U.S. Route 12 in Michigan

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This article is about the section of highway in Michigan. For the entire length of highway, see US Highway 12.

US Highway 12 marker

US Highway 12
Route information
Maintained by MDOT
Length: 210.077 mi[1] (338.086 km)
Existed: November 11, 1926 (1926-11-11) – present
Lake Michigan Circle Tour
US 12 Heritage Trail
Major junctions
West end: US 12 near New Buffalo

I‑94 near New Buffalo
US 31 near Niles
US 131 near White Pigeon
I‑69 in Coldwater
US 127 near Somerset
US 23 near Ann Arbor
I‑94 in Ypsilanti
I‑275 near Wayne
US 24 in Dearborn

I‑94 in Dearborn
East end: Michigan Avenue and Cass Avenue in Detroit
Counties: Berrien, Cass, St. Joseph, Branch, Hillsdale, Lenawee, Washtenaw, Wayne
Highway system
M‑11 M‑12
US 23 M-23 US 24
M‑111 US 112 M‑112
M‑150 M-151 M‑151

US Highway 12 (US 12) is a US Highway that runs from Aberdeen, Washington to Detroit, Michigan. In Michigan it runs for 220 miles (350 km) between New Buffalo and Detroit as a state trunkline highway.

The current US 12 follows roadways that previously carried two other numbers. When the state signposted its State Trunkline Highway System in 1919, the current highway was numbered M-23. After the United States Numbered Highway System was created, US 12 was assigned to replace the original M-17 in the state along Michigan Avenue between Kalamazoo and Detroit, a highway corridor now served by Interstate 94 (I-94). M-23 was replaced by US 112 in 1926. That highway was extended in the 1930s to replace the original M-151. Once the I-94 freeway was completed, the US 12 designation was moved to replace US 112 between New Buffalo and Ann Arbor.

Route description[edit]

US 12 enters the state of Michigan west of New Buffalo near the town of Michiana. The Lake Michigan Circle Tour is routed along US 12 until the two meet I-94 in New Buffalo. US 12 continues across the southern portion of Berrien County running eastward to Niles. There US 12 meets US 31/St. Joseph Valley Parkway. US 12 runs parallel to the state line intersecting US 131 near White Pigeon and M-66 in Sturgis in St. Joseph County. East of Sturgis, US 12 turns northeasterly to Coldwater and a major intersection with I-69.

East of Coldwater, US 12 runs northeastward to Jonesville northwest of Hillsdale where it meets M-99. In Jackson County it passes near the Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn. It runs along the Lenawee/Washtenaw county line before turning northeast to Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti. Here it forms Michigan Avenue the rest of the way to Detroit. US 12 and Michigan Avenue part ways briefly in Ypsilanti when US 12 follows I-94 and BUS US 12 follows Michigan Avenue near Willow Run. US 12 runs roughly parallel to I-94 east to Detroit before crossing over to the south side of the freeway and ending downtown Detroit at the corner of Michigan and Cass.


Old US 12 in Michigan runs from downtown Detroit to Chicago. It was replaced by Interstate 94 in 1962, and the state of Michigan re-routed the U.S. 12 designation to the former route of U.S. Highway 112.

What is now US 12 was originally Chicago Road, which ran from Detroit, Michigan, to Chicago, Illinois. It follows the general route of the old Sauk Trail, an important Native American trail. In 1680, the explorer Robert La Salle was probably the first European to travel along it.

The disasters suffered in the War of 1812 taught the Government that it could not defend the western country without roads over which to move its armies and their supplies. In 1824, the United States Congress appropriated money for the survey of roads of national importance in the General Survey Act, and the U.S. President allocated one third of the entire sum to surveying a military highway connecting Detroit with Fort Dearborn at Chicago. From about 1830 on, an ever-increasing flood of settlers poured into the Old Northwest and thousands of them traveled the new highway leading to Chicago, which has ever since been called the Chicago Road. In 1833, the Detroit Arsenal was constructed near the eastern end of the road and its water connection to the East Coast. By 1835, daily stagecoaches ran between Detroit and Chicago.[2]

