M-28 (Michigan highway): Wikis


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A road sign bearing a diamond enclosing a block M and the number 28
Maintained by MDOT
A map of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan showing M-28 in red crossing east–west, intersecting an Interstate on the east end
M-28 highlighted in red
Length: 290.43 mi[1] (467.40 km)
Formed: by July 1, 1919[2]
West end: US 2 at Wakefield
US 45 at Bruce Crossing

US 141 near Covington
US 41 in Covington
M-35 near Negaunee
US 41 in Harvey
I-75 near Dafter

East end: M-129 near Sault Ste. Marie
Counties: Gogebic, Ontonagon, Houghton, Baraga, Marquette, Alger, Schoolcraft, Luce, Chippewa
Michigan highways
< M-27 M-29 >

M-28 is an east–west state trunkline highway that almost completely traverses the Upper Peninsula in the U.S. state of Michigan, from Wakefield to near Sault Ste. Marie in Dafter Township. Along with US Highway 2 (US 2), M-28 forms a pair of primary highways linking the Upper Peninsula from end to end, providing a major access route for traffic from Michigan and Canada along the southern shore of Lake Superior. M-28 is the longest state trunkline in Michigan numbered with the "M-" prefix at 290.43 miles (467.40 km). The entire highway is listed on the National Highway System, while three sections of M-28 are part of the Lake Superior Circle Tour. M-28 also carries two memorial highway designations along its route.

Throughout its course across the Upper Peninsula, M-28 passes through forested woodlands, bog swamps, urbanized areas, and along the Lake Superior shoreline. Sections of roadway cross the Ottawa National Forest and both units of the Hiawatha National Forest. Some of the other landmarks accessible from M-28 include the Seney Stretch, Seney National Wildlife Refuge and several historic bridges.

M-28 is an original trunkline designation, dating to the 1919 formation of the state's trunkline system. The original highway was much shorter than the current version. M-28 was expanded eastward to the Sault Ste. Marie area in the late 1920s. The western end has been expanded twice to different locations on the Wisconsin state line. Other changes along the routing have led to the creation of three different business loops at various times, with one still extant. Future changes, proposed by Marquette County but not accepted by the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT), could see M-28 rerouted over County Road 480 (CR 480).


Route description

a highway curving over the crest of a hill flanked by telephone poles on either side. There is a white road sign on the right side of the road and storm clouds in the sky.
Clouds brewing over M-28 in western Ontonagon County

M-28 is a major highway for Michigan and Canadian traffic along the south shore of Lake Superior. It forms the northern half of a pair of primary trunklines linking the Upper Peninsula from end to end. US 2 (US 2) is the southern partner.[3] The 290.43-mile (467.40 km) highway comprises mostly two lanes, undivided except for sections that are concurrent with US 41 near Marquette. The "Marquette Bypass" portion of US 41/M-28 is a four-lane expressway, and segments of the highway in Marquette County have four lanes.[4] The entire route is part of the National Highway System,[5] and three sections of the trunkline are part of the Lake Superior Circle Tour.[4]


Western terminus to Shingleton

In the west, M-28 begins at a signalized intersection with US 2 in Wakefield. Heading north, the highway passes Sunday Lake heading out of town. In southwestern Ontonagon County, the trunkline highway skirts the northern shore of Lake Gogebic, running concurrently with M-64. The first section of M-28 designated as a part of the Lake Superior Circle Tour is from the western terminus to the eastern junction with M-64 in Bergland, where the Circle Tour turns north along M-64, leaving M-28. Here, M-28 has its lowest traffic counts; within the 2006 MDOT survey, the road is listed with only an average annual daily traffic (AADT) of 1,400 vehicles on a section of highway between Bergland and Bruce Crossing.[6] The trunkline runs through heavily forested areas of southern Houghton and Baraga counties. At the eastern junction with US 41 near Covington, M-28 receives the Circle Tour designation again[4] and exits the Ottawa National Forest.[7]

