Michigan Highways: Since 1997.

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M-22 & M-109 junction route signage in Glen Arbor, Michigan
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M-68
I-69 Route Marker On to Next Route:
M-69
Southern Entrance:    Indiana state line two miles south of Kinderhook
Eastern Terminus:    Ontario provincial boundary on the Blue Water Bridge (concurrently with I-94) connecting Port Huron, Michigan with Point Edward and Sarnia, Ontario
Length: 202.703 miles
Maps: Route Map of I-69
Notes: For its first 81 miles in Michigan, I-69 is signed a north-south highway. From Mile 81 on, I-69 is signed as an east-west highway. Until 2001, large signs proclaiming "I-69 NORTH BECOMES I-69 EAST" (northbound) and "I-69 WEST BECOMES I-69 SOUTH" (westbound) were located at Mile 81. Those signs were removed, however, during a freeway sign replacement project and from that point on, the direction change has been signed directly on I-96.
  From its debut in Michigan until 2001–02, I-69 ran concurrently with US-27 for its first 89 miles, to Exit 89 southeast of DeWitt. This concurrent designation, as well as all of US-27 in Michigan, was removed when MDOT was given the go-ahead by AASHTO to redesignate all of that highway north of DeWitt as US-127 in 1999. Not wanting to rush into the changes, MDOT planned for US-27's removal for a few years before actual signage changes occurred. In 2001, most of the US-27 route markers along the concurrent stretch with I-69 between the Indiana state line and DeWitt were removed, although a few stragglers remained. The year 2002 saw the complete removal of US-27 from Michigan, being replaced north of I-69 by US-127.
  I-69 was the last two-digit Interstate in Michigan to be completed. The last segments were northeast of Lansing near Perry (opened 1990–91) and southwest of Lansing between I-96 and Charlotte (completed October 22, 1992).
  While many maps of the "original" Eisenhower Interstate System from the late 1950s and 1960s show I-69 running only as far north as I-94 at Marshall, the Michigan State Highway Dept seemed to have other plans in mind, for I-69's interchange with I-94 was constructed as a full cloverleaf-style interchange, complete with collector/distributor ramps, indicating this wouldn't be the end of the new freeway. In 1968, the northern end of the actual freeway dead-ended almost a mile north of I-94. Extension would come in 1970 and 1971.
  I-69 is one of two so-called "NAFTA Highways" in Michigan. With the signing of the North American Free Trade Agreement in the early 1990s, many border points between Canada, the United States and Mexico became increasingly important points of international trade, with I-69 and I-94 being two Interstates leading directly from Canadian border crossings to large cities in the Midwest. Proponents of extending I-69 southwesterly into Texas use the "NAFTA Superhighway" concept in their defense of the extension, while opponents cite the lack of a need for such a highway and the environmental concerns. Until late 2006, I-69 began in Michigan and ended in neighboring Indiana. In the past several years, "bits and pieces" of the I-69 extension have been completed, opened to traffic and signed as I-69 in southwest Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, and Texas. Work is ongoing to connect existing I-69 at Indianapolis with the new segment north of Evansville, Indiana.
  On August 31, 1998, the final segment of the US-27 (now US-127) freeway between DeWitt and St Johns opened to traffic. Since the new freeway was constructed approximately 1.25 miles east of the former US-27, the concurrent I-69/US-27 designation was extended by about 1.7 miles, replacing the former I-69/US-127 concurrency. US-127 was then terminated at the I-69/US-27 interchange (Exit 89A-B) southeast of DeWitt. Since then, however, US-27 north of I-69 has been replaced by the US-127 designation.
  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 the following for what eventually became the I-69 corridor during that timeframe:
  • Construction of the US-27 (I-69) freeway from the Indiana state line south of Kinderhook in Branch Co northerly past Coldwater and Tekonsha generally along its eventual route, terminating at I-94/US-12 northwest of Marshall. Most proposed exits on the maps were constructed, save for one at a proposed US-112 freeway at Coldwater, approximately 1 mile south of the present-day US-12 (at that time US-112) exit. Additionally, a Business Connection (either signed as BUS US-27 or BL I-69) was proposed at Coldwater, but beginning at the US-112 freeway interchange and heading westerly on the US-112 freeway, then northerly along the existing route of US-27 through the city, before turning easterly via Newton Rd to an interchange with the US-27 (I-69) freeway northeast of the city. The majority of this proposal was completed as proposed within a decade.
  • Continuation of a US-27 (only) freeway northerly from the terminus of I-69 at I-94/US-12 northwest of Marshall through Calhoun and Eaton Cos to I-96 southwest of Lansing. From I-94/US-12 to the northeast side of Charlotte, the proposed US-27 freeway largely followed the course of what is now I-69 with an additional interchange at Island Hwy. From Charlotte to I-96 southwest of Lansing, the proposed US-27 freeway was to run parallel to the existing route along Lansing Rd approximately 1- to 1¼ miles northwest of it with interchanges at Otto Rd, Vermontville Hwy, and M-100/Hertel Rd. The essence of this proposal was completed within 32 years, with modifications between Charlotte and I-96.
