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Historic US-27

Historic US-27On Page 1: Historical Overview
On Page 2: Year-by-Year History | Additional Information

This page mainly consists of a year-by-year history of US-27, including route realignments, business connections, bypasses and other changes to the route. A more general historical overview of US-27 can be found on Page 1.

Year-by-Year History

1926
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Before the debut of the US Highway System in 1926, the route of what would become US-27 consisted of two state trunklines: M-29 from the Indiana state line (at a connection with Indiana SR-13) to Lansing; and M-14 from Lansing northerly through Mount Pleasant and Clare to Cheboygan. When the US Highway System was finalized in late 1926, the US-27 designation replaces all of the first iteration of M-29 and all of M-14 north of Lansing, ending in downtown Cheboygan.
1927
(May 15)
Updated The new US Highway designations across the state of Michigan officially become effective today, with US-27 superceeding the entire route of M-29 and most of M-14, as noted above. In a somewhat odd situation, with the replacement of M-14 with the US-27 designation between Prudenville and Roscommon in Roscommon Co, the M-18 designation is also added to this segment as a redundant concurrent designation for unknown reasons. The M-18 designation actually continues west concurrently with US-27 from Roscommon about five additional miles to the cnr of Federal Rd & S Grayling Hwy/E Higgins Lake Dr, where it terminates—this is where US-27 turns northerly via S Grayling Hwy toward Grayling. (It is unknown why the State Highway Dept chooses to terminate M-18 here of all places!) This portion of highway had been designated as part of M-18 for at time from c.1919 to c.1924.
1927 Some of the first changes to the new US-27 routing this year are:
  • (May 24) US-27 is relocated in St Johns to continue from M-21/State St northerly on Whittemore St, westerly on Steel St, northerly on Clinton Ave and northwesterly on what is now part of BUS US-127 back to the original route of US-27 along Lansing St in the northwest corner of the city. The old route along Lansing St from M-21/State St to the relocated US-27 north of the city was officially turned back to local control on May 24, 1927.
  • (June 29-30) The route of US-27 is relocated north of Harrison onto the present-day path of BUS US-127 from south of Stockwell Rd to Arnold Lake Rd. The former route along Bass Lake, Stockwell and Grant Roads is turned back to local control on June 29th. On the next day, a new 1.2-mile long angled alignment of US-27/M-18 is officially added to the state highway system south of Roscommon along the present-day route of M-18. The former 1.7-mile long route along Wheeler and Robinson Lake Rds is turned back to local control.
1928
(Oct 26)
A new alignment of US-27 is added to the state trunkline system in Harrison from south of M-61 to the corner of County Farm Rd and the existing US-27 along what is now BUS US-127. The former route along a now-abandoned road, Larch Rd and County Farm Rd is turned back to local control. Physical construction doesn't seem to have been completed until a year later, though.
1929 Several changes to US-27's routing during this year are:
  • A new direct alignment for US-27 is added to the state highway system from one mile south of the Clinton/Gratiot Co line due northerly to M-57/Washington Rd east of Ithaca, where US-27 turns westerly via Washington into Ithaca and its former alignment. (Much of this 1929 route is the current route of US-127 in the area.) The former route along Maple Rapids and DeWitt Rds in Clinton Co and along State Rd south of Ithaca in Gratiot Co is turned back to local control. While this change was officially made on July 27, 1927, construction was not completed until 1929.
  • (Apr 10) A slight realignment on the north side of Grayling 'cuts a corner' eliminating a 90° turn, with the former route being handed back to local control. (Both the old and new [1929] routes are under the present-day Grayling McNamara Army Air Field.)
  • (May 20) The former route of US-27 along Main St & Airport Rd in Vanderbilt is turned back to local control when a new route (now Old 27) is completed from downtown northwesterly to Airport Rd.
  • (June 12) In Coldwater, Clay St is turned back to local control from Division St northerly to US-112/Chicago St when the state assumes control of Division St from Clay to Chicago and moved the US-27 route to that street.
  • (Aug 17) Two small realignments occur in Gratiot and Isabella Counties. In Gratiot, US-27 is relocated from Alger & Jefferson Rds to run westerly on Monroe Rd and northerly on Luce Rd to the former alignment at Forest Hill. The old route is turned back to local control. In Isabella Co, a sweeping curve from Blanchard Rd onto Mission Rd is added and the old 90° corner is turned back to local control. (This sweeping curve would be removed and obliterated in the early-2000s.)
  • (Dec 2) The former route of US-27 in St Johns along M-21/State St and Lansing Rd in the west side of the city is re-added to the state highway system, much as it had been up to 1927. It is unclear how this re-added route was numbered, if it was numbered at all.
1930 Several changes to US-27's routing during this year are:
  • With the completion of US-27 along Monroe Rd from downtown St Louis westerly to the previous route at Alger Rd north of downtown Alma, the former route of US-27 through Alma is designated as US-27A.
  • A slight new angling realignment removes two 90° curves from US-27 at the Branch/Calhoun Co line south of Tekonsha. The change was made official on August 19, 1929, but the new roadway opens during 1930.
  • (Jan 20) The Shepherd bypass is completed and the US-27 designation is moved out of the village and onto the new highway. The former route through downtown Shepherd is designated as US-27A.
1931
(Aug 31)
A slight realignment takes US-27 to the south side of the Pennsylvania Railroad tracks in Roscommon. Formerly running along North Central Dr from Lake St in downtown Roscommon northwesterly to the Crawford Co line, US-27 now runs along Fifth St, with the former route being turned back to local control. Also just northwest of Roscommon in Crawford Co, two 90° turns are replaced by a direct angling alignment between Merrio and Fletcher Rds, with the old route along Merrio and Fletcher being turned back to local control.
