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M-22 & M-109 junction route signage in Glen Arbor, Michigan
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Southern Terminus:    US-23 two miles east of Omer and six miles west of Au Gres
Northern Terminus:   US-23 eight miles southeast of downtown Rogers City
Length: 103.175 miles
Maps: Route Map of M-65
Notes: M-65, in a sense, serves as an alternate route to US-23 on Michigan's "Sunrise Side," with both termini at US-23. In fact, the southernmost (present-day US-23 to M-55) and northernmost (present-day M-32 to Rogers City) portions of today's M-65 actually began as early alignments of US-23 itself. Over the course of many years, newer shoreline routings were completed and US-23 was transferred to run closer to Lake Huron.
  For 13 years in the 1930s and '40s, M-65 existed as a two-segment, discontinuous route, with a gap in Alcona Co. Even in later years, M-65 was one of the last state highways in Michigan to be completely paved, and that was not until 1961!
  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 only a single change to M-65 during that timeframe:
  • Turning back the portion of M-65 from the proposed US-23 freeway interchange (approximately ½ mile north of the existing route of US-23 east of Omer) southerly to existing US-23 back to local control. Obviously, this reccommendation was never acted upon, as the US-23 freeway was never built.
  • It is odd that several other projects to realign portions of the route of M-65 in Alcona and Alpena Cos were already in the planning stages when these planning maps were being prepared, but those realignments were not included!
History: 1913 (July 22) – 13.5 miles of new state trunkline route is officially established in Genesee Co. beginning at the north limits of the Village of Fenton at N Leroy St & Wass St and continues northerly via Fenton Rd into Flint to the cnr of Fenton Rd & Neubert Ave. This new trunkline route is designated as Trunk Line 65 (T.L. 65).
  1913 (Dec 16) – Five months after the first segment of T.L. 65 is designated in Genesee Co, an additional 9.0 miles of state trunkline is officially established in Washtenaw Co in two segments. The first begins at the northern limits of the City of Ann Arbor at the cnr of N Main St & W Huron River Dr and continues northerly along Whitmore Lake Rd fro 8.7 miles to Jennings Rd on the south end of the community of Whitmore Lake. An additional 0.3-mile segment of T.L. 65 is established on the north of the community of Whitmore Lake from 0.3 mile south of 8 Mile Rd northerly to 8 Mile Rd at the Washtenaw/Livingston Co line. This results in a two-segment route (three, technically, counting the 0.8-mile gap through downtown Whitmore Lake) for T.L. 65, separated by a gap through the entirety of Livingston Co.
  1919 (July 1) – T.L. 65 is signed in the field as M-65 as all state trunkline highways in Michigan are signed with route markers. The gap in the trunkline within the community of Whitmore Lake and the southernmost (Ann Arbor: M-17/Huron St to W Huron River Dr) and northernmost (Flint: Neubert Ave to M-21/Court St) portion of the route are signed as M-65 but is not officially under state jurisdiction at this point.
  1919 (July 7) – The southern segment of the officially established and signed route of M-65 is extended northerly from Whitmore Lake into Brighton. First, a minor 0.2-mile long realignment is established along the northernmost 0.2 mile of M-65 in Washtenaw Co in the Whitmore Lake area, with the former 0.2-mile long route turned back to local control. From the north end of this segment at the Washtenaw/Livingston Co line, M-65 is established northerly from 8 Mile Rd along present-day N Main St to Dort Dr, then northerly along a roadway later obliterated by the present-day US-23 freeway to north of 9 Mile Rd, then northerly along present-day Fieldcrest Dr before turning westerly along Winans Lake Rd and northerly again via Rickett Rd into Brighton to M-16/Grand River Ave. (The 1.3-mile segment of M-16 along Grand River Ave through the Village of Brighton is also officially assumed into the state trunkline highway system on this date. The portion between present-day Rickett Rd and Flint Rd will become part of the route of M-65 in three months' time.) M-65 now runs from Ann Arbor to Brighton and from Fenton to Flint.
  1919 (Sept 18) – 16.2 miles of new state trunkline route is officially established in Monroe Co. beginning at the Ohio state line in Bedford Twp southeast of Lambertville and proceeds northerly along Lewis Ave through the communies of Temperance and Ida to M-50, then north via Ida-Maybee Rd to North Custer Rd on the north side of the River Raisin. The first 14.6 miles of this new trunkline route (along Lewis Ave) is designated as M-65, while the last 1.6 miles (along Ida-Maybee Rd) becomes part of a rerouted M-50 onto the north side of the River Raisin. After 5½ years as a discontinuous, two-segment route and following a three month period where all signed gaps have been eliminated, M-65 again exists as a two-segment, discontinous route: Ohio-to-M-50 (near Ida) and Ann Arbor-to-Flint).
