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M-36
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Southern Terminus:    Jct I-94 & BL I-94 at Exit 92 on the Kalamazoo/Calhoun Co line at the southwestern corner of Battle Creek
Northern Terminus:    Old Mission Lighthouse (Peninsula Twp Park) at the tip of the Old Mission Peninsula north of the community of Old Mission
Length: Updated 221.935 miles
Maps: Route Map of M-37
Notes: Among several other route changes in Battle Creek and across Calhoun Co as a part of the Rationalization process (1998), the route of M-37 within the City of Battle Creek was altered. On October 31, 1998, the Michigan Department of Transportation took control of dozens of miles of formerly county roads and municipal streets. Among those miles were all of Bedford Rd from the jct of M-37 & M-89 southerly to Helmer Rd, all of Helmer Rd from Bedford Rd southerly to Columbia Ave and all of Columbia Ave from Helmer westerly to BL I-94/Skyline Dr-Martin Luther King Jr Blvd. These roads became part of the realigned M-37 route from M-89 to I-94. M-37 then continued southwesterly via BL I-94 to its new terminus at I-94. Much of the former route of M-37 into downtown Battle Creek became part of an extended M-89. Prior to the change, which resulted in a net gain of approximately 2¾ miles, M-37 was 218.97 miles long.
  Updated In a reversal of one of the 1998 "Rationalization" transfers, the portion of M-37 along Columbia Ave from Helmer Rd (jct M-96) westerly to BL I-94/Skyline Dr-Martin Luther King Jr Blvd was turned back to the City of Battle Creek on in early May 2005. This created a discontinuity in the route of M-37, but MDOT then chose to relocate M-37 concurrently with BL I-94 via Dickman Rd from Helmer westerly to Skyline Dr-Martin Luther King Jr Blvd and via Skyline-MLKing southwesterly back to its previous route at Columbia Ave, thereby shortening the route of M-37 by 0.29 mile. Route signage in the field was updated to reflect this transfer and rerouting at a later date.
  New! A major rerouting for M-37 (and its concurrent partner designation, BL I-94) on the west side of Battle Creek occurred in 2015 when a segment of BL I-94/M-37 was removed as part of a project to accommodate expanding munitions storage at the adjacent Battle Creek Air National Guard Base. According to the Battle Creek Enquirer,"Battle Creek officials support the closure, saying it will create a joint base for the U.S. Army, Air National Guard and Navy that could boost Fort Custer Training Center's chances of being selected as a ballistic missile defense site." The portion of Skyline Dr/M L King Jr Dr from Columbia Ave northerly to Hill Brady Rd was transferred to the City of Battle Creek, while the portion between Hill Brady Rd and M-96/Dickman Rd was closed and obliterated. MDOT, meanwhile, took jurisdiction of Columbia Ave from Skyline/MLKing easterly to Helmer Rd (for a third time, the second time in 17 years!). The BL I-94/M-37 route now continues northeasterly and easterly from the intersection of Columbia Ave & Skyline/MLKing via Columbia Ave to Helmer Rd, then joins with M-96 along Helmer Rd between Columbia and Dickman Rd where both routes continue on their former paths—BL I-94 easterly via Dickman toward downtown Battle Creek and M-37 northerly toward Urbandale along Helmer Rd. The portion of Dickman Rd from Skyline Dr/MLKing Dr to Helmer Rd which had been designated BL I-94/M-37/M-96 is now just part of M-96. Now measuring 221.935 miles in length, prior to the 2015 rerouting, M-37 was 221.621 miles long—a net gain of 0.314 miles.
  Site contributor Brian Reynolds sent in a gem of a map and information about a proposed expressway-freeway plan which never came to fruition. Much of the M-37 corridor from Hastings through Grand Rapids to Casnovia was upgraded to modern highway design and geometrics in the 1940s and 50s. South of Hastings, however, M-37 and parallel route M-43 remained on their original alignments from early in the century. In the 1960s, the State Highway Department proposed replacing these two substandard highways with a new expressway-freeway alignment, detailed by Brian on the M-37: Hastings-Battle Creek page.