Construction of the Chicago Road began on the eastern end of the Sauk Trail, and the road did not reach the Michigan-Indiana border until 1835.[3]

Iron Brigade Memorial Highway sign, Pittsfield Township

It was an old highway that ran through the middle of the major towns and cities of Michigan between Detroit and Chicago. In most cases the road is still there, and is named either Michigan Avenue, Old US 12 or the Red Arrow Highway, named after the 32nd Infantry Division.[4] It is still possible to drive the highway from downtown Detroit all the way to The Magnificent Mile in Chicago, with only a few places in which one is required to navigate around the Interstate Highway. The major break in Old US 12 is in the middle of Michigan in Parma Township . It is at this point that I-94 cuts south to some degree and bisects the old highway, forcing a motorist to navigate north on smaller roads. Some bypassed portions of the roadway have (although faded) dashed white lines,[where?] predating the 1971 Michigan Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices.

Prior to 1956, the Detroit-Ann Arbor segment of US 12 was routed directly through Ann Arbor, through Plymouth Township, Livonia, and Redford Township, into Detroit, along the Plymouth-Ann Arbor Road corridor to Plymouth Road's eastern terminus at US 16, Grand River Avenue. US 12 continued on Grand River Avenue, co-signed with US 16, into downtown Detroit. Except for the co-signed Grand River Avenue segment, this route was designated as M-14 when US 12 was rerouted to the Detroit Industrial and Willow Run Expressways, most of which became I-94 in 1962.

Michigan Avenue[edit]

Historic Michigan Central Station along Michigan Avenue
General Thaddeus Kosciuszko Monument at Michigan Ave. and Third St. in Detroit.

Michigan Avenue is one of the major pre-interstate roads of the state of Michigan. Running through the state east to west, it follows the former course of old US 12 which itself followed the earlier military territorial highway, the Chicago Road. Today the Michigan Avenue name follows a discontinuous route: from downtown Detroit to Hayes State Park in Lenawee County it follows the current route of US 12. West of this on the current US 12, the Michigan Avenue name is dropped and the road is known as simply "US 12" (west of the junction with US 127 the road is also known as "Chicago Road").

From the eastern Jackson County boundary west to Battle Creek, it mostly follows the route of old US 12, although it has been routed over newer roads in places where I-94 was built over the former US 12. The Michigan Avenue designation ends on the west side of Kalamazoo, near US 131, and reappears only within the village of Paw Paw.

In Detroit, Michigan Avenue is one of five major avenues (along with Woodward, Grand River, Gratiot and Jefferson) planned by judge Augustus Woodward in 1805 that extend from downtown Detroit in differing directions. Like the other major avenues, the road extends well beyond the city of Detroit, and historically served as a principal axis of expansion for development beyond Detroit and as the main street of many small towns along its route. The road was a principal settlement and trade route to the west, connecting the water route through the Great Lakes from the east to Chicago and the west without the long passage by water around the unsettled North of Michigan.

Historic Tiger Stadium, the home of the Detroit Tigers from 1895–1999, was colloquially named "The Corner", referring to its location on the corner of Michigan Avenue and Trumbull Avenue in Detroit. It has since been demolished.

In Westland, the historic Eloise complex was on Michigan Avenue.

Current routing[edit]

Location: UnionYpsilanti
Existed: c. July 1, 1919[6]–November 11, 1926[5]

US Highway 112
Location: New BuffaloDetroit
Length: 207 mi[7] (333 km)
Existed: November 11, 1926–1962

When the original state highway system was signposted in 1919,[8] M-23 ran from the Indiana–Michigan state line near Union to Ypsilanti, and M-17 ran into downtown Detroit. In 1925, US 112 was originally proposed to run from Oshkosh to Fremont, Wisconsin on what later became U.S. Route 110.[9] In 1926, between Edwardsburg and Adamsville, it made a sharp turn to the southwest along what was first US 112S and later until 2002 M-205 in Michigan, then Indiana's State Road 19 and former State Road 112 to connect to US 20 west of Elkhart, Indiana.

