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M-22 & M-109 junction route signage in Glen Arbor, Michigan
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M-18 Route Marker On to Next Route:
Southern Terminus:    US-10 at Exit 109 at North Bradley
Northern Terminus:    M-72 in eastern Crawford Co, 7 miles west of Luzerne
Length: 77.530 miles
Map: Route Map of M-18
Notes: In contrast to the present-day routing of M-18 north of Roscommon, this route formerly ran northwesterly—concurrently with the former M-76—to end at US-27 (present-day US-127) south of Grayling. The present M-18 northeasterly from Roscommon to M-72 was formerly designated as M-144.
  In the 1940s, the State Highway Department began planning for a major relocation of the route of M-18 from the western M-18 & M-61 junction on the west limits of Gladwin northwesterly, skirting the east side of Pratt Lake and running directly through the community of Podunk before turning northerly to connect back with the existing route of M-18 at the cnr of Clairwin Ave & Renas Rd-Forest Rd south of Meredith, west of Skeels. Only on official planning maps for a short time, it was dropped from consideration by 1948.
  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 pair of upgrades to the route of M-18 during that timeframe. They included:
  • Rerouting M-18 from its western jct with M-61 on the west side of Gladwin to follow M-61 to the west (instead of east) for five miles to the Gladwind/Clare Co line. There, M-18 would turn north to run along the county line, requiring ½ mile of new highway immidiately north of M-61, then continuing along Clarewin Rd to Eaton Rd, then along two miles of new highway alignment to Arnold Lake Rd, and finally along one more mile of existing Clarewin Rd back to the existing M-18 route at Forest Rd. The former route (not concurrent with M-61 in Gladwin) was to have been turned back to local control. (Nothing ever came of this proposal in the decades since.)
  • The 1960 plans had no provision for a BL I-75 at Roscommon and seemed to indicate M-18 would terminate in downtown Roscommon at the southern terminus of M-144, which continued to the northeast. It can be safely assumed that M-18 would have then been extended to supplant M-144 in its entirety, as actually happened in 1973, with or without a BL I-75 designation.
History: 1914 – Trunk Line 18 (T.L. 18) is initially laid out on a route beginning at T.L. 46 (later M-46) on the Gratiot/Saginaw Co line and continuing northerly past Sanford and through Edenville and Beaverton to Gladwin, although none of the route has been officially assumed into the trunkline system as of yet. This would come in stages over the coming years.
  1914 (Apr 13) – The entire 25.0 mile length of T.L. 18 through Midland Co running along Meridian Rd from the Gratiot-Saginaw Co line to the Gladwin Co line is officially established as a state trunkline highway.
  1914 (June 23) – An additional 3.8 miles of T.L. 18 is officially established as trunkline, extending the route north from the Midland-Gladwin Co line near Edenville into Gladwin Co along the Meridian Rd to Van Dyke Rd.
  1915 (Aug 15) – The 4.2 miles of T.L. 18 south of Midland Co from the Gratiot-Saginaw Co line southerly along Meridian Rd to its southern terminus at T.L. 46 approximately 3½ miles east of Wheeler and 2 miles west of Merrill.
  1916 – The remainder of the route of T.L. 18 in Gladwin Co south of Gladwin is officially assumed into the trunkline system this year in three segments:
  • Sept 30 – The approximately 6.5 mile segment in Grout Twp and the City of Gladwin from Calhoun Rd northwest of Beaverton northerly along present-day M-18 to Cedar Ave at Gladwin, then easterly one mile along Cedar Ave to Silverleaf St in downtown Gladwin.
  • Nov 7 – From a point on Glidden Rd two miles east of downtown Beaverton westerly via Glidden Rd into Beaverton, north on Ross St through Beaverton, thence along an uncertain route across Ross Lake eventually to Lang Rd, west on Lang Rd, northerly via Burgess Rd to Calhoun Rd and westerly ½ mile along Calhoun to the segment established on September 30.
  • Nov 13 – From the northern end of the established segment of T.L. 18 from June 1914 at cnr Meridian Rd & Van Dyke Rd on the Billings/Tobacco Twp line, westerly along Van Dyke Rd to Shock Rd, northerly ½ mile on Shock to Glidden Rd, then westerly 1 mile via Glidden to the beginning of the established T.L. 18 from the previous week (see above) east of Beaverton.
  1919 – By 1919, T.L. 18 has been extended northerly from Gladwin to a new terminus at T.L. 14 (present-day M-55) in Prudenville. Except for two short stretches of gravel-surfaced highway just north of Gladwin, the remainder of this extension to Prudenville is unimproved. T.L. 18 north of Gladwin to the Clare Co line (one mile west of Skeels) is designated along the present-day route of M-18, while along the Clare Co line, it initially runs along the present-day route to the community of Meredith, but then veers north-northwesterly along a never-constructed roadway to the Clare-Roscommon Co line at the cnr of Border & Everett Rds. There, there officially designated route continues northerly along present-day Everett Rd (a fireline road) to Gladwin Rd, then north-northwesterly via Gladwin Rd (present-day M-18) into Prudenville and its new northern terminus.
