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Author Topic: Michigan's divided highways  (Read 8824 times)

ftballfan

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Michigan's divided highways
« on: March 19, 2011, 01:13:46 AM »

Michigan has a sizable number of roads that are divided highway but not freeway and therefore have a 55 MPH speed limit while many of them could likely support a 65 or even 70 MPH speed limit.

Here are some divided highways that I think could support 65 or 70 MPH:
M-45 between GVSU and 26th Ave (very short section)
US 31 between Holland and Grand Haven
US 127 between Ithaca and St. Johns
M-37 between 29th St and M-6 in Kentwood
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rawmustard

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Re: Michigan's divided highways
« Reply #1 on: March 19, 2011, 06:35:49 AM »

Michigan has a sizable number of roads that are divided highway but not freeway and therefore have a 55 MPH speed limit while many of them could likely support a 65 or even 70 MPH speed limit.

Here are some divided highways that I think could support 65 or 70 MPH:
US 127 between Ithaca and St. Johns

That section was posted at 65 last year. We even discussed it at the time.

And one thing about your other items in your list is that they're quite signalized. I think MDOT is going to avoid having to retime yellow intervals or do the shenanigans it does on M-53 around Romeo (it's 70, but gets reduced to 55 near each signalized intersection).
« Last Edit: March 19, 2011, 06:45:43 AM by rawmustard »
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JREwing78

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Re: Michigan's divided highways
« Reply #2 on: March 19, 2011, 08:08:17 AM »

US-131 between Schoolcraft and Three Rivers would be a prime candidate - few signals to retime (there's only two signals before hitting the commercial strip in Three Rivers), and few driveways. It's largely comparable to the portion of US-127 mentioned above.

But, honestly, there's not that many stretches of divided highway that would qualify under the new speed limit policy. Michigan historically built a full-fledged freeway when they built long-distance divided highways.  It made no sense to build long-distance divided highways that had side road access when they would be stuck with a 55mph limit.

A potentially welcome outcome of the speed limit change is that it invites more extensive use of controlled-access divided highways that later can be converted to freeways. That would allow for more economical 4-lane upgrades of highways like:
- US-31 north of Ludington
- US-131 north of Manton and south of Portage
- M-115
- M-72 west of Grayling
- US-2 between Iron Mountain and St. Ignace
- US-127 south of Jackson
- US-223
- M-53 north of Romeo

As for existing highways, the policy change has largely been implemented in the places that it made the most sense. The list of remaining candidates is quite short:
- US-131 south of Portage
- US-12/M-60 around Niles
- M-37 south of M-11 (28th Street)
- M-5 north of I-96/696/275
- US-31 between Grand Haven & Holland (with some safety upgrades)
- M-15 south of Bay City (with some safety upgrades)

If you expand the qualifying highways to include 5-lane sections, you might open up a few more options:
- US-41 between Marquette & Negaunee
- US-127 south of Jackson (once the 5-lane upgrade is fully implemented)
- M-20 between Mount Pleasant and Midland
- US-2 between Ironwood and Wakefield

The next best opportunity for a speed limit increase would be if MDOT reintroduced 65mph speed limits on 2-lanes. A tremendous number of 2-lanes north of a Grand Rapids to Flint line would need little to no work to safely support higher speed limits. South of that line, MDOT would need to do more upgrades due to more congestion and more driveway access.
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ftballfan

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Re: Michigan's divided highways
« Reply #3 on: March 19, 2011, 11:40:05 AM »

I haven't used 127 between Ithaca and St. Johns in a few years. M-115 is basically four lanes undivided southeast of Cadillac. And the section of M-45 east of Grand Valley for about two miles (the divided section between the campus entrance and 24th Ave) has very few if any driveways and no stoplights.
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Tom

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Re: Michigan's divided highways
« Reply #4 on: September 04, 2011, 04:22:41 PM »

Speaking of divided highways, I thought there might be some interest in knowing of a former divided highway.  It's US-131 from Mancelona to M-32's northern junction.  I can remember it being 4-lane in the 1960's, and by 1978 it was a 2-lane road.  Even today, you can still see where the original north bound lanes were, and when you make the last curve to the left (driving northbound) before you get to M-32, you can just make out where the original south bound lanes were. :coffee:  
« Last Edit: September 04, 2011, 04:26:41 PM by Tom »
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ftballfan

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Re: Michigan's divided highways
« Reply #5 on: September 04, 2011, 05:33:40 PM »

Michigan, outside of Detroit, is one of the least densely populated states east of the Mississippi. Of the Michigan two-lane state highways I have been on, I could see at least portions of the following having 65 mph speed limits: US-10, US-31, US-131, M-20, M-37, M-55, M-61, M-66, M-115. I haven't been to the UP (with the exception of I-75) or much of the state east of I-75/US-127.

