M-50 (Michigan highway)

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M-50 marker

M-50 highlighted in red
Route information
Maintained by MDOT
Length: 138.072 mi[2] (222.205 km)
Existed: c. July 1, 1919[1] – present
Major junctions
West end: I‑96 near Alto

M‑43 / M‑66 near Woodbury
I‑69 / M‑79 in Charlotte
I‑94 / US 127 near Jackson
M‑106 in Jackson
US 12 near Brooklyn
M‑52 near Tecumseh

US 23 in Dundee
East end: US 24 in Monroe
Counties: Kent, Ionia, Barry, Eaton, Jackson, Lenawee, Monroe
Highway system
M‑49 M‑51

M-50 is a state trunkline highway in the US state of Michigan. Although designated as an east–west highway, it is nearly a diagonal northwest–southeast route. The western terminus is at exit 52 along Interstate 96 (I-96) near Alto a few miles east of the metro Grand Rapids area, and its eastern terminus is in downtown Monroe at US Highway 24 (US 24, Telegraph Road). In between the trunkline runs through seven counties of the southern part of the Lower Peninsula mostly through rural farm fields and small communities. The highway also runs through downtown Jackson to connect between two freeway sections of US 127. In the Irish Hills area of the state southeast of Jackson, M-50 runs next to Michigan International Speedway.

Dating back to the early days of the state highway system, M-50 was first signed in the southeastern corner of the state in 1919. During the 1920s, the highway was extended to the Grand Rapids area and beyond to Lake Michigan, making it a trans-peninsular route connecting that Great Lake with Lake Erie. A rerouting of highways including M-50 through Grand Rapids in the 1950s created Business M-50 (BUS M-50), a business loop through that city that lasted for eight years. Additional changes made during the 1960s rerouted M-50 to replace its business loop until the highway was shortened to its present western terminus south of Lowell. A pair of truncations in Monroe in 1996 and 2006 are responsible for the present-day eastern terminus.

Route description[edit]

Lowell to Jackson[edit]

M-50 begins at an interchange with I-96 at exit 52 south of Lowell in southeastern Kent County. The highway proceeds south along with Alden Nash Avenue and turns east on 92nd Street through farms and fields in the rural southeastern corner of the county. As the trunkline runs to the east, it crosses into Ionia County. M-50 follows Thompson Road, Nash Highway and Tupper Lake Road into Lake Odessa. In Lake Odessa, the road bends around the north side of Jordan Lake, curving to the south into the extreme northeastern Barry County. The highway turns back to the east as it heads towards a junction with M-66 and M-43 at the Barry–Eaton county line.[3][4]

After meeting M-43, the two trunklines run concurrently for about a mile (1.6 km) before M-50 breaks off to the southwest near Woodbury. From there, the road continues in its southeasterly path along Clinton Trail through the northeast part of Eaton County as it runs through fields to Charlotte. Just prior to entering the city, the road bends to the south and near the middle of town it has a junction with M-79 and Business Loop I-69 (BL I-69). After this intersection, M-50 continues south concurrent with the business loop for a several blocks before turning eastward. On the eastern end of town, it has an interchange with I-69 at exit 60.[3][4]

After heading east past the junction with I-69, the highway turns southeast as it heads through rural fields toward Eaton Rapids. Once it reaches the city, M-50 converges with M-99, and the two intersect M-188 on the south side of the Grand River. The two highways run south out of the city. Immediately prior to entering Jackson County, the two trunklines diverge with M-99 heading off to the southwest and M-50 to the southeast.[3][4]

M-50 continues its journey through Jackson County, winding its way to the southeast through rural fields and small forests. The landscape transitions to residential neighborhoods as the road approaches the US 127 freeway north of Jackson. In Blackman Township, M-50 merges with US 127 to run concurrently into the north side of Jackson. After an interchange with I-94 at exit 138, US 127 exits to run east on I-94 for four miles (6.4 km), M-50 and Business US 127 (BUS US 127) run concurrently into the city as West Avenue passing by the Jackson Crossing shopping mall. The road then proceeds south through the northern side of the city before turning east on Michigan Avenue as it heads towards downtown.[3][4]

Jackson to Monroe[edit]

In downtown Jackson, Michigan Avenue continues into downtown while M-50 is routed around the city center along paired one-way streets. Washington Street carries eastbound traffic and the Louis Glick Highway. On the east side of downtown, the roads merge near the Jackson Amtrak station and a junction with M-106 on Cooper Street, where M-50 turns south and then southeast as Brooklyn Road. On the south side of Jackson, M-50 and US 127 meet up once again just east of Vandercook Lake. M-50 follows the US 127 freeway through a pair of conjoined partial interchanges before M-50 heads east away from Vandercook Lake.[3][4]