  • Construction of a US-27 (and likely M-78) freeway bypass of the north side of Lansing, running in the same general area as the eventual I-69 freeway between I-96 northwest of Lansing and existing US-27 southeast of DeWitt. The freeway would continue east from US-27 (itself proposed to be converted to full freeway along its existing alignment from DeWitt northerly) as US-127 (and likely M-78) for two miles to an interchange where US-127 would depart southerly through the Lansing area toward Jackson. A proposed M-78 freeway would then continue easterly from US-127 along the general corridor taken by present-day I-69, merging back into existing M-78/Lansing Rd at the Clinton/Shiawassee Co line. This proposal is essentially carried out, taking about 30 years to do so.
  • Conversion of the existing route of M-78/Lansing Rd to full freeway from the Clinton/Shiawassee Co Line northeasterly to a point approximately a mile northeast of Perry, with interchanges at Woodbury Rd and M-47 (present-day M-52). This is essentially what was implemented 30 years later.
  • Completion of the M-78 freeway then under construction from a point halfway between Perry and Morrice in Shiawassee Co to M-71 at Durand, with interchanges at Morrice Rd, State Rd, Grand River Rd, Bancroft Rd, and M-71. Existing M-78 was to be turned back to local control. As this project was already underway and would be complete within a year, it was implemented as proposed with the exception of the interchanges at Morrice Rd, State Rd and Bancroft Rd.
  • Construction of an M-78 and/or M-21 freeway from I-75/US-10/US-23 in Flint easterly past Davison, Lapeer, Imlay City, Capac, and Emmett to I-94/US-25 west of Port Huron with an extension into downtown Port Huron, generally within the present I-69 corridor, although the portion from I-75/US-10/US-23 in Flint to the Genesee/Lapeer Co line was shown approximately a mile south of its eventual alignment. Also shown are BUS M-21 routings at Lapeer (Lake Nepessing Rd northerly to Davison Rd, then easterly to M-24, then southerly via M-24 back to the freeway) and Imlay City (northerly via a proposed M-53 freeway west of town, then easterly through downtown via 4th St and southerly via existing M-53 back to the freeway south of town). Other than the never-implemented business connections and some different or omitted interchange locations, this proposal eventually came to fruition within 25 years.
History: 1943 – Present-day I-69 in Michigan has its beginnings in, of all things, an early incarnation of the route of I-94 between Detroit and Chicago (although permanent route numbers wouldn't be assigned to the various Interstate Highways until 1958). In its earliest proposed configuration in 1943, the Interstate route that would someday become I-94 runs along the US-112 (now US-12) corridor from Detroit to South Bend, Indiana where it would join what is now I-80/I-90/Indiana East-West Toll Road.
  1947 – A later revision to the early plans for the Interstate Highway system has the future I-94 running along the US-12 (pre-1961 iteration) corridor—it's present alignment—but an angling Kalamazoo–South Bend Interstate route remains on the books with a likely designation of I-67.
  1957 – Ten years later, an Interstate route between Indianapolis and Angola, Indiana is officially designated as I-69. This original I-69 route terminates at I-80/I-90/Indiana East-West Toll Road and does not make it into Michigan.
  1958 – Michigan State Highway Dept officials lobby the Federal government to substitute an Interstate route in the US-27 corridor from Angola, Indiana northerly past Coldwater, ending at I-94 at Marshall in place of the Kalamazoo–South Bend route, which the MSHD feels would have less utility than a freeway along US-27. Federal officials agree and the route of I-69 is officially extended northerly from Angola to a new terminus at I-94.
  1967 (Nov–Dec) – The first segments of the new I-69/US-27 freeway open:
  • Nov 1 – The The segment of the I-69/US-27 freeway from the Indiana state line northerly to the Branch/Calhoun Co line is established as a state trunkline highway route, and much of the former route of US-27 is turned back to local control on this day. The exception is the 3 miles from Fenn Rd northerly to US-12/Chicago St downtown Coldwater, which becomes part of a new BL I-69.
  • Dec 15 – Six weeks later, the segment of the I-69/US-27 freeway from the Branch/Calhoun Co line northerly to I-94 at Marshall is established. Old US-27 here remains an unsigned state trunkline route for several more months.
  • At Marshall, the I-69 designation terminates at I-94, while the US-27 routing turns easterly via I-94 for about 1½ miles back to the original US-27 alignment, then northerly toward Olivet and Charlotte. A brand new BUS US-27 designation is commissioned, beginning at I-69/US-27 on the west side of Marshall (present day Exit 36), and running easterly via Michigan Ave into downtown, then northerly via the former route of US-27 (Kalamazoo Ave & Brewer St) to the jct of I-94 & US-27 north of town at Exit 110. The BL I-94 routing at Marshall is realigned, also, to run westerly from downtown via Michigan Ave (newly co-designated as BUS US-27) to the new I-69/US-27 freeway, then northerly via the freeway to end at I-94. The former routing of BL I-94 northerly from downtown Marshall is redesignated as a part of the new BUS US-27.
