M-72 (Michigan highway): Wikis


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A road sign bearing a diamond enclosing a block M and the number 72
Maintained by MDOT

M-72 highlighted in red
Length: 133.88 mi[1] (215.46 km)
Formed: 1920
West end: M-22 at Empire
US 31 / M-37 at Traverse City

US 131 / M-66 at Kalkaska
BL I-75 at Grayling
M-18 near Luzerne
M-33 at Mio
M-65 at Curran

East end: US 23 at Harrisville
Counties: Leelanau, Grand Traverse, Kalkaska, Crawford, Oscoda, Alcona
Michigan highways
< M-71 M-73 >
< M-206 M-208.svg M-209 >

M-72, is a state trunkline highway in the U.S. state of Michigan, running from Lake Huron to Lake Michigan across the northern part of the Lower Peninsula. It became a coast to coast highway by 1947, and portions of the road have been relocated and improved since then. It is one of only three Michigan State Highways that cross the entire lower peninsula.


Route description

M-72 starts its trans-peninsular journey in the community of Empire on the shores of Lake Michigan in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. From there it runs easterly through forestland crossing the base of the Leelanau Peninsula to the city of Traverse City. M-72 merges with M-22 in a concurrency in the section Traverse City in Leelanau County and immediately crosses the county line into Grand Traverse County. The two highways run along Grandview Parkway, a four-lane boulevard on the shore of the West Arm of Grand Traverse Bay. At the intersection of Grandview Parkway and Division Street, M-22 ends. US 31/M-37 run north along Division Street and turn east onto Grandview Parkway. These three highways stay merged in a triple concurrency along the length of Grandview Parkway and Front Street until reaching Garfield Avenue. At Garfield, M-37 turns north to run up the Old Mission Peninsula which separates the west and east arms of Grand Traverse Bay. US 31/M-72 continues east along the shores of the East Arm of Grand Traverse Bay and northward to Acme. M-72 turns east to cross eastern Grand Traverse County farmlands toward the city of Kalkaska.[2]

In Kalkaska, M-72 meets US 131/M-66/Cedar Street on the north side of downtown. M-72 turns south along Cedar Street forming another triple concurrency through downtown. South of town, M-72 turns east again headed toward the city of Grayling. M-66 follows M-72 to cross a set of railroad tracks before leaving to follow its path to Lake City. M-72 passes the northern shore of Lake Margrethe in Crawford County west of Grayling. North of Camp Grayling, M-72 joins M-93 into downtown Grayling. Together they meet James Street, which carries BL I-75. M-93 turns north to follow BL I-75 out of town, and M-72 turns south to follow it through downtown. At South Down River Road, M-72 turns east again to leave Grayling, crossing I-75 in the process. There is no direct access to I-75 from M-72. Instead traffic is directed to follow BL I-75 to get to the freeway.[2]

In eastern Crawford County, M-72 intersects the northern terminus of M-18 before crossing into Oscoda County west of Luzerne. In Mio, M-72 merges with M-33 and F-32, turning north to cross the Au Sable River. F-32 turns west while M-33/M-72 continues west to Fairview. Fairview marks the northern and eastern end of the concurrency as M-33 turns north towards Atlanta, and M-72 continues easterly into Alcona County. North of Curran, M-72 merges southward with M-65 for approximately 7 miles (11 km) before heading due east to Harrisville. M-72 ends at an intersection with US 23 there in Harrisville, on the shores of Lake Huron.[2]


The first route designated as M-72 was in the 1920s and ran from just south of Lincoln east to Harrisville and then south along Lake Huron shore to Greenbush. In 1923, it was extended west to end southeast of Barton City. Around 1927, the route was extended south to Oscoda and west through Luzerne to just east of Roscommon.[1]

In 1936, the portion of M-72 along the shoreline between Oscoda and Harrisville became part of US 23. In 1940, the route is extended westward through Grayling to just south of Kalkaska. A seven mile (11 km) long discontinuous segment of highway some 45 miles (72 km) west of Kalkaska near Empire is also designated as M-72. In 1946, the western segment is extended east into Traverse City. In 1947, the two segments are joined and the road now extends "shore to shore" from Lake Huron to Lake Michigan. From 1947 onwards, the endpoints of the route have remained the same, although there have been realignments of the route in between.[1]




M-208 was a state trunkline highway in that served as a spur route from US 27 (current BL I-75) to the "Wakeley Bridge" in Crawford County in the 1930s. When the connection from the bridge to M-72 at Eldorado was completed, M-72 was extended over M-208, and M-208 was deleted.[3]

Major intersections

County Location Mile Roads intersected Notes
Leelanau Empire 0.000 M-22  
Traverse City   M-22 north – Suttons Bay Northern end of M-22 concurrency
Grand Traverse   US 31 south / M-37 south (Division Street) / M-22 ends – Manistee Northern terminus of M-22; western end of US 31/M-37/M-72 triple concurrency
  US 31 / M-37 north (Garfield Avenue) – Old Mission Eastern end of US 31/M-37/M-72 triple concurrency; western end of US 31/M-72 double concurrency
Acme   US 31 north – Petoskey Eastern end of US 31/M-72 double concurrency
Kalkaska Kalkaska   US 131 north / M-66 north – Petoskey Northern end of US 131/M-66/M-72 triple concurrency
  US 131 south / M-66Cadillac Southern end of US 131/M-66/M-72 triple concurrency; western end of M-66/M-72 double concurrency
  M-66 south – Lake City Eastern end of M-66/M-72 double concurrency
Crawford Grayling   M-93 south – Camp Grayling Western end of M-93 concurrency
  I-75 north / BL I-75 north / M-93 Eastern end of M-93 concurrency; north end of BL I-75 concurrency; M-93 turns north along BL I-75
  I-75 south / BL I-75 south Southern end of BL I-75 concurrency
South Branch Township   M-18 south – Roscommon Northern terminus of M-18
Oscoda Mio   M-33 south / F-32 east – Alger, McKinley Southern end of M-33/M-72/F-32 triple concurrency
Comins Township   F-32 west – Grayling Northern end of M-33/M-72/F-32 triple concurrency; western end of M-33/M-72 double concurrency
Fairview   M-33 north – Atlanta Eastern end of M-33/M-72 double concurrency
Alcona Curran   M-65 north – Rogers City Northern end of M-65 concurrency
  F-32 west – McKinley Eastern terminus of F-32
Millen Township   M-65 south – Hale Southern end of M-65 concurrency
Lincoln   F-41  
Harrisville 133.88 US 23  
Concurrency terminus Unconstructed


  1. ^ a b c Bessert, Christopher J.. "Michigan Highways: Highways 70 through 79". Michigan Highways. http://www.michiganhighways.org/listings/MichHwys70-79.html#M-072. Retrieved 2006-10-28.  
  2. ^ a b c Michigan Department of Transportation. Official 2007 Department of Transportation Map [map], 1 in:15 mi/1 cm:9 km. (2007) Section F8–F13.
  3. ^ Bessert, Christopher J. (2006-10-22). "Michigan Highways: Master List 1918-Present". Michigan Highways. http://www.michiganhighways.org/master_list.html#routes160-179. Retrieved 2006-11-18.  

External links


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