1932 A new alignment of US-27 opens between Kalamazoo Rd in Marshall and present-day N Drive North, north of Marshall, in early in the year. The rest of the new alignment of US-27 north of Marshall opens from present-day N Drive North to Garfield Rd later in the year, with the former route of US-27 along Kalamazoo St, 16½ Mile Rd, 16 Mile Rd and Garfield Rd is turned back to local control on Aug 29, 1932.
1935 Two changes to the route of US-27 this year:
  • (Jan 7) Within the City of St Johns, the May 1927 re-route of US-27 along Whittemore, Steel and Clinton Sts is turned back to local control, leaving the US-27 routing to presumably follow M-21/State St through the downtown area westerly to Lansing Rd, then northerly along Lansing Rd out of the city.
  • (Oct 22) A new alignment of US-27 is completed in northern Otsego Co between Parmater-Paquette Rds and Winters-Whitmarsh Rds including a new overpass at the Pennsylvania Railroad. The former route of US-27 is mostly obliterated by the new construction with the remainder abandoned as a public road.
1936 Another pair of changes in the route of US-27:
  • (Mar 20) US-27 is routed onto a new highway alignment in northern Otsego and southwest Cheboygan Cos, from just south of Thumb Lake Rd on the south to just southwest of Wolverine on the north. This segment, in conjunction with segments south of Houghton Lake and south of Charlotte, is one of the final portions of US-27 to be hard-surfaced in Michigan. After this year, the entire length of the highway is paved.
  • (Aug 30, 1937) While official documents state that Capitol Ave through downtown Lansing was transferred into the state highway system on August 30, 1937, the official highway maps begin showing this route as early as 1936. This new route of US-27 and M-78 along Capitol Ave, continuing easterly with M-39 along Saginaw St, is designated the US-27/M-78 PASSENGER CAR ROUTE. The pre-existing US-27/M-78 route through Lansing becomes US-27/M-78 TRUCK ROUTE.
1937 Three routing changes to US-27 during this year:
  • The length of US-27 is increased by 17 miles when it is extended concurrently with US-23 from Cheboygan to the State Ferry Docks in Mackinaw City. US-23 had previously run along this segment solo for more than a decade.
  • (Aug 30) The route of US-27 through St Johns changes once again when a new alignment is opened northerly from the cnr of M-21/State St & Whittemore St, bending northwesterly back to the pre-existing alignment at Clinton Ave on the north side of the city. The former US-27/M-21 along State St through downtown retains the M-21 designation, while the old route along Lansing St north of M-21 is turned back to local control.
  • (Aug 30) On the same day as the changes in St Johns are official, US-27 is officially rerouted onto new alignment southwest of Houghton Lake in Roscommon Co, beginning at Deadstream Rd and continuing southerly for 3½ miles. The old route along Deadstream & Emery Rds is turned back to local control.
1938 US-27 is relocated on the north side of Lansing onto a newly extended Larch St, meeting up with the former alignment, N East St, at Barnhart St. The former route of US-27 along McKinley & N East Sts is turned back to local control. While the change was official on December 30, 1937, the new route was actually completed and opened to traffic in 1938.
1939
(July 13)
The route of US-27A, a loop through downtown Shepherd in southeast Isabella Co, is removed and the route is turned back to local control.
1940
(Nov 12)
With the completion of the new alignment of US-23 along the Lake Huron shoreline east of Cheboygan, the US-23/US-27 concurrency for four miles south of Cheboygan becomes just US-27.
1940
(Nov 12)
A 3-mile rerouting of US-27 on new alignment just southwest of Houghton Lake near Loxley opens, running along today's Old 27 and Federal Ave. An additional two-mile long northerly extension of this new alignment opens as M-169 (to become a segment of US-27 eight years later). The former route along Nestel & Loxley Rds is turned back to local control.
1941
(Spring)
New! At some point during the Spring of 1941, the concurrent M-18 designation along US-27 between Prudenville and Roscommon in central Roscommon Co is removed from US-27 (and the US-27/M-55 concurrency at Prudenville) and M-18 now terminates at US-27/M-55 in downtown Prudenville. The purpose of the redundant M-18 concurrent designation from Prudenville northerly to Roscommon, then westerly for an additional five miles to the cnr of Federal Rd & S Grayling Hwy-E Higgins Lake Dr is still not clear.
1942
(Jan 28)
In downtown Lansing, the US-27/M-78 TRUCK ROUTE is removed from Washington Ave & Kalamazoo St easterly to Cherry St and relocated to continue easterly on Main St to Cherry St, then northerly on Cherry back to Kalamazoo St. The former route is turned back to local control.
1942
(Aug 17)
A slight realignment along US-27 between M-55 and M-157 near Prudenville is officlally determined as part of the state trunkline highway system. It's assume the actual roadway opens around this same time as well.
1945
(June 26)
US-27 is relocated onto mostly new alignment north of Grayling from North Down River Rd to M-93/Hartwick Pines Rd (onto present-day BL I-75/M-93). The former route is mostly abandoned and now exists within the limits of the Grayling McNamara Army Air Field.