The trunkline then heads southeast to Napoleon, where the road then turns south and heads towards Brooklyn, part of the Irish Hills area of Lenawee County, a region known for its scenery. The road serves as main street for downtown Brooklyn as well as the primary thoroughfare for drivers headed to Michigan International Speedway. M-50 curves around the north and east side of the race track before intersecting US 12 in Cambridge Junction. After crossing US 12, the road passes between several lakes of the Irish Hills area including Washington, Little Stony and Marrs lakes before continuing on its southeasterly journey towards Tecumseh.[3][4]

After leaving the Brooklyn area, the road returns to a rural environment as it cuts through agricultural fields. Before passing through Tipton, M-50 passes the entrance to Hidden Lake Gardens,[3][4] a botanical garden and arboretum operated by Michigan State University.[5] After passing Hidden Lake, the road intersects M-52 and continues into Tecumseh. Known as Chicago Boulevard, the road serves as the main route through the city. After leaving Tecumseh, the highway passes through the communities of Ridgeway and Britton before leaving Lenawee County.[3][4]

Intersection of M-50 and US 23, Dundee, on M-50 facing west

M-50 begins the final leg of its journey, as it crosses into Monroe county, passing through land that is mostly fields. Prior to reaching its interchange with US 23, the highway passes to the south of Cabela's,[3][4] a 225,000-square-foot (20,900 m2) outdoor sports retailer in Dundee.[6] After leaving town, the trunkline continues to the southeast, running to the south of the River Raisin, through rural areas as South Custer Road before entering the outskirts of Monroe where it finally ends its journey at a junction with US 24 (Telegraph Road) a few miles inland from Lake Erie.[3][4]

M-50 is maintained by the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) like other state highways in Michigan. As a part of these maintenance responsibilities, the department tracks the volume of traffic that uses the roadways under its jurisdiction. These volumes are expressed using a metric called annual average daily traffic, which is a statistical calculation of the average daily number of vehicles on a segment of roadway. MDOT's surveys in 2011 showed that the highest traffic levels along M-50 were the 25,770 vehicles daily south of the Springport Road interchange in the Jackson area; the lowest counts were the 2,055 vehicles per day south of the M-99 concurrency.[7] The only sections of M-50 that have been listed on the National Highway System (NHS) are the two US 127 concurrencies in the Jackson area and the connection between them through downtown.[8] The NHS is a network of roads important to the country's economy, defense, and mobility.[9]


When the state highway system was first signed in 1919,[10] M-50 started at an intersection with M-23 (present-day US 12) in Cambridge Junction, south of Brooklyn. From there it ran to the southeast, similar to its present day routing, through Dundee and Tecumseh into downtown Monroe where it intersected M-56.[1] There was a concurrency between M-50 and M-65 between Dundee and the Ida area which became an overlap with US 23 after 1926.[11] By the end of 1927, M-50 underwent a major lengthening as its western terminus was extended through Jackson to Eaton Rapids, Charlotte, and Vermontville before intersecting M-39 just east of Woodbury. From this point, M-50 was routed over M-39 to US 16 near Alto. M-50 then ran concurrently with US 16 into Grand Rapids where it turned to the west and traveled through Allendale before terminating at a junction with US 31 in Agnew.[12] A few years later in 1929, the route between Charlotte and Woodbury was changed as M-50 was routed north out of Charlotte to the former M-39 and replaced it east to Woodbury; the former routing was turned over to local control.[13][14]

In 1953, the route was realigned onto the south and west beltline to bypass Grand Rapids; the old routing through downtown became Business M-50 (BUS M-50).[15][16] In the late 1950s, when the US 127 freeway bypass east of Jackson opened up, the old routing through town became BUS US 127/M-50. At the same time, the concurrency with US 23 between Dundee and the Ida area was dropped after the new US 23 freeway opened; the old route becomes solely designated M-50.[17][18]

In 1961, when the I-96/US 16/M-50 freeway was extended to the northwest in Grand Rapids, the old M-50 routing around the city became M-11 and M-50 was returned to its former alignment along Lake Michigan Drive and Fulton Street, supplanting BUS M-50.[19][20] In 1964, the western end of M-50 was truncated from its junction with US 31 back to I-96 south of Lowell at exit 52. The former alignment from exit 40 to Agnew was given the M-45 designation.[21][22]