The US 12 designation was moved to supplant US 112 in Michigan in January 1962. This removed the US 12 designation from the I-94 freeway except for the Ypsilanti bypass, and US 112 was completely removed as a highway designation. BUS US 112 in both Niles and Ypsilanti became BUS US 12. On March 15, 2001, US 12 was shortened in Detroit by four city blocks to end along Michigan Avenue at Griswold Street. This would be shortened again on June 8, 2005 to Michigan Avenue and Cass Avenue.

Pulaski Memorial Highway, after Kazimierz Pułaski, is an honorary name given to the current routing.[10] It has also been designated as the Iron Brigade Memorial Highway;[11] a designation which it also has in Indiana, Illinois and Wisconsin.[12][13][14]

Major intersections[edit]

County Location mi[1] km Exit Destinations Notes
Berrien New Buffalo Township 0.000 0.000 US 12 west / LMCT – Gary Indiana state line
I‑94 / LMCT – Detroit, Chicago Eastern end of LMCT concurrency; exit 4 on I-94
Bertrand Township 26.260–
US 31 (St. Joseph Valley Parkway) – South Bend, Holland Exit 3 on US 31
27.213 43.795 M‑139 north (Chicago Road) Former BUS US 12; western end of Niles Bypass; southern terminus of M-139
Niles Township 29.85 48.04 M‑51 – Niles, South Bend Interchange; separate exits westbound for northbound (Niles) and southbound (South Bend)
Cass Milton Township 31.413 50.554 M‑60 east (Detroit Road) – Three Rivers
East Main Street
Interchange; US 12 departs via exit ramps, M-60 continues easterly past eastern end of Niles Bypass as divided highway; western terminus of M-60
Edwardsburg 39.901 64.214 M‑62 – Cassopolis
Mason Township 46.995 75.631 Old M-205 Formerly M-205
MasonPorter township line 50.994 82.067 M‑217 south (Michiana Parkway) – Elkhart
Porter Township 55.473 89.275 M‑40 north – Marcellus Southern terminus of M-40
St. Joseph Mottville 57.857 93.112 M‑103 south
White Pigeon 62.742 100.973 US 131 – Three Rivers
Sturgis 74.909 120.554 M‑66 south (Centerville Road) Western end of M-66 concurrency
75.419 121.375 M‑66 north (Nottawa Street) – Battle Creek Eastern end of M-66 concurrency
Branch Coldwater Township 98.516 158.546 M‑86 west (Colon Road) – Three Rivers Eastern terminus of M-86
Coldwater 100.759 162.156 BL I‑69 south Western end of BL I-69 concurrency
I‑69 – Ft. Wayne, Lansing
BL I‑69 south
Eastern end of concurrency BL I-69
Hillsdale Allen 113.064 181.959 M‑49 north (Allen Road) – Litchfield Western end of M-49 concurrency
Allen Township 113.589 182.804 M‑49 south (Edon Road) – Reading Eastern end of M-49 concurrency
Jonesville 118.539 190.770 M‑99 south (Carleton Road) – Hillsdale Western end of M-99 concurrency
118.879 191.317 M‑99 north (Homer Road) – Albion Eastern end of M-99 concurrency
Lenawee Woodstock Township 136.114 219.054 US 127 (Meridian Road) to US 223
Cambridge Township 143.423 230.817 M‑50 – Jackson, Monroe
147.669 237.650 M‑124 west (Wamplers Lake Road) – W.J. Hayes State Park Eastern terminus of M-124
No major junctions
Lenawee Franklin Township 154.540 248.708 M‑52 – Chelsea, Adrian
Washtenaw Pittsfield Township 174.258–
US 23 – Ann Arbor, Toledo Exit 34 on US 23
Ypsilanti Township 176.400–
181 I‑94 west – Chicago Western end of I-94 concurrency
Ypsilanti 178.211 286.803 183
Bus. US 12 east (Huron Street) – Ypsilanti
Ypsilanti Township 181.332 291.826 185 I‑94 east – Detroit Eastern end of I-94 concurrency; eastbound exit and westbound entrance
182.150 293.142 M‑17 west – Ypsilanti Westbound exit and eastbound entrance; missing connections provided via Dorset Avenue or at Michigan left east of Plant Truck Access interchange; eastern terminus of M-17
182.527 293.749 Willow Run Airport – Plant Truck Access Interchange
183.323 295.030 Willow Run Airport Former Y interchange
WashtenawWayne county line YpsilantiVan Buren township line 183.761 295.735 Ecorse Road Eastbound exit and westbound entrance
Wayne Van Buren Township 184.597 297.080
Bus. US 12 west (Michigan Avenue)
Canton Township 189.537–
I‑275 – Flint, Toledo Exit  22 on I-275
Dearborn 198.478–
US 24 (Telegraph Road) Interchange
200.353 322.437 Western end of expressway
M‑39 (Southfield Freeway) Exit 6 on M-39
202.605 326.061 Greenfield Road Interchange
202.846 326.449 Eastern end of expressway
I‑94 (Edsel Ford Freeway) Exit 210 on I-94
Detroit 204.718 329.462 M‑153 west (Ford Road) Eastern terminus of M-153
I‑75 (Fisher Freeway) Exit 47 on I-75
210.077 338.086 Cass Avenue Eastern terminus of US 12; Michigan Avenue continues to Woodward Avenue
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