1949
(July 3)
Updated The US-27 westerly bypass of Houghton and Higgins Lakes is fully complete and open to traffic. The new alignment begins at the former jct of US-27 & M-169 (present-day cnr of Old US-27 & Federal Ave) and continues due northerly supplanting the M-169 designation (along present-day Old US-27) to M-55. There, US-27 continues northerly along new highway constructed during 1947 (from M-55 to Mead Rd) and 1948 (Mead Rd to North Higgins Lake Dr). From late 1947 until this date, local traffic was allowed to use the new highway while US-27 trunkline traffic remained routed to the south and east of Houghton and Higgins Lakes via Prudenville and Roscommon and on to Grayling. The final segment of the new bypass route to be completed is the portion from North Higgins Lake Rd north-northeasterly back to the previoqus alignment approximately six miles south of Grayling. Work on the new highway began on July 31, 1946, measures exactly 18.477 miles in length and cost $1,515,640 to construct. Officials note that while the US-27 routing shaves 12.1 miles from the route, it will save motorists anywhere from a half-hour to an hour or more during heavy holiday traffic.
      With the rerouting of US-27 to the west of the lakes, M-55 is rerouted to turn southerly to follow the former M-169 (now part of US-27) for 2.1 miles to Federal Ave, then turns easterly to follow the former US-27 route along Federal Ave back to Houghton Lake Dr, then easterly along the former US-27/M-55—now just M-55—to Prudenville. There, M-18 is extended northerly to take over the former route of US-27 to Roscommon where M-76 is extended westerly and northerly to take the place of the former US-27 to the jct of the new US-27 bypass route six miles south of Grayling. The final route change is a flip-flop of the M-169 designation: It moves from the 2.1-mile segment of what becomes US-27 (along present-day Old US-27 between M-55/Houghton Lake Dr and Federal Ave) to the 3.1-mile segment of the former M-55 through Houghton Lake Heights between US-27 and Federal Ave (along Houghton Lake Dr and Heightsview Dr). For a visual representation of the these route changes and more, check out: Houghton & Higgins Lakes Area Trunkline History Map, 1939-Present
      Interestingly enough, even though work on the Houghton and Higgins Lake bypass route began three years previously, upon its completion and opening to traffic, this new routing for US-27 has not been officially "assumed" into the state trunkline highway system, nor will it be for another four months (see below).
1949
(Nov 7)
Also on November 7, US-27 is realigned to follow present-day M-27 between the two intersections with Ranch Rd southwest of Topinabee. The former route of US-27 along Ranch Rd is turned back to local control.
1949
(Nov 7–10)
Updated The new US-27 westerly bypass of Houghton and Higgins Lakes is officially assumed as a state trunkline highway, just over four months from its opening to traffic. For the Roscommon Co portion from M-55/M-169/Houghton Lake Rd at Houghton Lake northerly to the Crawford Co line, the new highway is determined as of November 11. For the Crawford Co portion from the Roscommon Co line north-northeasterly to the M-76 jct south of Grayling, it is determined a few days earlier on November 7.
1950 Two routing changes in downtown Lansing:
  • (Nov 3, 27) US-27/M-78 TRUCK ROUTE is rerouted in downtown Lansing to continue easterly on Main St from the intersection of Cherry St, across the Grand River to Cedar & Larch Sts, then northerly on Larch back to the former route at Kalamazoo St. This route becomes official on November 3rd, but the transfer of the old route along Cherry & Kalamazoo Sts back to local control isn't official until November 27.
  • (Nov 30) Just a few days after the rerouting of US-27/M-78 TRUCK ROUTE in Lansing, the US-27/M-78 PASSENGER CAR ROUTE along Capitol Ave and Saginaw St is officially removed from the state trunkline system, although signage changes may have occurred simultaneously with the above relocation. Capitol Ave is turned back to local control, and the existing US-27/M-78 TRUCK ROUTE becomes just plain old US-27/M-78.
1951
(Oct 29)
A new route into St Johns from the south opens, when a curving highway on new alignment is completed from the existing route at the corner of Scott & Townsend Rds northwesterly to Whittemore St, then northerly along Whittemore to the jct of the existing US-27 & M-21 east of downtown. The former portion of US-27—in part co-signed with M-21 along E State St and then southerly along Scott Rd—receives a new BUS US-27 route designation.
1952–53 (Aug 24, 1953) While officially credited as August 24, 1953, a new four-lane divided alignment of US-27/M-78 opens southwest of Lansing bypassing the hamlet of Millett, with the change first showing up on some of the 1952 official highway maps. The former route is turned back to local control, signed today as Old Lansing Rd.
1957
(Aug 21)
New! The Michigan State Highway Dept officially anounces the US-27 designation will be the one that graces the Mackinac Bridge between the Lower and Upper Peninsulas when it opens later in the year. Also announced are plans, already approved by state and federal transportation officials, to extend US-27 from St Ignace northerly along the new freeway being constructed in the US-2 corridor to a new terminus at Sault Ste Marie. Essentially, US-27 is to replace US-2 between the Straits and the Soo.
1957
(Oct 21)
Eleven days before the opening of the Mackinac Bridge between the Lower and Upper Peninsulas, the route of US-23/US-27 is officially transferred onto the approach roadway for the Bridge. While US-23 and US-31 end at the southern end of the new Bridge, US-27 continues across the structure to US-2 on the southwestern edge of St Ignace. While the official transfer of the routes is October 21, the new highways open to traffic on November 1st. The former route of US-23/US-27 northerly along Huron St into Mackinaw City to the State Ferry Docks is turned back to local control.