  1919 (July 1) – T.L. 18 is signed in the field as M-18 as all state trunkline highways in Michigan are signed with route markers.
  1919 (Aug 12, Oct 29) – In preparation for the construction of the Edenville Dam and resulting impoundment it will create (Wixom Lake) in the next several years, the route of M-18 is realigned in extreme northern Midland and extreme southern Gladwin Cos. On August 12, the 3.8 miles of Meridian Rd is cancelled as part of M-18 from the Midland Co line northerly into Gladwin Co to Van Dyke Rd, while the 6.4 miles consisting of the present-day M-30 from the county line northerly to Dundas Rd, then Dundas notherly to Dale Rd, Dale westerly to Shook Rd and Shook northerly to Van Dyke Rd (and the existing route of M-18) is assumed into the trunkline system to become the new route for M-18. M-30 takes over Van Dyke Rd heading easterly from Shook Rd to Meridian Rd and then northerly along its previous route. Later in the year on October 29, the official change takes place in Midland Co when 2 miles of Meridian Rd from Curtis Rd northerly to the Gladwin Co line is turned back to county control, while Curtis Rd from M-18/Meridian Rd westerly for 1.0 mile, then Water Rd from Curtis northerly for 1.0 mile to the Gladwin Co line (meeting the trunkline segment established on August 12 in Gladwin) is officially assumed into the trunkline system and transferred from county to state control.
  1919 – By the end of 1919 (or early 1920), M-18 is extended far to the north when M-14 is rerouted in the Houghton Lake area. T.L. 14 was formerly the route which ran up the center of the Lower Peninsula in its entirety from Ohio through Hudson, Jackson, Mason, Lansing, Alma, Mount Pleasant, Clare, Harrison, Prudenville, Roscommon, Grayling, Gaylord, and Indian River to a terminus at M-10 in downtown Cheboygan. M-14 is rerouted to turn westerly at Houghton Lake to the Merritt area in Missaukee Co, then follows the later routing of M-74 via Moorestown and the later alignment of M-66 into Kalkaska Co, now terminating at M-13 at Lodi, south of Kalkaska. Because of this, M-18 now continues northeasterly then northerly from Prudenville to Roscommon, westerly then northerly into Grayling, continuing northerly through Frederic, Waters and Otsego Lake to Gaylord, then on through Vanderbilt, Wolverine, Indian River, Topinabee and Mullet Lake to a terminus at M-10 in downtown Cheboygan.
  1920 (July 28) – The 30.0 miles of the route of what had recently been part of M-14 in Cheboygan Co from the Otsego Co line northerly through Wolverine, Indian River and Topinabee to the community of Mullet Lake, is officially assumed into the state trunkline highway system, but now signed as part of M-18. Prior to this, the route was likely signed as M-14, then M-18 and "Marked and Maintained" as a state trunkline.
  1921 – The route of M-18 between Gladwin and Prudenville is officially established as a state trunkline highway in Gladwin, Clare and Roscommon Cos on the following dates
  • Jan 8 – The 13.0 miles from the Clare/Roscommon Co line at the cnr of Border Rd & Everett Rd northerly via Everett Rd to Gladwin Rd, then north-northwesterly along Gladwin Rd (present-day M-18) to Prudenville, then northeasterly via present-day M-55/M-18 and present-day M-18 to the common corner of Denton, Backus, Markey and Higgins Twps.
  • Jan 11 – The 18.3 miles from downtown Gladwin northerly and westerly via present-day M-18 to the Gladwin/Clare Co line 1 mile west of Skeels, then notherly along the county line to the community of Meredith where the officially established route then departs any existing roadway and continues across country in a north-northwesterly fashion to the cnr of Border Rd & Everett Rd on the Clare/Roscommon Co line.
  1921 (Mar 24) – A short, 0.5-mile long segment of S Main St in Cheboygan from the south city limit northerly to Lincoln Ave is officially assumed into the trunkline system as part of M-18.
  1921 (Aug 25) – A 1.0-mile long segment of M-18 along a likely never-constructed segment of Meridian Rd from Wackerly Rd northerly to M-20/Saginaw Rd at Sanford is cancelled as a state trunkline, while the 2.5 miles of Wackerly Rd from Meridian Rd west to 7 Mile Rd and 7 Mile from Wackerly northerly to M-20/Saginaw Rd is transferred to state control as a realignment of M-18. The route of M-18 runs concurrently with M-20 through Sanford between 7 Mile Rd and Meridian Rd to connect back with its former route.
