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Historic US-16 & M-16
M-17 Route Marker On to Next Route:
M-18
Western Terminus:    US-23 at Exit 37 (jct US-23, BUS US-23 & BL I-94) on the east side of Ann Arbor
Eastern Terminus:    US-12 southeast of Ypsilanti, west of Willow Run Airport
Length: 6.39 miles
Map: Route Map of M-17
Notes: Prior to the debut of the US Highway system in the mid-1920s, M-17 ran across the entire Lower Peninsula, beginning in Watervliet in northeastern Berrien Co and running easterly through Paw Paw, Kalamazoo, Battle Creek, Marshall, Jackson, Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti, ending in downtown Detroit. In 1926, US-12 was designated along a majority of M-17—from St Joseph east to Ann Arbor. M-17 remained untouched between Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti, but from Ypsilanti easterly into Detroit, the M-17 routing was replaced by US-112, which is now ironically part of modern-day US-12.
  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 were not kind to the route of M-17. Indeed, the planners recommended transferring ALL of the route which did not run concurrently with other trunkline routes (e.g. BUS US-112 in downtown Ypsilanti and M-39 along Southfield Rd in Allen Park) to local control. While all of M-17 in Wayne Co was turned back to local control in 1969 and the concurrent portion with US-12 east in the Willow Run was removed, the remainder of M-17 from US-12 westerly to US-23 remains on the trunkline system to this day.
History: 1920 M-17 begins at M-11 (later US-31, now M-140) in downtown Watervliet and progresses easterly across the entire Lower Peninsula, via Kalamazoo, Battle Creek, Marshall, Jackson, Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti, ending in downtown Detroit, roughly following the route of what would become US-12 in the present-day I-94 corridor.
  1922 (Dec) New! At the suggestion of the Calhoun Historical Society, M-17 in the county is given the name Pioneer Trail to "honor of the many early settlers who traveled that way in the early days when they settled Michigan, Indiana, Ohio and other western states."
  1925 The initial plans for the number of the brand-new US Highway system in 1925 had M-17 being replaced by the US-10 designation in its entirety. This was likely due to the fact M-17 is the major route connecting Detroit with Chicago via some of Michigan's larger cities in the Lower Peninsula.
  1926 After readjusting some of the routes as originally proposed in 1925, the US Highway System is adopted and significant parts of M-17 are replaced by two different US Highway designations, instead of just the single US-10 designation as originally proposed. From Watervliet to Ann Arbor, M-17 is replaced by the US-12 designation, while US-112 is routed over M-17 from Ypsilanti into downtown Detroit. Simultaneously, M-17 is removed from the Michigan Ave routing between Ypsilanti and downtown Detroit. Immediately, the M-17 designation east of Ypsilanti is extended along what had been designated M-23 along Ecorse Rd from Ypsilanti to Lincoln Park, where it is then routed northeasterly, concurrently with US-25, into downtown Detroit. (By doing this, the State Highway Department eliminated any potential confusion which may have been caused by having an "M-23" number route in such close proximity to the new US-23 routing.
  1927 A new southern Ann Arbor bypass is opened as M-17 along Boulevard Dr (present-day Stadium Blvd) from US-23/Washtenaw Ave southeast of downtown to US-12/Jackson Rd west of downtown.
  1937–38 M-17 is realigned at Allen Park to turn easterly on Southfield Rd to US-25/Dix Hwy, then turning northeasterly concurrently with US-25 back to M-17's former alignment and into downtown Detroit.
  1944 With the completion of the northern portion of the Willow Run Expressway System at the Willow Run Bomber Plant east of Ypsilanti, M-17 is routed along 1½ miles of new expressway built roughly along the route of Ecorse Rd from roughly the Wayne/Washtenaw Co line westerly. Just west of the county line, a new BYP US-112 routing joins the expressway, and together BYP US-112 and M-17 continue along the newly constructed southern expressway bypass of Ypsilanti (now part of present-day I-94). At US-112/Michigan Ave, BYP US-112 ends and M-17 continues due westerly along a new two-lane highway for 1.6 miles to US-23/Carpenter Rd. The M-17 designation then turns northerly with US-23 for 2 miles, returning to M-17's former alignment along Washtenaw Ave halfway between Ypsilanti and Ann Arbor. The former route of M-17 through downtown Ypsilanti is re-designated as BUS M-17.
  1956 With the completion of the new US-12 freeway bypass of Ann Arbor in mid-1956, US-12 and US-112 are re-routed onto the Ypsilanti bypass, taking the place of M-17 and BYP US-112. M-17 is routed back onto Ecorse Rd, Michigan Ave and Washtenaw Ave through downtown Ypsilanti along the former route of BUS M-17. (Concurrently-signed US-112 through town becomes concurrently-signed BUS US-112.) The western terminus of M-17 is also scaled back so that the highway now ends at US-23 (cnr Washtenaw Ave & Capenter Rd) between Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti. The former route of M-17 along Stadium Dr and Maple Rd around Ann Arbor is turned back to local control.
  1962 – With the completion of the new US-23 freeway, the western terminus of M-17 is moved west several hundred feet to end at the new freeway (present-day US-23 Exit 39).
  1968 – By 1968, the concurrent designation with US-25 between Allen Park and downtown Detroit is removed and the eastern terminus of M-17 is scaled back to M-39/Southfield Rd in Allen Park.
  1969 – M-17 is scaled back from its eastern terminus at M-39 (cnr Ecorse Rd & Southfield Hwy) in Allen Park to end at US-12 southeast of downtown Ypsilanti.
Controlled-Access: No portion of M-17 is freeway or expressway.
NHS: New! M-17 is part of the NHS from its western terminus at US-23 on the east side of Ann Arbor to the east jct with BUS US-12 (cnr E Michigan Ave & Ecorse Rd) on the east side of Ypsilanti. (4.5 miles ebd, 4.6 miles wbd) (The segment concurrent with BUS US-12 from downtown Ypsilanti easterly to Ecorse Rd was added in 2012 with the passage of the MAP-21 funding and authorization bill.)
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