1956
(Nov 1)
New! At 2:05 pm, Governor G. Mennen Williams presents a check—the only one ever accepted for bridge fare—in the amount of $3.25 to toll collector Clifford France of Cheboygan as the first official bridge fare of the Mackinac Bridge , also officially opening the bridge to traffic. US-27 traffic now flows across the Straits of Mackinac for the first time and the new northern terminus of the route is at US-2 on the southwestern limits of St Ignace.
1958 (Mid) New! By mid-1958, the State Highway Dept's plans to extend the US-27 designation from St Ignace northerly along the new freeway being constructed between there and Sault Ste Marie is abandoned. US-27 was to have replaced US-2 between the Straits and the Soo, but internal department maps show the new plan is to transfer US-2 onto the new freeway segments as they are completed with the I-75 designation joining it on the route as well.
1959
(Dec 7)
In order to increase capacity and safety, the north- and southbound traffic flows along US-27 through the center of Lansing are separated. Nortbound US-27 remains on Larch St while southbound is moved over to the parallel Cedar St from Main St northerly to North St.
1960
(July 1)
New! The first 2.6 miles of mostly controlled-access US-27 expressway is completed and opened to traffic at Ithaca in central Gratiot Co. Beginning at the northern end of the existing four-lane divided (uncontrolled access) highway southeast of Ithaca, the new expressway diverges to the west from Bagley Rd before turning northerly to pass over the Ann Arbor Railroad and interchange with the existing route of US-27 at Washington Rd east of downtown Ithaca.
1960
(Nov 8)
Updated With the opening of additional segments of I-75 freeway, the I-75 designation is also applied to the Mackinac Bridge and US-27 is scaled back to end in Mackinaw City once again. US-27 was only the second of three highway designations to ever cross the Mackinac Straits; the first was US-31 in the late-20s and early-30s, the third was (and still is) I-75. As of now, US-23 and US-27 run jointly from Cheboygan to Mackinaw City, then merge onto the I-75/US-31 freeway (at present-day Exit 338) where they continue concurrently with I-75 and US-31 before all three US routes terminate at the southernmost end of the Mackinac Bridge (as it crosses Huron St). I-75 now continues northerly across the Straits and into the Upper Peninsula.
1960
(Dec 20–30)
Updated Another leg in the new mostly controlled-access expressway opens from M-46/Monroe Rd west of St Louis to the south side of Mount Pleasant opens to traffic on Dec 20 at 2:00 pm at a ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by State Highway Commissioner John C Mackie. Interchanges on this new 13-mile long segment are located at M-46 and Blanchard Rd (east of Shepherd), with the remaining crossroads closed or crossing at-grade. This segment of highway is officially added to the state trunkline system ten days later on Dec 30. The former route from the beginning of the expressway southeast of Ithaca to the southern Ithaca interchange, along Bagley & Washington Rds, as well as the segment of former US-27 from M-46 west of St Louis to the end of the new highway on the south side of Mt Pleasant (Luce, Shepherd, Federal, Blanchard and Mission Rds) is turned back to local control on Dec 30 as well.
1961 A year of MAJOR changes to the route of US-27...
1961
(Aug 7–15)
New! The State Highway Dept undertakes an eight-day test of No Passing Zone signage along US-27 in the Gaylord area during early August. Motorists will see two types of No Passing Zone signs. In some areas, standard "DO NOT PASS" signs will be posted on both the right- and left-hand sides of the highway, while in other areas, they will only be posted on the left-hand side. In other areas, the State Highway Dept is testing the effectiveness of the black-on-yellow, pennant-shaped "NO PASSING ZONE" signs, posted only on the left-hand side of the road, which the Iowa State Highway Commission first started using in early 1959 and, once found to be very effective, began posting at the start of no passing zones on all of its primary highways.
1961
(Aug 10)
Updated The US-27 freeway bypass at Mount Pleasant in Isabella Co is opened to traffic from the southern Mount Pleasant interchange (present-day US-127 Exit 129) northerly 3.3 miles to M-20 (present-day Exit 143, however only the northbound lanes are signed as mainline US-27 at this point. At M-20, nbd US-27 traffic continues westerly along M-20/Pickard Rd back to existing US-27 at Mission St. Southbound US-27 traffic continues to use the existing route through Mount Pleasant. State Highway Dept district engineer John Hautala noted southbound through US-27 traffic is not directed to the new freeway to avoid congestion caused by left turns onto M-20 at the Mission St & Pickard Rd intersection. The sbd lanes of the new bypass are open to traffic, however, but only signed for local traffic originating from M-20. This segment of freeway is opened a week earlier than originally scheduled.
1961
(Aug 17)
New! The 10-mile section of new US-27 expressway opens to traffic from existing US-27 at Washington Rd east of downtown Ithaca (present-day Exit 117) northerly toward Alma and Saint Louis, then northwesterly between the two cities to the end of the completed expressway at M-46/Monroe Rd west of Saint Louis and north of Alma (at present-day Exit 127A). As with the other segments of relocated US-27 opened or under construction from Ithaca northerly, this portion also includes interchanges at many major roads with intersections at some secondary roads (others are blocked-off). The entire project from Ithaca toward Grayling is constructed for eventual conversion to fully limited-access freeway in the near future. The former route of US-27 between Ithaca and Alma-Saint Louis is turned back to local control except for portions through Ithaca and St Louis, which become new designations of BUS US-27. The former ALT US-27 (or US-27A) through Alma also becomes BUS US-27.
