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M-19
M-20 Route Marker On to Next Route:
M-21
Western Terminus:    US-31 at Exit 140, 2½ miles west of New Era
Eastern Terminus:    US-10 at Exit 128 (the eastern BUS US-10 interchange) on the eastern limits of Midland
Length: 129.35 miles
Map: Route Map of M-20
Notes: Updated M-20, while not a true "coast-to-coast" cross-peninsular route, is still a major east-west travel corridor in the central Lower Peninsula. It runs from near Lake Michigan on the west to Midland on the east, just 14 miles from downtown Bay City near Saginaw Bay. (Indeed, M-20 formerly extended east to Bay City, making it truly a "coast-to-coast" route.) Today, the portion of M-20 between Midland and Mount Pleasant is a heavily-travelled route, while the portions to the west are largely rural in nature and carry a lower traffic volume.
  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 several upgrades to the route of M-20 during that timeframe. They included:
  • Converting M-20, which then began at Muskegon State Park and continued via North Muskegon, Twin Lakes, Fremont and White Cloud to Big Rapids, to a divided highway between Muskegon State Park and the western edge of North Musekgon and from the eastern edge of North Muskegon through Twin Lakes to the M-20 (now M-120) & M-82 jct west of Fremont.
  • Rerouting M-20 east of Fremont to continue east along 48th St (instead of turning north along Baldwin Ave) for four additional miles, then skirting around the north side of Sylvan Lake before teeing into M-37, 3½ miles north of Newaygo. M-20 would have then run concurrently with M-37 into White Cloud.
  • Rerouting M-20 to run east from White Cloud via Base Line Rd for 6½ miles to Elm Ave, then angling northeasterly on a new alignment before merging back into 8 Mile Rd just east of the Newaygo/Mecosta Co line. It would continue east along 8 Mile Rd to Stanwood where it would bend northeasterly on a new alignment to meet up with Buchanan Rd at 160th Ave, then continuing easterly along Buchanan for 8 miles to 90th Ave. M-20 would then bend northeasterly again on a new alignment between the corner of Buchanan Rd & 90th Ave to 9 Mile Rd & 80th Ave, then continue east along 8 Mile Rd to its existing route one mile to the east. The vast majority of the existing route of M-20 would be turned back to local control in this scenario.
  • Converting five miles of M-20 from 7 Mile Rd easterly to Vance Rd west of Midland to a divided highway.
Of these four recommendations, only half of the third one (rerouting M-20 between White Cloud and Stanwood in 1998—and then, it was only rerouted along existing roadways with no new alignment constructed) and a modified version of the last one (where M-20 was converted to a five lane facility with a continuous left-turn lane instead of a divided highway in the 1980s and '90s) were ever completed.
  A major change in the routing of M-20 took place on October 1, 1998 when the portion of M-20 from M-37 north of White Cloud to the Newaygo/Mecosta County line west of Big Rapids was turned back to county control. Simultaneously, all of county B-88 in Newaygo and Mecosta Cos was transferred to state control. The route of B-88 in its entirety (from White Cloud to US-131 at Stanwood) was then redesignated as M-20. The resultant gap in M-20 between Stanwood and Big Rapids was filled by running M-20 concurrently with US-131 between Exits 131 and 139. The former route of M-20 is now an un-numbered county road in Newaygo Co. The short portion of the former M-20 in Mecosta Co has since been turned back to local control and is now also an un-numbered county road.
  By early February 1999, all but a handful of the M-20 route marker assemblies from White Cloud to US-131 at Big Rapids had been removed, even the ones at the junction of M-20 & M-37, potentially leaving motorists unfamiliar with the area without guidance! As of April 1999, only one lonely M-20 marker remained, obviously overlooked in the process, and all traces of B-88 were removed. Also in April, M-20 route marker assemblies had been erected at the US-131 & 8 Mile Rd interchange (Exit 131) near Stanwood, as well as a solitary M-20 marker on the east side of White Cloud. No other indication of the changes was apparent on M-37 or on eastbound M-20 as one approached the junction with M-37. By May 1999, however, the new highway routing was completely signed.