In Baraga and Marquette counties, US 41/M-28 passes through hilly terrain before entering the urban areas of Ishpeming, Negaunee and Marquette.[3] Approximately 13,000 vehicles use this section from Ishpeming eastward through Negaunee. West of the city of Marquette, US 41/M-28 had a peak 2006 AADT of 34,700 vehicles in Marquette Township along a retail and business corridor.[8] This peak level is sustained until the start of the Marquette Bypass, where the traffic returns to the 14,000-vehicle and higher levels seen in Ishpeming and Negaunee. South of the city of Marquette, traffic counts once again climb above 20,000 vehicles.[8] In Chocolay Township the AADT drops to 8,100 vehicles before tapering off to 3,500 vehicles by the county line.[6]

At the Ishpeming–Negaunee city line, M-28 changes memorial highway designations. From the western terminus to this point, M-28 is called the "Veterans Memorial Highway", but it becomes the "D. J. Jacobetti Memorial Highway" to honor the longest-serving member of the Michigan Legislature.[9][10] The Jacobetti Highway designation ends at the eastern M-123 junction in Chippewa County.[11]

A brown and white wooden sign for the Hiawatha National Forest mounted on a stone base. The sign is installed on the right side of a highway between the road and the forest on the far right.

Between Marquette and Munising, M-28 closely parallels the Lake Superior shoreline, providing scenic views of the lake and its "lonesome sandy beaches".[12][13] The Lakenenland Sculpture Park is located in Chocolay Township near Shot Point in eastern Marquette County. This roadside attraction is owned by Tom Lakenen and features fanciful works of art made of scrap iron.[14] Near the community of Au Train, M-28 crosses into the western unit of the Hiawatha National Forest.[7] West of Munising is a ferry dock offering transport to the Grand Island National Recreation Area, and at Munising there is easy access to Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. The roadway also features variable message signs to warn motorists of winter weather-related traffic closures along the lakeshore. Installed at the US 41 and M-94 junctions, the signs advise motorists which sections of roadway are closed. Per MDOT policy, only snowplows are allowed on these sections during a closure.[15] The highway exits the Hiawatha National Forest at the Alger CountySchoolcraft County line along the Seney Stretch.[7]

Seney Stretch

A straight roadway leading away to the horizon with trees on either side of the road
The Seney Stretch along M-28

The portion of M-28 between Seney and Shingleton, called the Seney Stretch, is 25 miles (40 km)[16] of "straight-as-an-arrow highway"[17] across the Great Manistique Swamp, "though others claim it's 50 miles [80 km], only because it seems longer."[18] The Seney Stretch is the longest such section of highway in the state, and "one of the longest stretches of curveless highway east of the Mississippi."[19] The highway is often cited as the "state's most boring route" according to the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) and Hunt's Guide.[20][21] The straightness and flatness over a great distance are given as reasons for the reputation of this stretch as boring.[21]

The road across the swamp was constructed parallel to the line of the Duluth, South Shore and Atlantic Railway (later the Soo Line Railroad). It was first numbered as a part of M-25 when that designation was used along today's M-28 east of US 41. The most significant changes made to the stretch since its original construction were the addition of passing relief lanes and a full-scale, year-round rest area in 1999.[22]

Part of the Seney Stretch forms the northern border of the Seney National Wildlife Refuge.[23] Established in 1935, this refuge is a managed wetland in Schoolcraft County.[24] It has an area of 95,212 acres (385 km2),[25] and contains the Strangmoor Bog National Natural Landmark within its boundaries.[26]

Seney to eastern terminus

A roadway curving down a slight incline and around a bend. On the side of the road are a series of sign posts with the M-28 reassurance marker, a yellow diamond with arrows indicating the traffic directions and a yellow diamond with an arrow warning of the curve in the road.
A unique passing sign on M-28 westbound near McMillan

