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M-22 & M-109 junction route signage in Glen Arbor, Michigan
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Former M-70
M-71 Route Marker On to Next Route:
Western Terminus:    Downtown Owosso at M-21 (cnr S Water St & E Main St)
Eastern Terminus:   I-69 at Exit 118 at Durand
Length: 10.532 miles
Maps: Route Map of M-71
Notes: M-71 primarily serves as a connector route between I-69 at Durand and M-21 at Owosso, passing through Corunna, the Shiawassee Co seat, in the process.
  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 trio of somewhat minor changes to M-71 during that timeframe:
  • With the completion of the M-78 (now I-69) freeway at Durand occuring within the next several months, the truncation of M-71 from Lansing Rd back to the new freeway interchange is shown, which actually happens at the end of the year.
  • An M-21 freeway was proposed to run across most the state from Grand Rapids via Flint to Port Huron. In the Owosso/Corunna area, the proposed M-21 freeway would have bypassed the cities to the south with an interchange at M-71 just southeast of its intersection with Lytle Rd. As the proposed M-21 freeway was never construction, neither was this proposed M-71 interchange.
  • With the M-21 freeway, as noted above, proposed to bypass Owosso and Corunna, the former route of M-21 in the area was proposed to be turned back to local control, with the exception of Main St in downtown Owosso from the jct with M-71 at Water St westerly to M-47 (now M-52) along Shiawassee St, which was to become a westerly extension of M-71. Again, as the M-21 freeway was not built as proposed, this proposal was similarly not enacted.
History: 1917 (Jan 6) – A 3.7-mile state trunkline highway route is officially designated in Shiawassee Co beginning on the northern city limit of Durand at the cnr of Oak St & Monroe St and continuing northerly via Oak St/Durand Rd for 3.7 miles to a terminus at T.L. 21 (later M-21) at the cnr of Durand Rd & Lytle Rd. (T.L. 21 follows present-day Lytle Rd between Corunna and Lennon.) This trunkline route is assigned the designation of T.L. 71 (Trunk Line 71).
  1919 (July 1) – T.L. 71 is signed in the field as M-71 as all state trunkline highways in Michigan are signed with route markers.
  1920 (Apr 7) – The 0.5 mile of Oak St in the City of Durand from the southern end of M-71 (at Monroe St) southerly to Genesee St and the portion of Genesee St from Oak St easterly to Saginaw St in downtown Durand are transferred to state control as an extension of M-71 into the heart of Durand.
  1925 (June 16) – The 6.5 miles of M-21 along McNeil St easterly from Parmenter Rd (in the City of Corunna) and Lytle Rd from the eastern limits of Corunna easterly to the jct with M-71/Durand Rd is cancelled as a state trunkline highway route and turned back to County control. Simultaneously, a new 7.3-mile trunkline route is established beginning at McNeil St & Parmenter Rd in Corunna and continuing southeasterly via Parmenter Rd to a point approximately ¼ mile northwest of the Bancroft Rd intersection. From there, the newly-established route angles east-southeasterly across country, merging into Main St in downtown Vernon, then continuing easterly via Main St (in the village) and Bennington Rd (east of the village), ending at M-71/Durand Rd two miles north of downtown Durand. As the portion of the designated route from ¼ mile northwest of the cnr of Parmenter Rd & Bancroft Rd into downtown Vernon is not yet constructed, the "Marked & Maintained" (temporary) trunkline route continues via Parmenter Rd into Vernon, weaving into downtown and picking up the Main St routing there.
      While the cancellation of M-21 between Corunna and M-71 north of Durand and the establishment of the new route through Vernon would seem to indicate the routing of M-21 was transferred to the new route (to retain route continuity), evidence points to that not being the case. Ten weeks from this point, M-21 will be routed along a newly-established route due easterly from Owosso (its present-day routing) and it would be unlikely the State Highway Dept would transfer the route of M-21 (and all the attendant signs and route markers) onto the new route via Vernon, only to relocate them all again a month-and-a-half later.
