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Former M-2
WEST SEGMENT:
Western Entrance:   Enters Michigan from Wisconsin at Ironwood along Cloverland Dr
Eastern Entrance:   Enters from Wisconsin concurrently with US-141, 10.0 miles south of Crystal Falls
Length (Segment):   109.51 miles
EAST SEGMENT:
Western Entrance: Enters from Wisconsin concurrently with US-141, 4.04 miles northwest of downtown Iron Mountain
Eastern Terminus: I-75 at Exit 344 in Saint Ignace (at jct I-75 & BL I-75)
Length (Segment): 196.04 miles
Length (Total): 305.54 miles
Map: Route Map of US-2
Notes: US-2 exists in Michigan in two segments, dipping back into Wisconsin for approximately 15 miles between Crystal Falls and Iron Mountain. The western segment is nearly 100 miles long and runs from Ironwood to south of Crystal Falls, while the eastern portion is nearly twice as long at 196 miles and runs from near Iron Mountain to the route's eastern terminus at St Ignace. Interestingly, the overall national routing of US-2 also exists in two segments: From Everett, Washington to St Ignace and from Rouses Point, New York to Houlton, Maine.
  Sometime in the early 1990s, MDOT began erecting milemarkers along this western segment of US-2. Smaller than the standard Interstate highway-type milemarkers, these new markers were posted on one side of the pavement between Ironwood and the US-41 junction at Powers. No other non-freeway milemarking is evident in any other portion of the Upper Peninsula.
  Effective September 23, 1949, the vast majority of US-2 was designated as the "United Spanish War Veterans' Memorial Highway." Specifically, Act 104 of 1949 designated US-2 from Sault Ste Marie to Iron Mountain, M-95 from Iron Mountain to Sagola, M-69 from Sagola to Crystal Falls and US-2 again from Crystal Falls to Ironwood as a memorial to those who fought in the Spanish-American War.
  A US-2/US-141 bypass of the CIty of Iron Mountain was discussed in the 1990s, although it was ultimately decided to make improvements to the existing, congested route through the center of the city. Increasing traffic volumes on the two major US Highways funnelled through downtown Iron Mountain may cause further congestion without a bypass, though. From the MDOT's "Five Year Road & Bridge Program, Volume II," which covered 2000–2004:

The study of roadway alternatives for the proposed US-2 Bypass of Iron Mountain was completed during 1999. The study determined that construction of a bypass was not feasible and, therefore, improvements to the existing US-2 alignment will be implemented. The Superior Region Office, in cooperation with the City of Iron Mountain, has identified a series of operational and geometric improvements with implementation to begin in 2000. Early preliminary engineering (EPE) for the widening of US-2 from Washington Street to Michigan Avenue will begin in 2001.

It is not clear what made construction of the bypass infeasible, be it cost or engineering obstacles, but overwhelming public opposition to the project seemed to be absent.
  Effective September 18, 1952, the portion of US-2 running from St Ignace to Sault Ste Marie was designated as part of the "Blue Star Memorial Highway," in addition to the entire route of US-31 in the Lower Peninsula from Niles to Mackinaw City. Act 71 of 1952 made the designation official.
  Act 144 of 1950, effective March 19, 1960, officially designated US-2/US-41/M-35 "from the north city limits of the city of Escanaba running north 1.1 miles to the junction of county road number 426, also known as the extension of Sheridan Avenue" as the "Amvets Memorial Drive".
  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 major upgrades to the route of US-2 during that timeframe. They included:
  • Upgrading the existing route of US-2 from the eastern limits of Ironwood through Bessemer to jct M-28 in downtown Wakefield to a four-lane, divided highway. Only a portion of the segment was divided (between Ironwood and the west side of Bessemer), but that was converted to an undivided five-lane cross-section with a continuous left-turn lane decades later.
  • Realigning US-2 onto new highway alignment from Gogebic Station to Watersmeet with the former route being turned back to local control. This realignment was completed soon after, in 1965.
  • Upgrading the existing route of US-2 from the east side of Iron Mountain to the western jct of US-2 & US-141 just west of Crystal Falls to a four-lane, divided highway. This project was never implemented.