Speaking of divided highways, I thought there might be some interest in knowing of a former divided highway.  It's US-131 from Mancelona to M-32's northern junction.  I can remember it being 4-lane in the 1960's, and by 1978 it was a 2-lane road.  Even today, you can still see where the original north bound lanes were, and when you make the last curve to the left (driving northbound) before you get to M-32, you can just make out where the original south bound lanes were. :coffee: 
http://www.michiganhighways.org/listings/MichHwys120-139.html#US-131 - More information on the former divided highway in Antrim County. (See 1956-57 and 1960-61)
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Tom

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Re: Michigan's divided highways
« Reply #6 on: September 04, 2011, 06:37:41 PM »

Thanks 4 sharing the info.  However, I can't help thinking Barry Camp may be off on the date when the stretch became 2 lanes again.  Dad took the family to Beaver Island from 1965 through 1968, and I'm sure it was still a 4-lane road, and when I was traveling to my parents condo in Charlevoix in 1978, it was 2-lanes then.  So, it had to be sometime between the mid 1960's and 1978 when it went back to 2 lanes. :coffee:
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Tom

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Re: Michigan's divided highways
« Reply #7 on: September 18, 2011, 10:44:46 AM »

I believe I've solved the mystery of the Mancelona to M-32 stretch of US-131 going back to 2 lanes.  I found this newspaper article from the Otsego County Herald, May 1, 1968 (front page), explaining it.

http://207.74.70.101:8080/docushare/dsweb/View/Collection-653   :coffee:
« Last Edit: June 23, 2013, 10:24:05 AM by Tom »
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NE2

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Re: Michigan's divided highways
« Reply #8 on: September 18, 2011, 10:49:06 AM »

I believe I've solved the mystery of the Mancelona to M-32 stretch of US-131 going back to 2 lanes.  I found this newspaper article from the Otsego County Herald, May 1, 1968 (front page), explaining it.

http://66.129.39.201:8080/docushare/dsweb/View/Collection-653   :coffee:
Quote from: ain't DRM great?
License Exception: Invalid license

A DocuShare license maximum concurrent guests limit was exceeded.
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Tom

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Re: Michigan's divided highways
« Reply #9 on: September 18, 2011, 11:14:42 AM »

I believe I've solved the mystery of the Mancelona to M-32 stretch of US-131 going back to 2 lanes.  I found this newspaper article from the Otsego County Herald, May 1, 1968 (front page), explaining it.

http://207.74.70.101:8080/docushare/dsweb/View/Collection-653   :coffee:
Quote from: ain't DRM great?
License Exception: Invalid license

A DocuShare license maximum concurrent guests limit was exceeded.

Yeah, that happens at times, but don't give up, as eventially it will go through.  Just have 2 b patient. :coffee:
« Last Edit: June 23, 2013, 10:31:05 AM by Tom »
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bulldog1979

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Re: Michigan's divided highways
« Reply #10 on: September 18, 2011, 04:11:39 PM »

I believe I've solved the mystery of the Mancelona to M-32 stretch of US-131 going back to 2 lanes.  I found this newspaper article from the Otsego County Herald, May 1, 1968 (front page), explaining it.

http://66.129.39.201:8080/docushare/dsweb/View/Collection-653   :coffee:

Thanks for this find! I'm updating the Wikipedia article on US 131 at the moment to accommodate the information from this newspaper article.
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Tom

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Re: Michigan's divided highways
« Reply #11 on: January 03, 2015, 10:13:30 AM »

Here's another newspaper about the 4-lane US-131 becoming 2 lanes (p.6)
http://history.kalkaskalibrary.org/items/show/3814 :coffee:
« Last Edit: January 03, 2015, 10:16:12 AM by Tom »
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GaryV

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Re: Michigan's divided highways
« Reply #12 on: January 03, 2015, 03:06:29 PM »

US 2/41 northeast of Escanaba is 65 mph on the divided section.

I agree most of the state highways should be 65.  They almost all were (except for congestion or physical limitations) prior to the 55 mph Nixon law.
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