  1968 (June 28) – The portion of former US-27 from the Branch/Calhoun Co line northerly to BL I-94/Michigan Ave in downtown Marshall, replaced by the new I-69/US-27 freeway six months earlier, is turned back to local control.
  1968 (Nov 13) – In response to the passage of the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1968 which, among other things, authorizes an additional 1,500 miles of Interstate highway nationally, the State Highway Commission announces a request containing 600 miles of additional Interstate mileage within the state. Since the entire nationwide allotment for additional Interstate mileage is 1,500 miles, MSHD officials are aware, however, their request is unlikely to be granted in its entirety. One of the requests is to extend the I-69 designation from its terminus at I-94 northwest of Marshall northerly past Charlotte to Lansing, then northeasterly through Flint and easterly on to a new terminus at I-94 in Port Huron. This request is ultimately granted by the federal government.
  1969 (Dec 12) – A new segment of the I-69/US-27 freeway is established as state trunkline from I-94 at Marshall northerly to the Calhoun/Eaton Co line, although this segment will not be completed until the end of 1970. US-27 remains fully-signed on its existing route for the time being.
  1969 (Dec 13) – The proposal by the Dept of State Highways for a 96-mile extension of I-69 from Marshall through Lansing to Flint is officially authorized by the Federal Highway Administration, with an estimated cost of $104.4 million to complete the freeway.
  1969 (Dec 13) – Section 14 of the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1968 modified Title 23 by authorizing mileage to the Interstate Highway System "not to exceed 1,500 miles for the designation of routes ... in order to improve the efficiency and service of the Interstate System to better accomplish the purposes of that System." On this date, Transportation Secretary Boyd announces the USDOT has allocated 1,472.5 miles, in 28 States, of the 1,500 additional Interstate miles authorized by Congress at the then estimated cost of $2.43 billion. The Bureau of Public Roads indicated that the States, in filing applications for the added 1,500 miles, had submitted suggested projects totalling more than 10,000 miles. In Michigan, the Michigan Department of State Highways is granted its request for a 96-mile extension to I-69, then terminating at I-94 near Marshall. The new extension takes I-69 by way of Lansing to a new terminus at I-75/US-10/US-23 on the western edge of Flint and carries a 1968 cost of $104.4 million.1   It would not be until 1974 that I-69 would be fully signed along the extended portion, however.
  1970 – A pair of changes to I-69 in this year:
  • June 24 – The route of the proposed I-69/US-27 freeway from Garfield Rd in northern Calhoun Co to Charlotte is officially established as a state trunkline on this date, but is about two years from completion and opening to traffic.
  • November – The Michigan Dept of State Highways receives approval from the Federal Highway Administration for the location of the future segment of I-69 across the north side of the metro Lansing area from I-96 in the vicinity of Exit 90 northwest of Lansing easterly to US-27 north fo Clark Rd southeast of DeWitt. A public hearing was held on June 4, 1969 for that portion of the route as well as the eastern continuation of future I-69 from US-27 easterly to the Clinton-Shiawassee Co line east of Bath. The FHWA has not yet taken action on that segment.
  • Dec 8 – A 6.3-mile segment of the new I-69/US-27 freeway is opened to traffic from I-94 at Marshall to Garfield Rd in northern Calhoun Co... but there is a catch! This new segment of freeway is signed for automobile traffic only! The existing US-27 route is retained as a signed state highway for truck traffic, as the temporary connector from the end of the open freeway back to US-27 along Garfield Rd is a substandard county road. According to Tom Ketchum, this connection along Garfield "was a terrible stretch of asphalt in 1971, surface-wise, width-wise and also was very curvy," much as it remains today. Tom relates signs clearly posted the truck route and the cars-only restriction on the new freeway. The Garfield Rd connection was temporarily assumed into the state highway system on December 8th, the day the stretch of the new freeway is opened to traffic. —Many thanks to Tom Ketchum for the excellent information!
  1971 (June 30) – The BUS US-27 designation is removed from Marshall and the the portion of the former BUS US-27 (recently part of US-27 itself) between BL I-94/Michigan Ave in downtown Marshall to I-94 north of the city is turned back to local control.
  1971 (Nov 9) – The five-mile long four-lane divided US-27 freeway bypass of Charlotte in Eaton Co is opened to traffic, with Patricia Schrauben, Miss Michigan 1972, assisting John P Woodford, Deputy Director of the Dept of State Highways, with the ribbon-cutting duties. The two-year, $4.6 million project converted the existing two-lane US-27 limited-access bypass of Charlotte into a fully-controlled access freeway including eight bridges and two new interchanges. (The new M-50 interchange alone replaces an old at-grade intersection which had a 10-year record of 92 accidents, including nine fatalities and 96 injuries.) Building the new freeway bypass involves constructing a new set of northbound lanes next to the existing bypass which becomes the southbound lanes. The bypass with become part of I-69 when the segment of freeway between Charlotte and south of Olivet is completed in 1972.