In 1996, the highway was truncated as the terminus was scaled back to M-125 in Monroe.[23][24] Finally on October 4, 2006, the section of M-50 between M-125 and US 24 was also removed, shortening the highway by about a mile (1.9 km).[25]

Major intersections[edit]

County Location Mile[2] km Exit Destinations Notes
Kent Lowell Township 0.000–
I‑96 – Grand Rapids, Lansing Exit 52 on I-96
No major junctions
county line
WoodlandSunfield township line 22.124 35.605 M‑43 west – Hastings
M‑66 – Battle Creek, Ionia
Western end of M-43 concurrency
Eaton Sunfield Township 23.423 37.696 M‑43 east – Lansing Eastern end of M-43 concurrency
Charlotte 41.347 66.542 M‑79 west (West Lawrence Avenue) – Hastings
BL I‑69 north (East Lawrence Avenue)
Northern end of BL I-69 concurrency; eastern terminus of M-79
41.958 67.525 BL I‑69 south Southern end of BL I-69 concurrency
Eaton Township 42.707–
I‑69 – Lansing, Ft. Wayne Exit 60 on I-69
Eaton Rapids 51.818 83.393 M‑99 north – Lansing Northern end of M-99 concurrency
52.317 84.196 M‑188 east Western terminus of M-188
Hamlin Township 58.240 93.728 M‑99 south – Albion Southern end of M-99 concurrency
Jackson Blackman Township 73.258 117.897 46 US 127 north – Lansing Western end of US 127 concurrency at exit 46 on US 127; northern end of freeway; northbound exit and southbound entrance on US 127
73.539 118.350 45 Parnall Road Provides access from eastbound M-50 to northbound US 127 and southbound US 127 to westbound M-50
74.416 119.761 44 Springport Road
I‑94 south / US 127 – Detroit, Chicago

BUS US 127 south
Southern end of US 127 concurrency and northern end of the BUS US 127 concurrency; exit 138 on I-94 and exit 43 on US 127; southern end of freeway
Jackson 76.672 123.392 BL I‑94 (Michigan Avenue) Western end of BL I-94 concurrency
77.901 125.370 BL I‑94 east (Michigan Avenue)
M‑106 north – Stockbridge
Eastern end of BL I-94 concurrency; southern terminus of M-106
Summit Township 79.818–
34 US 127 – Lansing, Hudson

BUS US 127 north
Southern end of BUS US 127 concurrency; eastbound M-50 is briefly concurrent with US 127 but westbound follows a ramp
Brooklyn 91.508 147.268 M‑124 east Western terminus of M-124
Lenawee Cambridge Township 94.782 152.537 US 12 – Coldwater, Ann Arbor
Franklin Township 106.883 172.012 M‑52 – Adrian, Chelsea
Monroe Dundee 124.466–
US 23 – Ann Arbor, Toledo Exit 17 on US 23
Monroe 138.072 222.205 US 24 – Detroit, Toledo
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

Business route[edit]

BUS M-50
Location: WalkerGrand Rapids
Length: 11.084 mi[2] (17.838 km)
Existed: 1953[15][16]–1961[19][20]

