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Southern Terminus:    M-46 at the intersection of Midland Rd & Gratiot Rd near Shields, 4 miles west of downtown Saginaw
Northern Terminus:    Updated US-10 at Exit 130, six miles east of downtown Midland and 2½ miles west of Auburn
Length: Updated 14.288 miles
Maps: Route Map of M-47
Notes: M-47 has had a somewhat interesting history despite it being a rather unremarkable highway. Today, the only portion of this highway following its original path is the short, 1½ mile segment from M-46 to M-58 west of Saginaw. In the past, however, M-47 was once more than 80 miles in length, reaching as far south as US-16 and later I-96 at Williamston and Webberville and as far north as present-day Bay City State State Park north of Bay City. Major truncations and extensions in the 1960s completely changed the face of this highway, with all of M-47 south of M-46 becoming part of M-52 and the portion north of M-58 taking overa former routing of US-10.
  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-47 during that timeframe. Note that at this same time, a major realignment to the route of M-47 from Saginaw northerly was underway with the completion of the US-10 freeway between Midland and Bay CIty. Additionally, the State Highway Dept also seemed to want to extend the M-47 designation south of US-16 along what would become M-52 nearly a decade later. Thus, the proposals for M-47 are listed fromUS-16 southerly (the proposed southerly extension) and then northely (the existing route of M-47 in 1960).

The proposed changes to M-47 from US-16 near Webberville southerly included:
  • A new alignment for M-47 beginning at the US-16 junction and contining southerly from Grand River Ave curving to the southeast along the C&O Railroad line before curving back to the south at an interchange with the proposed I-96/US-16 freeway at Stockbridge Rd southwest of Webberville.
  • Extending M-47 southerly from the proposed I-96/US-16 interchange southwest of Webberville via Stockbridge Rd to the jct of M-36 & M-92 north of Stockbridge. From there, the M-47 designation was planned to supplant the M-92 designation southerly through Stockbridge then southeasterly through Chelsea to an interchange with I-94/US-12 on the south side of Chelsea. There, M-47 was planned to run due southerly to the northern end of the M-92 realignment completed from Manchester southerly to US-112 the year prior (1959). From jct M-92 & US-112 (now US-12), M-47 was proposed to run on a new alignment due southerly to a freeway-to-freeway interchange with a proposed US-112 freeway. From there, M-47 was to continue south as a full freeway with interchanges at M-50 west of Tecumseh, Shepherd Rd, existing M-52 (proposed BUS M-47) northeast of Adrian, and Deerfield Rd (proposed as M-34) east of Adrian, to an interchange with a proposed US-223 freeway southeast of Adrian. M-47 was to have then run westerly concurrently with the US-223 freeway bypass for two miles back to the existing route of M-52 about two miles south of downtown Adrian. M-47 would then contineue southerly, supplanting the M-52 designation to the Ohio state line.
  • Whle many of the individual upgrades to the above route—like the Chelsea-to-Manchester realignment and the freeway upgrade between US-112 and US-223—were not implemented, the overall trunkline gap-filling and route designation consolidation did occur, albeit using a different route designation than the proposed M-47. Within two years, the M-92 designation from Clinton to M-36 north of Stockbridge was consolidated with M-52 and seven years after that in 1969, the M-36-to-I-96 gap was filled and the M-47 designation from Webberville to M-46 west of Saginaw was replaced by a northerly extension of M-52.
The proposed changes to M-47 from US-16 near Webberville northerly included:
  • Converting the existing route of M-47 to an uncontrolled access divided highway from an interchange with the proposed M-78 freeway (now I-69) at Perry to the southern city limit of Owosso, then again from the northern Owosso city limit at Wilkinson Rd to the southern limit of the Village of Oakley, ½ mile north of Johnstone Rd in Saginaw Co. This proposal was never implemented.
  • Construction of an M-47 western bypass of St Charles, beginning at the bend in the highway 1¼ miles north of Ring Rd, continuing northerly to near the intersection of Beaver & Townline Rds where it would curve northeasterly to merge back into the existing route of M-47 about ¼ mile south of the Andrews Rd intersection north of St Charles. This proposal was never acted upon.
  • A new-alignment freeway routing for M-47 beginning approximately ½ mile south of the M-46 & M-47 (now M-52) junction between Saginaw and Hemlock at an interchange with a proposed M-46 freeway, continuing just slightly west of due northerly just west of Graham Rd to the southern end of the new two-lane limited-access expressway connector opening in 1960 between US-10/Midland Rd—itself being relocated onto a new freeway alignment betwen Midland and Bay City and Saginaw that year—and the M-20 freeway, which was in the process of becoming US-10. From there, the M-47 freeway would continue northerly to the US-10 freeway between Midland and Auburn. At that point, M-47 was proposed to transition back to a two-lane highway about halfway between Carter & Flajole Rds into Arenac Co where it would continue generally northerly to the southern terminus of M-33 at the interchange with the proposed I-75 freeway near the community of Alger. The only portion of this proposal that made it to fruition was the freeway portion from Midland Rd near Freeland to the US-10 freeway, which was in the process of being completed when the maps were created. None of the other parts of this proposal were ever implemented, although the partial cloverleaf interchange at US-10 is explained by these plans.