1961
(Sept 1)
New! The second scaling-back in the overall length of the route of US-27 in less than a year occurs when the State Highway Dept removes all US-27 route markers from the portion of US-23 between Mackinaw City and Cheboygan. US-27's new northern terminus is at US-23 at the corner of Main St & State St in downtown Cheboygan, shortening the route by 16.4 miles. The reason for the truncaction of US-27 given by the MSHD is "because Interstate 75 freeway has replaced it as the prime north-south route in the northern tip of Michigan's Lower Peninsula." The department is also preparing the request to truncate US-27 even further—this time to a point between Grayling and Higgins Lake—and will ask AASHO officals at their October meeting to approve such a change.
1961
(Nov 10–14,
Dec 4)
UpdatedTwo additional segments of the partially limited-access US-27 expressway are open on Nov 10: 1) 18.3 miles from M-20 at Mount Pleasant northerly to the northern Clare interchange at Clare Ave; and 2) 25.8 miles from the southern Harrison interchange at M-61 northerly to M-55 at Houghton Lake. Four days later on Nov 14, a 17.5-mile segment of US-27 expressway is opened to traffic from M-55 at Houghton Lake northerly to a new northern terminus for US-27 at I-75, six miles south of Grayling. Additionally, on or around Dec 4, the 10-mile gap between Clare and Harrison is temporarily filled when the northbound lanes of the new US-27 expressway segment are opened to two-way traffic while costruction continues on the southbound lanes (projected fo completion in the spring of 1962). For all these segments of expressway, interchanges are located at many major roads with intersections at some secondary roads (others are blocked-off). All of the former route of US-27 between Ithaca and I-75 is turned back to local control, except for portions through Mount Pleasant, Clare, and Harrison, which become new designations of BUS US-27.
1961
(Dec 1)
Updated With the opening of a new 33-mile segment of I-75 freeway from south of Grayling to M-32 at Gaylord today, the US-27 designation is drastically scaled back from Cheboygan to end at jct I-75 & M-18/M-76 six miles south of Grayling. The total loss of length for US-27 is 81 miles—in addition to the 16½ miles lost on September 1 between Cheboygan and Mackinaw CIty. The new freeway is built on top of the old US-27 alignment between the new terminus of US-27 and the city of Grayling. Through Grayling, the former US-27 becomes BL I-75, then a county road between there and Waters. Since the new I-75 freeway is not complete from Waters to north of Indian River, the former US-27 is designated as "TO I-75," a temporary designation. It is unclear whether any "TO I-75" route marker assemblies actually went up, or if the old US-27 shields were just retained for the time being. One map source, however, shows a concurrently designated I-75/US-27 between Grayling and Gaylord and a preserved US-27 routing from there to Indian River in 1962. From the end of the completed I-75 north of Indian River into Cheboygan, US-27 is redesignated as M-27. Official effective dates (not necessarily dates of opening to traffic) follow the "1961 (Aug—Dec)" note below.
1961
(Aug–Dec)
Updated The official effective dates (not the dates of opening to traffic) for these above 1961 changes are as follows:
  • Aug 11: Certification of new US-27 expressway from Bagley Rd southeast of Ithaca northerly to Gratiot/Isabella Co line.
  • Aug 11: Transfer of former route of US-27 to county control along State Rd in Gratiot Co from Polk Rd north of Ithaca to Lincoln Rd south of St Louis.
  • Nov 25: Certification of new US-27 expressway in Isabella Co from Gratiot/Isabella Co line northerly to Isabella/Clare Co line.
  • Nov 25: Certification of new BUS US-27 connections on the south and north sides of Mt Pleasant in Isabella Co.
  • Nov 25: Transfer of former route of US-27 to county control along Mission Rd in Isabella Co from BUS US-27 on the north side of Mt Pleasant to BUS US-27 on the south side of Clare.
  • Dec 4: Certification of new US-27 expressway from the Isabella/Clare Co line northerly through Clare and Roscommon and into Crawford Co.
  • Dec 4: Transfer of former route of US-27 to county control from the new expressway north of Clare to jct M-61 southeast of Harrison; from the north Harrison interchange to the new northern terminus of US-27 in Crawford Co south of Grayling.
  • Dec 4: Transfer of former route of US-27 to county control in Crawford Co from M-93 north of Grayling to the Crawford/Otsego Co line.
  • Dec 18: Transfer of former route of US-27 to county control in Otsego Co from the Crawford/Otsego Co line northerly to Marlette Lake Rd in Waters.
1961
(Dec 11)
A new two-lane US-27 bypass is constructed around the east side of Charlotte, with the former route through the city designated BUS US-27.
1962 With the completion of I-96 around the west and south sides of Lansing, the concurrent M-78 designation is transferred to that route from US-27 through Lansing. The route through town becomes US-27/BUS M-78.
In Northern Michigan, several segments of what had formerly been part of US-27 are transferred to local control after more of the I-75 freeway is completed in the area. They are:
  • (June 20) From Marlette Lake Rd in Waters to M-32 in downtown Gaylord is transferred to local control,
  • (Sept 1) The portion from M-32 in Gaylord northerly to Airport Rd in Vanderbilt is handed back, and
  • (Nov 15) The segment from Vanderbilt northerly to Indian River is transferred to the locals.
1962
(June 5)
TO I-75New! From Clare northerly to where I-75 resumes south of Grayling, US-27 is now also signed as TO I-75. One source, however, states actual I-75 route markers were erected along the route instead of "TO I-75" or "TEMPORARY I-75" route marker assemblies. US-10 between Bay City and Clare is also being signed in a similar fashion. State Highway Commissioner John C Mackie says the "TO I-75" signs are put up to "aid motorists following I-75 signs already posted on freeways north of Grayling and south of Bay City." Since the portion of proposed I-75 between Bay City and Grayling via Standish, West Branch and Roscommon is not projected to be complete until later in the decade, Mackie felt it was prudent to erect the temporary signage.