      As such, the overall route of M-71 undergoes a massive expansion in two directions. First, the M-71 designation is extended along from its existing Durand Rd alignment westerly through Vernon (via Bennington Rd and Main St), then northwesterly into Corunna via Parmenter Rd, there picking up the former route of M-21 through Corunna via McNeil St, Shiawassee St and Corunna Ave and into Owosso via Corunna Ave, Washington St, and Water St, to a terminus at M-21/Main St in downtown Owosso. Second, M-71 is also extended from its northern terminus at Durand Rd & Lytle Rd to continue easterly via Lytle Rd for approximately 3 miles into Lennon, then another mile northerly from Lennon via Sheridan Ave to a terminus at M-21/Corunna Rd. Thus, M-71 is now a "three-legged" route with two termini at M-21 (downtown Owosso and north of Lennon) and its existing southern terminus in Durand.
  1925 (Sept 1) – As noted above, M-21 is transferred onto a new direct routing from downtown Owosso following E Main St and its present alignment due easterly to the jct with M-71 at Sheridan Ave one mile north of Lennon. This officially completes the major changes to the route of M-71 related to the rerouting of M-21 between Owosso and Lennon.
  1930 (Nov 22) – Just five years after the last major realignment/rerouting of M-71, a second major reworking of the route of M-71 results in 13.8 miles of state trunkline cancelled and/or transferred to local control and 7.3 miles of new trunkline establishment (either from jurisdictional transfer or building highway on new alignment).
  • Nearly all trunkline mileage for M-71 east of the intersection of McNeil Rd & Parmenter Rd in Corunna is cancelled, with the exception of the portion of Durand Rd/Oak St from Garrison Rd (present day Lansing Rd) southerly and Genesee St from Oak St to Saginaw St in Durand. The cancelled M-71 mileage includes Durand Rd from Garrison Rd north to Lytle Rd north of Durand, Lytle Rd from Durand Rd northeasterly to Sheridan Ave in Lennon, and the Parmenter Rd/Main St/Bennington Rd route from Corunna through Vernon to Durand Rd.
  • Replacing all the cancelled state trunkline mileage is one 6.5-mile long newly-established state trunkline route beginning at the cnr of McNeil St & Parmenter Rd in southeastern Corunna, then running southeasterly paralleling the Grand Trunk Western and Ann Arbor railroad lines to north of Vernon where the railroad lines veer off and the new highway continues southeasterly, bypassing Vernon, to Garrison Rd (present-day Lansing Rd), then easterly along Garrison Rd to Durand Rd and the remaining segment of M-71 still existing at Durand. At this point, the route of M-71 is now one linear feature, as opposed to the "three-legged" route from 1925–1930, and runs from downtown Owosso via downtown Corunna, ending in downtown Durand. The newly-established route of M-71 from Corunna, bypassing Vernon to Garrison Rd northwest of Durand, however, will not be completed and opened to traffic until 1938, so the former route from Corunna via Parmenter Rd, Main St (through Vernon), Bennington Rd, and Durand Rd from Bennington Rd southerly into Durand likely remains "Marked & Maintained" as M-71 for the next eight years. Two bridges on the new alignment are quickly constructed, but the remainder of the highway will remain unbuilt for now.
  • A 0.5-mile segment of the former route of M-71 along Main St in the Village of Vernon from the newly-established route of M-71 east of the village westerly into downtown Vernon is simultaneously re-established as a state trunkline route. It is assumed this new spur route—one of countless similar spurs into small-town downtowns across the state in this time period—has its own route designation, but what that designation is not clear at present.
  • Another 0.3-mile segment of trunkline is also established on this day, running along N Saginaw St from Garrison Rd (now Lansing Rd) north of Durand southerly to the northern city limit of Durand. This establishment is somewhat odd in that it not only runs two blocks east of and parallel to the existing route of M-71 along Durand Rd/Oak St, it also only runs from Garrison Rd (now Lansing Rd), itself not yet a state trunkline highway, and the northern city limit of Durand—essentially connecting a county road with a city limit. (This route, in a year's time, would be re-established and designated as M-176, but it is unclear whether it is signed as M-176 at this point.)
  1931 (Aug 31) – The spur route of M-71 from M-78/Lansing Rd (completed the previous year) north of Durand southerly into the city via Durand Rd and Oak St, then easterly along Genesee St into downtown is cancelled as a state trunkline route and turned back to County and City control. The route of M-71 either terminates at M-78/Lansing Rd north of the city or continues easterly with M-78/Lansing Rd 0.3 miles, then southerly via Saginaw St, itself established as a state trunkline highway route from M-78 southerly through downtown Durand to Genesee St on this same day. Saginaw St southerly to Genesee St is either signed as part of M-71 or is given the new designation of M-176.
