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M-22 & M-109 junction route signage in Glen Arbor, Michigan
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M-47 Route Marker On to Next Route:
Southern Terminus:    M-46 at the intersection of Midland Rd & Gratiot Rd near Shields, 4 miles west of downtown Saginaw
Northern Terminus:    US-10 at Exit 130, six miles east of downtown Midland and 2½ miles west of Auburn
Length: 14.274 miles
Maps: Route Map of M-47
Notes: M-47 has had a somewhat interesting history despite it being a rather unremarkable highway. Today, the only portion of this highway following its original path is the short, 1½ mile segment from M-46 to M-58 west of Saginaw. In the past, however, M-47 was once more than 80 miles in length, reaching as far south as US-16 and later I-96 at Williamston and Webberville and as far north as present-day Bay City State State Park north of Bay City. Major truncations and extensions in the 1960s completely changed the face of this highway, with all of M-47 south of M-46 becoming part of M-52 and the portion north of M-58 taking over a former routing of US-10.
  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 changes to the route of M-47 during that timeframe. Note that at this same time, a major realignment to the route of M-47 from Saginaw northerly was underway with the completion of the US-10 freeway between Midland and Bay CIty. Additionally, the State Highway Dept also seemed to want to extend the M-47 designation south of US-16 along what would become M-52 nearly a decade later. Thus, the proposals for M-47 are listed from US-16 southerly (the proposed southerly extension) and then northely (the existing route of M-47 in 1960).

The proposed changes to M-47 from US-16 near Webberville southerly included:
  • A new alignment for M-47 beginning at the US-16 junction and contining southerly from Grand River Ave curving to the southeast along the C&O Railroad line before curving back to the south at an interchange with the proposed I-96/US-16 freeway at Stockbridge Rd southwest of Webberville.
  • Extending M-47 southerly from the proposed I-96/US-16 interchange southwest of Webberville via Stockbridge Rd to the jct of M-36 & M-92 north of Stockbridge. From there, the M-47 designation was planned to supplant the M-92 designation southerly through Stockbridge then southeasterly through Chelsea to an interchange with I-94/US-12 on the south side of Chelsea. There, M-47 was planned to run due southerly to the northern end of the M-92 realignment completed from Manchester southerly to US-112 the year prior (1959). From jct M-92 & US-112 (now US-12), M-47 was proposed to run on a new alignment due southerly to a freeway-to-freeway interchange with a proposed US-112 freeway. From there, M-47 was to continue south as a full freeway with interchanges at M-50 west of Tecumseh, Shepherd Rd, existing M-52 (proposed BUS M-47) northeast of Adrian, and Deerfield Rd (proposed as M-34) east of Adrian, to an interchange with a proposed US-223 freeway southeast of Adrian. M-47 was to have then run westerly concurrently with the US-223 freeway bypass for two miles back to the existing route of M-52 about two miles south of downtown Adrian. M-47 would then contineue southerly, supplanting the M-52 designation to the Ohio state line.
  • Whle many of the individual upgrades to the above route—like the Chelsea-to-Manchester realignment and the freeway upgrade between US-112 and US-223—were not implemented, the overall trunkline gap-filling and route designation consolidation did occur, albeit using a different route designation than the proposed M-47. Within two years, the M-92 designation from Clinton to M-36 north of Stockbridge was consolidated with M-52 and seven years after that in 1969, the M-36-to-I-96 gap was filled and the M-47 designation from Webberville to M-46 west of Saginaw was replaced by a northerly extension of M-52.
The proposed changes to M-47 from US-16 near Webberville northerly included:
  • Converting the existing route of M-47 to an uncontrolled access divided highway from an interchange with the proposed M-78 freeway (now I-69) at Perry to the southern city limit of Owosso, then again from the northern Owosso city limit at Wilkinson Rd to the southern limit of the Village of Oakley, ½ mile north of Johnstone Rd in Saginaw Co. This proposal was never implemented.
  • Construction of an M-47 western bypass of St Charles, beginning at the bend in the highway 1¼ miles north of Ring Rd, continuing northerly to near the intersection of Beaver & Townline Rds where it would curve northeasterly to merge back into the existing route of M-47 about ¼ mile south of the Andrews Rd intersection north of St Charles. This proposal was never acted upon.