Past Seney, M-28 once again enters woodlands on the eastern end of the Upper Peninsula. In Luce County, the roadway passes through the community of McMillan en route to Newberry. The Circle Tour departs M-28 to follow M-123 at Newberry, looping north to the Tahquamenon Falls State Park. East of town, the road passes Luce County Airport off of Luce CR 399. From there, M-28 crosses the east and west branches of the Sage River and passes south of Soo Junction, before the Chippewa County border.[4]

In Chippewa County, M-28 begins bending slightly east-northeastward. Hulbert Lake is located south of Hulbert; north of the lake, the highway enters the eastern unit of the Hiawatha National Forest.[7] At the eastern junction of M-28 and M-123 near Eckerman and Strongs, the Circle Tour returns to M-28 and the D.J. Jacobetti Memorial Highway designation ends. The highway leaves the eastern unit of the Hiawatha National Forest between the communities of Raco and Brimley.[7] M-221 leads north from the main highway on an old routing of M-28 to connect to the community of Brimley and the Bay Mills Indian Community. Brimley State Park is just east of Brimley on the old 6 Mile Road alignment of M-28.[27] The highway meets I-75 at exit 386, and the Lake Superior Circle Tour departs M-28 to follow I-75. This interchange is just west of H-63/Mackinac Trail, a former segment of US 2. M-28 continues 3 miles (5 km) farther to its eastern terminus with M-129.[4]


A rock outcropping overhanging a small pool of water with a waterfall cascading into the pool.
Scott Falls is a feature of the H.J. Rathfoot Roadside Park near Au Train.

Along the routing of M-28, MDOT has established several roadside parks and rest areas. Two of these are in Ontonagon County near Ewen and Trout Creek.[4] A park with a picnic area, and a footbridge lies near Tioga Creek in Baraga County east of the US 41 junction.[28] In Three Lakes a scenic turnout and a roadside park overlook Lake Michigamme, and along Lake Superior south of Marquette is a tourist information center built as a log cabin. East of the H-01 junction in Au Train is a roadside park that includes Scott Falls.[29] Further east, a year-round rest area is located on the west end of the Seney Stretch. Three other roadside parks lie east of Harvey in Shelter Bay, on the shores of Deer Lake and west of Newberry.[4]


Mainline history

Formed by July 1, 1919, M-28 began in Wakefield at a junction with then M-12 and ran roughly along the current alignment to end at M-15, 6.5 miles (10.5 km) east of Covington.[2] These two termini roughly correspond to the modern US 2 and western US 41 junctions respectively. M-28 was extended in 1927 along US 41 into Marquette County and east over M-25 through Chatham, Munising, and Newberry, before ending in downtown Sault Ste. Marie. At Negaunee, M-28 took the former routing of M-15 between Negaunee and Marquette for 10 miles (16 km) while US 41 ran along a portion of M-35.[30] This southern loop routing of M-28 lasted until approximately 1936, when M-28 was moved to US 41,[31] and the former route became Marquette CR 492.[32] A new routing of M-28 in the Newberry area opened later that year,[33] and a new M-28A (later BUS M-28) existed until 1953.[34] Another realignment in 1937 marked the transfer of M-28 out of downtown Ishpeming and Negaunee. This former routing later became BUS M-28.[35]

In 1941, the routings of M-28 and M-94 were reversed between Harvey and Munising.[36][37] Since then, M-28 has run along the lakeshore through Au Train. M-28 was extended along US 2 to the state line at Ironwood, and the eastern end of M-28 through Brimley was moved to a new alignment ending at US 2, in Dafter in 1942.[38] The eastern end was moved along US 2 back to Sault Ste. Marie in 1948,[39] though the terminus was returned to Dafter in 1950.[40]

From 1952 to 1962, M-28 crossed US 2 at Wakefield going south and stopped at the Wisconsin border, connecting with a county road.[41] This segment of the highway (now Gogebic CR 519)[42] was transferred back to the county in 1962.[43] M-94 previously looped along Munising-Van Meer-Shingleton Road (now H-58 and H-15) north of M-28 between Munising and Shingleton. This routing was abandoned on November 7, 1963 in favor of the current concurrency.[44] The last significant change to the M-28 routing occurred on March 3, 1989, when the eastern terminus was moved east to M-129.[45]