Related routes[edit]

Niles business loop[edit]

Business US Highway 12
Location: Niles
Existed: June 24, 1957[17]–March 5, 2010[15][16]

Business US Highway 12 (Bus. US 12) was a business route running in Niles. It was first designated in 1957 as a business route of US 112. At that time, US 112 and M-60 were transferred to a bypass south of Niles. When US 112 was decommissioned in 1960, Bus. US 112 was redesignated Bus. US 12 to match the new US 12 designation. The business loop designation was removed in early 2010. The western terminus of Bus. US 12 was at the corner of West Chicago Road and US 12 (Pulaski Highway) east of the US 12/US 31 interchange. The eastern terminus was at the corner of US 12 (Pulaski Highway) and M-51 (South 11th Street).

In 1986, US 33 was truncated in Michigan to end at US 12. Bus. US 12 was rerouted in Niles to replace US 33 through town; Bus. US 31 was added a year later. The section of Bus. US 12 from the US 12/M-60 interchange northwest to Bus. US 12 along East Main St. was left as an unsigned trunkline until 1994, when local authorities assumed control. In 1998, US 33 was removed from Michigan completely. At this time, M-51 was extended over former US 33 and replaced part of the Bus. US 31 designation in Niles.

On March 5, 2010, the segment of Bus. US 12 between Bus. US 31 and M-51 was turned over to local control.[15] In April 2010 the Bus. US 12 designation was retired when an extended M-139 replaced it from the local control section southwestward prior to maps and signage being changed.[18] The concurrent segment along M-51 became M-51 only.

Ypsilanti business loop[edit]

Michigan Avenue facing west, downtown Ypsilanti

Business US Highway 12
Location: Ypsilanti
Existed: 1956[19]–present

Business US Highway 12 (Bus. US 12) is a business route running in Ypsilanti. It was first designated in 1962 as a business route of US 12 when US 12 replaced US 112. The western terminus of Bus. US 12 is at an interchange with I-94/US 12 south of downtown Ypsilanti. The eastern terminus is at an intersection with US 12 just east of the WayneWashtenaw county line. In 1942, Ypsilanti was bypassed by a Bypass US 112 (Byp. US 112). US 112 continued to run along its routing in Ypsilanti. In 1956, US 112 was rerouted along Byp. US 112, and US 112 through downtown Ypsilanti became Bus. US 112, and later Bus. US 12.