  1934 (June 7) – While it was officially established as a state trunkline route two years prior, the segment of M-78 from 2½ miles west of Durand (present-day cnr of Lansing Rd & Newburg Rd) southwesterly toward Bancroft and Perry is completed and opened to traffic. The segment of proposed M-78 from that point northeasterly to M-71 on the north side of Durand, however, is not yet complete. Thus, M-78 is temporarily routed easterly from Lansing Rd via Newburg Rd into Durand, then northerly with M-71 (or M-176) on Saginaw St back to the completed portion of M-78 north of the city where it turns northeasterly toward Swartz Creek.
  1936 – A 3-mile gap in the route of M-78 northwest of Durand from Newburg Rd west of the city to M-71 north of the city, along with a viaduct over the Grand Trunk Western and Ann Arbor railroad lines, is completed and opened to traffic. The temporary M-78 routing along M-71 (or M-176) on Saginaw St between downtown and M-78/Lansing Rd reverts back to just M-71 (or M-176.)
  1938 – The "new" alignment for M-71 between Corunna and Durand established in late 1930 is finally completed and opened to traffic. Two bridges along the route had been completed since c.1931 and grading on the route was done in 1937, yet work to complete the highway was not fully completed until mid-1938. The former route of M-71, along Parmenter Rd, Main St in Vernon, Bennington Rd and Durand Rd to M-78 north of Durand had been officially transferred to local control eight years prior and was only a "Marked and Maintained" trunkline since that time. Jurisdiction over the former M-71 route remains in local hands with all state maintenance of the route ceasing. Also, with the completion of the realignment, all of M-71 is now completely hard-surfaced.
  1938 (Dec 6) – The short spur routing of M-71 (or M-176) along Saginaw St from M-78/Lansing Rd north of Durand into downtown is turned back to local control. The eastern terminus of M-71 is now definitely at M-78/Lansing Rd approximately 0.3 mile west of Durand Rd (where it may have been since 1931, if Saginaw St in Durand had been signed as M-176 since that point).
  1960 (Dec 16, Dec 30) – A portion of the new M-78 freeway (present-day I-69) is completed from just west of the M-71 interchange at Durand easterly to M-13. (The M-78 freeway temporarily merges directly back into the former route of M-78 along Lansing Rd west of M-71, until the next segment of freeway to the southwest is completed.) While the freeway itself officially opens to traffic on December 16, the portion of M-71 from the new M-78 southeasterly to the former M-78 (along with the former route of M-78 itself along Lansing Rd from Durand easterly to Sheridan Rd) is oficially transferred to County jurisdiction on December 30. With this, the route of M-71 is slightly shortened on its eastern end.
Controlled Access: No portion of M-71 is freeway or expressway.
NHS: No portion of M-71 is on the National Highway System (NHS).
Memorial Highways:  The following Memorial Highway designations have been officially assigned to parts of M-71 by the Michigan Legislature:
  • PFC Shane Cantu Veterans Memorial Highway – "The portion of highway M-71 between the eastern city limit of the city of Owosso and the western city limit of the city of Corunna..." From MDOT: "A native of Corunna, Michigan, U.S. Army PFC Shane Cantu was killed at the age of 20 during his first tour of duty in Afghanistan on August 28, 2012, after insurgents threw an explosive over a base wall. PFC Cantu graduated from Corunna High School in 2010 and attended Adrian College, where he played football, before joining the U.S. Army."
  • Graham Barlow Jr., WWII Memorial Highway – "The portion of highway M-71 that is within the village limits of the village of Vernon..." From MDOT: "Graham Barlow Jr. was a soldier from the Village of Vernon killed in Italy during World War II. Prior to being killed in action at the age of 19, he was awarded the Purple Heart. According to local residents and news reports, Graham Barlow Jr. is believed to be the only person from the village of Vernon who was killed in World War II. Graham Barlow Jr. acted selflessly and fought bravely to preserve the peace and safety of the United States of America."
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