Historic bridges

MDOT has highlighted five historic bridges along the route of M-28 on the MDOT website. In Interior Township, Ontonagon County, the highway crosses the Ontonagon River over a bridge built in 1929. Designed by the State Highway Department and built by the firm of Meads and Anderson, the Ontonagon River Bridge is one of only three steel arch bridges in Michigan. The main span arch is 150 feet (46 m) long.[46] A former routing of M-28 in Covington Township crosses the Rock River. Although this section was bypassed by a new alignment of the trunkline in 1924, the bridge remains complete "with corbeled bulkheads and six panels recessed in the concrete spandrel walls."[47] The corbels and spandrels are decorative features found in the concrete sides of the bridge.

A river flowing between two banks covered in vegetation and trees. The river flows under a concrete bridge resting on four support piers into a lake in the background
Abandoned Peshekee River Bridge in Michigamme Township

Today, drivers cannot use the Peshekee River Bridge south of US 41/M-28 in western Marquette County's Michigamme Township. The bridge was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1999 as "Trunk Line Bridge No. 1" for its engineering and architectural significance.[48] MDOT has listed it as "one of Michigan's most important vehicular bridges."[49] It was the first bridge designed by the Michigan State Highway Department, the forerunner to MDOT, in 1914. It was bypassed by a new bridge built over the Peshekee River on US 41/M-28 in 1995 and subsequently abandoned as a roadway.[50]

The next historic bridge listed by MDOT along M-28 is over the Sand River in Onota Township in Alger County. While not visible to motorists, the bridge, constructed in 1939, is the longest rural rigid-frame span in Michigan.[51] Most bridges of this type were built in urban locations, and soil conditions in the state limit locations for this style of bridge. The bridge over the East Branch of the Tahquamenon River in Chippewa County was built in 1926 as a "formative exercise in what would evolve into a state standard design."[52] The 55-foot (17 m) bridge was built with nine lines of I-beams encased in concrete. Only one other bridge in Michigan was built with such concrete encasement.[52]


Potential relocation

A white square road sign outlined in black containing the text MARQUETTE 480 COUNTY
CR 480 in Marquette County

In the August 24, 2005 edition, the Marquette Mining Journal reported that the Marquette County Board and the County Road Commission were negotiating with MDOT to transfer the jurisdiction of Marquette County Road 480 to the state. Several routing options have been discussed, though all would make CR 480 a part of M-28.[53] Cost was the primary reason given behind rerouting M-28 along CR 480. "The road commission receives about $50,000 a year in state gas tax money but spends about $100,000 to maintain CR 480 because of the type and volume of traffic it receives."[53] Handing CR 480 over to the state would shift the maintenance costs to the state, as well.[53]

MDOT has indicated that it has not requested jurisdiction, but rather if it assumed control of the route, the community would need to support a through-route. Several proposals have arisen, including creating a "spur" from US 41/M-28 through the east end of Ishpeming to meet CR 480 west of Negaunee. This spur would pass through recently reopened former mining "caving grounds", and to the south of the Mather A & B Mine complex.[53] According to Gerry Corkin, Marquette County Board Chairman, "the land that was purchased by Ishpeming and Negaunee, the mining company land, this has the potential to help in the development of that if this is compatible. I think both cities will be interested in taking a look at what the land uses are and where this [spur] would push through."[53]

The spur proposal would open land to development between the downtown areas of the two cities. If jurisdiction is transferred, and M-28 is routed over CR 480 as proposed, M-28 would leave the concurrency with US 41 near Teal Lake in Negaunee, and cross the caving grounds west of downtown to connect to Rail Street. Rail Street would serve as the connector to CR 480, which ends at the intersection of Rail and Ann streets and Healey Avenue. Proposals indicate two routing options for the east end of CR 480. One would route M-28 back along US 41 from Beaver Grove north of the CR 480 eastern terminus to the existing M-28 in Harvey. A second would route it along CR 551/Cherry Creek Road from CR 480 to M-28 in Harvey.[53]


