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|Western Terminus:||Alanson at US-31 (cnr Chicago St & Burr Ave)|
|Eastern Terminus:||Downtown Rogers City at BUS US-23 (cnr Erie St & Third St)|
|Maps:||Route Map of M-68|
|Notes:||All of M-68 from the western jct of M-33 eastward to Rogers City was a part of US-23 in the late 1920s and 1930s.|
|M-68 is the northernmost east-west state highway of any reasonable length in the Lower Peninsula. Technically, M-212—the three-quarters-mile long spur-route connecting M-33 with Aloha State Park—runs east-west and exists north of M-68.|
| 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 a fewchanges to M-68 during that timeframe:
|History:||1914 (Mar 3) – A 27.4-mile state trunkline highway route is officially designated in Ontonagon Co beginning at the southern village limit of Ontonagon and continuing southeasterly to Rockland, then easterly and northeasterly through Mass City and continuing on, terminating at the Ontonagon/Houghton Co line where it meets a segment of T.L. 26 continuing northeasterly to Houghton that was designated a year prior. In an odd circumstance, however, the eastern portion of this 27.4-mile route is given the T.L. 26 designation, continuing over from the segment designated in Houghton Co in 1913, while the western portion from Rockland northwesterly to Ontonagon is given the trunkline designation of T.L. 68.
|1916 (May 26) – An additional 6.2-mile segment of state trunkline highway route is designated beginning at the west village limit of Ontonagon and continuing westerly just inland from the Lake Superior shoreline to a point one mile west of the community of Green (at present-day Bolo Rd). This creates a two-segment trunkline route for T.L. 68—one segment heading southeasterly from Ontonagon, the other heading west.
|1919 (July 1) – T.L. 68 is signed in the field as M-68 as all state trunkline highways in Michigan are signed with route markers. The gap in the officially determined state trunkline route within the Village of Ontonagon consists of locally-controlled roadway segments and is still signed as part of the route of M-68. The through-town route of M-68 consists of, west-to-east: Lakeshore Rd, Ontonagon St, River St, Steel St, and Rockland Rd.|
|1919 (July 18) – The 1916 segment of M-68, designated from Ontonagon westerly through Green, is cancelled as a state trunkline highway route, while simultaneously, that segment as well as an additional 2.75 miles of streets within the Village of Ontonagon, which are transferred to State control, are officially designated as part of M-68. The net change in the route of M-68 is only that the route connecting the two previously disconnected segments on either side of Ontonagon is now officially a state trunkline highway route.|
|1921 (Jan 20) – The portion of M-68 within the limits of the Village of Ontonagon is officially cancelled as a state trunkline, but the exact same routing is then "re-determined" (officially made part of the state trunkline system) with the exact same length (2.75 miles). It is assumed this is a internal housekeeping operation by the State Highway Dept, as nothing "on the ground" actually changes about the route.|
|1927 (Feb 2) – An entirely new state trunkline highway route is officially assumed into the system beginning at Baraga in Baraga Co and continuing westerly to an intersection with M-26 at the small mining community of Lake Mine. The M-35 designation then continues southwesterly, concurrently with M-26, through Mass City. At Rockland, M-35 now turns northwesterly to supplant the M-68 designation into and through Ontonagon, then westerly to its terminus one mile west of the community of Green. Thus, the first iteration of M-68 comes to an end.|
|1935 (Jan 7) – After a nearly eight year absence as a route designation, a second life for M-68 begins when a brand new 9.2-mile state trunkline route is assumed in to the system connecting US-31 in downtown Alanson with US-27 just south of Indian River, running along the south side of Burt Lake. It is given the designation of M-68.|
|1940 (Nov 12) – M-68 becomes a discontinuous highway when a second segment is designated via a portion of the former US-23 in Cheboygan and Presque Isle Cos. (US-23 is now complete along its shoreline routing between Rogers City and Cheboygan.) The new eastern segment of M-68 begins at a 90° turn in M-33 approximately 2½ miles east of Afton in central Cheboygan Co, heads easterly concurrently with M-33 to Onaway, then continues easterly on its own via the former route of US-23 to Rogers City, where the route crosses US-23 and ends in downtown at M-65 (present-day BUS US-23).|
|1940 (Nov 12) – Simultaneous to its designation concurrently with M-33 from The Fingerboard Corner in central Cheboygan Co easterly through Tower to Onaway, a new 0.8-mile segment of trunkline is officially determined, cutting off two 90° turns in the route of M-33/M-68 beginning at Brady Rd and continuing westerly to Milligan Creek. The former route south of the new trunkline routing is transferred to County control as "Old 68" while the portion to the north of the new highway is obliterated as a public roadway.|
