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|Western Terminus:||Downtown Owosso at M-21 (cnr S Water St & E Main St)|
|Eastern Terminus:||I-69 at Exit 118 at Durand|
|Maps:||Route Map of M-71|
|Notes:||M-71 primarily serves as a connector route between I-69 at Durand and M-21 at Owosso, passing through Corunna, the Shiawassee Co seat, in the process.|
| 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 trio of somewhat minor changes to M-71 during that timeframe:
|History:||1917 (Jan 6) – A 3.7-mile state trunkline highway route is officially designated in Shiawassee Co beginning on the northern city limit of Durand at the cnr of Oak St & Monroe St and continuing northerly via Oak St/Durand Rd for 3.7 miles to a terminus at T.L. 21 (later M-21) at the cnr of Durand Rd & Lytle Rd. (T.L. 21 follows present-day Lytle Rd between Corunna and Lennon.) This trunkline route is assigned the designation of T.L. 71 (Trunk Line 71).|
|1919 (July 1) – T.L. 71 is signed in the field as M-71 as all state trunkline highways in Michigan are signed with route markers.|
|1920 (Apr 7) – The 0.5 mile of Oak St in the City of Durand from the southern end of M-71 (at Monroe St) southerly to Genesee St and the portion of Genesee St from Oak St easterly to Saginaw St in downtown Durand are transferred to state control as an extension of M-71 into the heart of Durand.|
|1925 (June 16) – The 6.5 miles of M-21 along McNeil St easterly from Parmenter Rd (in the City of Corunna) and Lytle Rd from the eastern limits of Corunna easterly to the jct with M-71/Durand Rd is cancelled as a state trunkline highway route and turned back to County control. Simultaneously, a new 7.3-mile trunkline route is determined beginning at McNeil St & Parmenter Rd in Corunna and continuing southeasterly via Parmenter Rd to a point approximately ¼ mile northwest of the Bancroft Rd intersection. From there, the newly-determined route angles east-southeasterly across country, merging into Main St in downtown Vernon, then continuing easterly via Main St (in the village) and Bennington Rd (east of the village), ending at M-71/Durand Rd two miles north of downtown Durand. As the portion of the designated route from ¼ mile northwest of the cnr of Parmenter Rd & Bancroft Rd into downtown Vernon is not yet constructed, the "Marked & Maintained" (temporary) trunkline route continues via Parmenter Rd into Vernon, weaving into downtown and picking up the Main St routing there.
While the cancellation of M-21 between Corunna and M-71 north of Durand and the determination of the new route through Vernon would seem to indicate the routing of M-21 was transferred to the new route (to retain route continuity), evidence points to that not being the case. Ten weeks from this point, M-21 will be routed along a newly-determined route due easterly from Owosso (its present-day routing) and it would be unlikely the State Highway Dept would transfer the route of M-21 (and all the attendant signs and route markers) onto the new route via Vernon, only to relocate them all again a month-and-a-half later.
As such, the overall route of M-71 undergoes a massive expansion in two directions. First, the M-71 designation is extended along from its existing Durand Rd alignment westerly through Vernon (via Bennington Rd and Main St), then northwesterly into Corunna via Parmenter Rd, there picking up the former route of M-21 through Corunna via McNeil St, Shiawassee St and Corunna Ave and into Owosso via Corunna Ave, Washington St, and Water St, to a terminus at M-21/Main St in downtown Owosso. Second, M-71 is also extended from its northern terminus at Durand Rd & Lytle Rd to continue easterly via Lytle Rd for approximately 3 miles into Lennon, then another mile northerly from Lennon via Sheridan Ave to a terminus at M-21/Corunna Rd. Thus, M-71 is now a "three-legged" route with two termini at M-21 (downtown Owosso and north of Lennon) and its existing southern terminus in Durand.