  1972 – Changes to I-69 in 1972 include:
  • Nov 15–18 – The I-69/US-27 freeway is opened northeasterly from Garfield Rd in northern Calhoun Co past Olivet and along the Charlotte bypass, ending at the junction of US-27, BUS US-27 & M-78 northeast of Charlotte. While truck traffic is now allowed on the I-69/US-27 freeway north of I-94, the former route of US-27 from Marshall northerly to Charlotte is retained as an unsigned state trunkline for about a year. The temporary connector route along Garfield Rd in northern Calhoun Co, however, is turned back to local control on November 20th.
  • Nov 15–18M-78 is realigned between Bellevue and Charlotte, first by running easterly to Olivet, then northeasterly for 13 miles concurrently with I-69/US-27 back to the original US-27/M-78 alignment via Lansing Rd from Charlotte toward Lansing. This creates a 13-mile I-69/US-27/M-78 concurrent segment in Eaton Co. This arrangement was to only last about a year, so it is unclear if any M-78 markers were posted along the route of I-69/US-27 between Olivet and Charlotte.
  • At Charlotte, the BUS US-27 routing between the two junctions of I-69/US-27 is retained.
  1973 (July 20) – The former route of US-27 from I-94 at Marshall to the Calhoun/Eaton Co line is cancelled as a state trunkline route and turned back to County control.
  1973 (Sept 4) – Legislation passes the U.S. Congress officially extending I-69 by 3.20 miles from its terminus at I-75/US-10/US-23 on the western edge of Flint easterly to I-475 in downtown Flint.1   This extension will not appear on official Michigan highway maps until 1976, so it is somewhat unclear when I-69 route markers are actually erected along this portion of highway.
  1973 (Nov 10) – At its regular meeting in Los Angeles, the U.S. Route Numbering Subcommittee of the American Association of State Highway & Transportation Officials (AASHTO) approves a request from the Michigan Dept of State Highways & Transportation to extend the route of I-69 from its terminus at I-75/US-10/US-23 on the western edge of Flint easterly to the future interchange with I-475 in downtown Flint. At the same meeting, the AASHTO subcommittee also approves a request from the MDSH&T to relocate the route of US-27 between Marshall and Charlotte from its former route and placing it onto the new I-69/US-27 freeway completed in 1972 as well as approving the removal of the former BUS US-27 routing at Marshall, which had been eliminated by the Dept of State Highways back in mid-1971.
  1974 (Feb) – A major extension of I-69 takes the route from terminating at Charlotte to ending in Flint, generally replacing the M-78 designation in the process. However, since the only the Morrice-to-Flint section of this extension is constructed to freeway standards, the ex-M-78 routing between Charlotte and Morrice is designated as TEMP I-69 (TEMPORARY I-69), thusly: With the exception of a portion along Saginaw St in East Lansing, all of TEMP I-69 is either four-lane divided highway or freeway. The "TEMPORARY" white-on-blue plates are posted with all I-69 markers on the entire routing of TEMP I-69, with the abbreviation "TEMP" used on some large freeway guide signs. (As an additional note, while the designation of BUS M-78 through Lansing had been removed from official highway maps in 1970, it remains on internal Dept of State Highways maps until now, implying it remains signed in the field until the removal of M-78 in the region. It is also not replaced with a "BL TEMP I-69" designation, either.)
  1974 – BUS US-27 through Charlotte is redesignated as BL I-69.
  1975–76 – Official Michigan highway maps from 1976 show the I-69 extension (approved in 1973—see above) easterly via the M-21 freeway from I-75/US-10/US-23 into Flint to end at I-475 in downtown.
  1980 (Sept 18) New! 2024-01 – The 8.289-mile stretch of the proposed I-69/US-27 freeway north of Lansing from I-96 near the BL I-96/Grand River Ave interchange in Watertown Twp east-northeasterly to the northern terminus of US-127 at existing US-27 (present-day Old US-27) is officially certified as a state trunkline highway, although it won't be completed and opened to traffic for several years. Also certified as a trunkline is the 2.365-mile "I-69 Connector," the long freeway ramps which will connect ebd I-96 to nbd I-69/US-27 and wbd I-69/sbd US-27 to wbd I-96.
  1980 (Oct 8) New! 2024-01 – The alignment of the proposed M-21 freeway across much of Lapeer Co, specifically the 19.507-mile portion from M-24 south of Lapeer easterly to the St Clair Co line, is officially established as a state trunkline route, although the actual freeway is several years away from being complete. (While the entire new freeway is part of the M-21 routing initially, it's already earmarked to become part of I-69 when actually complete and opened to traffic.)
