Michigan Highways: Since 1997.

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M-17
M-18 Route Marker On to Next Route:
M-19
Southern Terminus:    US-10 at Exit 109 at North Bradley
Northern Terminus:    M-72 in eastern Crawford Co, 7 miles west of Luzerne
Length: 77.43 miles
Map: Route Map of M-18
Notes: In contrast to the present-day routing of M-18 north of Roscommon, this route formerly ran northwesterly—concurrently with the former M-76—to end at US-27 (present-day US-127) south of Grayling. The present M-18 northeasterly from Roscommon to M-72 was formerly designated as M-144.
  In the 1940s, the State Highway Department began planning for a major relocation of the route of M-18 from the western M-18 & M-61 junction on the west limits of Gladwin northwesterly, skirting the east side of Pratt Lake and running directly through the community of Podunk before turning northerly to connect back with the existing route of M-18 at the cnr of Clairwin Ave & Renas Rd-Forest Rd south of Meredith, west of Skeels. Only on official planning maps for a short time, it was dropped from consideration by 1948.
  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 a pair of upgrades to the route of M-18 during that timeframe. They included:
  • Rerouting M-18 from its western jct with M-61 on the west side of Gladwin to follow M-61 to the west (instead of east) for five miles to the Gladwind/Clare Co line. There, M-18 would turn north to run along the county line, requiring ½ mile of new highway immidiately north of M-61, then continuing along Clarewin Rd to Eaton Rd, then along two miles of new highway alignment to Arnold Lake Rd, and finally along one more mile of existing Clarewin Rd back to the existing M-18 route at Forest Rd. The former route (not concurrent with M-61 in Gladwin) was to have been turned back to local control. (Nothing ever came of this proposal in the decades since.)
  • The 1960 plans had no provision for a BL I-75 at Roscommon and seemed to indicate M-18 would terminate in downtown Roscommon at the southern terminus of M-144, which continued to the northeast. It can be safely assumed that M-18 would have then been extended to supplant M-144 in its entirety, as actually happened in 1973, with or without a BL I-75 designation.
History: 1920 The "original" route of M-18 begins at M-46 two miles west of Merrill and proceeds northerly via Sanford, Edenville, Beaverton, Gladwin, Prudenville, Roscommon, Grayling, Gaylord, and Indian River, ending in downtown Cheboygan.
  1923 Due to a major realignment of M-14 (later US-27) which shifts that highway designation onto the route of M-18 from the Houghton Lake area northerly, M-18 is truncated at a rerouted M-14 in Prudenville, proceeding southerly from there. Also, M-18 is relocated slightly between Edenville and Beaverton, with the former road being turned back to local control.
  1926 M-18 is realigned to run due southerly from Beaverton on a new alignment to end at a newly-christened US-10 in North Bradley. The former route of M-18 between Beaverton and M-30 is re-designated as M-80, while the former M-18 from that point southerly through Sanford to M-46 becomes an extension of M-30.
  c.1927–28 M-18 is re-extended northerly from Prudenville along its pre-1923 routing concurrently with US-27 for 15 miles, ending at M-76 in downtown Roscommon. This extension is likely in preparation for the eventual rerouting of US-27 on the west side of Houghton and Higgins Lakes, although such a realignment for US-27 would not occur for another two decades.
  1937 (Aug 30) A new sweeping curve is constructed on the west side of the City of Gladwin and officially becomes a state trunkline on this day, bearing the M-18 designation. Formerly "teeing" directly into M-61/Cedar Ave on the west edge of the city, M-18 now follows a broad curve to the east to merge directly into M-61. The former route of M-18 from the beginning of the new curve northerly to M-61/Cedar Ave is turned back to local control.
  1941–42 For reasons not apparent, the concurrent designation with US-27 created in 1927 is removed and the northern terminus of M-18 is, once again, scaled back to Prudenville at jct US-27/M-55. One could speculate with the outbreak of World War II and its effect on new road building, the rationing of construction materials, and the lack of available labor, the State Highway Department may have abandoned plans for the western Houghton Lake & Higgins Lake bypass.
  1947 The final 7 miles of gravel-surfaced M-18 are paved, with the stretch in question being in Midland Co.
  1949 The new alignment of US-27 opens in mid-1949 to the west of Houghton and Higgins Lakes in Roscommon Co. The former route of US-27 from Prudenville to Roscommon is re-designated as an extension of M-18. From Roscommon, M-18 is extended northwesterly concurrently with M-76 to end at US-27 six miles south of Grayling.
  1961 With the completion of the US-10 freeway in Central Michigan, the southern terminus of M-18 is moved approximately one mile north to end at the new freeway. Also, with the completion of the new US-27 expressway south of Grayling, the M-18/M-76 terminus is moved northerly less than one mile to end at the new freeway.
  1970 The M-18/M-76 routing is transferred to newly completed freeway (present-day I-75) from west of Roscommon (at present-day Exit 244) to jct US-27 & I-75 south of Grayling. Evidence shows this five-mile long freeway spur was signed M-18/M-76 and not as I-75, which would have confused motorists since US-27 at that time was the the I-75 connecting route.
  1973 With the completion and opening of I-75 between Roscommon and West Branch, the M-18 designation is rerouted beginning in downtown Roscommon to run northeastearly along the entire route of M-144 to M-72 west of Luzerne in eastern Crawford County. The former route of M-18 from Roscommon to I-75 becomes a portion of BL I-75. The former M-18/M-76 routing along the five-mile stretch of freeway up to US-27 is redesignated as a part of I-75.
  1977 (Aug 30) The former route of M-18 from M-61 southerly for one block to the "sweeping curve" completed in 1937 on the western edge of Gladwin is re-assumed into the state trunkline system as a short "connector" route, of sorts, although it doesn't receive its own designation. This was, ironically, the short stretch turned back to local control on August 30, 1937.
  2001 M-18/M-61/Cedar Ave is widened from two to five lanes on the west side of Gladwin and the junction of M-18 & M-61 is moved westerly to the original meeting of those two routes, to form a right-angle "tee" intersection. The north end of the former M-18 curve is cut off and turned into a cul-de-sac, but remains as an unsigned state trunkline designated "OLD M-18".
  2005 (July 6) A minor state trunkline jurisdictional transfer gives 0.15 mile (~790 feet) of OLD M-18/Cedar Ct to the City of Gladwin. "Cedar Ct" was the old sweeping curve that M-18 used to make coming northbound into Gladwin at M-61 that was originally built in 1937 and reconfigured in 2001.
Controlled-Access: No portion of M-18 is freeway or expressway.
NHS: No portion of M-18 is on the National Highway System (NHS).
Photographs:  
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