  • Upgrading the existing route of US-2 to a four-lane divided highway from the Wisconsin state line northwest of Iron Mountain to the northern limits of Iron Mountain; from the eastern limits of Iron Mountain through Quinnesec to the western limits of Norway; from the eastern limits of Norway past Loretto, Waucedah, and Hermansville to the north edge of Powers; from the eastern limits of Powers to the western limits of Escanaba. Only the portion between Iron Mountain and Norway was ever upgraded and this segment was later converted to a five-lane undivided cross-section with a continuous left-turn lane.
  • Construction of a US-2/M-35 freeway beginning at the existing route of US-2/US-41 on the western limits of Escanaba and heading northerly and northeasterly past Gladstone to US-41 (which would've been redesignated as M-35 under the plans) about two miles north of Rapid River, approximately 1–2 miles west of the existing alignment. A proposed BUS US-2/BUS M-35 routing was proposed along the exisitng route from Escanaba north to Gladstone, then westerly along existing M-35 to an interchange with the proposed freeway on the west edge of Gladstone. The M-35 routing from Gladstone into Marquette Co was to have been redesignated as M-41 with M-35 continuing along the proposed US-2 freeway to Rapid River. Where M-35 was proposed to depart this proposed freeway at existing US-41 north of Rapid River, a new M-69 routing on all new alignment was also proposed to meet, running just north of due west from that location into northern Menominee Co. A somewhat scaled back version of this proposal was implemented, with a new alignment expressway segment (no private driveways, but access via at-grade intersections) being built from the south side of Gladstone to the north side of Gladstone in 1963 and from there northerly to Rapid River opening in 1971. The remainder of the Escanaba bypass was never realized, nor was the rerouting of M-35 designation and the designation of the new M-41 between Gladstone and Negaunee.
  • Construction of a new alignment US-2 freeway heading east from north of Rapid RIver, running almost due east approximately 3–4 miles north of the existing route. The proposed US-2 freeway would have interchanged with M-149 just south of Indian Lake State Park before turning northeasterly to an interchange with M-94 (and a proposed BUS US-2 route) on the northwest corner of Manistique. The freeway would bypass Manistique to the north, meet the other end of the proposed BUS US-2 route at Co Rd 433, then take off almost due northeasterly before starting to curve back toward the east in the Blaney Park area, interchanging with M-77 immediately north of the existing US-2 junction. The proposed US-2 freeway would then have run due easterly within less than a mile of the existing route of US-2 past Engadine and Naubinway, gently curving to the southeast to remain roughly parallel to the existing route and the Lake Michigan shoreline. From Brevort, the freeway would have run due southeasterly into St Ignace, ending at an interchange with I-75 in the area of the existing Portage St exit (Exit 345). The entire route of the existing US-2 between Rapid River and St Ignace was to have been turned back to local control, with a short exception on the east side of Manistique (even though most of the proposed BUS US-2 at Manistique would have followed a route other than the existing US-2). Obviously, none of this proposal ever saw the light of day.
History: 1926–27 – With the creation of the US Highway system, US-2 supercedes the entire route of M-12 in Michigan, with the exception of the portion between Crystal Falls and Iron Mountain, where US-2 dips into Wisconsin.
  1930 – The first 4-mile stretch of what would later become US-2 is completed from M-28 (now 5 Mile Rd) to Dafter in Chippewa Co—it seems this stretch was un-numbered for the time being.
  1930 – US-2/US-41 is relocated in Delta Co to its current alignment from Ludington Ave in Escanaba to north of Wells. The former route along M-35 retained the M-35 designation until the M-35 bypass of Escanaba was completed, while the former US-2/US-41 along Ludington Ave from downtown westerly to the new highway was turned back to local control.
  1932–34 – US-2/US-141 was realigned onto its present routing from just north of downtown Iron Mountain to the Wisconsin state line, including a new bridge over the Menominee River, completed in 1934. While official MDOT sources show this section of highway was completed in segments in 1932 and 1934, the change does not show up on the Official highway map until 1939. The former route of US-2/US-141 along Bass Lake Rd and Co Rd 607 was turned back to local control.
