Michigan Highways: Since 1997.

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Former M-31
M-32 Route Marker On to Next Route:
Former US-33
Western Terminus:    M-66 in East Jordan (cnr Lake & Water Sts)
Eastern Terminus:    US-23 in downtown Alpena (cnr 2nd Ave & Chisholm St for eastbound traffic; cnr 3rd Ave & Chisholm St for westbound traffic)
Length: Updated 100.001 miles
Maps: Route Map of M-32
Notes: On the Federal Highway Administration's NHS System map for Michigan, all of M-32 between US-131 and Alpena is shown as a part of the National Highway System (NHS), with the exception of a "proposed" segment from the cnr of Beckett & Turtle Lake Rds six miles east of Gaylord to the crossroads known as Big Rock five miles west of Atlanta. This suggests a proposed 15-mile long relocation of the highway in eastern Otsego and western Montmorency Cos that MDOT has long proposed but seems to be unlikely to ever be constructed.
  From 1963 to 1974, while M-32 ran concurrently with M-66 from East Jordan into Charlevoix, this route was a "cross-peninsular" highway: it extended from Lake Michigan at Charlevoix to Lake Huron at Alpena.
  A story in the September 18, 2005 edition of the Traverse City Record-Eagle noted local officials from municipalities in southwest Charlevoix and northwest Antrim counties were interested in petitioning MDOT to extend M-32 westerly from East Jordan through the Ellsworth area to US-31 near Atwood, once again restoring the route as a true "cross-peninsular" highway. Some of the officials were considering asking MDOT to assume control of what is now designated C-48, however the route is currently not up to state trunkline standards throughout, so additional upgrades would have been necessary before it could receive the M-32 designation. The article also noted: "Five local governments in Antrim and Charlevoix counties passed resolutions in favor of M-32's extension, with another three expected to take up the issue soon." In the interim, the local authorities teamed up to "brand" the route of C-48 from US-131 at Boyne Falls to US-31 at Atwood "The Breezeway." In 2009, "Breezeway" directional signage and milemarkers were erected along that portion of C-48.
  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 realignments and upgrades to the route of M-32 during that timeframe, including:
  • Turning back all of M-32 west of US-131 in northeastern Antrim and southern Charlevoix Cos. This reccommendation was, of course, never implemented as M-32 exists to this day between US-131 and East Jordan.
  • Constructing a new alignment M-32 beginning at an interchange with the proposed US-131 freeway at the location of the present-day US-131 & M-32 WEST in northeastern Antrim Co, then proceeding east-southeasterly crossing existing M-32 at Dobleski Rd and bypassing Elmira to the south. The new alignment route of M-32 would continue directly to the corner of C-42/Alba Rd & State Rd west of Gaylord. The existing route M-32 from US-131 to C-42 would be turned back to local control. This proposal was never implented as well.
  • Constructing a new alignment M-32 from east of Gaylord to west of Johannesburg, similar to but somewhat different from what was eventually built in the early 1970s. The 1960 proposal diverged from the existing M-32 alignment at the corner of Wilkinson & Chester Rds east of Gaylord and headed directly southeasterly crossing back over the existing route just east of Big Lake and about 1 3 mile north of Oley Lake Rd before merging back into the existing route at the northeast corner of Lewis Lake west of Johannesburg. The 1970s realignment that was actually completed began west of Krys Rd and merged back with the existing route at Chester Rd, removing two of the 90° turns and leaving two of them that would've been removed with this 1960 proposal.
  • Constructing a new alignment M-32 beginning at the existing 90° turn in downtown Johannesburg and heading due easterly along the section line for about four miles before turning slightly northeasterly in Montmorency Co, returning to the existing route of M-32 at the sharp curve near Speiss Lake/Lake Inez about five miles west of Atlanta. This would have eliminated two 90° turns near Johannesburg and several sharp turns (including two more 90° turns) in western Montmorency Co. While this realignment still seems to be on some future plans, it's highly unlikely MDOT will construct this new alignment for M-32.