  From 1926–1969, M-20 ran southwesterly from White Cloud via Fremont to end in Muskegon. The White Cloud-to-Fremont stretch was for many years an un-numbered state trunkline, while the remainder was re-designated as portions of M-82 and M-120. On October 31, 1999, the un-numbered "Old M-21" between Fremont and White Cloud was turned back to county control.
  One of the earlier stretches of freeway of any length in Michigan was the M-20 freeway between Bay City and Midland in 1958. This is now part of the US-10 freeway.
History: 1920 Before the debut of the US Highway system, M-20 begins in Ludington and runs easterly along the present-day route of US-10 through Baldwin, Reed City, Clare to Midland. There, M-20 heads due easterly to end in Bay City.
  1925 When the US Highway system was first proposed, the majority of M-20—from Ludington to the east side of Midland—was to be replaced by a brand new US-12 designation, which would depart M-20 east of downtown Midland to follow M-24 (now M-47) to Saginaw and M-10 into Detroit. However, that plan is greatly revised during 1925 and early 1926 (see below).
  1926 When the final US Highway System plan is adopted in 1926, US-10—not US-12—is designated along most of M-20 in Michigan, along the general alignment that highway uses today. The M-20 designation from Midland westerly is then dropped down onto a new routing via Mount Pleasant, Big Rapids, White Cloud and Fremont, ending in Muskegon at the newly-designated US-31. M-20 will maintain this general routing until 1969.
  1928 The route of M-20 is realigned to run directly from Twin Lakes to Holton in Muskegon Co. The former route along Ryerson and Holton-Duck Lake Rds is turned back to local control.
  c.1932 M-20 is extended westerly from North Muskegon along the north shore of Muskegon Lake to end at the Muskegon Lake Channel in Muskegon State Park.
  1933 M-20 is realigned in the vicinity of Mount Pleasant from Broadway Rd (east of US-27) and Shepherd Rd and onto Pickard Rd, its present-day routing.
  1935 M-20 is realigned onto a more direct routing from Holton to Brunswick in northeastern Muskegon Co. The former route along Marvin Rd from Holton easterly is turned back to local control, while the portion of Maple Island Rd from Marvin Rd northerly to M-20 becomes an extension of of M-213.
  1939 While some sources show M-20 being extended into Muskegon State Park in c.1932, the actual roadway from Scenic Dr southerly to the Muskegon Lake Channel is not completed until this year. (This is now the main park road within the state park.)
  1941 With the completion of a new bridge over the Chippewa River in Mount Pleasant, M-20 is realigned from Broadway St downtown to run along High St, then northerly along US-27/Mission St. The former route is turned back to city control.
  1957 The final few miles of gravel-surfaced M-20, near Woodville in Newaygo Co, are paved.
  1958 (Oct 25) Updated The 13-mile long M-20 freeway opens from US-23/Euclid Ave on the west side of Bay City to Bay City Rd near the Bay/Midland Co line east of Midland. The former route of M-20 along Midland Rd through Auburn is retained as an unsigned state trunkline highway for the time being.
  1959 (Oct 19) New! Just shy of an entire year after the M-20 freeway through southern Bay Co is completed and opened to traffic, the 13.67-mile segment is officially determined as a state trunkline highway route. Simultaneously, the former 13.0-mile alignment of M-20 along Midland Rd is officially turned back to local control.
  1960 With the completion of the new I-75/US-10/US-23 freeway to Bay City, US-10 is rerouted onto the M-20 freeway to Midland. M-20 is then scaled back from Bay City to end at the US-10 & BUS US-10 interchange east of Midland with BUS US-10 and M-20 running concurrently into downtown Midland.
  1961 M-20 is rerouted beginning in North Muskegon, running southerly along with US-31 into Muskegon, then southwesterly with BUS US-31 into Downtown Muskegon. In downtown, the route becomes BUS US-31/M-20/M-46 and continues to US-16. The US-16/M-20/M-46 routing turns westerly for a couple blocks to end at the Wisconsin & Michigan Steamship Company's carferry dock on Lake Muskegon. The former route of M-20 from North Muskegon into Muskegon State Park is redesignated as M-213.
