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Highways 160 through 179

FORMER M-168 | FORMER M-169 | FORMER M-178 | M-179 | Jump to Bottom

M-168 Fmr. W. Terminus: The site of the entrance to former Ann Arbor Railroad Carferry–West Slip in Elberta, on Furnace St approximtely 725 ft west of Bye St
Fmr. E. Terminus: M-22 in downtown Elberta (cnr of Frankfort Ave & Lake St)
Former Length: 0.953 miles
Map: Route Map of FORMER M-168
Notes: Until its decommissioning in April 2012, M-168 was the second-shortest mainline state trunkline highway in Michigan, not counting Business Connections and unsigned trunklines. Counting Business Connections, M-168 was the fourth-shortest state highway as of 2012.
M-168's historical purpose was to serve to connect the Ann Arbor Railroad Carferry docks with M-22 in Elberta. The Ann Arbor Railroad ran several ferry lines from Elberta, including ones to Milwaukee and Kewaunee in Wisconsin, as well as to Menominee and Manistique in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. As was the practice at the time, the State Highway Department connected the various ferry terminals with the rest of the state trunkline system using short connector highways. M-168 was one such highway in Elberta. Similar highways were created in Menominee, Manistique, St Ignace, Mackinaw City and Muskegon. Those other state highways had since been decommissioned following cancellation of their ferry services; however, M-168 remained for 30 years as a link to the past when large railroad and automobile ferries steamed into and out of the harbor at Elberta and Frankfort.

Updated 2023-10 The decommissioning of M-168 was not a secret in the years leading up to its tranfer back to local control. First, MDOT planners had recommended cancelling the entire route as early as late-1985, although only about 350 feet at the ferry docks was abandoned two years later. Two decades later, progress toward decommissioning M-168 had been made when an MDOT construction projects spreadsheet (archived) generated November 16, 2005 listed a $2.1 million dollar complete reconstruction of the entire trunkline scheduled for 2010, after which the route was scheduled to be jurisdictionally transferred to the Village of Elberta. The entire length of M-168 was reconstructed which included, according to an MDOT press release, "decorative sidewalks, lighting, and landscaping, along with safety and drainage improvements." With the downturn in the economy and for various budgetary reasons at MDOT, the jurisdictional transfer of M-168 took an extra couple years meaning the route was able to witness its 80th anniversary as a highway, although it didn't quite make it to its 81st.

History: 1931 (June 19) – The State Administrative Board approves the addition of a new state trunkline linking M-22 with the Ann Arbor Railroad docks in Elberta as part of 30 additional miles of roadway approved to be added to the trunkline sytem.
  1931 (July 15) Updated 2023-10 – A new, 0.8-mile long state trunkline spur highway is established within the Village of Elberta, designated M-168, beginning at M-22 in downtown and running northwesterly via Frankfort Ave and Furnace St, terminating at the Ann Arbor Railroad Carferry docks. Old State Highway Dept sources indicate the initial designation for this route was "M-22 STUB," which is in keeping with other similar "STUB" routes elsewhere in the state. As with the others, it is highly unlikely that M-168 was ever signed in the field as "M-22 STUB" as it was probably an internal State Highway Dept designation. The "M-168" designation starts showing up in media reports in 1932 and debuts on Official State Highway Map in 1934.
  1932 (Oct 29) – The existing 0.8-mile trunkline routing is cancelled due to an "error in mileage," a State Highway Dept source states, while simultaneously being re-established as a 1.10-mile long trunkline along the same alignment.
  1982 (April) New! 2023-10 – The primary reason for the existence of M-168 at Elberta—the Ann Arbor Railroad carferries across Lake Michigan—cease operations. M-168 now becomes a spur highway route leading from M-22 in downtown Elberta to an abandoned ferry slip.
  1985 (Dec 18)MDOT's Bureau of Transportation Planning recommends the cancellation of M-168 in its entirety and transferring it back to the Village of Elberta. (The recommendation is signed, interestingly, by future MDOT Director Gloria J. Jeff who was then the Assistant Deputy Director of the Bureau of Transportation Planning.) While the recommendation is not acted upon, it is a foreshadowing of what would happen in 27 years...
  1987 (Nov 16) Updated 2023-10 – The last 0.067 mile (353¾ feet) of M-168 from the "boundary of the former Ann Arbor Railroad property" northwesterly to the end of the roadway at the Ann Arbor Railroad carferry slip is officially abandoned. This corresponds with a beginning approximately 200 feet west of the present-day entrance to the Elberta Lifesaving Station parking area then northwesterly to the Betsie Lake shoreline. This short segment is abandoned but not transferred to local control—it becomes a private roadway and is eventually falls into disrepair.
  2010 (June–Oct) Updated 2023-10 – M-168 in its entirety is reconstructed by MDOT along with the addition of decorative sidewalks, lighting, landscaping and drainage improvements. At this time, with the jurisdictional transfer of the route imminent, the Department does not erect new M-168 route markers at the close of the project. Thus M-168 essentially begins a year-and-a-half stint as an unsigned state trunkline highway.
  2012 (Apr 24) – The jurisdictional transfter between the MDOT and the Village of Elberta becomes official and M-168 ends its 80 years, 9 months, and 10 days as a state trunkline highway, oficially becoming a City Major street.
Freeway/Expwy: No portion of the former M-168 was freeway or expressway.
Weblinks: M-168 @ Michigan Highway Ends – photos of the termini of the former M-168 at Dan Garnell's archived Michigan Highway Ends website.
  The Carferries of the Great Lakes – general information on the various railroad carferries on the Great Lakes.
  Michigan's Ann Arbor Railroads: Rail to Water – an interesting historical overview from CMU's Clarke Historical Library.
  The Carferries of the Great Lakes: The Ann Arbor Fleet – photos of two of the Ann Arbor Railroad's fleet of carferries.
  Elberta's Long-Awaited Facelift – A story from Interlochen Public Radio about the reconstruction of M-168 and the other changes in Elberta from 2010.
  Team Elmer's: Elberta Road Construction New! 2023-10 – informative page by the contractor who reconstructed M-168 and the challenges encountered in the process.

