway truck ramp" (or, as MDOT calls it, a "truck trap") is constructed on M-72 west of Traverse City, west of the junction with M-22. The cost of this "truck trap" is $66,400, as lies near the bottom of Morgan Hill, a long down-grade. Beyond the ramp is a busy intersection with M-22 and the West Arm of the Grand Traverse Bay.
  1996 (June 28––Sept 17) Updated 2023-11 – The 1.256-mile segment of OLD M-66/OLD M-72 from downtown Kalkaska southerly to the jct of M-66 & M-72 south of Kalkaska—the portion bypassed by the realignment of M-66 and M-72 to the south of town in 1974—is finally cancelled as a state trunkline route after more than 22 years and turned back to local control in two transactions: First, on June 28, the 0.748 mile of Old 66 from jct M-66 & M-72 northerly to the Kalkaska village limit is turned back to county control. Then on September 17, the 0.506-mile section along Elm and Court Sts from the village limit northerly and northwesterly to US-131/M-66/M-72/Cedar St is turned back to village control.
Controlled Access: No portion of M-72 is freeway or expressway.
NHS: The portion of M-72 from jct US-31, M-22, M-37 & M-72 in Traverse City (at cnr Grandview Pkwy & Division St) to southern jct of BL I-75 in Grayling is on the National Highway System (NHS).
Circle Tour: Lake Michigan Circle Tour MarkerLake Michigan Circle Tour: From the jct of M-22 in Traverse City to the eastern jct of US-31 & M-72 in Acme.
Memorial Highway: The following Memorial Highway designation has been officially assigned to part of M-72 by the Michigan Legislature:
  • Hazen Shirley "Kiki" Cuyler Memorial Highway – the entirety of M-72 in Alcona Co. From MDOT: "Hazen Shirley Cuyler was a right fielder from Harrisville, Michigan, who played major league baseball from 1921 to 1938. He began playing for the Pittsburg Pirates, but also played for the Chicago Cubs, the Cincinnati Reds, and the Brooklyn Dodgers. Over the course of his career, he held several records for stolen bases, triples, and runs scored. Hazen also drove in the winning run in the 1925 World Series. He is ranked number 44 among the best right fielders of all time, and was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1968. He died in Ann Arbor, Michigan in 1950."
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