  • A new-alignment freeway routing for M-47 beginning approximately ½ mile south of the M-46 & M-47 (now M-52) junction between Saginaw and Hemlock at an interchange with a proposed M-46 freeway, continuing just slightly west of due northerly just west of Graham Rd to the southern end of the new two-lane limited-access expressway connector opening in 1960 between US-10/Midland Rd—itself being relocated onto a new freeway alignment betwen Midland and Bay City and Saginaw that year—and the M-20 freeway, which was in the process of becoming US-10. From there, the M-47 freeway would continue northerly to the US-10 freeway between Midland and Auburn. At that point, M-47 was proposed to transition back to a two-lane highway about halfway between Carter & Flajole Rds into Arenac Co where it would continue generally northerly to the southern terminus of M-33 at the interchange with the proposed I-75 freeway near the community of Alger. The only portion of this proposal that made it to fruition was the freeway portion from Midland Rd near Freeland to the US-10 freeway, which was in the process of being completed when the maps were created. None of the other parts of this proposal were ever implemented, although the partial cloverleaf interchange at US-10 is explained by these plans.
History: c.1920 – The original routing of M-47 begins at the Shiawassee/Ingham Co line 3½ miles south of Perry and proceeds northerly through Perry, Owosso, Oakley, Chesaning and Saint Charles to M-46, then turns due easterly via M-46 to end in downtown Saginaw. As for why M-47 begins at the Shiawassee/Ingham Co line and not at another highway is because a connection into Ingham Co had not been transferred to state control at the time.
  c.1924–25 – M-47 is extended southerly from its southern terminus at the Shiawassee/Ingham Co line for 4½ miles via Perry Rd, then westerly via Moyer Rd into Williamston, and southerly for a short distance via Williamston Rd-Putnam St to terminate at M-16/Grand River Ave (later US-16) downtown. The portion along Moyer & Williamston Rds is considered a temporary alignment by the MSHD until a more appropriate permanent routing is built.
  c.1930 Updated 2023-07 – M-47, which previously ran concurrently with M-46 from where the two highways meet into Saginaw where M-47 terminated (assumedly at jct M-13), is rerouted to take over the former route of US-23 between Saginaw and Bay City. (US-23 is rerouted to run up the east side of the Saginaw River between those cities.) Beginning at the cnr of Gratiot & Midland Rds, M-47 now departs M-46 and continues north-northwesterly along Midland Rd to State Rd, turns easterly along with US-10 via State Rd/St into Saginaw, then turns northerly to follow the former route of US-23 along Bay Rd northerly into Bay Co where it continues northeasterly along Westside Saginaw Rd then Salzburg Rd to the Bay City city limit. M-47 then continues easterly along Salzburg Ave, across the Lafayette Bridge spanning the Saginaw River, and easterly via Lafayette Ave to a new northern terminus at US-23/Broadway St. The route of M-47 is lengthened by 12.9 miles, with 4.5 miles removed from the M-46 concurrency into Saginaw and 17.4 miles added on the routing into Bay City. Interestingly, the 1½ mile segment of M-47 now running along Midland Rd between M-46/Gratiot Rd and US-10/State Rd west of Saginaw has not yet been established as a state trunkline route, nor will it be for several years!
  1933 – The route of M-47 is extended northerly from the six-route confluence of US-23, M-15, M-20, M-24, M-25 & M-47 on the west side of Bay City (cnr of Euclid Ave & Midland Rd) northerly via US-23 for two miles, then northerly to end at M-111 at the Bay City State Park (cnr of Beaver Rd & Euclid Ave).
  1937 – The M-47 routing between Oakley and St Charles is transferred to a more direct, and paved, alignment the west of Chesaning, shaving 3 miles from the route with the former route transferred to local control.
  1938 – The M-47 designation replaces all of M-111 between Bay City State Park and US-23/Midland St in Bay City, creating a highway which heads northerly from Bay City via Euclid Ave, completes a mile long "U-Turn" at Bay City State Park, then heads southerly back into Bay City along State Park Rd. Now, not only does M-47 run concurrently with US-23 for two miles west of Bay City, but it also now terminates at US-23 about a mile east of its first meeting with that highway!
  1940 – Just in time for wartime neglect, the final 13 miles of gravel-surfaced M-47, from Perry to Williamston, are paved.
  1950 – In 1950, sources indicate all of M-47 south of Perry reverts to gravel-surfaced (it had been paved since 1940). This is likely due to rough use during wartime as well as little maintenance due to construction shortages.
  1951–52 – The southern terminus of the highway is moved east four miles to end at US-16/Grand River Ave four miles east of Williamston (two miles west of Webberville). The route of M-47 is shortened by 3 miles and the former (temporary) route is turned back to local control. With the realignment, the highway between Perry and Sherwood Rd east of Williamston is re-paved. The final few miles are hard-surfaced by 1952.