  1981 (June 25) – At its regular meeting in Dallas, the U.S. Route Numbering Subcommittee of the American Association of State Highway & Transportation Officials (AASHTO) approves a request (subject to the concurrence of the Federal Highway Administration) from the Michigan Dept of Transportation to establish the route of I-69 on the north side of Lansing from I-96 on the west to US-127 on the east. This segment of freeway won't be complete and open to traffic for another four years.
  1982 (Summer) – A 3.3-mile segment of future I-69/US-27 freeway from existing US-27 southeast of DeWitt westerly to Airport Rd northwest of Lansing is completed but remains unopened to traffic as, according to MDOT officials, doing so "would put a traffic burden on Airport Road that it is not built to handle." The remaining five miles of freeway from Airport Rd westerly to I-96 at Exits 91–89 would not be completed and the entire 8.3-mile northern freeway bypass of Lansing would not open to traffic for another few years.
  1983 (Oct 1) – At its regular meeting in Denver, the U.S. Route Numbering Subcommittee of the American Association of State Highway & Transportation Officials (AASHTO) approves a request from the Michigan Dept of Transportation to extend the route of I-69, "beginning at the present terminous [sic] of I-69 in Flint, then easterly over SR 21 [sic] to the intersection of a new facility under constructionm then easterly over the new facility to the intersection of SR 21 [sic] at Wadhams, then easterly over SR 21 [sic] to the intersection of I-94, then northeasterly over I-94 to the internationa boundary." The approval is granted "subject to construction to Interstate standards," which would occur in just over a year.
  1983 – An important freeway completion occurs that does not directly involve I-69 at the moment, but would within a year. The first segment of the new M-21 freeway extension opens from M-19 at Emmett easterly to the existing M-21 freeway west of Wadhams in Saint Clair Co. The remaining gap from M-24 at Lapeer to M-19 at Emmet is under construction as well. This section of freeway is designated as M-21, but would later become the easterly extension of I-69.
  1984 (Dec 14) – The entire freeway from Lapeer to Wadhams opens, not as M-21, but rather as an extended I-69. The length of M-21 is reduced by approximately 70 miles, now terminating in Flint. The M-56 designation which had replaced M-21 via Corunna & Miller Rds and Court St between M-13 and I-475/UAW Frwy in downtown Flint is reverted back to M-21, with M-56 ceasing as a state trunkline designation. The former M-13/M-21 through Lennon reverts back to just M-13, while the concurrently designated M-21/I-69 between Lennon and Flint becomes just I-69. Between Flint and Port Huron, the M-21 freeway segments (I-475 to M-24 and M-19 to I-94) become part of I-69. The former route of M-21 along Imlay City Rd from Lapeer to Emmett becomes an unsigned state trunkline as OLD M-21. The former M-21 into downtown Port Huron along the Griswold-Oak St pair is designated as BS I-69, ending at M-21's former terminus at M-25/Huron Ave. Interestingly, however, the I-69 designation will not be officially extended in the eyes of the Federal government for over a year (see below). The opening ceremonies for this 40-mile long, $109-million segment of freeway—the longest stretch of freeway opened in Michigan in two decades and the third longest stretch ever opened at once in the state—take place at 10 a.m. at the Lapeer end of the new segment and later at the Whadams end, attended by local officials and Lt Governor Martha Griffiths.
  1985 – All of M-25 south of the I-69/I-94 approach to the Blue Water Bridge in Port Huron is redesignated as BL I-94, and the BS I-69 designation is redesignated BL I-69, when BS I-69 is extended concurrently with the "new" BL I-94 from downtown Port Huron northerly via Huron & Pine Grove Sts to end at I-69/I-94 north of downtown.
  1985 (July 18) – Another important freeway completion occurs that is not initially signed as part of I-69. A ribbon-cutting ceremony is held at the completion and opening of the 7.7-mile long northern freeway bypass of Lansing, designated as US-27, and running from I-96 (at Exits 89–91) on the west to the US-27 & US-127 interchange southest of DeWitt. The freeway segment cost $25.4 million and took approximately five years to construct in two phases—phase one from US-27 westerly to Airport Rd was completed but remained closed to traffic until the full freeway segment was completed. The second phase was to have opened to traffic in 1984, but "bad weather and unusually poor soil conditions" pushed completion back by a year. With the new segment of freeway, the US-27 designation now runs northerly from its existing route via I-96 from Exit 98 near Diamondale to Exit 91 northwest of Lansing, then turns northeasterly and easterly across the north side of Greater Lansing back to the existing route of US-27 southeast of DeWitt. All of the former route of US-27 between I-96 (at Exit 98) and US-127 (near DeWitt) is redesignated as BUS US-27. The new US-27 bypass will also bear the I-69 designation once the next segment in that route is completed and opened to traffic between US-127 at DeWitt and exisitng TEMP I-69 southeast of Bath in Clinton Co. At this time, TEMP I-69 still bypasses Lansing on the south and east via I-96, I-496/US-127 and US-127.