History: c.1920 – The original routing of M-47 begins at the Shiawassee/Ingham Co line 3½ miles south of Perry and proceeds northerly through Perry, Owosso, Oakley, Chesaning and Saint Charles to M-46, then turns due easterly via M-46 to end in downtown Saginaw. As for why M-47 begins at the Shiawassee/Ingham Co line and not at another highway is because a connection into Ingham Co had not been transferred to state control at the time.
  c.1924–25 – M-47 is extended southerly from its southern terminus at the Shiawassee/Ingham Co line for 4½ miles via Perry Rd, then westerly via Moyer Rd into Williamston, and southerly for a short distance via Williamston Rd-Putnam St to terminate at M-16/Grand River Ave (later US-16) downtown. The portion along Moyer & Williamston Rds is considered a temporary alignment by the MSHD until a more appropriate permanent routing is built.
  c.1930 – M-47 is extended northerly from Saginaw via the former M-10 routing (present-day M-84/Bay Rd) for 17 miles to end in Bay City.
  1933 – The route of M-47 is extended northerly from the six-route confluence of US-23, M-15, M-20, M-24, M-25 & M-47 on the west side of Bay City (cnr of Euclid Ave & Midland Rd) northerly via US-23 for two miles, then northerly to end at M-111 at the Bay City State Park (cnr of Beaver Rd & Euclid Ave).
  1937 – The M-47 routing between Oakley and St Charles is transferred to a more direct, and paved, alignment the west of Chesaning, shaving 3 miles from the route with the former route transferred to local control.
  1938 – The M-47 designation replaces all of M-111 between Bay City State Park and US-23/Midland St in Bay City, creating a highway which heads northerly from Bay City via Euclid Ave, completes a mile long "U-Turn" at Bay City State Park, then heads southerly back into Bay City along State Park Rd. Now, not only does M-47 run concurrently with US-23 for two miles west of Bay City, but it also now terminates at US-23 about a mile east of its first meeting with that highway!
  1940 – Just in time for wartime neglect, the final 13 miles of gravel-surfaced M-47, from Perry to Williamston, are paved.
  1950 – In 1950, sources indicate all of M-47 south of Perry reverts to gravel-surfaced (it had been paved since 1940). This is likely due to rough use during wartime as well as little maintenance due to construction shortages.
  1951–52 – The southern terminus of the highway is moved east four miles to end at US-16/Grand River Ave four miles east of Williamston (two miles west of Webberville). The route of M-47 is shortened by 3 miles and the former (temporary) route is turned back to local control. With the realignment, the highway between Perry and Sherwood Rd east of Williamston is re-paved. The final few miles are hard-surfaced by 1952.
  1960 – With the opening of the I-75/US-10/US-23 freeway between Saginaw and Bay City, US-10 is rerouted northerly to Bay City, then westerly (via the M-20 freeway) to Midland. The former route of US-10 north of the Midland Rd & State St intersection west of Saginaw is redesignated as an extension of M-47 to north of Freeland. Approximately one mile north of Freeland, a new two-lane, limited-access expressway running due northerly to the US-10 (formerly M-20) freeway is completed and designated M-47. What had been designated US-10/M-47 via State St becomes a westerly extension of M-81, while the former route of M-47 from Saginaw to Bay City is redesignated as M-84. The formerly concurrent US-23/M-47 along the west side of Bay City becomes part of an M-13 extension (US-23 moves to the new freeway to the west), while the portion from M-13 (formerly US-23) to Bay City State Park is redesignated as M-247, in reference to its former designation. What had been part of M-47 from Bay City State Park southerly back into Bay City (the former M-111 from before 1938) is turned back to local control.
  1962 – With the completion of I-96 in mid-Michigan, the US-16 designation is replaced east of Lansing by M-43. From the fomer southern terminus of M-47 at M-43/Grand River Ave west of Webberville, both M-43 and M-47 extend easterly via Grand River to Stockbridge Rd approximately one mile west of Webberville, then southerly for less than a mile where both highways terminate at I-96 (Exit 122).
  1969 – The majority of the route of M-47 is redesignated as a northerly extension of M-52. From the western junction of M-46 & M-47 five miles east of Hemlock southerly to I-96 near Webberville, M-47 becomes M-52, meeting the newly completed M-46 between Webberville and M-36. The former M-46/M-47 west of Saginaw becomes just M-46.
  1970 (or 1966?) – The two-lane, limited-access M-47 expressway is upgraded to full freeway standards (four-lane, divided, full access control) from US-10 southerly to Midland Rd north of Freeland, coinciding with the completion of an interchange at Salzburg Rd.
Controlled Access: Freeway: From Midland Rd approximately one mile north of Freeland to US-10 between Auburn and Midland. (4.1 miles)
  Expressway: No portion of M-47 is expressway.
NHS: The entire route of M-47 is on the National Highway System (NHS).
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