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Michigan Highways

The State Trunkline Highway System of the US state of Michigan is a network of roads owned and maintained by the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT). The most prominent of these roads are part of one of three numbered highway systems in Michigan: Interstates Highways, US Highways, and the other State Trunklines. Other systems of roads are operated by the 83 counties in the state as well as each city.

Interstate Highways and US Highways are assigned at the national level. Interstate Highways are numbered in a grid—even-numbered highways are east–west highways (with the lowest numbers along Mexico and the Gulf of Mexico), and odd-numbered highways are north–south highways (with the lowest numbers along the Pacific Ocean). US Highways are also numbered in a grid—even numbered for east–west highways (with the lowest numbers along Canada) and odd numbered for north–south highways (with the lowest numbers along the Atlantic Ocean). For this reason, mainline (two-digit) Interstate Highways in Michigan all have numbers above 69 and mainline US Highways all have numbers below 45. Three-digit Interstate and U.S. Highways, also known as "child routes," are branches off their main one- or two-digit "parents". The Interstate and US Highways are maintained by MDOT. Interstate 75 (I-75) and US Highway 23 (US 23) are the longest examples in the state.

State Trunklines are the other state highways maintained by MDOT. These highways are completely owned and maintained by the state. Michigan highways are properly referred to using the M and never as "Route 28" or "Highway 115", but as M-28 or M-115. The marker used for state trunklines is a diamond with a block-letter "M" at the top. Roads that are maintained by the state but not assigned a state trunkline designation carry an unsigned highway designation.

County-Designated Highways are assigned numbers in a zone system by MDOT, but maintained by the counties. Each zone is indicated by a letter A–H which is followed by a number based on a grid inside that zone. Each county also maintains any other roadway that is not a state trunkline or a city street. The numbering and signing practices vary from county to county, as does the size of each county's system. Numerical designations typically do not carry over from one county to the next; a CDH that crosses county lines keeps its designation in each county however. County road designations are typically abbreviated "CR" or "Co Rd" followed by the number, and CDHs are abbreviated to just their letter and number assignment.

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Interstate 696 (I-696) is an east–west auxiliary Interstate Highway in the Metro Detroit region of the US state of Michigan. The state trunkline highway is also known as the Walter P. Reuther Freeway, named for the prominent auto industry union head by the Michigan Legislature in 1971. I-696 is a bypass route, detouring around the city of Detroit through the city's northern suburbs in Oakland and Macomb counties. It starts by branching off I-96 and I-275 at its western terminus in Farmington Hills, and runs through suburbs including Southfield, Royal Oak and Warren before merging into I-94 at St. Clair Shores on the east end. It has eight lanes for most of its length and is approximately 10 miles (16 km) north of downtown Detroit. I-696 connects to other freeways such as I-75 (Chrysler Freeway) and M-10 (Lodge Freeway). Local residents sometimes refer to I-696 as "The Autobahn of Detroit".

Planning for the freeway started in the 1950s. Michigan state officials proposed the designation I-98, but this was not approved. Construction started on the first segment in 1961, and the Lodge Freeway was designated Business Spur Interstate 696 (BS I-696) the following year. The western third of the freeway opened in 1963, and the eastern third was completed in January 1979. The central segment was the subject of much controversy during the 1960s and 1970s. Various municipalities along this stretch argued over the routing of the freeway such that the governor locked several officials into a room overnight until they would agree to a routing. Later, various groups used federal environmental regulations to force changes to the freeway. The Orthodox Jewish community in Oak Park was concerned about pedestrian access across the freeway; I-696 was built with a set of parks on overpasses to accommodate their needs. The Detroit Zoo and the City of Detroit also fought components of the freeway design. These concessions delayed the completion of I-696 until December 15, 1989. Since completion, the speed limit was raised from 55 to 70 miles per hour (89 to 113 km/h). In addition, some interchanges were reconfigured in 2006. ( Full article...)
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The following are images from various Michigan highway-related articles on Wikipedia.

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Credit: Imzadi1979 from Wikipedia
I-296 viewed from across the Grand River


State Trunkline System, overview of the system


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