Michigan Highways: Since 1997.

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Mackinac Straits Historical Photos

Below are a few photographs of the Mackinac Straits area before, during and after the construction of the Mackinac Bridge. Additional photographs and information are planned for the future.

Aerial shot of the original 1930s Mackinac Bridge Causeway for the aborted multi-span suspension bridge. Work was halted on this first bridge by World War II, however the causeway ended up saving the 1950s Mackinac Bridge Authority a great deal of money! The east-west road crossing the causeway approach at a right-angle is the now-abandoned Graham St. (c.1954)
Aerial shot of the original 1930s Mackinac Bridge Causeway for the aborted multi-span suspension bridge. Work was halted on this first bridge by World War II, however the causeway ended up saving the 1950s Mackinac Bridge Authority a great deal of money! The east-west road crossing the causeway approach at a right-angle is the now-abandoned Graham St. (c.1954) Source: Mackinac Bridge Authority Archives.
A shot from the partially-complete Central Avenue overpass in Mackinaw City looking north. The Mackinac Bridge is within 18 months of being complete, yet the southern approach is just underway. Trees and structures have been cleared, but additional fill is needed. (Spring 1956)
A shot from the partially-complete Central Avenue overpass in Mackinaw City looking north. The Mackinac Bridge is within 18 months of being complete, yet the southern approach is just underway. Trees and structures have been cleared, but additional fill is needed. (Spring 1956) Source: Mackinac Bridge Authority Archives.
US-31 northbound (present-day M-108/Nicolet Ave) at the southern Mackinaw City village limit as it veers easterly toward the State Ferry Docks via present-day Old 31. Nicolet Avenue to the north has been closed and the roadway is being raised to meet the realigned US-23/US-27 route at the new, higher grade level. (1956)
US-31 northbound (present-day M-108/Nicolet Ave) at the southern Mackinaw City village limit as it veers easterly toward the State Ferry Docks via present-day Old 31. Nicolet Avenue to the north has been closed and the roadway is being raised to meet the realigned US-23/US-27 route at the new, higher grade level. (Summer 1956) Source: Mackinac Bridge Authority Archives.
A closer view from the previous image, as US-31 veers to the right from present-day M-108/Nicolet Ave onto present-day Old 31. You can see the massive amount of fill required to bring Nicolet Ave up to the new US-23/US-27 intersection. (1956)
A closer view from the previous image, as US-31 veers to the right from present-day M-108/Nicolet Ave onto present-day Old 31. You can see the massive amount of fill required to bring Nicolet Ave up to the new US-23/US-27 intersection. (Summer 1956) Source: Mackinac Bridge Authority Archives.
US-31 northbound as it approaches US-23/US-27 (Huron St) on the south side of Mackinaw City. The railroad in the photo is the New York Central (later Detroit & Mackinaw, abandoned since the mid-1980s) while the State Highway Department sign directs traffic to the left for "STATE FERRY" or right to "CHEBOYGAN." The cloud of black smoke in the background shows the car- and auto ferries are in operation. The cement pipe on the right side of the road is part of the US-23/US-27 relocation project. (1956)
US-31 northbound as it approaches US-23/US-27 (Huron St) on the south side of Mackinaw City. The railroad in the photo is the New York Central (later Detroit & Mackinaw, abandoned since the mid-1980s) while the State Highway Department sign directs traffic to the left for "STATE FERRY" or right to "CHEBOYGAN." The cloud of black smoke in the background shows the car- and auto ferries are in operation. The cement pipe on the right side of the road is part of the US-23/US-27 relocation project. (Summer 1956) Source: Mackinac Bridge Authority Archives.
Looking westbound along US-2 at the new interchange just north of the Mackinac Bridge. When first opened, this interchange was a simple "trumpet" used to connect the new bridge with US-2 west of St Ignace. This photo also offers direct proof that US-27 was, indeed, the second state trunkline designation to cross the Straits of Mackinac (US-31 was the first in the 1930s, I-75 became the third a few years after this photo was taken). The US-27 ramp shown here is now the I-75 NORTH ramp toward Sault Ste Marie. (June 1957)
Looking westbound along US-2 at the new interchange just north of the Mackinac Bridge. When first opened, this interchange was a simple "trumpet" used to connect the new bridge with US-2 west of St Ignace. This photo also offers direct proof that US-27 was, indeed, the second state trunkline designation to cross the Straits of Mackinac (US-31 was the first in the 1930s, I-75 became the third a few years after this photo was taken). The US-27 ramp shown here is now the I-75 NORTH ramp toward Sault Ste Marie. (June 25, 1957) Source: Mackinac Bridge Authority Archives.
A closer view of the sign from the previous image. In the late-1950s, it seems large, overhead signs such as these were constructed in "pieces." Each letter seems to be a separate component, while the route marker section and the arrow are other sections. (June 1957)
A closer view of the sign from the previous image. In the late-1950s, it seems large, overhead signs such as these were constructed in "pieces." Each letter seems to be a separate component, while the route marker section and the arrow are other sections. (June 25, 1957) Source: Mackinac Bridge Authority Archives.
A color postcard view of the same sign as depicted on Opening Day views above, but this shows why the sign appeared to be "segmented": It was an internally lit sign! It is not clear whether there were other, similar signs elsewhere around the state at the time or if this was a unique installation. (1957)
A color postcard view of the same sign as depicted on Opening Day views above, but this shows why the sign appeared to be "segmented": It was an internally lit sign! It is not clear whether there were other, similar signs elsewhere around the state at the time or if this was a unique installation. (1957) Source: Unidentified postcard view.

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