Michigan Highways: Since 1997.

Michigan Highways website header graphic
Back to Previous Route:
US-45
M-45 Route Marker On to Next Route:
M-46
Western Terminus:    US-31 at Agnew south of Grand Haven
Eastern Terminus:    I-196/Gerald R Ford Frwy at Exit 75 in Grand Rapids, west of downtown
Length: Updated 24.402 miles
Maps: Route Map of M-45
Notes: The entire route of M-45 also bears the name Lake Michigan Dr.
  Updated In November 1964, the current iteration of M-45 was created when M-50 was scaled back to end at I-96 (Exit 52) south of Lowell and all portions of the former M-50 west of I-96 at Exit 40 east of East Grand Rapids was redesignated at M-45. The change was made by the State Highway Dept in order to eliminate the dual signing of M-50 and I-96 together between Cascade Rd and Alden Nash Ave in Kent Co. Less than a decade later, the route of M-45 was scaled back to end in downtown Grand Rapids. More recently, M-45 was additionally scaled back from downtown to end at I-196.
  The first iteration of M-45 ran along present-day M-95 in the central Upper Peninsula. The route designation was changed to M-95 when US-45 was added in the western U.P. in order to minimize confusion.
  In the mid-1990s, the portion of the highway from I-196/Gerald R Ford Frwy into downtown Grand Rapids at BUS US-131/Division Ave was removed from the routing of M-45. The 4½ blocks of W Fulton St from BUS US-131/Division Ave to the east abutment of the Grand River bridge were turned back to the City of Grand Rapids, however the remaining portion of W Fulton from the Grand River bridge to I-196 remains within the state trunkline system. MDOT has indicated they would like to transfer control of this portion of W Fulton St to the City of Grand Rapids as well, but the city has not yet expressed interest in this roadway. For the time being, this unsigned portion of the former M-45 bears the internal MDOT designation of OLD M-45.
  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 one major change to the route of what is now M-45 during that timeframe: get rid of it. In 1960, what is now M-45 was still part of the M-50 routing from Monroe to Agnew and the planners suggested rerouting M-50 from the Woodbury area (southeast of Lake Odessa) to run nearly due westerly to a new western terminus at M-40 between the proposed I-96 freeway (now I-196) and the US-31 bypass in the City of Holland. The former route from Woodbury through Lake Odessa to I-96 south of Lowell and all of what is now M-45 from Grand Rapids westerly through Allendale to Agnew were suggested to be transferred back to local control and would no longer be state trunkline routes. While the portion of the former M-50 from I-196 in Grand Rapids easterly through the city was turned back to local contol, the remainder of the former M-50 from I-196 westerly not only remains on the state trunkline highway system, it received major capacity improvements in the ensuing decades as well!
History: 1917 (Dec 11) New! A new, 20.0-mile long north-south state trunkline highway route is determined in western Marquette Co beginning at T.L. 15 (later M-15, now US-41/M-28) just west of Humboldt, proceeding southerly along present-day Co Rd FNP to Co Rd 601, then via present-day Co Rd 601 through Republic to Witch Lake, then southerly from Witch Lake along present-day Co Rd LHA and the present-day M-95 corridor to a terminus at the Michigamme River at the Marquette/Dickinson Co line. This new route is given the designation of T.L. 45 (Trunk Line 45).
  1919 (July 1) New! – T.L. 45 is signed in the field as M-45 as all state trunkline highways in Michigan are signed with route markers.
  1919 (Sept 26) New! A 14.0-mile southerly extension of M-45 is officially determined from the existing southern end of M-45 at the Michigamme River on the Marquette/Dickinson Co line southerly roughly along the present-day M-95 corridor to Deadman's Lake (present Silver Lake), then via Silver Lake Rd and Sawyer Lake Rd into Channing. From Channing, M-45 continues southerly via Byers Rd and present-day M-95 to a terminus at M-12 (present-day north jct of M-69 & M-95) in Sagola.
  1926 (Sept 9) New! A new alignment for M-45 immediately south of Channing in northwestern Dickinson Co is determined as a trunkline route and likely opens around this time as well. From Byers Rd on the south edge of Channing, the new alignment runs closer to the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad (Milwaukee Road) line along present-day M-95, merging back into the existing alignment approx 1½ miles north of Sagola. The former route of M-45 along Byers Rd is turned back to county control.
  1927 Updated – With the coming of the US Highway System, much of M-12 across the Upper Peninsula is designated as US-2, with the primary exception of the segment between Iron Mountain and Crystal Falls. US-2 now follows the slightly shorter path via Florence, Wisconsin. The segment of M-12 from Crystal Falls easterly to Sagola is redesignated as M-69, while the north-south portion from Sagola southerly through Randville to Iron Mountain becomes an extension of M-45 (present-day M-95). The M-45 designation runs concurrently with US-2 into downtown Iron River and then supplants the M-75 designation through Kingsford to the Wisconsin state line. The M-75 designation, however, is almost immediately transplanted to an existing route in the Lower Peninsula. All of the route of M-57 from Boyne Falls through Boyne City to Walloon Lake is redesignated as M-75. (At the time of its designation as M-75, the route was completely hard-surfaced.)