  1932 (Nov 1) New!The new interstate bridge between Wisconsin and Michigan spanning the Montreal River in the northwestern corner of Ironwood is completed and work is proceeding on the approach from the Wisconsin side of the river. Construction on the $10,653 bridge began in September with costs shared equally between the two states. Unfortunately, work on the extension of Cloverland Dr, the route of US-2 through Ironwood, westerly to the new bridge has not yet begun.
  1933 (Feb 15) New!Exactly 0.5 mile of new alignment state trunkline highway is officially determined as part of the planned US-2 connection between existing Cloverland Dr from Superior St westerly to the Montreal River bridge leading into Wisconsin. Construction on the short segment of new highway will not begin until later in the year.
  1933 – A major realignment between St Ignace and Sault Sainte Marie is completed, shaving 11 miles from the route of US-2. Formerly, US-2 headed northerly from Rogers Park (north of St Ignace), then easterly to the Les Cheneaux Islands area along much of present-day M-134, then northerly via present-day M-129 to Sault Sainte Marie. The entrire former route of US-2 was renumbered as M-121 at the time. The route was realigned onto what is more commonly known as "Mackinac Trail" (present-day H-63).
  1933 (Oct 1) UpdatedThe ½ mile of new concrete joining the new interstate bridge spanning the Montreal River between Ironwood and Hurley, Wisconsin to the existing segment of Cloverland Dr in Ironwood is finally completed and the US-2 "bypass" of downtown Ironwood and Hurley is opened to traffic nearly a year after the bridge itself was completed. This segment of highway has been assumed into state highway system in early 1933.
  1933 (mid-Dec) New!The former route of US-2 through Ironwood—having been bypassed by the westerly extension of Cloverland Dr to the new interstate bridge spanning the Montreal River and continuing into Wisconsin 2½ months prior—is signed with a new trunkline designation: US-2A.
  1934 Updated A new, more direct alignment opens between Beechwood and Iron River in Iron Co. The former route is turned back to local control.
  1936 – A new, more-direct alignment of US-2 opens between Rapid River and Ensign in Delta Co, with the former route being turned back to local control.
  1936 – A realignment of US-2 takes the highway due easterly from Cooks in western Schoolcraft Co to Thompson, then along the Lake Michigan shore into Manistique. The first segment of the former route from Cooks to M-149 was returned to county control. The next segment from M-149 to M-125 becomes part of M-149 (which was rerouted along M-125 to Thompson, decommissioning that route number). Between there and M-94 at Manistique, the former route is again turned back to county control.
  1936–37 – A major alignment of the highway opens between Brevort and St Ignace in Mackinac Co. Formerly, US-2 ran east along today's Worth Rd from Brevort to the Tahquamenon Tr (later M-123), then southeasterly through Moran to meet US-31 at Rogers Park north of St Ignace. The first 18 miles of the new highway were completed in 1936, linking Brevort with the present-day westernmost intersection of US-2 & Pointe La Barbe Rd west of St Ignace. The final 5 miles into St Ignace were completed in 1938 and the US-2 designation was transferred to its present routing. The newly built highway takes US-2 along the Lake Michigan shoreline from Brevort, past Gros Cap, and into St Ignace. There, the US-2 routing supplants the US-31 designation northward to Rogers Park and the old route. US-31 is scaled back to the Lower Peninsula to end at the state ferry docks in Mackinaw City and the spur from the new US-2 in Saint Ignace to the state ferry docks there is designated M-122.
  1936–37 – The route of US-2 is realigned and straightened for approximately 6 miles in either direction of Marenisco, subtracting two miles from the distance, with the part west of Marenisco completed in 1936 and the part east in 1937. Much of the former route is turned back to local control.
  1937 (Aug 30) New!US-2/US-41/M-35 is realigned in downtown Gladstone. Formerly heading north from Lake St (present-day Lake Shore Dr) via Central Ave (present-day 10th St) to Wisconsin Ave, then east one block via Wisconsin to 9th St where it turned notherly via 9th, the new route continues via Lake St (Lake Shore Dr) via new curve leading directly into 9th St where it now proceeds northerly to the former route at Wisconsin Ave. The former route is turned back to city control on this date.