  • Constructing a new alignment northerly bypass of Atlanta for M-32 and, east of Main St, for M-33 as well. It would have run along the existing portions of Metzger Rd and Pettenger Rd, but would have mostly been new alignment with the old route being turned back to local control. This proposal was not implemented.
History: c.1920 – M-32 follows is present-day routing (albeit roughly) from M-13 (later US-131) near Elmira to M-10 (later US-23, present-day M-65) at Lachine in Alpena Co.
  1926 – With the debut of the US Highway system in Michigan, M-32's termini become M-131 (west) and US-23 (east).
  1933 – By 1933, M-32 is extended from its western terminus at M-131 (later US-131) one mile west of Elmira, westwerly via M-131 for an additional mile, then northwesterly for 15 miles to end at M-66 in East Jordan. Also, some 1933 highway maps show M-32 concurrently designated with US-23 between Lachine and Alpena, possibly as an early signal of the US-23 rerouting to come at the end of the decade.
  1939 – M-131 becomes US-131 and the concurrent segment of M-32/M-131 becomes US-131/M-32. In addition, the new US-23 routing opens north of Alpena, removing the concurrency between Alpena and Lachine and the route becomes solely M-32.
  1949US-131 is realigned at the M-32 junction west of Elmira.
  1958 – The final several miles of gravel-surfaced M-32 are paved, at the Antrim/Charlevoix Co line.
  1963 – In a puzzling move, the route of M-32 is extended northerly from East Jordan concurrently with M-66 to end at US-31 (along with M-66) on the south side of Cheboygan. No reasoning behind this extension has yet been found.
  1973 – A new alignment just east of Gaylord shaves about a mile off the length of the route and the former route is turned back to local control.
  1974 – The puzzling M-32 extension via M-66 becomes history when M-32 is scaled back from Charlevoix to its pre-1963 western terminus at M-66 in East Jordan.
  c.1994 – A new bypass on the south side of Hillman opens. Interestingly, M-32 becomes disconnected from BUS M-32 into downtown Hillman at the time. This bypass segment is actually a small portion of a much-grander plan to realign much of M-32 in eastern Montmorency Co. It remains unclear whether the rest of the M-32 relocation west of Hillman will ever be completed.
  1995 – A new alignment of M-32/M-33 opens east of Atlanta smoothing out some sharper curves and redesigning the M-32 & M-33 intersection.
  2005 New! – Approximately 0.8 mile of M-32 is realigned in eastern Otsego Co in the Vienna Corners area. Beginning approximately ¾ mile west of F-01/Meridian Line Rd, the route of M-32 is adjusted onto a new alignment to remove a set of sharper curves where the highway avoids a small lake/wetland area, then continues easterly north of its previous alignment to plug more directly into the route of M-32 in Montmorency Co at the F-01/Meridian Line Rd intersection, eliminating a double-curve at that location. The westernmost ½ mile of the former route of M-32 is obliterated as a roadway, while the 0.41 mile segment from F-01/Meridian Line Rd westerly to the beginning of the obliterated segment is retained as a state trunkline route with the name Town Branch Rd and the internal MDOT designation as OLD M-32.
  2009 (May 20) New! – The former route of M-32 (Town Branch Rd, from F-01/Meridian Line Rd westerly for 0.41 mile) resulting from the 2005 realignment in eastern Otsego Co at Vienna Corners is turned back to County jurisdiction as a County Local road.
Controlled Access: No portion of M-32 is freeway or expressway.
NHS: From US-131 to eastern terminus at Alpena, except for a "proposed" segment (as shown on the FHWA's Michigan NHS System map) from the cnr of Beckett & Turtle Lake Rds six miles east of Gaylord to the crossroads known as Big Rock five miles west of Atlanta.
Business Connection: BUS M-32 – Hillman. From cnr Hillman Rd & Old M-32 on the south side of town to the northern Hillman corporate limit.
Photographs:  
Weblinks:
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