  1962 The concurrent US-16/M-20/M-46 designation in downtown Muskegon becomes BS I-196/M-20/M-46 with the completion of I-196 between Grand Rapids and Muskegon.
  1963 The concurrent BS I-196/M-20/M-46 designation in downtown Muskegon becomes BS I-96/M-20/M-46 with the re-designation of I-196 between Grand Rapids and Muskegon to I-96. Also, BUS US-31 is extended north along M-20 past North Muskegon to the newly completed US-31 freeway until the BUS US-31 connector in 1964.
  1964 With the completion of the new BUS US-31 connector on the north side of Muskegon, the M-20 designation is scaled back to end at BUS US-31. The former route through downtown becomes just BUS US-31, concurrent BUS US-31/M-46, and concurrent BS I-96/M-46.
  1969 M-20 is rerouted along One Mile Rd due westerly from M-37 north of White Cloud through Hesperia and along the former route of M-82 to US-31 at New Era. The fomer route of M-20 from White Cloud to M-82 outside of Fremont becomes an un-numbered state trunkline (known to MDOT officially as "Old M-20"), while the concurrent segment with M-82 retains the M-82 and the section from M-82 to Muskegon becomes designated as M-120.
  1975 M-20 is exteneded at New Era for approximately two miles from its former terminus at Oceana Dr to meet up the new US-31 freeway.
  1984 M-20/BUS US-131 is realigned along a newly extended Perry St from State St in Big Rapids to the new US-131 freeway on the west edge of town. The former route of M-20 along 15 Mile Rd is turned back to local control and a portion of the former route on the campus of Ferris State University becomes Ferris Dr.
  1998 (Oct 1) The portion of M-20 from the northern jct with M-37 north of White Cloud, northeasterly to the Mecosta/Newaygo Co line is turned over to county control. Simultaneously, the route of B-88 from White Cloud to Stanwood is turned over to state control. The M-20 designation is then relocated onto the White Cloud-to-Stanwood routing of B-88, then northerly along US-131 back to its former alignment at Big Rapids. The former routing of M-20 between White Cloud and Big Rapids is relieved of its state designation and reverts back to Newaygo Co control. In addition, the state-maintained "Old M-20" from White Cloud to Fremont is also turned back to local control.
  1999 February 1999 saw the removal of most of the M-20 route markers between M-37 and US-131. As of April 1999, only one lonely M-20 marker remained and all traces of B-88 were removed. Also in April, M-20 route marker assemblies had been erected at the US-131 & 8 Mile Rd interchange (Exit 131) near Stanwood, as well as a solitary M-20 marker on the east side of White Cloud. No other indication of the changes was apparent on M-37 or on eastbound M-20 as one approached the jct with M-37. All signage changes are completed by May 1999, though.
Controlled-Access: Two segments of M-20 exist as freeway:
  • Concurrently with US-131 from Exit 131 at Stanwood to Exit 139 at Big Rapids. (7.4 miles)
  • Concurrently with BUS US-10 in Midland from Saginaw St to US-10 at Exit 128. (2.5 miles)
NHS: Updated M-20 is part of the NHS in two different segments:
  • In the Mecosta Co from the southern jct with US-131 at Exit 131 northerly to jct BUS US-131 at State St & Maple St in downtown Big Rapids. (5.9 miles) (The segment of M-20 concurrent with BUS US-131 in Big Rapids was added in 2012 with the passage of the MAP-21 funding and authorization bill.)
  • From the southern jct with BUS US-127 in Mount Pleasant (at cnr High St & Mission St) to the eastern terminus of M-20 at US-10 at Midland. (31.6 miles) (The segment of M-20 in Mount Pleasant west of US-127 was added in 2012 with the passage of the MAP-21 funding and authorization bill.)
Photographs:  
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