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Highways 50 through 59

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M-50 PLEASE NOTE: The M-50 route information has moved to its own page: M-50 Route Listing.

M-51 PLEASE NOTE: The M-51 route information has moved to its own page: M-51 Route Listing.

M-52 PLEASE NOTE: The M-52 route information has moved to its own page: M-52 Route Listing.

M-53 PLEASE NOTE: The M-53 route information has moved to its own page: M-53 Route Listing.

M-54 PLEASE NOTE: The M-54 route information has moved to its own page: M-54 Route Listing.

M-55 PLEASE NOTE: The M-55 route information has moved to its own page: M-55 Route Listing.

M-57 PLEASE NOTE: The M-57 route information has moved to its own page: M-57 Route Listing.

M-58 PLEASE NOTE: The M-57 route information has moved to its own page: M-58 Route Listing.

M-59 Western Terminus: I-96 at Exit 133 west of Howell
Eastern Terminus: I-94 at Exit 240 northeast of Mount Clemens, on the Chesterfield/Harrison Twp line.
Length: 60.50 miles
Map: Route Map of M-59
Notes: Over the years, M-59 has been transformed from a sleepy little two-lane road connecting Howell, Pontiac and Mount Clemens into a major urban thoroughfare and heavily-used commuter route through the northern and northwestern Detroit suburbs. Today, all but the westernmost 12 miles of this highway have been converted into a multilane highway, a divided highway or urban freeway. Planning to convert the final 12 miles in Livingston Co to multilane or divided highway has been underway for years and construction may begin in the 2005-2007 timeframe.
In the late-1990s, M-59 throughout Macomb Co underwent a major transformation. This portion of the route had been long-identified as a congested two-lane highway which had been surrounded by suburban development and urban sprawl. The first segment of the refurbished highway opened from Utica Park Blvd east of Utica to Romeo Plank Rd in c.1995. The next section was the portion from Van Dyke Ave in downtown Utica east to Utica Park Blvd, which was completed in 1997. Both of these sections of divided, six- to eight-lane highway replaced older sections of two- to four-lane undivided highway.
In the summer of 1998, a new 1.5-mile long extension of the M-59 freeway was opened to traffic from west of Mound Rd to the traffic light at Van Dyke Ave in downtown Utica. The new six-lane depressed freeway segment replaces the old divided four-lane surface highway.
Then in November 1998, the final four miles of refurbished highway from Romeo Plank Rd to I-94 were opened to traffic. As with the first two segments, this final link converted a dangerous and congested two-lane roadway to a six-lane divided highway. In conjunction with the reconstruction, M-59 was rerouted off of Gratiot Ave and 23 Mile Rd and, instead, extended easterly from M-3/Gratiot Ave for 1/2 mile to end directly at I-94 at Exit 240.
When the final segment of the upgraded M-59 in Macomb Co was completed through to I-94 in late-1998, MDOT also upgraded the portion of William P Rosso Hwy extending easterly from I-94 for approximately 3/4 mile to match the cross-section of M-59 to the west. While the state trunkline route terminates at the northbound I-94 on-ramp, contractors or the Macomb Co Road Commission (under contract) installed "M-59 ENDS" route marker assemblies 3/4 mile east of I-94. Data from the State of Michigan confirms that William P Rosso Hwy from I-94 easterly is a county primary road, meaning these "M-59 ENDS" route markers have been erected in the wrong location.
History: c.1920 - M-59 begins at M-10 (now BUS US-24) in downtown Pontiac and ends at M-19/Gratiot Ave (later US-25, now present-day M-3) in downtown Mount Clemens.
1932 - The eastern end of M-59 is realigned to follow Hall Rd all the way to US-25/Gratiot Ave. The former route of M-59 via Romeo Plank Rd and Cass Ave between Hall Rd and downtown Mount Clemens is turned back to local control.