  Plans for a major upgrade to the route of M-37 north of Grand Rapids were never realized, although some of the plans were put into place for a portion of the route. Presently, M-37 heads north from the Grand Rapids area on a five lane highway which becomes a divided highway at 6 Mile Rd and remains so to beyond 10 Mile Rd, where it narrows down to two lanes. North of where M-37 splits off from Alpine Ave, the road becomes a controlled-access "expressway" to its intersection with Apple Ave at the west limits of the Village of Casnovia. The original upgrade plans for M-37 called for a controlled-access freeway or expressway to branch off US-131 in the neighborhood of the Pine Island Dr overpass near Belmont, heading northwesterly to Alpine Ave, then northerly as a western bypass of Sparta, Kent City and Casnovia, continuing as a freeway or divided expressway well into Newaygo Co. The only portion of this plan ultimately completed was the portion from the Alpine Ave split-off (between 9 & 10 Mile Rds) to Apple Ave at Casnovia. Most of this route is a two-lane undivided expressway, with access only at select intersections. Sufficient right-of-way still exists next to the current highway for construction of a second roadway. This will likely never happen. It is unclear how far north the improved M-37 routing was proposed, although the City of Newaygo is a likely candidate. In addition, the proposed freeway or expressway connector between Alpine Ave and US-131 also seems highly unlikely, as numerous new subdivisions have been allowed to pop up in its path.
  Before M-37 was completed north of Wolf Lake, M-42 ran along the present-day route of M-37 from Mesick through Traverse City to Old Mission.
  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 changes to the route of M-37 during that timeframe, including:
  • Extending M-37 from M-96/W Michigan Ave (now M-89) southerly along Bedford and Helmer Rds to a terminus at BL I-94/Dickman Rd. This proposal was finally implemented as part of the 1998 Rationalization process.
  • Conversion of M-37 from P Dr North north of Battle Creek to 37½ Mile Rd (Hutchinson Rd) in Bedford to a divided highway. This proposal was never implemented.
  • Conversion of M-37 from the western city limit of Hastings northerly to US-16/28th St (now M-11) in Kentwood to a divided highway, with the exception of the portion through the Village of Middleville. While the vast majority of this proposal was never implemented, the portion of M-37 along Broadmoor Ave from 76th St north of Caledonia to south of 29th St in Kentwood was converted to a divided highway in the 1990s. Additionally, M-37 along the East Beltline Ave from 28th St in Kentwood northerly to I-96 was not proposed to be upgraded to a divided highway, although that did happen in the 1970s.
  • Conversion of Alpine Ave from I-96 at Exit 30 in Walker northerly to Alpine Church Rd 2-1/4 miles to the north to a divided highway. This proposal was never implemented.
  • Conversion of M-37 to a freeway from Alpine Church Rd 2¼ miles north of I-96 in Walker northerly to jct M-37 & M-46 west of Casnovia, featuring interchanges at 7 Mile Rd, 10 Mile Rd, Sparta Ave, 13 Mile Rd, 15 Mile Rd, Peach Ridge Ave, M-57/17 Mile Rd (now M-46), Kenowa Ave, and at the jct of M-37 & M-46 west of Casnovia at the terminus of the freeway. This proposal was partially implemented—from Alpine Church Rd tothe Alpine Ave split, M-37 was converted to a divided highway and from there north to Sparta Ave it was converted to a limited-access divided highway. From Sparta Ave north to Apple Ave west of Casnovia, a two-lane limited-access expressway was constructed with no interchanges.
  • Conversion of M-37 to a divided highway from the jct of M-37 & M-46 west of Casnovia northerly to the southern limit of the VIllage of White Cloud, not including the portion through the Village of Grant but, interestingly, including the portion through the center of the City of Newaygo. (As the portion through downtown Newaygo would involve levelling a good portion of the downtown district, it's hard to imagine that was the actual proposal!) None of this proposal was ever implemented.
  • Realignment of M-37 onto a completely new alignment from the northern limits of White Cloud almost directly to the point where M-37 crosses from Newaygo Co into Lake Co. This proposal was never implemented.