|1925 (Sept 1) – As noted above, M-21 is transferred onto a new direct routing from downtown Owosso following E Main St and its present alignment due easterly to the jct with M-71 at Sheridan Ave one mile north of Lennon. This officially completes the major changes to the route of M-71 related to the rerouting of M-21 between Owosso and Lennon.|
|1930 (Nov 22) – Just five years after the last major realignment/rerouting of M-71, a second major reworking of the route of M-71 results in 13.8 miles of state trunkline cancelled and/or transferred to local control and 7.3 miles of new trunkline determination (either from jurisdictional transfer or building highway on new alignment).
|1931 (Aug 31) – The spur route of M-71 from M-78/Lansing Rd (completed the previous year) north of Durand southerly into the city via Durand Rd and Oak St, then easterly along Genesee St into downtown is cancelled as a state trunkline route and turned back to County and City control. The route of M-71 either terminates at M-78/Lansing Rd north of the city or continues easterly with M-78/Lansing Rd 0.3 miles, then southerly via Saginaw St, itself determined as a state trunkline highway route from M-78 southerly through downtown Durand to Genesee St on this same day. Saginaw St southerly to Genesee St is either signed as part of M-71 or is given the new designation of M-176.|
|1934 (June 7) – While it was officially determined as a state trunkline route two years prior, the segment of M-78 from 2½ miles west of Durand (present-day cnr of Lansing Rd & Newburg Rd) southwesterly toward Bancroft and Perry is completed and opened to traffic. The segment of proposed M-78 from that point northeasterly to M-71 on the north side of Durand, however, is not yet complete. Thus, M-78 is temporarily routed easterly from Lansing Rd via Newburg Rd into Durand, then northerly with M-71 (or M-176) on Saginaw St back to the completed portion of M-78 north of the city where it turns northeasterly toward Swartz Creek.|
|1936 – A 3-mile gap in the route of M-78 northwest of Durand from Newburg Rd west of the city to M-71 north of the city, along with a viaduct over the Grand Trunk Western and Ann Arbor railroad lines, is completed and opened to traffic. The temporary M-78 routing along M-71 (or M-176) on Saginaw St between downtown and M-78/Lansing Rd reverts back to just M-71 (or M-176.)|
|1938 – The "new" alignment for M-71 between Corunna and Durand determined in late 1930 is finally completed and opened to traffic. Two bridges along the route had been completed since c.1931 and grading on the route was done in 1937, yet work to complete the highway was not fully completed until mid-1938. The former route of M-71, along Parmenter Rd, Main St in Vernon, Bennington Rd and Durand Rd to M-78 north of Durand had been officially transferred to local control eight years prior and was only a "Marked and Maintained" trunkline since that time. Jurisdiction over the former M-71 route remains in local hands with all state maintenance of the route ceasing. Also, with the completion of the realignment, all of M-71 is now completely hard-surfaced.|
|1938 (Dec 6) – The short spur routing of M-71 (or M-176) along Saginaw St from M-78/Lansing Rd north of Durand into downtown is turned back to local control. The eastern terminus of M-71 is now definitely at M-78/Lansing Rd approximately 0.3 mile west of Durand Rd (where it may have been since 1931, if Saginaw St in Durand had been signed as M-176 since that point).|
|1960 (Dec 16, Dec 30) – A portion of the new M-78 freeway (present-day I-69) is completed from just west of the M-71 interchange at Durand easterly to M-13. (The M-78 freeway temporarily merges directly back into the former route of M-78 along Lansing Rd west of M-71, until the next segment of freeway to the southwest is completed.) While the freeway itself officially opens to traffic on December 16, the portion of M-71 from the new M-78 southeasterly to the former M-78 (along with the former route of M-78 itself along Lansing Rd from Durand easterly to Sheridan Rd) is oficially transferred to County jurisdiction on December 30. With this, the route of M-71 is slightly shortened on its eastern end.|
|Controlled Access:||No portion of M-71 is freeway or expressway.|
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