  1919 (Oct 8) – Three months (and one day) after being extended into Livingston Co from Washtenaw Co, the route of M-65 is "made whole" when 19.0 miles of new state trunkline highway is designated between Brighton and Fenton. From the north end of the southern portion, M-65 now extends northerly through Brighton concurrently with M-16 along Grand River Ave, then notherly along Flint Rd, easterly via Hilton Rd, northerly on Hunter Rd, easterly along Hyne Rd, northerly via Taylor Rd and then present-day Old US-23 to approximate ¼ mile south of Dunham Rd. From there, M-65 continues northerly along present-day Hartland Rd through Hartland and on to the Livingston/Genesee Co line at the south limit of the Village of Fenton. M-65, while not officially designated as a state trunkline through Fenton, would be signed through the village to create a continuous signed route frm Ann Arbor to Flint.
  1919 (Oct 22) – Just two weeks after it was designated as a state trunkline route, the 19.0 miles in Livingston Co between Brighton and Fenton is officially cancelled (removed from the system), but is immediately replaced by a established route of 18.7 miles, following the same route for most of that distance. The portion of M-65 running along Hunter Rd from Hilton Rd to Hyne Rd and along Hyne between Hunter and present-day Old US-23 is replaced by a more direct alignment via Hilton Rd easterly to Legion Rd, then Legion Dr, School Lake Dr and present-day Old US-23 northerly back to Hyne Rd. The remainder of the Brighton-to-Fenton segment remains identical to what had been designated on October 8. The former route is returned to local jurisdiction.
  1921 (Jan 5) – Two segments of the route of M-65 in the Village of Fenton are officially established as state trunkline routes. A 1.0-mile segment runs from the south village limit (the Flint/Genesee Co line) northeasterly via State Rd, easterly along High St, and northerly on S Leroy St to Elizabeth St. A 0.6-mile segment on the north side of town runs along N Leroy St from Main St to the north village limit at Wass St. The 0.4-mile portion of Leroy St through downtown Fenton, while signed as part of M-65, remains a street under village control.
  1923 (Sept 21) – The 1.0-mile segment of M-65 along N Main St in Ann Arbor from the southern end of the established portion of the route at W Huron River Dr southerly into downtown at Ann St is officially assumed into the state trunkline highway system.
  c.1925–26 – The gap between the disconnected segments of M-65 is filled by a signed route, but not with officially-established state trunkline milage. From its jct with M-50 north of Ida in Monroe Co, M-65 is signed with M-50 along Ida-Maybee Rd to North Custer Rd, then continues westerly via North Custer, northerly along the continuation of Ida-Maybee Rd, easterly via Stone Rd, northerly along Palmer Rd and westerly on Oakville-Waltz Rd to Oakville. From there, M-65 is signed on Oakville-Milan Rd, westerly and northerly via present-day Borso Dr, westerly on Oakville-Milan Rd, then northerly via Whittaker Rd into Ypsilanti where it continues on Huron St into downtown, then turns northwesterly via M-17/Washtenaw Ave and Huron St into downtown Ann Arbor, where it meets the other existing segment of M-65. This "gap-filler" segment between M-50 and Ypsilanti is not officially-established state trunkline highway, but rather just "Marked and Maintained" route that is technically still under local jurisdiction.
  1926 (Nov 11) – With the debut of the U.S. Highway System, all of existing M-65 is redesignated as a part of US-23 and the M-65 route designation no longer exists within the state.
  1930 (Nov 22) – A new, 7.0-mile long state trunkline highway route is officially established from the jct of US-23 & M-55 (present-day jct of M-65 & M-55) three miles north of downtown Whittemore, northerly to the community of Hale where it terminates at Main St (Esmond Rd) downtown. The route designation shown on official State Highway Dept trunkline determination maps indicates this route was initially designated M-103.
  1931 – Within the first several months of the existence of the trunkline from M-55 to Hale in western Iosco Co, it was officially redesignated from M-103 to M-65 and shows up on official highway maps as such by July. It is not presently known if it had been signed in the field as M-103 prior to this point or not.