1936 - The length of M-59 is almost exactly doubled with a 26-mile long westerly extension from Pontiac to US-23 south of Hartland. The extension runs westerly from downtown Pontiac along W Pike St, then northerly via Williams St and northwesterly via State St to Elizabeth Lake Rd. At M-58/Telegraph Rd (present-day US-24), the new M-59 routing heads northerly from Elizabeth Lake Rd to White Lake Rd (now a part of Pontiac Lake Rd), then westerly via Pontiac Lake Rd to today's easternmost Pontiac Lake Rd & Highland Rd intersection. From there, the extension runs westerly (roughly) along the present-day routing of M-59. At the same time, the routing of M-59 in the eastern portion of Pontiac is changed. From the intersection of Auburn Ave & East Blvd, M-59 now runs northerly via East Blvd to E Pike St, then westerly via E Pike St into downtown. Auburn Rd west of East Blvd is turned back to local control.
1939 - Two changes to the route of M-59 this year:
  • M-59 is rerouted on the west side of Pontiac and in Waterford Twp when the designation is applied to W Huron St and Highland Rd. The former routing via State St, Elizabeth Lake Rd and Pontiac Lake Rd is turned back to local control.
  • M-59 is extended easterly from its terminus at US-25/Gratiot Ave north of Mount Clemens and now continues northerly via US-25/Gratiot Ave for 3 miles to the former routing of the newly-relocated M-29 at 23 Mile Rd, then turns easterly for 5 miles via 23 Mile Rd (the former M-29) to terminate at M-29 on the west side of New Baltimore (cnr of 23 Mile Rd & Jefferson Ave).
1941 - The final few miles of gravel-surfaced M-59 are paved, in eastern Livingston Co between US-23 and the Livingston/Oakland Co line.
c.1946 - M-59 once again extended to the west, this time by an additional 10 miles from US-23 south of Hartland to end at US-16 in downtown Howell (cnr Michigan Ave & Grand River Ave). The extension follows Highland Rd from US-23 to Oak Grove Rd north of downtown Howell, then runs southerly via Michigan Ave into downtown.
1947 - Once again, M-59 is rerouted between Mount Clemens and New Baltimore when a new M-29 bypass of Mount Clemens is completed. From New Baltimore, M-29 again follows 23 Mile Rd (supplanting the M-59 desingation) westerly to US-25/Gratiot Ave, then southerly to M-59/Hall Rd. The former route of M-29 between US-25/Gratiot Ave and New Baltimore via William P Rosso Hwy and Jefferson Ave is then redesignated as M-59.
1949 - In late 1949, a short segment of M-59 is moved onto a newly-built alignment in central Livingston Co between Eager and Latson Rds east of Howell. The former route along Eager and Bigelow Rds is turned back to local control.
1950 - In mid-1950, M-59 is realigned on the east side of Pontiac. Formerly running northerly from Auburn Ave via East Blvd (present-day M L King Blvd) then westerly via E Pike St into downtown, M-59 now runs due westerly via Auburn Ave into downtown, jogging northerly (concurrently with BUS M-24 on Parke St—later Wide Track Dr East, now Woodward Ave nbd) to continue westerly on its former route via W Pike St. The old alignment along East Blvd and E Pike St is turned back to local control.
1956 - M-59 is rerouted in central Pontiac off W Pike St and onto both W Huron St (wbd) and Williams-Orchard Lake Sts (ebd). W Pike St is turned back to local control.
1957 - In mid-1957, a northern "bypass" of the city of Howell is completed and M-59 is routed westerly from the cnr of Highland Rd & Michigan Ave-Oak Grove Rd along the new highway, terminating at US-16/Grand River Ave west of town. The new highway is built on new alignment, immediately adjacent to the original route of Highland Rd between Michigan Ave and Grand River. The former route of M-59 via Michigan Ave in Howell is turned back to local control.
1959 - The portion of ebd M-59 along Williams St south from Huron St in Pontiac, then easterly via Orchard Lake St is relocated to run southerly from Huron St on Cass St (later Wide Track Dr West, now Woodward Ave sbd) to Orchard Lake. The former segment via Williams St and Orchard Lake is turned back to local control. Also, In preparation for a future westerly highway upgrade, M-59 is realigned on the west side of Utica onto a new divided highway segment due westerly from downtown to Mound Rd, then northerly via an upgraded (to divided highway) segment of Mound Rd back to Auburn Rd. The portion of Auburn Rd between downtown Utica and Mound Rd is turned back to local control.
1961 - The easternmost six miles of M-59 via Wm P Rosso Hwy and Jefferson Ave between the junctions of M-29 between Mount Clemens and New Baltimore is given back to local control. M-59 now terminates at M-29/Snover Rd, just east of US-25/Gratiot Ave northeast of Mount Clemens.
