U.S. Route 2 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 2.

US Highway 2 marker

US Highway 2
US 2 runs through the southern part of Michigan's Upper Peninsula parallel to the Wisconsin state line and the Lake Michigan shoreline
US 2 highlighted in red
Route information
Maintained by MDOT
Length: 305.151 mi[2][a] (491.093 km)
Existed: November 11, 1926 (1926-11-11)[1] – present
Lake Superior Circle Tour
Iron County Heritage Trail
Lake Michigan Circle Tour
UP Hidden Coast Recreational Heritage Trail
Western segment
Length: 109.177 mi[2] (175.703 km)
West end: US 2 at Ironwood

M‑28 at Wakefield
US 45 at Watersmeet

US 141 at Crystal Falls
East end: US 2 / US 141 near Crystal Falls
Eastern segment
Length: 195.974 mi[2] (315.390 km)
West end: US 2 / US 141 near Iron Mountain

US 141 near Iron Mountain
US 8 at Norway
US 41 at Powers
M‑35 at Escanaba
US 41 at Rapid River

M‑94 at Manistique
East end: I‑75 / BL I‑75 at St. Ignace
Counties: Gogebic, Iron; Dickinson, Menominee, Delta, Schoolcraft, Mackinac
Highway system
M‑1 M‑3

US Highway 2 (US 2) is a component of the United States Numbered Highway System that connects Everett, Washington, to the Upper Peninsula (UP) of the US state of Michigan, with a separate segment that runs from Rouses Point, New York, to Houlton, Maine. In Michigan, the highway runs through the UP in two segments as a part of the state trunkline highway system, entering the state at Ironwood and ending at St. Ignace; in between, US 2 briefly traverses the state of Wisconsin. As one of the major transportation arteries in the UP, US 2 is a major conduit for traffic through the state and neighboring northern Midwest states. Two sections of the roadway are included as part of the Great Lakes Circle Tours, and other segments are listed as state-designated Pure Michigan Byways. There are several memorial highway designations and historic bridges along US 2 that date to the 1910s and 1920s. The highway runs through rural sections of the UP, passing through two national and two state forests in the process.

The route of what became US 2 was used as part of two Indian trails before European settlers came to the UP, and as part of the Michigan segments of the Theodore Roosevelt International Highway and the King's International Highway auto trails in the early 20th century. The state later included these trails as part of M‑12 when the first state highway trunklines were designated in 1919. Most of M‑12 was redesignated as part of US 2 when the US Highway System was created on November 11, 1926. Since the 1930s, several changes have reshaped the highway's routing through the UP. One such alteration eventually created a business loop that connected across the state line with Hurley, Wisconsin, and others pushed an originally inland routing of US 2 closer to the Lake Michigan shoreline. With the creation of the Interstate Highway System, part of US 2 was rerouted to coincide with the new Interstate 75 (I‑75), though in the 1980s, the U.S. Highway was truncated and removed from the I‑75 freeway, resulting in today's basic form.

Route description[edit]

According to a 2006 regional planning committee report, US 2 is a key highway for Michigan, providing its main western gateway. The roadway plays "an important role in the transportation of goods across the northern tier of states in the Midwest",[3] and is listed on the National Highway System (NHS) for its entire length.[4] The NHS is a network of roadways important to the country's economy, defense, and mobility.[5] Together with M‑28, US 2 is part of a pair of primary trunklines that bridge the eastern and western sides of the UP.[6] The 305.151 miles (491.093 km) of roadway in Michigan is divided into a 109.177-mile (175.703 km) western segment and a 195.974-mile (315.390 km) eastern segment,[2] interrupted by a section that runs for 14.460 miles (23.271 km) in the state of Wisconsin.[7]

Western segment[edit]

US 2 enters Michigan from Wisconsin for the first time north of downtown Hurley, Wisconsin, and Ironwood, Michigan, over the state line that runs along the Montreal River. The highway crosses the river into Gogebic County and passes a welcome center on the way into a commercial district north of downtown. Running along Cloverland Drive, US 2 meets its only business route in Michigan at Douglas Boulevard.[6][8] The business route was previously a full loop that ran west through downtown Ironwood and crossed the border into Hurley and back to the main highway. The Wisconsin Department of Transportation has removed the signage on their side of the border, which reduced the loop to a business spur that ends at the state line.[9][10] US 2 continues eastward through UP woodlands to the city of Bessemer. While bypassing the community of Ramsay, the highway crosses a branch of the Black River. The roadway enters Wakefield on the south side of Sunday Lake, meeting M‑28 at a stoplight in town. As the US Highway leaves Wakefield, it turns southeasterly through the Ottawa National Forest,[8][11] crossing Jackson Creek and two branches of the Presque Isle River. US 2 and M‑64 merge and run concurrently over the second branch of the Presque Isle in the community of Marenisco.[6][8][11] This concurrency has the lowest traffic volume along the entire length of the highway within the state; in 2010 the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) recorded a daily average usage along the stretch of 770 vehicles, compared to the overall average of 5,188 vehicles for the highway.[12] At the end of the concurrency, M‑64 turns northerly to run along Lake Gogebic.[6][8][11]