  1924 – By 1924, M-18 is again scaled back to end at Prudenville when the M-14 designation is, once again, redirected to pass to the south and east of Houghton Lake and then continue northerly through Roscommon, Grayling, Gaylord, Vanderbilt, Indian River and Topinabee to a terminus at M-10 in downtown Cheboygan, much like it did prior to c.1919. M-18 once again begins at M-46 between Hemlock and Wheeler and terminates at M-14 (present-day M-55) in Prudenville.
  1924 (Sept 10) – The 2.4 miles of never-constructed M-18 in extreme northeastern Clare Co from Meredith north-northwesterly to the cnr of Border & Everett Rds on the Clare/Roscommon Co line as well as 6.0 miles of M-18 along Everett Rd in Roscommon Co from the Clare Co line northerly to Gladwin Rd (present-day M-18) are turned back to local control. Simultaneously, the 8.55 miles of the present-day alignment of M-18 from Meredith northerly to the cnr of Gladwin & Everett Rds in Roscommon Co are officially established as the new route of M-18.
  1927 (Feb 28) – M-18 is rerouted to run due southerly from Beaverton via Curtice to a new southern terminus at M-20/Saginaw Rd at North Bradley. (M-20 is scheduled to be redesignated as US-10 in three months.) The 11.2 miles of county road between Beaverton and North Bradley are transferred to state control on this date. The former route of M-18 between Beaverton and M-30 is redesignated as M-80, while the former M-18 from that point southerly into Midland Co through Sanford to M-46 becomes an extension of M-30.
  1927 (May 15) – The new US Highway designations debut on their various routes throught the state. In a somewhat odd situation, with the replacement of M-14 with the US-27 designation between Prudenville and Roscommon in Roscommon Co, the M-18 designation is also added to this segment as a redundant concurrent designation for unknown reasons. The M-18 designation actually continues west concurrently with US-27 from Roscommon about five additional miles to the cnr of Federal Rd & S Grayling Hwy/E Higgins Lake Dr, where it terminates—this is where US-27 turns northerly via S Grayling Hwy toward Grayling. (It is unknown why the State Highway Dept chooses to terminate M-18 here of all places!) This portion of highway had been designated as part of M-18 for at time from c.1919 to c.1924.
  1927 (June 30) – A new 1.2-mile long angled alignment of US-27/M-18 is officially added to the state highway system south of Roscommon in north-central Roscommon Co along the present-day route of M-18. The former 1.7-mile long route along Wheeler and Robinson Lake Rds is turned back to local control.
  1933 (July 12) – M-18 is realigned onto a new route from downtown Beaverton northwesterly in Gladwin Co. The 2.2. miles of the former route along Calhoun, Burgess and Lang Rds is turned back to local control (as well as a portion of the roadway is obliterated), while a new 1.9-mile long roadway is officially assumed into the trunkline system on a more direct routing between Calhoun Rd and downtown.
  1937 (Aug 30) – A new sweeping curve is constructedon the west side of the City of Gladwin and officially becomes a state trunkline on this day, bearing the M-18 designation. Formerly "teeing" directly into M-61/Cedar Ave on the west edge of the city, M-18 now follows a broad curve to the east to merge directly into M-61. The former route of M-18 from the beginning of the new curve northerly to M-61/Cedar Ave is turned back to local control.
  1941 (Spring) – At some point during the Spring of 1941, the concurrent M-18 designation along US-27 between Prudenville and Roscommon in central Roscommon Co is removed from US-27 (and the US-27/M-55 concurrency at Prudenville) and M-18 now terminates at US-27/M-55 in downtown Prudenville. The purpose of the redundant M-18 concurrent designation from Prudenville northerly to Roscommon, then westerly for an additional five miles to the cnr of Federal Rd & S Grayling Hwy-E Higgins Lake Dr is still not clear.
  1942 (Aug 17) – A short, 0.3-mile long realignment along M-18 at Prudenville, just northeast of the eastern jct with M-55 occurs, replacing a sharper curve with a gentler one. Most of the former roadway is obliterated.
  1948 – The final 7.195 miles of gravel-surfaced M-18 are paved, with the stretch in question being in Midland Co.
  1949 (July 3) – The final segment of the US-27 westerly bypass of Houghton and Higgins Lakes in Roscommon and Crawford Cos is completed and opened to traffic. The segments of former US-27 around the south, east and northeast sides of the Houghton Lake and Higgins Lake area receive new route designations: The former route of US-27 from Prudenville to Roscommon is re-designated as an extension of M-18, which now has a new northern terminus in downtown Roscommon at jct M-76 & M-144.