Business M-50 (BUS M-50) was a 11.084-mile-long (17.838 km) business loop that ran through Grand Rapids. The state trunkline highway was created when M-50 was rerouted to follow 28th Street and Wilson Avenue around the south and west sides of the city in 1953.[15][16] The business loop was decommissioned when M-50 was returned to its former routing in 1961.[19][20] The highway followed Lake Michigan Drive (now M-45) from the Standale neighborhood of Walker easterly to Fulton Street in Grand Rapids. From there it followed Fulton easterly through downtown Grand Rapids and the east side of the city to a junction with Cascade Road in Grand Rapids Township The last segment followed Cascade Road to the I-96/M-50 freeway where it connected with its parent highway and terminated.[19]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Michigan State Highway Department (July 1, 1919). State of Michigan: Lower Peninsula (Map). Cartography by MSHD.
  2. ^ a b c Michigan Department of Transportation (2009). MDOT Physical Reference Finder Application (Map). Cartography by Michigan Center for Geographic Information. http://www.mcgi.state.mi.us/prfinder/. Retrieved June 4, 2012.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Michigan Department of Transportation (2012). State Transportation Map (Map). 1 in:15 mi / 1 cm:9 km. Section L9–N13.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Google, Inc. "Overview Map of M-50". Google Maps (Map). Cartography by Google, Inc. http://maps.google.com/maps?saddr=M-50+E%2FAlden+Nash+Ave+SE&daddr=42.7983251,-85.361719+to:42.24743,-84.42246+to:42.2366289,-84.3955691+to:42.1795467,-84.2891462+to:42.0129973,-84.0331759+to:41.9728821,-83.750239+to:41.95867,-83.66828+to:41.9287,-83.45546+to:N+Telegraph+Rd&hl=en&sll=42.855204,-85.359993&sspn=0.12131,0.116558&geocode=FRZKjgIdnFfp-g%3BFfUMjQIdyXvp-inJfTsRMkcYiDEiJmOIQKsjqw%3BFQalhAIdxND3-ikRf5-YRCU9iDGXIoo-zEmk2g%3BFdR6hAIdzzn4-il7bLlRdSU9iDF_DAvUTZBRXQ%3BFdqbgwIdhtn5-inNeXrWSSc9iDHdLUDKWwSkBw%3BFUURgQIdacH9-ilZOwIxRuk8iDF91kxW8ydxSg%3BFZJ0gAIdoRIC-ykj8-XhE5o8iDFO_U5gkqc5PA%3BFQ49gAIdyFID-ymTdZEvcpw8iDHppbICbBWNyw%3BFfzHfwIdHJIG-ynN-jkHB2U7iDGqhJ49b4zn7Q%3BFbakfwIdSCkH-w&mra=ls&via=1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8&t=h&z=8. Retrieved February 24, 2008.
  5. ^ Courtney, Steven. "Hidden Lake Gardens". University Development. Michigan State University. Retrieved June 4, 2012. 
  6. ^ Staff. "Cabela's Dundee, MI, Retail Store". Cabela's. Retrieved June 4, 2012. 
  7. ^ Bureau of Transportation Planning (2008). "Traffic Monitoring Information System". Michigan Department of Transportation. Retrieved June 4, 2012. 
  8. ^ Michigan Department of Transportation (2005) (PDF). National Highway System: Jackson Urbanized Area (Map). Cartography by MDOT. http://www.michigan.gov/documents/MDOT_NHS_Jackson_150615_7.pdf. Retrieved January 1, 2011.
  9. ^ Adderly, Kevin (August 26, 2010). "The National Highway System". Planning, Environment, & Realty. Federal Highway Administration. Retrieved January 1, 2011. 
  10. ^ "Michigan May Do Well Following Wisconsin's Road Marking System". The Grand Rapids Press. September 20, 1919. p. 10. OCLC 9975013. 
  11. ^ Michigan State Highway Department (December 1, 1926). Official Highway Condition Map (Map). Cartography by MSHD.
  12. ^ Michigan State Highway Department (December 1, 1927). Official Highway Service Map (Map). Cartography by MSHD.
  13. ^ Michigan State Highway Department (May 1, 1929). Official Highway Service Map (Map). Cartography by MSHD.
  14. ^ Michigan State Highway Department (January 1, 1930). Official Highway Service Map (Map). Cartography by H.M. Gousha.
  15. ^ a b c Michigan State Highway Department (April 15, 1953). 1953 Official Highway Map (Map). Cartography by MSHD. Grand Rapids inset.
  16. ^ a b c Michigan State Highway Department (October 1, 1953). 1953 Official Highway Map (Map). Cartography by MSHD. Grand Rapids inset.
  17. ^ Michigan State Highway Department (1958). Official Highway Map (Map). Cartography by MSHD. Section M11, N13. (Includes all changes through July 1, 1958)
  18. ^ Michigan State Highway Department (1960). Official Highway Map (Map). Cartography by MSHD. Section M11, N13. (Includes all changes through July 1, 1960)
  19. ^ a b c d Michigan State Highway Department (1961). Official Highway Map (Map). Cartography by MSHD. Grand Rapids inset. (Includes all changes through July 1, 1961)
  20. ^ a b c Michigan State Highway Department (1962). Official Highway Map (Map). Cartography by MSHD. Grand Rapids inset.
  21. ^ Michigan State Highway Department (1964). Official Highway Map (Map). Cartography by MSHD. Section K8–L9.
  22. ^ Michigan State Highway Department (1965). Official Highway Map (Map). Cartography by MDSH. Section K8–L9.
  23. ^ Michigan Department of Transportation (1996). Michigan Department of Transportation Map (Map). 1 in:3 mi / 1 cm:2 km. Cartography by MDOT. Monroe inset.
  24. ^ Michigan Department of Transportation (1997). Michigan Department of Transportation Map (Map). 1 in:3 mi / 1 cm:2 km. Cartography by MDOT. Monroe inset.
  25. ^ Staff (October 4, 2006). "Memorandum of Understanding". Michigan Department of Transportation. Retrieved February 25, 2008.  (registration required)

External links[edit]

Route map: Google / Bing