  1987 (Feb 10) – Legislation passes the U.S. Congress officially extending I-69 by 63.60 miles from its terminus at I-475 in downtown Flint easterly to I-94 at Exit 271 west of Port Huron.1   This segment of freeway was opened to traffic in December 1984 and has been signed as I-69 since that time. It would seem the federal legislation did not officially extend I-69 concurrently with I-94 for that route's final four miles to the Blue Water Bridge approach, unlike the actual signage in the field seems to indicate.
  1987 (Nov 23) Updated 2023-10 – An eight-mile segment of the I-69 freeway is completed and opened to traffic from US-127 northeast of Lansing between DeWitt and Bath, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony just east of US-127. The $39.5 million project results in the signing of I-69 in the Lansing area beginning at I-96 Exit 98 and continuing northerly along I-96/US-27 to Exit 91 where I-69 is now signed along the US-27 freeway through Watertown and DeWitt Townships to Exit 87 where US-27 heads northerly to St Johns. From there, I-69 is now concurrently designated with US-127 for about two miles to Exit 89 where US-127 splits off to head south toward Jackson. Here, I-69 picks up the newly-constructed freeway segment running through Bath Township before merging back into the existing TEMP I-69 route near Peacock Rd just west of the Clinton/Shiawassee Co line. The TEMP I-69 designation is removed from I-96, I-496 and US-127 around the south and east sides of Lansing, while the portion of TEMP I-69 along Saginaw St from US-127 through East Lansing to Marsh Rd near Lake Lansing becomes part of a new BL I-69 routing which continues westerly from US-127 with M-43 through the north side of Lansing, terminating at I-96/I-69/US-27 at Exit 93 in Delta Twp. TEMP I-69 along Lansing Rd/Old M-78 between Marsh Rd and the eastern end of the new freeway west of Peacock Rd remains as an unsigned state trunkline route designated OLD I-69.
  1987 (Dec 4) – At its regular meeting in San Diego, the U.S. Route Numbering Subcommittee of the American Association of State Highway & Transportation Officials (AASHTO) approves a request from MDOT to relocate the route of I-69, "beginning at the intersection of present I-69 and a new facility near Perry, then southwesterly over the new facility to the intersection of U.S. Route 127 in Lansing." This first half of this approved relocation opened to traffic 2½ months prior, while the remainder will open in four years time.
  1988 (July 1) New! 2023-10 – The route of I-69 in southeast Clinton Co (northeast of Lansing) is officially established as a state trunkline route from US-127 near Gunnisonville, southeast of DeWitt, then easterly to the BL I-69 interchange, then bending northeasterly and running parallel with the former TEMP I-69/Lansing Rd from State Rd to the Clinton/Shiawassee Co line. The mileage involved in the mainline I-69 establishment is 8.937 miles. Additionally, a 1.329-mile long state trunkline route is established for the route of BL I-69 beginning at the cnr of Lansing Rd & Marsh Rd then curving northerly, intersecting the route of I-69. All but the easternmost ¾ mile of this segment of mainline I-69 was completed and opened to traffic the previous November. Work continues on the last segment of incomplete I-69 northeast of Lansing.
  1989 (Oct 6) – The Standing Committee on U.S. Route Numbering of the American Association of State Highway & Transportation Officials (AASHTO) officially approves the "Relocation of I-69" on this day at their scheduled meeting in Atlanta, Georgia. The text of the request reads: "Beginning at the intersection of present I-69 and a new facility at Charlotte, then northeasterly over the facility for 74.2 miles to the intersection of I-96 at Lansing" It is assumed this request is meant to cover for the segments of I-69 opened to traffic 1987 and for those to open in 1991 and 1992 between Charlotte and Morrice. The 74.2 mile number is puzzling, as that is the distance between the temporary end of I-69 northeast of Charlotte and the pre-1987 terminus of I-69 in downtown Flint.
  1990 (fall) – The westbound lanes of the I-69 freeway in southwest Shiawassee and southeast Clinton Cos are completed and opened to traffic between Peacock Rd and Shaftsburg Rd. Eastbound traffic continues to use the existing TEMP I-69/Lansing Rd lanes until the eastbound lanes of the new freeway are completed, scheduled for 1991.
  1991 (July) – The last 4.5 miles of eastbound I-69 northeast of Lansing are completed and opened to traffic the week of July 21, completing I-69 between Lansing and Flint. The westbound lanes of the new I-69 freeway from Peacock Rd in southeastern Clinton Co to Shaftsburg Rd in southwestern Shiawassee Co were opened in 1990. The makeup of Lansing Hwy (the former routing of TEMP I-69 and M-78 before that) is changed with the completion of the freeway. The westbound lanes of the divided highway were removed to make room for the eastbound lanes and right-of-way of the new freeway, so two-way traffic is now maintained on the former eastbound side of TEMP I-69. The portion of Old M-78 and Lansing Hwy formerly designated as TEMP I-69 is now an unsigned trunkline designated OLD I-69, even though, technically, this highway was never designated as "I-69."