  1949 (Late) or 1950 – By late 1949 or early 1950, the M-18 designation is extended from its new northern terminus at M-76 & M-144 in downtown Roscommon westerly and northerly concurrently with M-76 to a new terminus at US-27, six miles south of Grayling. This is a shared northern terminus with M-76.
  1961 (Dec 4) – With the completion of the new US-27 expressway south of Grayling, the M-18/M-76 terminus is moved northerly approximately 0.95 mile to end at a new partial interchange where the I-75 freeway becomes US-27.
  1961 (Dec 20) – With the completion of the US-10 freeway in Central Michigan, the southernmost 1.4 miles of M-18 are turned back to local control between the new freeway and the former route of US-10 along Saginaw Rd, shortening the route of M-18 by 1.4 miles and moving its southern terminus northerly to the new US-10 freeway interchange.
  M-18M-761969 (June 12) as M-18/M-76 – Although it wouldn't open to traffic for another year, the 5.95 mile segment of future M-18/M-76 freeway from jct I-75 & US-27 (present-day Exit 249) south of Grayling to existing M-18/M-76/Federal Hwy (present-day Exit 244) on the Crawford/Roscommon Co line is established as a state trunkline highway route.
  M-18M-761970 (Nov 18) as M-18/M-76 – A short segment of M-18/M-76 freeway opens from the I-75-to-US-27 transition (between Higgins Lake and Grayling; present-day Exit 249) southeasterly to existing M-18/M-76/Federal Hwy interchange (present-day Exit 244) west of the village of Roscommon. The 7.11 miles of former M-18/M-76 along S Grayling Hwy and Federal Hwy from the jct of I-75 & US-27 & M-18/M-76 south of Grayling southerly and easterly to the new segment of the M-18/M-76 (future I-75) freeway west of Roscommon is turned back to county control.
  1971 as ? – A short section of freeway opens from the the south end of the short segment of M-18/M-76 freeway completed in 1970 west of Roscommon to M-18 south of town (from present-day Exit 244 to Exit 239). The project costs $2.58 million to construct. It is unclear if this portion between M-18/M-76 west of town and M-18 south of town is designated as M-76, M-18, "TO M-18" or what. The Official Michigan Highway Maps of the time show M-18/M-76 being retained on the "through-town" routing, with no indication of what the freeway may have been designated.
  1973 (Nov 1) – With the completion and opening of I-75 between Roscommon and West Branch, the M-18 designation is rerouted beginning in downtown Roscommon to run northeastearly supplanting the entire route of M-144 to M-72 west of Luzerne in eastern Crawford County. The former route of M-18 from Roscommon to I-75 becomes a portion of BL I-75. The former M-18/M-76 routing along the five-mile stretch of freeway up to US-27 is redesignated as a part of I-75.
  1977 (Aug 30) Updated 2023-10 – Based on somewhat conflicting MDOT records, the former route of M-18 from M-61 southerly for one block to the "sweeping curve" completed in 1937 on the western edge of Gladwin is either re-established as a state trunkline route as a short "connector" route, or this segment of roadway is cancelled as a state trunkline (again) and turned back to county control. This was, ironically, the short stretch turned back to local control on August 30, 1937.
  1993 (Jan 4) New! 2023-10 – A new 0.204-mile segment of M-18 is officially established as a state trunkline route on the west side of Gladwin. Beginning at M-61 about 625 feet west of the existing M-18 & M-61 west junction, then heading due southerly along a county road (following the city limit) to a point 1,080 feet south of M-61 where it merges into the existing route of M-18. The existing curvilinear route of M-18 (present-day Cedar Ct) remains signed as the mainline route of M-18 for now.
  2001 – M-18/M-61/Cedar Ave is widened from two to five lanes on the west side of Gladwin and the junction of M-18 & M-61 is moved westerly to the original meeting of those two routes, to form a right-angle "tee" intersection. The north end of the former M-18 curve is cut off and turned into a cul-de-sac (as Cedar Ct), but remains as an unsigned state trunkline designated "OLD M-18".
  2005 (July 6) – A minor state trunkline jurisdictional transfer gives 0.15 mile (~790 feet) of OLD M-18/Cedar Ct to the City of Gladwin. "Cedar Ct" was the old sweeping curvilinear route that M-18 used to make coming northbound into Gladwin at M-61 that was originally built in 1937 and reconfigured in 2001.
Controlled-Access: No portion of M-18 is freeway or expressway.
NHS: No portion of M-18 is on the National Highway System (NHS).
Memorial Highway:  The following Memorial Highway designation has been officially assigned to part of M-18 by the Michigan Legislature:
  • Veteran's Memorial Highway – "The portion of highway M-18 in Gladwin County between the northern city limit of the city of Beaverton and the southern city limit of the city of Gladwin..." 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."
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