A black and white aerial photo showing Lake Superior on the right. Parallel to the shoreline is a three-sided highway intersection composed of a circular roundabout and connecting roadways
The proposed roundabout in Marquette

MDOT unveiled plans on March 31, 2009 to rebuild the intersection between Front Street and the eastern end of the Marquette Bypass during 2010. The rebuilt intersection will take the form of a roundabout, replacing several intersecting roadways that connect the north and south sections of Front Street with US 41/M-28 through the existing intersection. This will be the first intersection of its kind in the UP after completion.[54] The current intersection configuration dates back to the 1960s. It has been labeled as "dangerous and [causing] significant traffic delays" by the designers of the replacement.[55] A traffic study concluded in 2007 that the intersection would need either the roundabout or a traffic signal with several turning lanes to accommodate the traffic needs in the area. MDOT decided in favor of a two-lane, 150-foot (46 m) roundabout retaining the current right-turn lanes from the current intersection layout. These lanes will be used by right-turning traffic to bypass the circle at the center of the intersection.[55]

The upgraded intersection has been a part of the City of Marquette's master plan since 2003. MDOT engineers tout the constant-flowing nature of the intersection design as a benefit to the new intersection, and city planners are promoting the enhanced safety aspects of the design. Both parties promote the planned intersection as less expensive than a conventional stop light.[54] Construction is set to begin in May 2010 and end the following August.[56] The project has a budget of $1.1 million.[55]

Residents have expressed concerns about snow plowing and truck traffic in the intersection. The designers consulted officials of Avon, Colorado where several roundabouts are situated in a location that averages over 300 inches (760 cm) of annual snowfall. Designers also planned the size of the new intersection to accommodate truck traffic.[55] MDOT has stated that many of the concerns expressed are due to misconceptions of the design and will not come to pass.[56]

Business loops

There have been three business loops for M-28: Ishpeming–Negaunee, Marquette and Newberry. Only the business loop serving Ishpeming and Negaunee is still a state-maintained trunkline. US 41/M-28 was relocated to bypass the two cities' downtowns in 1937.[35][57] The highway through downtown Ishpeming and Negaunee later carried the ALT US 41/ALT M-28 designation before being designated BUS M-28 in 1958.[58][59] The western end of the business loop was transferred to local government control when BUS M-28 was moved along Lakeshore Drive in 1999.[60]

A city street with parked vehicles on either side in front of a series of stone buildings
The former BUS US 41 along Washington Street in downtown Marquette

BUS US 41 in Marquette was first shown on a map in 1964 after the construction of the Marquette Bypass.[61][62] It was later designated BUS US 41/BUS M-28 on a map in 1975;[63] this second designation was removed from maps by 1982.[64] The entire business loop was turned back to local control in a "route swap" between the City of Marquette and MDOT announced in early 2005. The proposal transferred jurisdiction on the unsigned M-554 and the business route from the state to the city. The state would take jurisdiction over a segment of McClellan Avenue to be used to extend M-553 to US 41/M-28. In addition, MDOT would pay $2.5 million (equivalent to $2.79 million in 2010) for reconstruction work planned for 2007.[65][66] The transfer would increase Marquette's operational and maintenance liability expenses by $26,000 (equivalent to $28,970 in 2010) and place the financial burden of the future replacement of a stop light on the city..[65][66] On October 10, 2005, MDOT and Marquette transferred jurisdiction over the three roadways. As a result, BUS US 41 was decommissioned when the local government took control over Washington and Front streets.[67] As a result of the decommissioning, the 2006 maps did not show the now former business loop.[68]

The Newberry BUS M-28 was designated from 1936 until 1952 as M-28A.[33] The MSHD maps of the time showed it signed as BUS M-28 in 1952 before it was turned back to local control in 1953.[34][69]

Major intersections

The following table shows the major intersections along M-28. Included are intersections with county-designated highways, other state trunklines, U.S. Highways and Interstate freeways.