1962
(June 21)
New! The last segment of the US-27 expressway between the northern Clare interchange at Clare Ave and the southern Harrison Interchange at M-61 in Clare Co is fully completed and opened to traffic with the completion of the southbound lanes. (Two-way traffic had been using the northbound lanes since December 1961.) The entire route of the US-27 expressway through Clare Co had been determined as a state trunkline route on Dec 4, 1961 and the existing route of US-27 along Clare Ave between Clare and M-61 southeast of Harrison had been officially transferred to county control on that same day.
1962 (Sept) New! An experimenetal scheme to help motorists discern between on- and off-ramps at freeway interchanges is tested at three US-27 interchages in the Mount Pleasant and Clare areas. Blue paint is used to trim the edges of off-ramps while yellow paint is used for on-ramps; white paint is used to mark the edges of the mainline of the freeway lanes. In addition, blue and yellow reflectors will be used in the same way to aid motorists at night. Harold Cooper, MSHD traffic division director, noted blue backgrounds for exit signs may also be tested and that Michigan is one of five states experimenting with the color system. Cooper noted that if the system works out, it would be extended to all freeway ramps in the state and "Michigan will support its acceptance as a national freeway standard."
1963
(Jan 23)
New! The project to convert all of the US-27 expressway between Ithaca in Gratiot Co and I-75 south of Grayling to a fully controlled access freeway with grade separations constructed at all remaining intersecting roads begins. The $5 million project is expected to take three years to complete.
1964
(June 30)
While it had been replaced by the "new" US-27 routing thirteen years earlier, BUS US-27/Scott Rd along the eastern city limit of St Johns from Townsend Rd northerly to M-21 is transferred back to local control. While some official State Highway Department documents label the route as BUS US-27, another source shows it additionally as CONN M-21, although it is not clear precisely which route designations were actually posted in the field.
1965 (June) Updated The section of the US-27 expressway between Ithaca and Mount Pleasant is officially converted to a fully controlled access freeway with the construction of overpasses as the five remaining roads still intersecting US-27 at grade: St Charles Rd and Van Buren Rd north of Ithaca, Coe Rd south of Shepherd, and Summerton Rd north of Shepherd. The five overpasses cost $630,000 total to construct.
1966
(early Nov)
The conversion of the final portion of partially limited-access "expressway" between Clare and I-75 south of Grayling into a freeway with full control of access (ie. overpasses construced at the remaining intersections) is complete in November.
1967 The first segments of the new I-69/US-27 freeway open:
  • (Nov 1) The segment of the I-69/US-27 freeway from the Indiana state line northerly to the Branch/Calhoun Co line is certified, and much of the former route of US-27 is turned back to local control on this day. The exception is the 3 miles from Fenn Rd northerly to US-12/Chicago St downtown Coldwater, which becomes part of a new BL I-69.
  • (Dec 15) Six weeks later, the segment of the I-69/US-27 freeway from the Branch/Calhoun Co line northerly to I-94 at Marshall is certified. Old US-27 here remains an unnumbered state highway for several more months.
1967 Three more changes to the route of US-27 this year:
  • (June 28) The portion of former US-27 from the Branch/Calhoun Co line northerly to BL I-94/Michigan Ave in downtown Marshall, replaced by the new I-69/US-27 freeway six months earlier, is turned back to local control.
  • (Oct 22) Officially, the portion of the new I-496/US-27 freeway from the Lansing Rd interchange on the western limit of Lansing to the US-27/US-127/Cedar St interchange southeast of downtown is certified into the state highway system, but doesn't open to traffic until the next year.
  • (Nov 29) The portion of US-27/BUS M-78 along Main & St Joseph Sts from the new interchange with I-496 (under construction) to Sbd M-99/Birch St is officially turned back to local control. This stretch remains signed as US-27/BUS M-78 until the I-496/US-27 freeway is completed the next year, though.
1969
(Dec 12)
A new segment of the I-69/US-27 freeway is certified as state trunkline from I-94 at Marshall northerly to the Calhoun/Eaton Co line, although this segment will not be completed until the end of 1970. US-27 remains fully-signed on the existing route for the time being.
1970 Three changes to US-27 in this year:
  • (June 24) The route of the proposed I-69/US-27 freeway from Garfield Rd in northern Calhoun Co to Charlotte is officially certified as a state trunkline on this date, but is about two years from completion and opening to traffic.
  • Updated (Dec 8) A 6.3-mile segment of the new I-69/US-27 freeway is opened to traffic from I-94 at Marshall to Garfield Rd in northern Calhoun Co... but there is a catch! This new segment of freeway is signed for automobile traffic only! The existing US-27 route is retained as a signed state highway for truck traffic, as the temporary connector from the end of the open freeway back to US-27 along Garfield Rd is a substandard county road. According to Tom Ketchum, this connection along Garfield "was a terrible stretch of asphalt in 1971, surface-wise, width-wise and also was very curvy," much as it remains today. Tom relates signs clearly posted the truck route and the cars-only restriction on the new freeway. The Garfield Rd connection was temporarily assumed into the state highway system on December 8th, the day the stretch of the new freeway is opened to traffic. —Many thanks to Tom Ketchum for the excellent information!