  1991 (Dec 21) – Seven miles of a portion of the new I-69 freeway between Charlotte and Potterville in Eaton Co are completed and opened to two-way traffic as construction on the remainder of the segment of freeway continues.
  1992 (June 5) New! 2024-01 – The 9.372-mile segment of I-69 in Shiawassee Co opened to traffic the previous July is finally officially established as a state trunkline highway route from the Clinton Co line northeasterly to the point where the new freeway section joins the existing freeway north of Morrice.
  1992 (Oct 22) – The final segments of the new I-69/US-27 freeway are opened between Charlotte and I-96 southwest of Lansing. The former route of TEMP I-69/US-27 (Lansing Rd) becomes an unsigned state-maintained road, as does the decertified BUS US-27 (Lansing Rd) from I-96 into Lansing. The signed BUS US-27 now runs from the jct of I-69/US-27 near DeWitt southerly to terminate at Michigan Ave in Lansing. (For the next decade, MDOT would still refer to Lansing Rd in southwest Lansing as "BUS US-27," even though all signs have been removed from that portion of the route.) As of October 1992, I-69 is now one complete route in Michigan, from Indiana to Ontario.
  1996 (Aug 1) – Due to a bill signed into law on June 25, 1996 (based on a federal bill signed into law by President Bill Clinton on November 28, 1995 removing the federal restrictions on speed limits on "federally designated" highways), five segments of freeway, including I-69 from the Indiana state line to I-94 at Port Huron (except for the portion through Flint), were approved as test stretches to be raised to a 70 mph speed. The speed limit on the vast majority of I-69 officially increased to 70 on August 1, 1996.
  1998 (Aug 31) – The final link in the long-awaited, $108-million US-27 "St Johns Bypass," as it is referred to locally, is opened to through traffic. With the opening of the new freeway, US-27 gains almost 3.6 miles, while US-127 loses about 1.7 miles in length. This is caused by the US-27 designation replacing the US-127 designation along I-69 between Exits 87 & 89 near DeWitt. No changes are made in the routing of I-69.
  2001 – Most of the US-27 route markers along the concurrent portion of I-69—from the Indiana state line northerly to DeWitt near Lansing—are removed in preparation for the complete "decommissioning" of US-27 in Michigan. A few US-27 markers remain along I-69 for awhile, though, but are definitely exceptions.
  2002 – As noted above, the "decommissioning" of US-27 in Michigan sees the removal of the remaining US-27 markers along I-69 between the Indiana state line and US-127 at DeWitt. Formerly concurrent with US-27 for 89 miles, I-69 now only runs concurrently with I-96 for six miles and with I-94 at Port Huron for approximately five.
  2004 (Oct 8) – The 48 miles of I-69 from its southern entrance at the Indiana state line to the Calhoun/Eaton Co line southwest of Olivet is officially designated as a Recreational Heritage Route in ceremonies at the newly-reconstructed Coldwater Welcome Center south of Coldwater.
  2006 (July 17) – The 22-mile stretch of I-69 in Branch Co is dedicated as the Purple Heart Trail in a ceremony after a bill designating it as such was passed in the state legislature.
  2007 (Feb 2) New! 2024-01 – The 1.09-mile long portion of Lansing Rd, internally designated at MDOT as "OLD I-69" (even though it never was part of I-69, but rather it was TEMP I-69 and, before that, part of M-78) from M-52/Perry Rd north of Perry northeasterly for 1.09 miles to the location where the I-69 freeway began for nearly two decades is cancelled as a state trunkline route and turned back to county control. The former route of TEMP I-69 along Lansing Rd west of M-52 remains an unsigned state trunkline route.
Controlled Access: The entire length of I-69 is freeway.
NHS: The entire length of I-69 is part of the National Highway System (NHS).
Business Connections:
  • BL I-69 – Coldwater. From I-69 at Exit 10 to I-69 at Exit 13.
  • BL I-69 – Charlotte. From I-69 at Exit 57 to I-69 at Exit 61.
  • BL I-69 – Lansing. From I-96/I-69 at Exit 93 to I-69 at Exit 94.
  • BL I-69 – Port Huron. From jct I-69 & I-94 to I-94/I-69 at the foot of the Blue Water Bridges. From jct I-69 & I-94 to I-94/I-69 at the foot of the Blue Water Bridges.
Circle Tour: Lake Huron Circle Tour MarkerLake Huron Circle Tour: From M-25 in Port Huron into Ontario and a connection with Hwy 402 on the Blue Water Bridges.