  1933 (July 12, mid-Aug) New! As construction on a new segment of M-45 between Witch Lake and Republic in southwest Marquette Co continues, the 10.9-mile segment of the route between those two communities is officially cancelled as a state trunkline route and transferred to county control on July 12, although it remains marked and maintained as M-45 until the new route is opened to traffic. A 7-mile section of relocated M-45 from Witch Lake northerly to one mile south of the present community of South Republic (the town itself constructed 1955–1970s) is opened to traffic in mid-August with Co Rd LE from the northern end of the completed highway to the former M-45 one mile south of Republic and former M-45 itself from Co Rd LE into Republic used as a temporary connector. The remainder of the new M-45 from Republic then southerly three miles is still under construction while the former M-45 route between Witch Lake and Republic is rechristened as Co Rd 601 by the Marquette Co Road Commission.
  1934 (Oct) New!The new 150-foot long M-45 bridge spanning the Michigamme River approx 2½ miles south of Republic in western Marquette Co is completed in early October. Seventy-five tons of steel and 600 yards of concrete are used in the new structure. The rest of the segment of highway, however, won't be completed for about a year.
  1934 (Nov) New!The American Association of State Highway Officials (AASHO) officially approves the proposal by highway officials from Illinois, Wisconsin and Michigan to extend the route of US-45 northerly through Wisconsin to Land O' Lakes on the Michigan state line where it will take over the route of M-26 from there through Watersmeet and Bruce Crossing to Rockland, then run northwesterly replacing M-35 from Rockland to a terminus in Ontonagon. Signs will be erected in mid-1935.
  1934 (Nov 19) New!The final 3.33 miles of realigned M-45 in western Marquette Co from Republic southerly to the northern end of the segment completed the previous year (via present-day LLL) are officially assumed into the state highway system and likely open to traffic around this time as well.
  1935 (June) New!In June, all of existing M-45 in Dickinson and Marquette Cos is redesignated as M-95 and all-new M-95 route markers replace the M-45 signs along the entire route. This occurs as US-45 is extended from Illinois northerly through Wisconsin then supplanting M-26 from Land O' Lakes through Bruce Crossing to M-35 near Rockland, then replaces M-35 from Rockland into Ontonagon where it ends at M-64 downtown. With the brand-new US-45 running just 60 miles to the west of the existing M-45, state highway officials wisely decide to give M-45 a new designation to minimize confusion. Thus the first iteration of M-45 comes to an end.
  For a continuation of the history of this route, please see the M-95 route listing.
  1964 (Nov 25) Updated State highway officials announce the truncation of M-50 at I-96 (at present-day Exit 52) south of Lowell in eastern Kent Co. The concurrent segment of I-96/M-50 from that location westerly toward Grand Rapids to Cascade Rd (at present-day Exit 40) becomes just I-96, while all of M-50 from there westerly through Grand Rapids, Standale, and Allendale to US-31 at Agnew is redesignated as M-45. Posting of the new route markers is expected to complete in the near future.
  1972 (Dec 29) Updated The length of M-45 is shortened by 5½ miles when its eastern terminus is relocated from I-96 at Exit 40 east of East Grand Rapids to now end in downtown Grand Rapids at BUS US-131/Division Ave. The 3-mile portion of the former M-45 along E Fulton St from BUS US-131/Division Ave easterly to Cascade Rd is turned back to city and county control. The portion of former M-45 along Cascade Rd from E Fulton St southeasterly to I-96 at Exit 40 is retained as an unsigned state trunkline highway for the time being.
  1973 (Mar 30) Updated The 2.5 miles of OLD M-45 along Cascade Rd east of Grand Rapids from E Fulton St southeasterly to I-96 at Exit 40 is turned back to county control. The M-45 route markers along this segment were likely removed when the portion of former M-45 along E Fulton St from downtown Grand Rapids easterly to Cascade Rd was cancelled as a state trunkline in 1972.
  1972 The route of M-45, formerly beginning at I-96 at Exit 40 east of East Grand Rapids, is scaled back to end at BUS US-131/Division Ave in downtown Grand Rapids. The former route of M-45 along Fulton St and Cascade Rd is turned back to local control.
  1994 The route of M-45 is once again shortened, this time from downtown Grand Rapids westerly to a new terminus at I-196/Gerald R Ford Frwy west of downtown. Although a short portion of the former route from BUS US-131/Division Ave to the east abutment of the Grand River bridge is transferred to City of Grand Rapids control, the remainder of the route along W Fulton St remains an unsigned state trunkline. While the M-45 route markers are covered over on the exit signs along US-131 and all M-45 markers are removed from Fulton St, Lane Ave remains signed as the westbound I-196 access to M-45 EAST until 2002 and M-45 EAST is still indicated at the eastbound I-196 off-ramp at Lake Michigan Dr today.
  2001–02 MDOT completes a major upgrade to M-45 from Walker westerly past the Grand Valley State University campus to downtown Allendale, mostly upgrading the route to four-lane divided highway, some on new alignment, including a brand new pair of Grand River bridges. The eastbound lanes open in late 2001 with two-way traffic sharing the roadway, while the westbound lanes are completed in early 2002. The existing Grand River bridge east of the GVSU campus is removed, while the portion of former M-45 west of the river becomes an access road for 40th Ave. The former M-45 east of the river is initally named "Old M-45" but later the name is changed to Riverhill Dr. The former M-45 remains an unsigned state trunkline.
Controlled Access: None of M-44 is limited-access freeway or controlled-access expressway.
NHS: The entire route of M-45 is on the National Highway System (NHS). (24.40 miles) (The entirety of M-45 was added to the NHS in 2012 with the passage of the MAP-21 funding and authorization bill.)
Photographs:  
Weblinks:
Back to US-45 Route Listings Home On to M-46