  1939 (Mid) New!By mid-1939, the route of US-2A leading from US-2/Cloverland Dr southerly and southwesterly into downtown Ironwood and then onward to the Wisconsin state line at the Montreal River, is redesignated and re-signed as M-54.
  1939 – A new alignment opens for approximately 5 miles to the east of Wakefield in Gogebic Co. The former route is turned back to local control.
  1939 – A new alignment opens northeast of Gulliver (formerly White Dale) in Schoolcraft Co, shaving 2 miles from the route. The former route along today's Co Rd 432 and Co Rd 433 is turned back to local control.
  1940 – A new, straighter alignment of US-2/US-141 opens from south of Crystal Falls to the Wisconsin state line. The former route is turned back to local control.
  1940 (Nov 12) New! – In an apparent effort to correct a one-tenth of a mile in the gap of the officially determined route of US-2/US-141/M-95 on the north edge of downtown Iron Mountain in Dickinson Co, the portion of Stephenson Ave from just south of Third St northerly to approximately Hamilton St is officially assumed into the trunkline system. As this is a correction, this short segment has always been signed as US-2/US-141/M-95.
  1940–41 – A newly-constructed, paved alignment opens from just west of US-45 at Watersmeet to the Golden Lake area west of Beechwood in Iron Co and saves 5 miles on the route. Much of the new highway alignment was graded in 1939 and 1940, some of it passable at that time. Final paving was completed in 1941. With the new alignment, which bypasses Watersmeet to the south, all of US-2 in Michigan is finally completely paved.
  1941 – A major new alignment of US-2 is completed and opens to traffic. The new route begins at Gould City in western Mackinac Co, heads due easterly to Naubinway, then southeasterly along the Lake Michigan shore to the former route at Epoufette and is completely paved. The former route from Gould City through Engadine and Gilchrist to Garnet (Hiawatha Tr) is turned back to local control. The former route (formerly co-signed as US-2/M-48) from Garnet east for six miles becomes just M-48 and the final segment of old US-2 south to Epoufette is re-designated as M-117.
  c.1941 – The steel superstructure of the Cut River Bridge, spanning the Cut River Gorge in central Mackinac Co east of Epoufette, is completed, but further construction on the bridge and its approaches is halted by World War II. The Cut River Bridge is the final link in the realignment of US-2 along the Lake Michigan shore from Gould City to St Ignace, begun in 1936. During the halt in construction during the war, US-2 traffic is maintained on Cut River Rd.
  1942 (Aug 10–15, 17) Updated The route of M-54 in Ironwood, which begins at US-2/Cloverland Dr & Douglas Blvd and continues southerly 7½ blocks to Frederick St, southwesterly one block via Frederick to Suffolk St, southeasterly 2 blocks along Suffolk to Aurora St, then southwesterly 4 blocks to a point approximately 125 feet beyond Albany St where it terminates, is redesignated in its entirety as BUS US-2, with new route markers replacing the existing M-54 signs Aug 10–15. Additionally, the remaining 0.3 mile of Aurora St from the previous end of M-54 to Silver St and Silver St westerly the Montreal River on the Wisconsin state line is added to the BUS US-2 route. This additional 0.3 mile is officially transferred to state control on Aug 17. The new bi-state business route is craeted after an agreement with Wisconsin highway officials results in a completion of the loop from US-2 into downtown Hurley, then northerly back to US-2 via US-51.
  1942–44 – In 1942, the M-28 designation is extended westerly along US-2 from Wakefield to the Wisconsin state line at Ironwood.
  1948 (Aug 15) – The magnificent Cut River Bridge finally opens to traffic with the completion of the bridge deck and approach roadways. The former route along Cut River Rd is turned back to local control.
  1948 – US-2 is realigned onto a direct route between Bessemer and Wakefield in western Gogebic Co, subtracting a mile from the distance.
  1948 – The M-28 designation is extended northerly along US-2 from its eastern terminus to end in Sault Sainte Marie.