1963 - With the completion of I-96 through Livingston and Ingham Cos, M-59 is extended westerly from Grand River Ave (formerly US-16, now BL I-96 in part) along brand-new alignment to meet the new freeway. The newly-christened BL I-96 through Howell shares the new route with M-59 between Grand River Ave and I-96.
1964 - Three changes come to M-59 this year:
  • I-94 in east-central Macomb Co is opened to traffic and M-59 is rerouted once again. From the cnr of Hall Rd & Gratiot Ave north of Mount Clemens, M-59 now heads northerly concurrently with US-25 on Gratiot Ave, then easterly along with US-25 via 23 Mile Rd to end at I-94.
  • In downtown Pontiac, the Wide Track Dr "loop" is completed, encircling downtown. Ebd M-59 runs southerly from Huron St along Wide Track Dr West (present-day Woodward Ave sbd) concurrently with BUS US-10/BL I-75 to Auburn Ave, then easterly. Wbd M-59 runs northerly from Auburn Ave via Wide Track Dr East (present-day Woodward Ave nbd) with BUS US-10/BL I-75 circling northerly, westerly and southerly around downtown on Wide Track Dr to W Huron St, then westerly. Huron St through the heart of downtown becomes a local street.
  • In addition, I-75 opens on the east side of Pontiac without an interchange at M-59. (This would come with the completion of the M-59 freeway in 1967.)
1966 (Oct 18) - The first segment of the M-59 freeway opens from Opdyke Rd on the eastern limits of Pontiac easterly to Auburn Rd just west of Rochester Rd. The portion of old M-59 along Auburn Rd from Opdyke Rd to the eastern end of the freeway is retained as an unsigned state trunkline, designated "OLD M-59." Opdyke Rd between Auburn Rd and the new freeway temporarily becomes M-59.
1968 - The M-59 freeway is extended westerly from Opdyke Rd to end just east of downtown Pontiac. From the end of the freeway, wbd M-59 follows University Dr to BUS US-10/BL I-75/Wide Track Dr West and continues on its pre-1968 alignment. Ebd M-59 now turns northerly from Auburn Ave along Wide Track Dr East to E Huron St, then easterly to the new freeway. Auburn Ave from Wide Track Dr East to Opdyke Rd, and Opdyke Rd between Auburn and M-59 are turned back to local control.
1970 - Ebd M-59 is rerouted through downtown Pontiac via Huron St, shortening the route. Auburn Ave between Wide Track Dr East (present-day Woodward Ave sbd) and Wide Track Dr West (present-day Woodward Ave nbd) is turned back to local control.
1972 (Dec 6) - The remainder of the M-59 freeway is completed from Auburn Rd in Avon Twp (now Rochester Hills) to Mound Rd west of Utica. The former routing of M-59 along Auburn Rd becomes an extension of the unsigned OLD M-59 trunkline route.
1984-86 - Two of three segments of M-59 are converted into a divided highway in Oakland Co's Highland and White Lake Twps in 1984, from east of Bogie Lake Rd to west of Ormond Rd and from west of Waterbury Rd to Tipsico Lake Rd on the Oakland/Livingston Co line. The last segment—from just east of US-23 at Hartland to the Oakland/Livingston Co line is completed by 1986. —Thanks for Mark Taylor for a correction/clarification!
1995-97 - M-59 is completely reconstructed, in segments, from downtown Utica easterly to Romeo Plank Rd on the Macomb Twp/Clinton Twp line. The highway is now six- to eight-lanes divided. See Notes section above.
1998 (June-Nov) - The M-59 freeway is extended easterly for 1.5 miles from west of Mound Rd to Van Dyke Ave in downtown Utica, including a new interchange for Mound Rd/Merrill Rd. The freeway is opened to traffic in June. Also, the final portion of the M-59 reconstruction is completed from Romeo Plank Rd to I-94 northeast of Mount Clemens in November. The former M-3/M-59 designation along Gratiot Ave and 23 Mile Rd in Chesterfield Twp becomes just M-3.
  2000 (Sept 11) - The portion of OLD M-59 along Auburn Rd within the City of Auburn Hills from Opdyke Rd on the west to Adams Rd on the east is turned back to local control. This segment of Auburn Rd had been bypassed by the M-59 freeway in 1966.
Freeway: From University Dr east of downtown Pontiac to Van Dyke Ave in downtown Utica.
Expressway: From western terminus at I-96 to jct BL I-96/Grand River Ave at Howell.
NHS: Entire route.
Weblinks: M-59 @ Michigan Highway Ends - photos of the termini of M-59 at Dan Garnell's excellent Michigan Highway Ends website.


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