Pure Michigan Byway: Pure Michigan BywayI-69 Recreational Heritage Route – On October 8, 2004, I-69 in Branch and Calhoun Cos was officially designated as a Recreational Heritage Route in a ceremony held at the newly-reconstructed Coldwater Welcome Center south of Coldwater. In 2017, the Recreational Heritage Route signs were swapped out for new Pure Michigan Byway markers.
Memorial Highways:  The following Memorial Highway designations have been officially assigned to parts of I-69 by the Michigan Legislature:
  • Purple Heart Trail – "That part of highway I-69 in Branch County..." From MDOT: "The Purple Heart is a United States military decoration awarded in the name of the president to those wounded or killed while serving on or after April 5, 1917, with the U.S. military."
  • Purple Heart Highway – "That portion of highway I-69 beginning at the intersection of I-69 and US-27 [sic] in Clinton County and extending east to exit 105 in Shiawassee County..." From MDOT: "The Purple Heart is a United States military decoration awarded in the name of the president to those wounded or killed while serving on or after April 5, 1917, with the U.S. military."
  • Pearl Harbor Memorial Highway – "The portion of highway I-69 beginning at exit 105 in Shiawassee County and extending east to exit 135 in Genesee County..." From MDOT: "Pearl Harbor is a harbor on the island of Oahu, Hawaii, and a United States Navy deep-water naval base. It is also the headquarters of the United States Pacific Fleet. The attack on Pearl Harbor by the Empire of Japan on December 7, 1941, was the immediate cause of the United States’ entry into World War II."
  • Chevrolet-Buick Freeway – "Highway I-69 in Genesee County..." From MDOT: "Chevrolet (also referred to as Chevy) and Buick are American automobile divisions of the American manufacturer General Motors (GM), headquartered in Detroit, Michigan."
  • Louis Chevrolet Freeway – "Highway I-69 in Genesee County..." From MDOT: "Louis Chevrolet, (born December 25, 1878, La Chaux de Fonds, Neuchâtel, Switzerland—died June 6, 1941, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.), automobile designer and racer whose name is borne by the Chevrolet Division of General Motors, an enterprise from which he derived little profit and of which he was a minor employee in the last years of his life. He emigrated to the United States from France in 1900. Five years later, in his first automobile race, he defeated the great American driver Barney Oldfield, and thereafter he set records on every important track in the United States. His time for the measured mile, 52.8 seconds, was, in 1905, remarkable. In 1911, with William Crapo Durant, he built the first Chevrolet car, but he had little confidence in it, and in 1915 he sold his interest to Durant, who, the next year, brought the Chevrolet Motor Company into the General Motors organization."
  • Veterans Memorial Highway – "The portion of highway I-69 between the western city limit of the city of Flint and the eastern city limit of the city of Port Huron..." From MDOT: "Title 38 of the Code of Federal Regulations defines a veteran as 'a person who served in the active military, naval, or air service and who was discharged or released under conditions other than dishonorable.' This definition explains that any individual that completed a service for any branch of armed forces classifies as a veteran as long as they were not dishonorably discharged."
  • Bataan and Corregidor Veterans Memorial Highway – "The portion of highway I-69 between Center Road and Belsay Road in the city of Burton..." From the Michigan Legislature: "After months of brutal fighting between Japanese forces and the United States and its allies during World War II, on April 9, 1942, 10,000 Americans became prisoners of war (POWs) with the surrender of the Bataan Peninsula in the Philippines. The Japanese Army forcibly marched nearly 75,000 military POWs on a deadly 65-mile trek that would become known as the Bataan Death March. The Bataan Death March resulted in the deaths of approximately 9,000 Filipinos and more than 1,000 Americans and the torture and brutal treatment of tens of thousands of prisoners. In early May 1942, 11,500 Americans were surrendered on Corregidor, a fortress island in Manila Harbor. The surrender was the largest in United States military history. Over 26,000 Americans were held as POWs. Nearly 11,000 died in POW camps, aboard 'hell ships,' or as slave laborers. It is believed only 15,000 returned home to their families. Michigan had 634 who were POWs of Imperial Japan."
  • DeWayne T. Williams Memorial Highway – "The portion of highway I-69 beginning at the eastern city limit of the city of Lapeer and extending east to the western city limit of the city of Port Huron..." From MDOT: "Dewayne Williams was born on September 18, 1949, in Brown City, Michigan. He attended Bell Elementary School, St. Clair Elementary, Intermediate, and High Schools in St. Clair, Michigan, and Capac High School, in Capac, Michigan. In December 1967, Williams enlisted in the Marine Corps Reserve, and went into the active Marine Corps on January 2, 1968. He was then assigned duty as anti-tank assault man with Company H, 2nd Battalion 1st Marines. On September 18, a five man Killer Team preparing to displace, was engaged by enemy force of unknown size. During the fire fight, wounded marine rolled onto enemy grenade, absorbing entire impact."
Photographs:  
Continue on: Hwy 402 into Ontario
I-69 into Indiana – via the Indian Highway Ends website
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