  • Realignment of M-37 onto a new alignment from 26 Rd near Yuma in Wexford Co to M-115 on the west side of Mesick. This proposal was implemented as shown on the maps.
  • Turnback to local control of all of the route of M-37 from US-31 in Traverse City northerly to its terminus at the Old Mission Lighthouse. This proposal was not implemented.
History: c.1920 The original routing of M-37 in the early 1920s runs roughly (and someone convolutedly) along its present-day route from Battle Creek to Grand Rapids via Hastings.
  1928 By 1928, M-37 is extended by more than 85 miles to replace the routing of M-54 in its entirety from Grand Rapids northerly through Newaygo and Baldwin to end at M-63 near Peacock in central Lake Co.
  1930 M-37 is relocated onto newer, straighter alignment at Kent City and Casnovia. The former route is turned back to local control.
  1934 Two new short realignments open just north of Dutton in Kent Co and just north of Newaygo in Newaygo Co. The former route segments are both turned back to local control.
  c.1936–37 Several route changes come to M-37 in this timeframe:
  • M-37/M-96 is routed off Van Buren St and on to Michigan Ave in Battle Creek. Van Buren St is given back to municipal control.
  • M-37 also is scaled back for approximately one mile to end at Capitol Ave (jct. US-12A/M-78/M-37/M-96).
  • A short, new 4-mile long graded-earth surfaced segment of future M-37 opens from M-55 twenty-one miles west of Cadillac southerly to the Wexford-Lake County line. It is unclear whether this short stub of a highway was signed as M-37 at this time.
  • A new alignment of M-37 opens between Brohman and Lilley in northern Newaygo Co, bypassing Bitely and shaving two miles from the route, the former route being turned back to local control.
  1939 In mid-1939, a new alignment opens between Middleville and Hastings at M-43.
  1940 In anticipation of eventually bridging the gap between north-central Lake Co and Mesick in Wexford Co, all of M-42 north of the M-42/M-115 intersection at Mesick is redesignated as M-37 northerly through Traverse City to the Old Mission area. This creates a two-segment, discontinuous highway between M-63 in Lake Co and M-115 at Mesick. Also, M-37 is scaled back slightly in Battle Creek to end at M-96, ending the M-37/M-96 concurrency.
  1945 The final few miles of gravel-surfaced M-37 (which are open to traffic as of 1945) are paved, north of Middleville.
  1947 For ten years, a short 4-mile long segment of graded-earth surface highway has been shown between M-55 and the Wexford/Lake Co line, but this segment is not included on the 1947 Official Michigan Highway map. The "Mileage Log of State Trunkline Routes" published in January 1948 indicates a gap in M-37 from M-63 in Lake Co to M-115 in Mesick.
  1948 A new, paved segment of M-37 opens from M-63 in north-central Lake Co to M-55 in southwestern Wexford Co.
  1949 (Nov 10) The southwesterly approach into Traverse City for US-31/M-37 is completely revamped. Starting two miles north of Chums Corners, the highway formerly followed McCrae Hill Rd, a roadway since obliterated from present-day US-31/M-37 northeasterly to the 90-degree curve in South Airport Rd, then South Airport northerly to Veterans Dr (formerly Rennie St), Veterans (Rennie) northerly into Traverse City to 14th St, 14th easterly to Union St and Union northerly to jct M-22/M-72 at Front St downtown. Most of this route is turned back to local control on this date when the newly-completed route following present-day US-31/M-37 is established as a state trunkline from the southern intersection with McCrae Hill Rd northerly to 14th St in Traverse City. Oddly, this leaves a gap in the established route from the cnr of Division St & 14th St and Front St & Union St, although sources indicate the route of US-31/M-37 is likely signed northerly from 14th St along Division St to M-22/M-72/Front St, then easterly along M-22/M-72/Front St back to the former route at Union St.
  1949 A new alignment of M-37 along Broadmoor Ave opens between Caledonia and BYP US-16/BYP M-21 (28th Street) southeast of Grand Rapids. The M-37 routing runs westerly via 28th St (BYP US-16/BYP M-21) back to the former alignment at Kalamazoo Ave. The former route of M-37 is turned back to local control.