  • (Dec 18) With the completion of the I-496/US-27 freeway through downtown Lansing, the former route of US-27 along the Main St/St Joseph St one-way pair is turned back to local control (specificially the segments from Sbd M-99/Birch St easterly to Cherry St). US-27 is now concurrently signed with I-496 between Lansing Rd and Cedar St.
1971
(June 30)
The BUS US-27 designation is removed from Marshall and the the portion of the former BUS US-27 (recently part of US-27 itself) between BL I-94/Michigan Ave in downtown Marshall to I-94 north of the city is turned back to local control.
1971
(Nov 9)
Updated The five-mile long four-lane divided US-27 freeway bypass of Charlotte in Eaton Co is opened to traffic, with Patricia Schrauben, Miss Michigan 1972, assisting John P Woodford, MDSH Deputy Director, with the ribbon-cutting duties. The two-year, $4.6 million project converted the existing two-lane US-27 limited-access bypass of Charlotte into a fully-controlled access freeway including eight bridges and two new interchanges. (The new M-50 interchange alone replaces an old at-grade intersection which had a 10-year record of 92 accidents, including nine fatalities and 96 injuries.) Building the new freeway bypass involved constructing a new set of northbound lanes next to the existing bypass which becomes the southbound lanes. The bypass with become part of I-69 when the segment of freeway between Charlotte and south of Olivet is completed in 1972.
1972
(Nov 20)

Updated
The I-69/US-27 freeway is opened northeasterly from Garfield Rd in northern Calhoun Co past Olivet and along the Charlotte bypass, ending at the junction of US-27, BUS US-27 & M-78 northeast of Charlotte. While truck traffic is now allowed on the I-69/US-27 freeway north of I-94, the former route of US-27 from Marshall northerly to Charlotte is retained as an unsigned state trunkline for about a year. The temporary connector route along Garfield Rd in northern Calhoun Co, however, is turned back to local control on November 20th. At Charlotte, the BUS US-27 routing between the two junctions of I-69/US-27 is retained.
1973 Additional changes to US-27 in this year:
  • The final link of I-75 is completed between Roscommon and West Branch, signalling the removal of the "TO I-75" designation from US-27 north of Clare, and any accompanying I-75 route markers along the route.
  • (Apr 4) The route of BUS US-27 in downtown Ithaca is slightly changed. The designation is removed from Center St between Main & Pine River Sts and from Pine River St from Center to Emerson Sts, and is relocated to Main & Emerson Sts. The rest of the route is untouched.
  • (July 20) The former route of US-27 from I-94 at Marshall to the Calhoun/Eaton Co line is turned back to local control.
  • New! (Nov 10) At its regular meeting in Los Angeles, the U.S. Route Numbering Subcommittee of the American Association of State Highway & Transportation Officials (AASHTO) approves a request from the Michigan Dept of State Highways & Transportation to relocate the route of US-27 between Marshall and Charlotte from its former route and placing it onto the new I-69/US-27 freeway completed in 1972. At the same meeting, the AASHTO subcommittee also approved the removal of the former BUS US-27 routing at Marshall, which had been eliminated by the Dept of State Highways back in mid-1971.
1974 BUS US-27 through Charlotte is redesignated as BL I-69.
1974 (Feb) M-78, concurrently posted with US-27 between Charlotte and Lansing, is scaled back to end at jct I-69/US-27 at Olivet and a designation of TEMP I-69 ("Temporary I-69") is routed along US-27 between Charlotte and Lansing to replace what had been M-78.
1974
(June 25)
New! The states of Michigan and Indiana apply to the American Association of State Highway & Transportation Officials (AASHTO) to have US-27 truncated at Fort Wayne, Indiana. AASHTO denies this request, presumably because the Dept of State Highways & Transportation doesn't make clear what they intend to do with US-27 between DeWitt and Grayling. For the time being, US-27 will remain as it has for nearly a half century in Michigan, but it is clear the route has been placed on the endangered list.
1975 The US-10/M-115 freeway opens from US-27 westerly, north of Clare and Farwell. US-10 now runs concurrently with US-27 between Clare and the new US-10 freeway.
1979
(May 15)
South/eastbound traffic on BUS US-27 in downtown Alma is moved onto a different route via Lincoln, Center & Pine Sts, with north/westbound traffic remaining on Superior St.
1982–83 New! In late 1982 or early 1983, the 3.3 mile segment of future I-69/US-27 freeway from existing US-27 southeast of DeWitt westerly to Airport Rd northwest of Lansing is completed, but is not open to traffic since, according to MDOT officials, doing so "would put a traffic burden on Ariport Road that it is not built to handle." The remaining five miles of freeway from Airport Rd westerly to I-96 at Exit 91 would not be completed and the entire 8.3-mile northern freeway bypass of Lansing opened to traffic for another few years.
1985
(July 18)
Updated A ribbon-cutting ceremony is held at the completion and opening of the 7.7-mile long northern freeway bypass of Lansing, designated as US-27, and running from I-96 (at Exits 89–91) on the west to the US-27 & US-127 interchange southest of DeWitt. The freeway segment cost $25.4 million and took approximately five years to construct in two phases—phase one from US-27 westerly to Airport Rd was completed by remained closed to traffic for the past couple years until the full freeway segment was completed. With the new segment of freeway, the US-27 designation now runs northerly from its existing route via I-96 from Exit 98 near Diamondale to Exit 91 northwest of Lansing, then turns northeasterly and easterly across the north side of Greater Lansing back to the existing route of US-27 southeast of DeWitt. All of the former route of US-27 between I-96 (at Exit 98) and US-127 (near DeWitt) is redesignated as BUS US-27. The new US-27 bypass will also bear the I-69 designation once the next segment in that route is completed and opened to traffic between US-127 at DeWitt and exisitng TEMP I-69 southeast of Bath in Clinton Co.