County Location Mile[1][70] Roads intersected Notes
Gogebic Wakefield 0.00 US 2 (Putnam Street)  
Ontonagon Merriweather 16.42 M-64 south – Marenisco West end of M-64 concurrency
Bergland 20.43 M-64 north (Ash Street) – Silver City East end of M-64 concurrency
Bruce Crossing 39.99 US 45Ontonagon, Watersmeet  
Houghton Kenton 56.60 FFH 16 Marked as H-16 on MDOT maps
Baraga Covington 74.33 US 141 south – Crystal Falls West end of US 141 concurrency
78.48 US 41 north / US 141 ends – Houghton East end of US 141 concurrency
Northern terminus of US 141
Marquette Humboldt Township 106.90 M-95 south – Republic Northern terminus of M-95
Ishpeming 118.55
BUS M-28 (Lakeshore Drive) – Ishpeming
Western terminus of BUS M-28
Negaunee 122.15
BUS M-28 (Teal Lake Avenue) – Negaunee
Eastern terminus of BUS M-28
Negaunee Township 125.77 M-35 south – Palmer Northern terminus of M-35
Marquette 131.80 Washington Street Western terminus of former BUS US 41
132.23 M-553 south (McClellan Avenue) – Gwinn Northern terminus of M-553
133.48 Front Street Eastern terminus of former BUS US 41
Harvey 137.82 US 41 south – Rapid River East end of US 41 concurrency
Alger Au Train 164.43 H-03 south (Au Train Road) – Au Train Northern terminus of H-03
Munising 175.79 H-58 east (Munising Road) – Grand Marais Western terminus of H-58
Provides access to Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore
177.00 M-94 west – Chatham West end of M-94 concurrency
Wetmore 178.91 H-13 / FFH 13 (Connors Road) – Nahma  
Shingleton 186.47 M-94 south / H-15 north (Van Meer Road) – Manistique, Van Meer East end of M-94 concurrency
Western end of the Seney Stretch
Schoolcraft Seney Stretch 195.65 H-52 north  
Seney 211.04 M-77 south – Blaney Park Eastern end of the Seney Stretch
East end of a 0.36-mile (0.58 km) concurrency to cross Fox River
211.40 M-77 north – Grand Marais West end of M-77 concurrency
Luce McMillan 226.68 H-33 south (CR 135 / Manistique Lakes Road) – Germfask Former terminus of M-135
Newberry 230.99 M-117 south – Engadine Northern terminus of M-117
233.98 M-123 north (Newberry Avenue) – Newberry Western junction with M-123
Provides access to Tahquamenon Falls State Park
Chippewa Eckerman 257.71 M-123Paradise, Trout Lake Eastern junction with M-123
Brimley 280.00 M-221 north – Brimley Southern terminus of M-221
Dafter Township 287.54 I-75Sault Ste. Marie, St. Ignace Exit 386
287.93 H-63 (Mackinac Trail) – Sault Ste. Marie, St. Ignace Former US 2
290.43 M-129 (McKnight Road) – Sault Ste. Marie, St. Ignace  


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  13. ^ Fowler, Brenda (June 29, 1997). "Endless Trails To Open Water". The New York Times. http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9C05EEDD1F3EF93AA15755C0A961958260&sec=&spon=&pagewanted=all. Retrieved February 20, 2008. 
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  17. ^ Dennis
  18. ^ Spalding, Steve (August 26, 2006). "You Haven't Lived Here Until… You've Driven the Seney Stretch". Detroit Free Press: p. 4A. 
  19. ^ Carter, p. 1
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  24. ^ Rosentreter
  25. ^ "Fact Sheet". Seney National Wildlife Refuge. August 17, 2007. http://www.fws.gov/midwest/seney/factsheet.htm. Retrieved March 18, 2008. 
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Works cited

External links


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