  1951 A short new (gravel-surfaced) bypass around the northeast side of Caledonia in Kent Co routes the highway out of downtown. The former M-37 is turned back to local control.
  1952 M-37 is rerouted in the Grand Rapids area: From the 28th Street and East Beltline-Broadmoor Ave intersection, M-37 now heads northerly (along with US-131 and M-21) to Cascade Rd, northwesterly via Cascade (along with BUS M-50) to E Fulton St, then westerly via E Fulton into downtown (along with BUS US-16/BUS M-21/BUS M-50) to the former alignment. Also, the final 15-mile gap in the discontinuous route between M-55 and Mesick is bridged, forming one continuous route between Battle Creek and Old Mission.
  1953 (Nov 6) In a project designed to remove through traffic and trucks from the heart of Traverse City's downtown core, the entire length of Grandview Parkway running along the shoreline of the West Arm of Grand Traverse Bay is established as a state trunkline on this day and likely opens to traffic at the same time. Simultaneously, Division St from 14th St northerly to the new Grandview Pkwy is also established as a state trunkline, carrying US-31/M-37 northerly from the southwest corner of the city to the parkway where both routes turn easterly along with M-72 to follow Grandview bypassing downtown before merging back into Front St near Railroad Ave. (The rest of Grandview Pkwy from Division St northwesterly to M-72 becomes part of M-22/M-72.) The former route of US-31/M-37/M-72 along Front St from Division St easterly to the new Grandview Pkwy is transferred to local control.
  1957 A short rerouting onto a new alignment just south of Sparta opens with the former route being turned back to local control.
  1961 Updated – Just over twenty years after removing the concurrent M-37 designation, the route of M-96 from M-37 northwest of downtown Battle Creek into downtown is once again co-signed with M-37, much as it was 1927–1940.
  @1962 (Jan 9) New!As initially implemented in 1957, made permanent in 1958 and officially determined in 1960, eastbound M-96 (and, now, also sbd M-37) traffic entering Battle Creek from the northwest via Michigan Ave has turned southerly via the short, narrow, one-block Thorne St to Jackson St, where it then continues southeasterly into the downtown area. On this date, the 0.148 miles of W Michigan Ave (Angell St to Thorne St) and Thorne St (W Michigan Ave to Jackson St) is transferred to municipal control, while the 0.173 miles of Angell St (W Michigan Ave to Jackson St) and Jackson St (Angell St to Thorne St) are transferred to state control and become the new ebd M-96/sbd M-37 routing.
  1962 A new M-37 highway alignment opens west of the old route bypassing Sparta, Kent City and Casnovia. This new two-lane, controlled-access highway is constructed along a route scheduled to become an M-37 freeway running northerly from Grand Rapids toward Newaygo, possibly as a northern extension of the US-131 freeway. Also, M-37 is again rerouted thorugh Grand Rapids: From the 28th St & East Beltline-Broadmoor Aves intersection southeast of the city, M-37 now runs westerly via M-11/M-21/28th St to the new US-131 freeway, then northerly via US-131 through downtown to I-96 north of the city and westerly for a short distance on I-96 back to M-37/Alpine Ave.
  @1966 (Jan 1) UpdatedExisting dual state highway route designations in the Battle Creek area are "simplified" by the State Highway Dept so that several segments of highway formerly bearing two or three routes now only bear one. The result is that the route of M-96 is scaled back to end at a new eastern terminus at M-89 west of Battle Creek just east of the Calhoun/Kalamazoo Co line. What had been formerly designated as M-89/M-96 along W Michigan Ave from M-37/Bedford Rd westerly becomes just M-89, while the concurrent M-37/M-96 along W Michigan Ave east of M-37/Bedford Rd and Angell St–Jackson St (ebd) and Van Buren St (wbd) now becomes just M-37.
  1969 (Oct 29) Once again, M-37 is rerouted at Grand Rapids: From the intersection of M-11/28th St and M-44/East Beltline Ave in Kentwood, M-37 now runs concurrently with M-44 via East Beltline Ave to I-96 (at Exit 38), then northwest along I-96 to Alpine Ave (at Exit 30).