  1960 (Dec 5–8) Updated 2023-07 – With the opening of the I-75/US-10/US-23 freeway between Saginaw and Bay City on December 8, US-10 is rerouted northerly to Bay City, then westerly (via the M-20 freeway) to Midland. The former route of US-10 north of the Midland Rd & State St intersection west of Saginaw is redesignated as an extension of M-47 to north of Freeland. Approximately one mile north of Freeland, a new (mostly-)two-lane, limited-access expressway running due northerly to the US-10(formerly M-20) freeway is completed and designated M-47. The former segment of US-10/M-47 from west of Saginaw easterly into the city becomes part of an extended M-81 route, while the portion from Saginaw northerly via Bay Rd–Westside Saginaw Rd to I-75 is redesignated as M-84. From I-75/US-23/US-10 northeasterly into Bay City, the former route of M-47 is now part of a new BL I-75 serving Bay City. The portion of the US-23/M-47 route along Euclid Ave from Salzburgh Rd northerly to the Huron Rd split, it becomes part of an extended M-13 route. Finally, the portion of Euclid Ave from the Huron Rd split northerly to State Park Dr and State Park Dr easterly to Bay City State Park is designated as M-247. The remainder of State Park Dr southerly to the Bay City city limit at Wilder Rd and Henry St from Wilder Rd southerly to Thomas St (newly designated as BL I-75/M-25) has its M-47 route markers removed and becomes an unsigned state trunkline for the time being. M-247 becomes the highest-numbered trunkline route in the state. Road crews begin changing out the various route markers on all the affected routes on December 8, with the work being completed by the end of the month.
  1962 (Dec 12) – With the completion of I-96 in mid-Michigan, the US-16 designation is replaced east of Lansing by M-43. From the fomer southern terminus of M-47 at M-43/Grand River Ave west of Webberville, both M-43 and M-47 extend easterly via Grand River to Stockbridge Rd approximately one mile west of Webberville, then southerly for less than a mile where both highways terminate at I-96 (present-day Exit 122).
  1966 (Nov 22) New! 2023-07 – After six years of being a two-lane, undivided controlled-access expressway between Midland Rd north of Freeland and US-10 between Midland and Auburn, the M-47 freeway re-opens to traffic as a fully divided, four-lane, limited access freeway. With the exception of 0.4 miles at the northern end of the freeway and another 0.6 miles at the southern end (which already consisted of divided four-lane freeway segments), the remainder of the portion of M-47 was only built with the northbound lanes and two at-grade intersections at Salzburg Rd and Hotchkiss Rd. (Buck Rd had been dead-ended either side of the highway.) During 1966, M-47 is closed to all traffic while new southbound lanes are added from south of Buck Rd to north of Salzburg Rd, two overpasses are constructed—one each for Salzburg and Hotchkiss—and a new rural diamond interchange is built at Salzburg Rd as well. From the south end of the freeway southeasterly through Freeland to M-81/State Rd, M-47 along Midland Rd is also closed during 1966 and reconstructed from a two-lane to a five-lane roadway. The entire project—the "freewayization" of M-47 north of Freeland and the widening of the portion along Midland Rd southerly to M-81/State Rd—cost $7 million to complete.
  1969 (Nov 7) – The majority of the route of M-47 is redesignated as a northerly extension of M-52. With the completion and opening of the 10-mile reconstruction of Stockbridge Rd in eastern Ingham Co from one mile south of Millville (White Oak) at the former northern terminus of M-52 at M-36 northerly to the I-96 interchange with M-43 (today's Exit 122), the M-52 designation is extended northerly over Stockbridge Rd to I-96, then concurrently with M-43 (replacing the concurrent M-47 designation) for 2.0 miles along Stockbridge Rd northerly to Grand River Ave and along Grand River Ave to Perry Rd. There, M-52 takes over the route of M-47 northerly through Perry, Owosso, Oakley and Saint Charles to M-46 five miles east of Hemlock where it now terminates. The concurrent M-46/M-47 route west of Saginaw retains the M-46 designation, while M-47 now begins at M-46 west of Saginaw and continues northerly from there. Interestingly, a lack of communication between the State Highway Dept and the Dept of Natural Resources resulted in all copies of the "1970 Rules for Hunting Deer and Bear in Michigan" continuing to refer to the route as M-47, which forms part of the boundary for the use of shotguns and 41-caliber or larger muzzle-loading rifles in the Lower Peninsula.
Controlled Access: Freeway: From Midland Rd approximately one mile north of Freeland to US-10 between Auburn and Midland. (4.1 miles)
  Expressway: No portion of M-47 is expressway.
NHS: The entire route of M-47 is on the National Highway System (NHS).
Memorial Highway: At present, no portion of M-47 has been designated as part of a Memorial Highway.
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