  1948 Updated Also in 1948, the final three gravel-surfaced segments of US-2 in the U.P. are fully paved: in the vicinity of the Cut River Bridge in Mackinac Co, at Iron River in Iron Co, and between Wakefield and Bessemer in Gogebic Co.
  1949 (Nov 7) New! A short, new 0.996-mile alignment for US-2/US-41 on the north side of Gladstone is completed and opened to traffic, cutting across a small inlet on Little Bay de Noc via landfill shortening the route by 0.2 mile. The new alignment runs along present-day N 9th St from Court St northerly, continuing via Lake Shore Dr to Buckeye Ave. The former route along Buckeye Ave southwesterly to Bay Dr is turned back to local control. It is assumed the portion from Bay Dr southerly parallelling the Soo Line Railroad to 9th St at Court St is also turned back to local control and remains open, although this portion of roadway would be abandoned and partially obliterated by the construction of the US-2/US-41 expressway between Gladstone and Rapid City in the early 1960s.
  1950 – After just two years co-signed with US-2, M-28 was scaled back to its pre-1948 terminus at US-2, removing the concurrent designation.
  1951 – The concurrent M-28 designation from Wakefield to Ironwood is removed from US-2 when M-28 is scaled back to end in Wakefield at its pre-1942 terminus.
  1957 – The first portion of the US-2 freeway opens between Evergreen Shores and M-123 north of Saint Ignace, marking the first freeway segment ever built in the U.P. Also, on November 1, 1957, the Mackinac Bridge opens for traffic, with a new interchange at US-2 adjacent to Straits State Park on the west side of Saint Ignace.
  1961 – A new portion of the US-2 freeway opens from end of northern Mackinac Bridge approach (at present-day Exit 344) northerly past Saint Ignace to connect with the already open freeway segment there. With this freeway opening, the I-75 designation is applied to the route across the Mackinac Bridge and north to the end of the completed freeway at M-123. The old alignment through downtown Saint Ignace becomes BL I-75. As an interesting aside, the next-closest segment of signed I-75 south of the Mackinac Straits area is at Birch Run, some 200 miles distant!
  1962 – Two new sections of I-75/US-2 freeway open for traffic in Chippewa County:
  • From Kinross at present-day Exit 378 (present-day M-80) to Mackinac Tr (Old US-2) at Dafter. The former US-2 becomes a county road;
  • From BS I-75/Three Mile Rd (present-day Exit 392) in Sault Ste Marie to the newly completed International Bridge leading into Sault Ste Marie, Ontario. The former route of US-2 into downtown Sault Ste. Marie becomes BS I-75.
  1962 (Sept 10) Updated A limited-access expressway (no private driveway access, but featuring intersections at select crossroads) US-2/US-41/M-35 bypass of downtown Gladstone is completed and opened to traffic. It runs from Lake Shore Dr southwest of downtown Gladstone to a point just north of jct M-35/4th Ave to the north where it merges back with the former route at the intersection of present-day Rains Dr. The former route of US-2/US-41/M-35 through downtown Gladstone via Lake Shore Dr and 9th St—as well as the one block of former M-35 along 4th Ave from 9th St to the new bypass—is turned back to local control.
  1963 (Nov 1, Dec 5) UpdatedThe remaining two uncompleted segments of the I-75/US-2 freeway in the Upper Peninsula are completed and opened to traffic on Nov 1. The 47.81-mile long route of I-75/US-2 from the M-123 interchange at Rogers Park north of Saint Ignace northerly to the BS I-75/Three Mile Rd interchange on the southern city limit of Sault Sainte Marie is officially assumed into the state trunkline system on Dec 5. Also on Dec 5, the former route of US-2 along Mackinac Tr from M-123 in Mackinac Co northerly to the southern jct of M-48 three miles south of Rudyard, and the former US-2 from the northern jct of M-48 at Rudyard northeasterly along Mackinac Tr to Three Mile Rd at the southern city limit of Sault Sainte Marie is turned back to county control. The two new segments of I-75/US-2 freeway to physically open to traffic are:
  • From M-123 north of St Ignace to M-48 at Rudyard (present-day Exit 373).