  1931 (June 19) – The State Administrative Board approves a 4.0-mile extension of M-65 from Hale northerly as part of 30 additional miles of roadway approved to be added to the trunkline sytem.
  1931 (July 15) – An additional 4.0 miles of new state trunkline mileage is established beginning at the northern terminus of M-65 in downtown Hale and continuing northerly to Slosser Rd, extending the route of M-65 to the north for 4 miles.
  1931 (Aug 6) – When US-23 is relocated along its present shoreline routing through Au Gres to Tawas City, the portion of former US-23 running north-south through Twining and Whittemore to the southern end of the existing M-65 is redesignated as southerly extension of M-65, more then tripling the length of the route. The extension does not appear on official highway maps until 1933, likely because the road's final surfacing is not completed until 1933.
  1933 (July 12) – M-65 is extended northerly, then easterly, then northerly again via its present-day routing when 16.0 miles of new state trunkline route are established from the northern end of the existing highway 4 miles north of Hale to the community of Glennie in southwestern Alcona Co.
  1935 (Jan 7) – 26.7 miles of new trunkline highway route is established and designated as part of M-65 beginning at M-72 at Flynn Corners (1 mile north of Curran) in western Alcona Co and proceeding northerly roughly along its present-day alignment into Alpena Co, terminating at M-32 approximately 2 miles southwest of Lachine. Only the 16-mile segment in Alpena Co is shown on official highway maps, however, for the next 13 years, for reasons not completely known. State Highway Dept trunkline status maps show the 10.7-mile portion in Alcona Co as having been surfaced with gravel in 1935. It can be assumed (pending additional information) that M-65 is marked in the field in Alpena Co, but not between M-72 north of Currie an the Alcona/Alpena Co line at this point.
  1940 (Nov 12) – While much of the present-day route of US-23 between Alpena and Rogers City was established as a state trunkline highway in late 1938 (from Alpena to approximately ½ mile west of the Old State Rd intersection west of Grand Lake), the final 13.4 miles from west of Old State Rd to Rogers City is assumed into the trunkline system on this date, officially completing the new alignment for US-23 between those cities. With the US-23 designation being transferred onto the new route, the former route between M-32 at Lachine northerly through Posen, then westerly along Metz Hwy, northerly via Leer Rd, westerly on 638 Hwy, and northerly along Co Rd 441 to the new alignment of US-23 south of Rogers City is designated as a northerly extension of M-65. (The former route of US-23 along present-day Co Rd 441 from the new US-23 route northerly, then westerly via Heythaler Hwy, and northerly again via Petersville Rd is transferred to county control.) From the intersection of US-23 & Co Rd 441, M-65 then continues northwesterly with US-23 to Petersville Rd, then northerly along Petersville Rd (present-day BUS US-23) into Rogers City, continuing into downtown on Third St, then turning southwesterly along Erie St (present-day M-68), turning southerly via State St (present-day Wenonah Dr) to a terminus at US-23 southwest of downtown. The extension adds 32.8 miles to the length of the route of M-65.
  1942 (Jan 8) – A 1.15-mile segment of Third St from downtown Rogers City northwesterly and westerly to US-23 is officially established as a state trunkline route and is designated as BUS US-23. The portion of M-65 along Petersville Rd and Third St from US-23 south of Rogers City northerly into downtown is redesignated as a southern continuation of BUS US-23, while Erie St from Third St to State St (present-day Wenonah Dr) and State St (Wenonah Dr) from Erie southerly to US-23 becomes an easterly extension of M-68. The concurrent US-23/M-65 segment from Petersville Rd southeasterly to present-day Cor Rd 441 becomes just US-23, leaving the northern terminus of M-65 at US-23 approximately 4 miles southeast of downtown Rogers City, shortening the route by 4.2 miles.
  1948 (Nov 23) Updated 2023-05 – A new due-northerly alignment for M-65 north of Posen directly to a new terminus at US-23 is complete dand opened to traffic, replacing the former "stair-step" route along Metz Hwy, Leer Rd, 638 Hwy, and Co Rd 441, although the new route is not techically established as a state trunkline system at this time (for some reason)—it exists as a "marked-and-maintained route" and the former route is not yet transferred to county jurisdiction. The new route shaves seven miles from the length of the posted route of M-65.
  1951 (July 2) – The 3.4-mile segment of M-65 first opened to traffic in 1948 due northerly from Posen to US-23 is officially established as a state trunkline route (three years later) and the former "stair-step" route along Metz Hwy, Leer Rd, 638 Hwy, and Co Rd 441 is transferred to county control. The delay in official establishment may have something to do with the new alignment of M-65 not being completely paved until 1951.