Suffixed route[edit]

US Highway 112S
Location: Union, MI to Rolling Prairie, IN
Length: 30 mi[20] (48 km)
Existed: 1933–1934

US Highway 112S (US 112S) was a spur route of US 112 in the 1930s. Originally, it had been part of US 112 before the latter route was relocated to go through Michigan's southwestern most counties. When US 112 was relocated to New Buffalo, the former US 112 going into Indiana became US 112S. This would continue only a couple of years or so, when the Michigan portion of US 112S became M-205. In December 2003, the M-205 designation was removed, and today it is a county road.

See also[edit]

  • M-112, a loop route in the Metro Detroit area and the initial designation for the Willow Run Expressway and Detroit Industrial Freeway


  1. ^ a b MDOT Physical Reference Finder Application (Map). Cartography by Michigan Center for Geographic Information. Michigan Department of Transportation. 2009. Retrieved August 11, 2013. 
  2. ^ Footpathes to Freeway, The Evolution of Michigan Roadmaps, http://maps.lib.msu.edu/miroadmaps/, Kathleen Weessies, Michigan State University Library, May 17, 2007, accessed November 24, 2007
  3. ^ Barnett, LeRoy (2004). A Drive Down Memory Lane: The Named State And Federal Highways Of Michigan, p. 51. Allegan Forest, MI: The Priscilla Press. ISBN 1-886167-24-9.
  4. ^ Passic, Frank (May 21, 2006). "Red Arrow Highway". Morning Star. Retrieved May 10, 2008. 
  5. ^ United States System of Highways Adopted for Uniform Marking by the American Association of State Highway Officials (Map). 1:7,000,000. Cartography by U.S. Geological Survey. Bureau of Public Roads. November 11, 1926. OCLC 32889555. Retrieved November 7, 2013. 
  6. ^ State of Michigan: Lower Peninsula (Map). Cartography by MSHD. Michigan State Highway Department. July 1, 1919. 
  7. ^ Droz, Robert V. "US Highways From US 1 to US 830". Retrieved September 4, 2008. 
  8. ^ "Michigan May Do Well Following Wisconsin's Road Marking System". The Grand Rapids Press. September 20, 1919. p. 10. OCLC 9975013. 
  9. ^ Droz, Robert V. "1925 US Highway Plan". US Highways From US 1 to US 830. Retrieved September 4, 2008. 
  10. ^ "Michigan Department of Transportation: All Memorial Highways". Michigan Department of Transportation. Retrieved April 16, 2008. 
  11. ^ Michigan Legislature (October 26, 2001). "Michigan Memorial Highway Act". State of Michigan. Retrieved June 18, 2010. 
  12. ^ "Commemorative highways and bridges". Wisconsin Department of Transportation. June 4, 2010. Retrieved June 18, 2010. 
  13. ^ "Memorial Highways and Bridges". Indiana Department of Transportation. Retrieved June 18, 2010. 
  14. ^ Illinois General Assembly (May 30, 2004). "HR 0688". State of Illinois. Retrieved June 19, 2010. 
  15. ^ a b Contract Number 2010-0086 Effective date of transfer: March 5, 2010, Roadway segment Transferred from MDOT to the City of Niles, becoming a City Major street: US-12 Business Route (BR)/Main Street, from the centerline of Old US-31/Front Street easterly to the centerline of M-51/North Fifth Street, a distance of approximately 0.24 miles, in control section 11041.
  16. ^ Allen, Patrick (May 7, 2010). "Re: MI - US-12 BR fate (was M-139 has been extended)". Yahoo! Groups: Great Lakes Roads. Retrieved May 7, 2010. 
  17. ^ Bessert, Christopher J. (October 22, 2006). "Michigan Highways: Business Connections 2 through 31". Michigan Highways. Retrieved March 25, 2007. 
  18. ^ "Forum set for bridge project". The Herald-Palladium (St. Joseph, MI). April 27, 2010. Retrieved April 27, 2010. 
  19. ^ Bessert, Christopher J. (October 10, 2006). "Michigan Highways: Business Connections 2 through 31". Michigan Highways. Retrieved March 25, 2007. 
  20. ^ Droz, Robert V (April 22, 2008). "US Highways: Divided (Split) Routes". Retrieved January 10, 2010. 

External links[edit]

Route map: Bing

US Highway 12
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