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I-69
M-69 Route Marker On to Next Route:
Former M-70
Western Terminus:    Downtown Crystal Falls at US-2/US-141 (cnr Superior Ave & Crystal Ave)
Eastern Terminus:   US-2/US-41 between Bark River and Hyde west of Escanaba
Length: Updated 65.260 miles
Maps: Route Map of M-69
Notes: In September 1991, the length of M-69 was tripled when the route was extended southeasterly via its pre-1960 routing from Sagola to US-2/US-41 near Bark River. The portion of the newly re-designated highway from M-95 to US-2/US-41 had been designated as county-maintained G-30 from 1971 until 1991. Ironically, this also created the interesting occurrence of M-69 intersecting G-69 at Foster City, which it still does. The story, related to the webmaster, why this route was re-assumed into the state trunkline highway system was primarily due to political arrangements. For example, a downstate state legislator may need support for a bill or project so a U.P. legislator agrees to support it in exchange for, in this instance, additional state trunkline mileage.
  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 M-69 during that timeframe:
  • The turnback of the route of M-69 from M-95 in Dickinson Co easterly and southeasterly to US-2/US-41 in Delta Co is shown—and would come to fruition later that same year—but the MSHD planners had major ideas for the route east of M-95. Beginning at the M-95 & M-69 jct in Sagola, the proposed M-69 would continue due easterly for 5 miles before slowly bending southeasterly traveling through present-day Gene's Pond and passing just south of Norway Lake and continuing into Marquette Co running east-southeasterly to an intersection with a proposed new-route US-41 in Sec. 36 of T42N, R26W. The proposed M-69 would continue east-southeasterly just barely missing the northeastern corner of Menominee Co, crossing the Escanaba River at the Boney Falls Dam, intersecting M-35 (proposed to be redesignated as M-41) about a mile south of Perkins, finally terminating at a freeway interchange on the proposed US-2 freeway at the existing route of US-41 (proposed to be redesignated as a rerouted M-35) approximately 2 miles north of Rapid River.
History: 1915 (Aug 27) New! – A 21-mile state trunkline highway route is officially designated in Iron Co consisting of two separate segments: From the Wisconsin state line on the Brule River 11 miles south of downtown Crystal Falls northerly for 10.0 miles via the communities of Stager and Mastodon to the southern city limit of Crystal Falls, and from the northern limit of Crystal Falls north-northwesterly for 11.0 miles to the community of Amasa. These two trunkline segments are assigned the designation of T.L. 69 (Trunk Line 69).
  1919 (July 1) New! – T.L. 69 is signed in the field as M-69 as all state trunkline highways in Michigan are signed with route markers. The gaps in the officially determined state trunkline route at the City of Crystal Falls consists of two locally-controlled roadway segments along with a state-controlled segment of T.L. 12 (now M-12) and is still signed as part of the route of M-69. The through-town route of M-60 consists of city-controlled 5th St northerly to Superior Ave, then northerly one additional block on 5th St and westerly 7 blocks along Crystal Ave (part of M-12 under state jurisdiction), then dirverting northerly along a locally-maintained roadway for 0.8 mile to the beginning of the 11-mile Crystal Falls–Amasa segment of state trunkline highway route.
  1919 (Nov 18) New! – The 0.8 mile of 5th St in Crystal Falls from the southern city limit northerly to jct M-12 at the cnr of Superior Ave & 5th St is assumed into the state trunkline highway system as part of M-69. From Superior Ave & 5th St, M-69 continues as it had to this point.
  1920 (June 21–July 28) New! – A total of 23.17 additional miles are added onto the northern end of M-69 when two trunkline determinations are made. On June 21, a 14.8-mile segment of newly determined state trunkline highway route is assumed into the system from the northern end of M-69 at Amasa northerly to the Iron/Baraga Co line. Five weeks later on July 28, an additional 8.37 mile segment of state trunkline is designated from the Iron/Baraga Co line northerly to a new terminus at M-28 at the present-day intersection of Murphy Rd & Haapa Rd approximately 1½ mile southeast of Covington. M-69 now officially travels from the Wisconsin state line south of Crystal Falls to M-28 southeast of Covington (with a 0.8-mile segment on the west side of Crystal Falls that has yet to be officially assumed into the trunkline system), however the portion from Amasa northerly toward Covington is not yet completed and opened to traffic and will likely not be until the end of 1921 or partway through 1922.
  1921 (Jan 10) New! – The short approach roadway connecting M-45 (later M-95, now Bass Lake Rd) with the Upper Twin Falls Bridge over the Menominee River and Twin Falls Flowage along the Wisconsin state line north of Iron Mountain and the bridge itself are assumed into the state trunkline highway system. At approximately 0.1 mile, it is unclear if the bridge approach is posted in the field with any route designation. One source does show the M-69 designation applied to this short spur of highway on the Michigan side of the river, which would be logical as the highway on the Wisconsin side of the river is designated as STH-69 (State Trunk Highway 69), which leads back into Michigan south of Crystal Falls where the route continues as M-69.