  1954 (Jan 4) – The gap in the route of M-65 between Currie and M-72 in western Alcona Co is bridged with the establishment of 9.2 miles of state trunkline highway route. Interestingly, this segment of M-65 has been shown on official highway maps since 1948 as a "graded earth" highway. It is surfaced with gravel in 1953 and 1954 and likely considered "complete" by the State Highway Dept, resulting in its official assumption into the highway system. From 1948–1954, this portion of M-65 was likely posted along the route as a "marked-and-maintained" segment of trunkline, but still officially certified as a county roadway.
  1954 (Jan 4) – M-65/M-72 is realigned from Curran south- and easterly with the establishent of 3.0 miles of new trunkline route, replacing 3.2 miles of former route mileage. The former route running easterly from the community of Curran via Tower Rd for 1 mile, then southerly along Reeves Rd for 1 mile is turned back to local control, while the portion easterly and southeasterly from Reeves Rd is obliterated as a public roadway.
  1958 (Sept 16) – A 1.5-mile long segment of new state trunkline highway route is established a part of M-65 approximately 2½ miles south of Spratt in Alpena Co. The new curving alignment removes two 90º turns in the route and shaves 0.6 mile from the former 2.1-mile route along Spratt Rd and Cousineau Rd, which are turned back to county jurisdiction.
  1959 – The final few miles of "earth-surfaced" M-65, one of the last such segments of "earth-surfaced" state highway in Michigan, is improved to all-weather gravel-surface highway in northwestern Alcona Co. In addition, the 4.7-mile concurrent segment with M-72 is lengthened by 3.3 miles when M-72 is realigned east of M-65 in Alcona Co.
  1961 (Nov 25) – A 4.3-mile long segment of new state trunkline highway route is established a part of M-65 straddling the Alcona/Alpena Co line. The alignment with four, gentle sweeping curves removes six 90º turns in the route and shaves 0.8 mile from the former 5.1-mile route along Fruchey Ranch, Van Waggoner Rds in Alcona Co, Doctors Ranch Rd along the county line, and Silver Spring Rd and a now-unmaintained road in Alpena Co is turned back to county jurisdiction.
  1961 – The final approximately 25 miles of gravel-surfaced M-65 are paved in Alcona, Alpena and Presque Isle Cos.
  1962 (May 15) – A 2.3-mile long segment of new state trunkline highway route is established a part of M-65 at Long Rapids in northwestern Alpena Co. The new curving alignment removes two 90º turns in the route and shaves 0.5 mile from the former 2.8-mile route along Long Rapids Rd and Keating Rd, which are turned back to county jurisdiction.
  1965 (Feb 11) – A 1.6-mile long segment of new state trunkline is assumed into the system along the M-32/M-65 concurrency near Lachine in western Alpena Co. The new route, which runs to the north of the former aligment, avoids the edge of Manning Hill and shaved 0.3 mile from the routes of both M-32 and M-65. The former route along Park Rd is turned back to county jurisdiction, as is the former Manning Hill State Roadside Park on the south side of Park Rd.
  2004 (Oct 8–13) – In conjunction with the construction of a new 760-foot long AuSable River bridge in Iosco Co, two miles of realigned M-65 are opened to traffic with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on the 13th. The historic truss bridge (see Weblinks below) remains as for pedestrian and recreational use. The portion of the former route not obliterated or abandoned as a public roadway remains an unsigned state trunkline as OLD M-65 until Mar 6, 2006 when it is transferred to local control. MDOT Press Release.
Controlled Access: No portion of M-65 exists as freeway or expressway.
NHS: No portion of M-65 is on the National Highway System (NHS).
Memorial Highway: At present, no portion of M-65 has been designated as part of a Memorial Highway.
  • M-65 @ Michigan Highway Ends – photos of the termini of M-65 at Dan Garnell's archived Michigan Highway Ends website.
  • Updated 2024-02 M-65/AuSable River Bridge – archived from MDOT: "This rivetted Parker truss bridge has two main spans of 120 feet each, and an overall length of 320 feet, making it one of the longest of this type in the state."
  • M-65 Bridge Five Channels Bridge – from Nathan Holt's Historic Bridges website: "This bridge is a rare surviving example of a Michigan State Highway Department standard plan truss bridge in Michigan. This design of bridge was the last standardized truss bridge to be constructed in Michigan."
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