Former M-169 PLEASE NOTE:
Former M-169 route information can be found on its own page: Former M-169 Route Listing.

Former M-169 PLEASE NOTE:
Former M-178 route information can be found on its own page: Former M-178 Route Listing.

M-179 Western Terminus: M-43, 2.5 miles west of downtown Hastings
Eastern Terminus: US-131 at Exit 61 near Bradley
Length: 16.963 miles
Map: Route Map of M-179
Notes: The modern-day iteration of M-179 is one of several route additions resulting from the short-lived Rationalization process of the late-1990s. The state had long-range plans for many years to add a state trunkline connection from Barry Co into Allegan Co and the Rationalization process provided that vehicle. The portion of county-designated highway A-42 east of US-131 was transferred to the state and designated M-179. A source claims the route was to be a westerly extension of existing M-79 (Charlotte-Hastings), but having three concurrent trunkline routes through downtown Hastings was not desirable. Thus, the route bears a related designation instead of M-79 itself.
As an interesting aside, both iterations of M-179 (1935–58 and 1998–Present) terminated at US-131...
History: 1928 (May 28) – A new, more direct alignment for US-131 (newly re-signed from M-13 weeks before) is officially established in Osceola Co between Ashton and LeRoy along present-day Mackinaw Tr between 13 Mile Rd on the south and 180th Ave on the north. While much of the former route of US-131 (formerly M-13) along 210th Ave, LeRoy Rd (Gilbert St in the Village of LeRoy) and 180th Ave is turned back to local control on this same day, the portion of the former segment of US-131 along 210th Ave from the new route of US-131 to M-63/14 Mile (Luther) Rd is retained in the state trunkline highway system as the connection for M-63 to US-131. Actual changes in the field may not take place until 1930, as the new direct alignment into LeRoy doesn't seem to be completed and opened to trafic until then.
  1931 (July 15) – The 0.4 mile of 14 Mile (Luther) Rd between 210th Ave and US-131/Mackinaw Tr southwest of LeRoy is established as a state trunkline route as a new alignment for M-63. Instead of turning southerly via 120th Ave to terminate at US-131 one mile south of 14 Mile (Luther) Rd, approximately two miles north of Ashton, M-63 now continues due easterly along 14 Mile (Luther) Rd to terminate at US-131/Mackinaw Tr. The mile-long segment of 210th Ave between US-131 and M-63 is retained in the state trunkline highway system as a connector route initially designated as US-131 STUB. It is highly unlikely this route is not signed as "US-131 STUB" in the field, but rather signed either as "TO M-63" or just as a leg of M-63 itself northbound and as "TO US-131" or just as US-131 southbound.
  1934 (mid) – After likely being unsigned or signed with its destination routes (see above) for three years, this short trunkline connector is assigned its own route designation: M-179. It is likely also signed in the field at the same time as well, as the M-179 designation begins appearing on official State Highway Dept maps in mid-1934. M-179 is one of the shortest state highways in Michigan coming in at about one mile in length, serving as a connector route between M-63 heading west toward Luther and US-131 heading south toward Reed City.
  1958 (Sept 16) – The short M-179 connector between US-131 and M-63 is cancelled and the road is given back to local control.
  1998 (Oct 1) – As one of the relatively few jurisdictional transfers as part of the short-lived Rationalization process, all of county-maintained A-42 between US-131 at Exit 61 near Bradley and M-43 west of Hastings is officially established as a state trunkline highway and transferred to the state. The portion of A-42 west of US-131 is retained locally by Allegan Co, however.
  1999 (Apr 7–8) – M-179 route markers are erected along the new highway over the course of two days. On April 7th, the eastbound route markers are installed as well as plastering over the A-42 markers on the US-131 freeway exit signage. The westbound markers were installed on April 8th.
Freeway/Expwy: No portion of M-179 is freeway or expressway.
Pure Michigan Byway: Recreational Heritage Route MarkerChief Noonday Recreational Heritage Route – This route is named after Chief Noonday, an Iroquois hero of the War of 1812. Legend has it that it was Chief Noonday who carried the body of Tecumseh, Pawnee leader of the Indian warriors, from his final battlefield. Chief Noonday was also instrumental in the negotiations that opened much of Michigan to settlement. Living out his last years in the Yankee Springs area at Slater's Mission, his grave lies near Prairieville. The local chapter of the North Country Trail is also named after Chief Noonday.
Weblinks: M-179 @ Michigan Highway Ends – photos of the termini of M-179 at Dan Garnell's archived Michigan Highway Ends website.


FORMER M-168 | FORMER M-169 | FORMER M-178 | M-179 | Up to Top

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