  1924 (Sept 24–26) New! – On Sept 24, the entire 19.0-mile length of M-28 from the Baraga/Houghton Co line easterly through Covington to M-15 (later US-41) at the hamlet of Tioga is cancelled as a state trunkline highway. Most of the westernmost 8 miles of the 19-mile route west of Covington is immediately re-determined as a state trunkline route for M-28, with a few minor route changes, however, while the new route of M-28 from Covington easterly is routed to the north of Vermilac (Worm) Lake. Two days later on Sept 26, the 8.37 miles of M-69 in Baraga Co from the Iron Co line northerly to the former route of M-28 southeast of Covington is cancelled as a state trunkline route. Simultaneously, all but the northernmost ½ mile of the route of M-69 in Baraga Co is re-determined as a state trunkline route along the same path. From ½ mile south of the former route of M-28, the route of M-69 is redirected to the northwest on a more direct alignment into Covington and a new northern terminus at the realigned M-28 there.
  1926 Updated – With the debut of the U.S. Highway system, the entire routing of M-69 is replaced by two of these new route designations. A few sources from 1926 show M-69 being replaced by a US-2/US-41 designation between the Wisconsin state line and Crystal Falls and by just US-41 from Crystal Falls to Covington. However, these 1926 maps were made from preliminary system maps and were often wrong, being corrected in 1927. When the U.S. Highway system was finalized, M-69 is replaced by a solo US-2 from Wisconsin into Crystal Falls and by US-102 (present-day US-141) from there to Covington. The M-69 designation is then transferred onto a route perpendicular to its former one, replacing the M-12 designation. The "new" M-69 begins at US-2 in downtown Crystal Falls (it's present western terminus) and proceeds easterly to M-45 (present-day M-95) at Sagola, then southerly via M-45 for approximately 7 miles, before turning easterly easterly again, supplanting the M-90 designation through Metropolitan and Foster City in central Dickinson Co, terminating just east of the community of Hardwood, approximately 3 miles east of Foster City.
  1927 (Feb 9) Updated – M-69 is extended southeasterly when 27.0 miles of new state trunkline routing is officially assumed into the state highway system from just east of Hardwood in east-central Dickinson Co heading southeasterly parallel to the Chicago & North Western RR line through northern Menominee Co and into Delta Co, terminating at US-2/US-41 approximately 2 miles east of Bark River. Construction on the extension and several of the river crossings would not be complete until 1929 when it was fully opened to traffic. M-69 now exists (roughly) along its entire present-day routing at this time. For several decades later in the century, though, this would not be the case.
  1931 (Aug 31) Updated – A 7.9-mile realignment of M-69 in eastern Iron Co is officially assumed into the state trunkline system, beginning just east of Johanson Rd on the east side of Crystal Falls and continuing easterly along its present-day alignment to Colonys Corners where it merges back into the existing route. The new route shaves 0.9 mile off the overall route of M-69. The former 8.8-mile long route along Runkle Lake Rd (within the limits of Crystal Falls) and Old M-69 outside the city is simultaneously turned back to local control.
  1937 (Aug 30) Updated – Two realignments and abandonments in the route of M-69 on this date:
  • A 7.9-mile realignment of M-69 in eastern Iron Co is officially assumed into the state trunkline system, beginning just east of Johanson Rd on the east side of Crystal Falls and continuing easterly along its present-day alignment to Colonys Corners where it merges back into the existing route. The former route along Runkle Lake Rd (within the limits of Crystal Falls) and Old M-69 outside the city is simultaneously turned back to local control.
  • A new 3.79-mile segment of trunkline highway is officially determined along the route of M-69/M-95 south of Sagola in west-central Dickinson Co. The 3.9-mile long former route, running generally alongside the Chicago, Milwaukee & St Paul RR line, is partly turned back to County control (a portion of today's Kramer Rd) and partly obliterated or abandoned as a public roadway (including a portion under the current Louisiana Pacific OSB manufacturing facility near Cary's Spur.
  1956 (Nov 15)–1957 (June 11) Updated – The Groveland Mine in west-central Dickinson Co had started as an underground iron mine in the late 1800s, but during the 1940s and 1950s began converting over to an open air strip mining operation which needed the land through which M-69 ran. A new 8.5-mile realignment of M-69 was completed and opened to traffic around Nov 15, 1956. The realignment was officially assumed into the state trunkline system on June 11, 1957, the same day the 8.0-mile former route was cancelled as a state trunkline. The portions of the former M-69 west of the mine (E Randville Rd) and east of the mine (Groveland Mine Rd) are transferred to County control, while the portion through the mine area is abandoned as a public road. A portion of the former highway is obliterated by the expanded open pit mining operations. The new route of M-69 intersects M-95 approximately 0.9 mile north of the former alignment, thereby shortening its concurrency by nearly a mile.
  1960 (Dec 5) Updated All 47.44 miles of M-69 east of M-95 is cancelled as a state trunkline and the six-mile M-69/M-95 concurrency becomes just M-95, which trims 53.44 miles from M-69's 65.44-mile route. The former route of M-69 east of M-95 is transferred to County control, becoming Co Rd 569.
  1972 – The former M-69 routing between M-95 and US-2/US-41 is designated as G-30, one of many new Intercounty (County-Designated) Highways.
  1991 (Sept 3) Updated – In a rash of new highway route determinations and extensions in the early 1990s, M-69 is extended by the 53.44 miles it lost in 1960, restoring the highway to its 1956–1960 routing. The old county G-30 designation along the 47.44 miles of the formerly county-maintained roadway, of course, becomes history as M-69 supplants that entire route when it is transferred to state control.
Controlled Access: No portion of M-69 is freeway or expressway.
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