|1945 (June 26) – The gap between the two disconnected segments of M-68 is bridged when a 9.2-mile long segment of state trunkline route is determined between the west jct of M-33 at The Fingerboard Corner (2½ miles east of Afton) in central Cheboygan Co and jct US-27 & M-68 south of Indian River. However, only the first four miles from M-33 westerly through Afton run along an existing roadway upgraded to state trunkline. From approximately 1¾ miles west of Afton, M-68 is temporarily routed northwesterly and westerly via Onaway Rd into Indian River where it turns southerly via Club Rd parallel to the Pennsylvania RR tracks, then west one block on Martha St to US-27/Straits Hwy. The Onaway Rd/Club Rd/Martha St route is only a "Marked & Maintained" segment—not actually transferred to State jurisdiction, but signed as part of M-68 and maintained by the State Highway Dept temporarily until the remainder of the officially-designated route is constructed and opened to traffic. US-27 between Martha St in Indian River and the existing jct with M-68 south of town is now concurrently designated with M-68.|
|1955 (Nov 18) – A short, 0.9-mile long realignment results in a slight adjustment to the route of M-68 in western Presque Isle Co. From just east of Porter Rd approximately three miles east of Onaway, 0.9 miles of M-68 from that point westerly toward Onaway is cancelled as a state trunkline highway route, replaced by 0.902 miles of new trunkline on a slightly different alignment. The former alignment is obliterated as a public roadway.|
|1956 (Aug 17) / 1957 (June 24) – Just north of Millersburg in Presque Isle Co, a new sweeping curve is assumed into the state trunkline highway system, departing Tonkey Hwy west of Millersburg Rd and merging back into the existing route at Millersburg Rd north of Tonkey Hwy. The former route is turned back to County control. The dates of jurisdictional transfer are somewhat in conflict—State Highway Dept "Trunkline Determination Maps" show the transfer as being conducted in 1957, while the current MDOT Right-of-Way Maps show a transfer date as nearly a year earlier in 1956. The road seems to have been complete and opened to traffic during 1956.|
|1957 (June 24) – The route of M-68 as it enters Rogers City from the west is altered when a new 1.48-mile long segment of highway is assumed into the state trunkline system. Beginning along Airport Hwy approximately 0.8-mile east of Klee Rd, the new M-68 alignment curves to the northeast, intersecting US-23 and then the existing route of M-68 at Wenonah Dr. The 2.0mile former route—easterly via Airport Rd, then northerly via Wenonah St/Dr to Erie St—is turned back to local control.|
|1960 (Aug 19) – A 90° turn in the route of M-68 near Ocqueoc Falls in central Presque Isle Co is bypassed when a new1.369-mile segment of state trunkline highway is determined beginning at Loomis Hwy three miles north of Millersburg then curving northeasterly before merging back into the exisiting highway approximately 0.3 mile east of Lincoln Rd. The former 1.7 mile route of M-68 along River Rd northerly to Ocqueoc Falls Hwy and along Ocqueoc Falls Hwy from RIver Rd easterly is turned back to County control.|
|1961 – Approximately 15 years after the Indian River-to-M-33 segment of M-68 created one continuous route, the last unconstructed portion of the "official" alignment is completed and opened to traffic, albeit on a slightly modified path. Originally proposed to connect directly to the US-27 & M-68 jct south of Burt Lake State Park, the new M-68 alignment approaching Indian River to the east bends farther to the north, likely to accommodate the location for the interchange with the I-75 freeway currently under construction. The newly-completed segment of M-68 meets US-27/Straits Hwy approximately 0.9 mile north of the existing M-68 jct. The existing US-27/M-68 concurrency remains, although it is scaled back by 0.4 mile as the temporary route meets US-27/Straits Hwy to the north of the new jct. The former route between Indian River and west of Afton along Onaway Rd,
Club Rd and Martha St was a "Marked & Maintained" route still technically a county road, only signed as M-68 and maintained by the State Highway Dept. As such, the former route remains a county roadway, but all M-68 markers are removed and state maintenance ceases.
Additionally, the final gravel-surfaced segment of M-68 along Onaway Rd is bypassed with the completion of the 1961 relocation—which is entirely paved.
|1970s(?) – At some undetermined time, the route of M-68 is shortened when the concurrent M-68 designation is removed from US-31 from Petoskey to Alanson to its present western terminus. M-68 had been extended westerly via US-31 from Alanson to M-131 (now M-119) where M-131 (later M-119) joined both US-31 & M-68 through Petoskey, to a joint terminus at the cnr of Charlevoix Ave & Spring St, also the northern terminus of US-131. The precise reason why M-68 had been extended into Petoskey is rather unclear to begin with. If hazarding a guess, one could speculate it was so that M-68 could run from "shore-to-shore" (Lake Michigan at Petoskey to Lake Huron at Rogers City). Just when the concurrent designation was added is also unclear.|
|Controlled Access:||No portion of M-68 is freeway or expressway.|
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