  1972 (Dec 29) In conjunction with the proposed M-37 Hastings-Battle Creek Expressway, the route of M-37/M-43 from downtown Hastings westerly to the western jct of M-37 & M-43 is moved to its present-day alignment. The former route of M-37/M-43 via Green St will be turned back to local control the next year.
  1973 (Mar 30, Jun 29) The former route of M-37/M-43 from downtown Hastings westerly superceeded by the present-day alignment (see above) is turned back to local control. Green St from downtown Hastings (at Broadway St) westerly to the west city limit is turned back to city control on March 30th, while the portion in Rutland Twp from the west limit of Hastings westerly to the new alignment is turned back to the county on June 29th.
  1977 The concurrent designation of M-37/M-44 is removed when M-44 is scaled back to end at I-96 Exit 38 east of Grand Rapids.
  1984 (June 21) M-37 is rerouted in Battle Creek to run southerly via Washington Ave to BL I-94/Dickman Rd, then easterly concurrently with BL I-94 along Dickman Rd to end at jct I-194/M-66 at Exit 3.
  1997–98 With the complete reconstruction of W Michigan Ave in downtown Battle Creek west to Angell St, the parallel alignments of M-37 along Jackson St (sbd) and Van Buren St (nbd) are consolidated onto W Michigan Ave. M-37 still turns southerly at Washington Ave, though, to cross the Kalamazoo River heading toward its meeting with BL I-94/Dickman Rd. Michigan Ave between Washington Ave and M-66/Division St remains a local street. The former one-way routings on Jackson and Van Buren Sts, which were designated in the late 1950s as M-96 (when M-37 ended at M-96/W Michigan Ave in Urbandale), once again become two-way streets.
  1998 (Oct 31) As a part of the Rationalization process (1998), the route of M-37 within the City of Battle Creek is altered. On this day, MDOT takes control of dozens of miles of formerly county roads and municipal streets. Among those miles is all of Bedford Rd from the jct of M-37 & M-89 southerly to Helmer Rd, all of Helmer Rd from Bedford Rd southerly to Columbia Ave and all of Columbia Ave from Helmer westerly to BL I-94/Skyline Dr-MLKing Jr Mem Hwy. These roads become part of the realigned M-37 route from M-89 to I-94. M-37 then continues southwesterly via BL I-94/Columbia Ave to its new terminus at I-94. Much of the former route of M-37 into downtown Battle Creek becomes part of an extended M-89.
  2000 The route changes which officially ocurred in 1998 (above) are finally signed in the field. New route markers denoting the various changes are physically posted along the various routes in the Battle Creek area.
  2003 (Aug) In late-August, as a part of a complete sign rehabilitation along East Beltline Ave in Grand Rapids, the route of M-44 is "re-extended" south from its terminus at I-96 (Exit 38), concurrently with M-37 to end at M-11/28th St, where M-37 continues southerly toward Hastings and Battle Creek. MDOT had seemingly removed this redundant concurrency in 1977, but inexplicably re-adds it in 2003.
  2005 (May 5) Updated The 2.3 miles of M-37 along Columbia Ave between Helmer Rd & BL I-94/Skyline Dr-Martin Luther King Jr Blvd in southwestern Battle Creek is transferred back to local control. The route of M-37 is then transferred onto BL I-94 to continue westernly and southwesterly (via Dickman Rd and Skyline Dr-Martin Luther King Jr Blvd) to its terminus at I-94 Exit 92, shortening the entire route of M-37 overall by 0.29 mile.
  2007 (June) The 17¼ miles of M-37 on Grand Traverse County's Old Mission Peninsula are designated as a Scenic Heritage Route.
  2013 (June) A short realignment along M-37 just north of the Manistee River and the community of Sherman in northwestern Wexford Co eliminates a treacherous 12% grade and a winding S-curve at the location known as "Sherman Hill." The new highway alignment continues due northerly along the section line on a less-steep 7% grade, while the old route, which diverted to the east before curving back to the section line, is obliterated.