1987
(Sept 25)
With the opening of a new segment of I-69 freeway between US-127 and Peacock Rd in southeastern Clinton County on Sept 25, 1987, the I-69 designation is routed via I-96/US-27 northerly from I-96 at Exit 98 southwest of Lansing to Exit 91, then easterly across the north side of Lansing concurrently with US-27 to DeWitt, continuing easterly along US-127 for an additional 2 miles.
1991 Updated MDOT once again applies to the American Association of State Highway & Transportation Officials (AASHTO) to have US-27 truncated at Fort Wayne, Indiana and, once again, AASHTO denies this request. It is assumed MDOT again doesn't make clear what will become of the existing route of US-27 between DeWitt and Grayling. While it gets a reprieve for a second time and will remain as it has for 65 years in Michigan, US-27 is clearly on the endangered list and may not be long before decommissioning.
1992
(Oct 22)
The final segments of the new I-69/US-27 freeway open between Charlotte and I-96 southwest of Lansing. The former route of TEMP I-69/US-27 (Lansing Rd) becomes an unsigned state trunkline, as does the decertified BUS US-27 (Lansing Rd) from I-96 into Lansing. BUS US-27 now runs from the junction of I-69/US-27 near DeWitt southerly to end at Michigan Ave in Lansing. BUS US-27 along Lansing Rd between I-69/US-27 Exit 72 and I-496 Exit 4 becomes an unsigned trunkline route, while "officially" retaining the BUS US-27 designation for internal MDOT purposes.
1995
(Nov 9)
Updated The first segment of the new "St Johns Bypass" opens between Price Rd and M-21 east of St Johns. The northern portion between M-21 and US-27 north of St Johns is held up due to the discovery of mastadon bones in the construction zone. Accordingly, this segment is not signed as US-27, but as "TO M-21 EAST" northbound and as "TO US-27 SOUTH" southbound. Through US-27 traffic is maintained on the existing highway through St Johns. Construction on this segment of freeway began in the fall of 1991 and cost $7.1 million.
1996
(June 4)
New! In preparation for the completion and opening of the full "St Johns Bypass" by the end of the year, Price Rd from the existing US-27 easterly to the interchange with the relocated US-27 freeway interchange is officially transferred to state control as part of the anticipated BUS US-27 route. For its first two years, however, this segment of Price Rd would actually be signed as and used for the mainline route of US-27 until the segment of freeway from Price Rd southerly to the I-69 & US-127 jct is completed.
1996
(Dec 15)
The full "St Johns Bypass" opens around St Johns and the US-27 designation is transferred onto it. The former route of US-27 through St Johns becomes BUS US-27, although the actual "BUSINESS" signs aren't physically erected along the route until late-1997/early-1998.
1998
(Aug 31)
At 9:17am on Monday, August 31, 1998, the northbound lanes of the final link in the long-awaited "St Johns Bypass," were opened to through traffic. The southbound lanes open within a couple hours of the northbound side. US-27 is now a freeway for the first 106 miles in Michigan, with only 15.7 miles of non-freeway divided highway between St Johns and Ithaca yet to be upgraded. With the opening of the new freeway, US-27 gains almost 3.6 miles, while US-127 loses about 1.7 miles in length. This was caused by the US-27 designation replacing the US-127 designation along I-69 between Exit 87 and 89 near DeWitt. The 7.73 miles of former US-27 from I-69 (at Exit 87 near DeWitt) to Price Rd (5 miles south of downtown St Johns) is now an un-numbered state trunkline, erroneously labled as BUS US-27 on some commercial maps. The portion of US-27 temporarily routed along Price Rd from the former US-27 to the new freeway becomes a part of St Johns' BUS US-27, adding 1.25 miles to that highway's route. In all the entire so-called "St Johns Bypass" includes four new interchanges, 14 highway overpasses and four freeway overpasses at the abandoned Central Michigan Railroad east of St Johns.
1999
(Apr 16)
Updated At the April 16, 1999 meeting of the Standing Committee on U.S. Route numbering, MDOT applies once again to AASHTO for truncation of the US-27 designation back to Fort Wayne, Indiana (with the cooperation of InDOT), and for the redesignation of all of US-27 from DeWitt northerly to Grayling as part of US-127, and is given the go-ahead. Specifically, this is done the other way around, first petitioning to redesignate US-27 from DeWitt northerly as US-127, then immediately petitioning to truncate the newly-truncated US-27 back to Fort Wayne. It seems doing it the other way around was what caused AASHTO to deny the truncation eight years earlier. While MDOT intends on carrying through with the changeover, almost no signage changes take place for two years from the truncation approval.
2000
(Sept 18)
The final signalized intersection on US-27 in Michigan is removed with the completion of the M-57 interchange in southern Gratiot Co.
2001 Most of the US-27 route markers are removed from the 89-mile portion of the route concurrent with I-69, between the Indiana state line and jct US-127 at DeWitt north of Lansing. Most of the signs were removed in June and July, with most of the stragglers being removed later in the year. A few markers remained, though, into 2002.
2002
(May)
The Big Changeover from US-27 north of Lansing to US-127 occurs. Starting in May in the Bay and North Regions (Gratiot, Isabella, Clare and Roscommon Counties), new US-127 markers go up along the freeway and the various Business Connections. After 76 years, this signals the end of US-27 in Michigan.

 

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