  • From Mackinac Tr near Dafter (approximately Mile 384) to BS I-75/Three Mile Rd at Sault Ste Marie.
  1965 – A new highway alignment between Marenisco and Watersmeet opens with the old route along Old US-2 being turned back to local control.
  1971 (Nov 15) Updated A new limited-access "expressway" routing of US-2/US-41 is completed and opens between Gladstone and Rapid River. The new highway has access only at key intersections, no driveways or intersections with lesser roads. In fact, this "expressway" had originally been intended to be a full freeway, according to State Highway Department sources. With the completion of the US-2/US-41 expressway alignment from just north of the M-35 jct in Gladstone (near present-day Rains Dr) and Rapid River, the former route of US-2/US-41 is turned back to local control.
  1976 (Aug 6) New! – As the Dept of State Highways & Transportation continues planning for a new US-2 bridge spanning the Manistique River south of the existing US-2 "Siphon Bridge" in Manistique, the newly-appointed Manistique City Manager objects to departmental plans to turn back the eastern two-thirds of the existing route of US-2 through the city to municipal control (and routing M-94 along the Chippewa Ave leg of the route), which would place maintenance responsibility of both the former US-2 route and the Siphon Bridge in the city's hands. The MDSH&T agrees to flip their proposed jurisdictional transfer so that Chippewa Ave from Deer St southerly to relocated US-2 would be turned back to the city while the remainder of existing US-2 and the Siphon Bridge would remain under state control as an extension of M-94.
  1983 Updated – A new US-2 Manistique River bridge is constucted at Manistique, bypassing the historic Siphon Bridge and shortening the route of US-2 by 1.4 miles. The portion of US-2 via Chippewa Ave on the west side of Manistique from relocated US-2 northerly to Deer St temporarily becomes an unsigned state route while the remainder of the former US-2 routing through the city is designated as an extension of M-94.
  1983 (June 20) New! At its regular meeting in Denver, the U.S. Route Numbering Subcommittee of the American Association of State Highway & Transportation Officials (AASHTO) withholds action on a request from the Michigan Dept of Transportation to eliminate the portion of US-2 from Saint Ignace to Sault Ste. Marie. The reason(s) for the committee withholding action is not clear at present.
  1983 – The US-2 designation is scaled back from Sault Ste. Marie to end in St. Ignace at I-75's Exit 344, its present terminus, for a loss of 54 route-miles. US-2 had run concurrently with I-75 for more than 20 years.
  1998 – US-2 through Iron River is realigned onto a more direct route east of downtown. Previously, US-2 headed easterly through Iron River via Adams St, then southerly via First Ave, easterly again via Genesee St across the Iron River before curving back northeasterly to leave the city. Now, US-2 continues due easterly via Adams St across the Iron River. The former route is temporarily retained as an unmarked state trunkline
  2001 (Dec 19) – The former route of US-2 east of downtown Iron River along First Ave and Genesee St is turned back to city control. US-2 was routed onto Adams St in 1998.
Controlled-Access: Freeway: None.
  Expressway: From 0.3 mile north of Lake Bluff Rd just south of Gladstone to Brampton Rd-75 Rd intersection, just west of the the jct of US-2 & US-41 at Rapid River.
NHS: The entire length of US-2 in Michigan is part of the NHS.
Circle Tours: Lake Superior Circle Tour MarkerLake Superior Circle Tour: Enters from Wisconsin at Ironwood easterly to jct M-28 in Wakefield.
  Lake Michigan Circle Tour MarkerLake Michigan Circle Tour: From southern jct of M-35 in Escanaba to eastern terminus at I-75 in St Ignace.
Pure Michigan
Byways:
Historic Heritage Route MarkerIron County Heritage Trail: From Iron River to Crystal Falls in Iron County.
Business Connection:  BUS US-2 - Ironwood: From Wisconsin state line between downtown Hurley, Wisc. and Ironwood, Mich. to US-2 in Ironwood.
Continue on: US-2 West into Wisconsin
Photographs: US-2 Is NOT A Freeway - set of three photos from September 4, 2006.
Weblinks:
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