  2015 (June 24) New! As noted in the "Notes" section above, a portion of BL I-94/M-37 along Skyline Dr/Martin Luther King Jr Blvd on the west side of Battle Creek is permanently closed to traffic between Hill Brady Rd and M-96/Dickman Rd to accommodate expanding munitions storage at the adjacent Battle Creek Air National Guard Base. The remainder of Skyline Dr/M L King Jr Blvd is to be transferred to city control. To remedy the discontinuity in the routes of BL I-94 and M-37, the city transfers control of Columbia Ave between Skyline/MLKing and Helmer Rd (this segment having been a state trunkline route from 1932–1959 and from 1998–2005). BL I-94/M-37 now continues easterly from Skyline/MLKing via Columbia Ave to Helmer Rd, then joins M-96 following Helmer Rd back to the former routes of M-37 and BL I-94 at Dickman Rd. The portion of Dickman Rd from Skyline Dr/MLKing Dr to Helmer Rd which had been designated BL I-94/M-37/M-96 is now just part of M-96. Now measuring 221.935 miles in length, prior to the 2015 rerouting, M-37 was 221.621 miles long—a net gain of 0.314 miles.
  2016 (May–June) New! In a reversal of the August 2003 "re-extension" of M-44 from I-96 at Exit 38 on the eastern edge of Grand Rapids southerly to M-11/28th St as well as being a "re-truncation" re-implementing MDOT's original removal of the M-44 designation from that portion of East Beltline Ave, the M-44 route markers are again removed from all of M-37/East Beltline Ave south of I-96. M-44's western terminus is, once again, I-96 at Exit 38 and M-37 agains traverses that segment of East Beltline Ave by itself. Much like the 2003 "re-extension" of M-44, this "re-truncation" comes as part of a road sign rehabilitation job along the East Beltline corridor.
Controlled Access: Freeway: The concurrent segment with I-96 in the Grand Rapids area between Exit 30 and Exit 38.
  Updated Expressway: Two segments of M-37 exist as expressway:
  1. West of Hastings, M-37/M-43 is (mostly) limited access from Cook Rd westerly to Heath Rd-Green St, although MDOT has been selling "access rights" to several businesses over the past few decades at various locations. (0.6 miles)
  2. From the intersection of Alpine Ave (North) & M-37 between Grand Rapids and Sparta to the intersection of Apple Ave west of Casnovia. (12.1 miles)
Circle Tour: Lake Michigan Circle Tour MarkerLake Michigan Circle Tour: In Traverse City: From the western jct of US-31/M-37 & M-22/M-72 (cnr of Division St & Grandview Pkwy) to the eastern jct of US-31/M-72 & M-37 (cnr of Front St & Garfield Ave).
Pure Michigan
Byway:
Scenic Heritage Route markerOld Mission Peninsula Scenic Heritage Route: From Traverse City north city limit (just northeast of Peninsula Dr & Center Rd intersection) to the northern terminus of M-37 at the Old Mission Lighthouse.
NHS: Four segments of M-37 are on the National Highway System (NHS):
  1. In the Battle Creek area, from the southern terminus of M-37 at I-94 Exit 92 northerly to jct M-89 at cnr of Bedford Rd & W Michigan Ave. (7.26 miles) (The segment of M-37 from the eastern jct of M-37 & BL I-94 at Dickman Rd & Helmer Rd northerly to M-89/W Michigan Ave was added to the NHS in 2012 with the passage of the MAP-21 funding and authorization bill.)
  2. In the Grand Rapids area, from M-6/Paul Henry South Beltline Frwy northerly to 10 Mile Rd south of Sparta, including the concurrent segment with I-96. (24.0 miles) (The segment of M-37 from the western jct of M-37 & I-96 at Exit 30 in Walker northerly to 10 Mile Rd south of Sparta was added to the NHS in 2012 with the passage of the MAP-21 funding and authorization bill.)
  3. The concurrent segment with US-10 from Baldwin from south jct US-10 & M-37 at cnr Michigan Ave & Washington Ave to north jct US-10 & M-37 north of Baldwin. (3.0 miles)
  4. From eastern jct of M-37 & M-115 east of Mesick to the eastern jct of US-31/M-72 & M-37 at cnr of Front St & Garfield Ave in Traverse City. (29.2 miles)
Photographs:  
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