The highway continues parallel to the state line from the Marensico area through the national forest toward Watersmeet. That unincorporated community is the home of the Watersmeet High School Nimrods, the basketball team featured on a series of ESPN commercials and a documentary series on the Sundance Channel.[13] The area is also where the waters meet; the rolling hills drain to Lake Superior via the Ontonagon River, to Lake Michigan via the Brule and Menominee rivers, or to the Gulf of Mexico via the Wisconsin and Mississippi rivers. Also located in the area are the Sylvania Wilderness, and the Lac Vieux Desert Indian Reservation, which includes the Lac Vieux Desert Casino and Resort.[14] The highway travels southeasterly from Watersmeet around the many lakes and streams in the area and crosses into rural Iron County. US 2 intersects Federal Forest Highway 16 (FFH 16) near Golden Lake in Stambaugh Township in the middle of the national forest. The trunkline then runs along the Iron River as it approaches the city of the same name and meets M‑73. In town, US 2 intersects M‑189 before crossing the river and turning northeast out of the city.[6][8][11]

Photograph of the city limits sign showing
US 2 entering Crystal Falls as a two-lane highway

US 2 leaves the Ottawa National Forest at Iron River,[11] and the highway continues eastward through forest lands near several small lakes to Crystal Falls, the county seat of Iron County. On the west side of town, US 2 meets US 141; the two highways run concurrently along Crystal Avenue. The combined highway turns south onto 5th Street and meets M‑69's eastern terminus at the intersection between 5th Street and Superior Avenue next to the county courthouse at the top of the hill. US 2/US 141 runs south out of Crystal Falls to the west of, and parallel to, the Paint River. The roadway passes Railroad, Kennedy and Stager lakes and leaves the state of Michigan at the Brule River,[6][8] crossing into Florence County, Wisconsin for about 14 miles (23 km).[7]

Eastern segment[edit]

US 2/US 141 re-enters Michigan where it crosses the Menominee River and subsequently meets M‑95 in Breitung Township north of Iron Mountain and Kingsford. The highways merge in a triple concurrency and run south on Stephenson Avenue into Iron Mountain along the west side of Lake Antoine, parallel to a branch line of the Escanaba and Lake Superior Railroad (ELS Railroad).[8][15] The road crosses through a retail corridor and over a flooded pit of the Chapin Mine. In downtown Iron Mountain at Ludington Street, M‑95 turns west off Stephenson Avenue to run across town to Kingsford. US 2/US 141 exits downtown and turns east along a second retail corridor near the Midtown Mall. The highway re-enters Breitung Township where US 141 separates to the south to re-enter Wisconsin.[8] US 2 continues eastward parallel to a branch of the Canadian National Railway (CN Railway).[15] Both road and rail travel through the community of Quinnesec, where they pass near the largest paper mill in the UP.[16] The trunkline runs along the main street of Norway, where the highway meets the eastern terminus of US 8. Then US 2 continues east through rural Dickinson County to Vulcan, passing north of Hanbury Lake through the Copper Country State Forest, before crossing the Sturgeon River in Loretto and passing into Menominee County.[6][8]

Photograph showing
US 2/US 141 at the intersection with East B Street, downtown Iron Mountain

In Menominee County, the environment takes on a more agricultural character along US 2. The highway passes through the edge of the community of Hermansville before entering Powers. US 2 comes to a three-way intersection and turns northeast merging onto US 41. The concurrent highway runs from Powers through the communities of Wilson and Spaulding on the south side of the CN Railway. At Harris, the trunkline enters the Hannahville Indian Community. Harris is on the Menominee County side of the reservation, but as the highway continues east, it crosses over to Bark River on the Delta County side. The county line in between not only separates the two communities, but also serves as the boundary between the Central and Eastern time zones. East of Bark River, the highway crosses the community's namesake waterway before intersecting the eastern terminus of M‑69. The roadway crosses the Ford River prior to turning due east into the outskirts of Escanaba.[6][8]

US 2/US 41 widens to four lanes along Ludington Street, which forms the east–west axis of the Escanaba street grid. Near downtown, the highway meets M‑35, which runs along the city's north–south axis, Lincoln Avenue. The trunklines merge and run north, bypassing the traditional central business district for a different business corridor.[8] Lincoln Avenue runs north carrying four lanes of traffic past the Upper Peninsula State Fairgrounds, site of one of the two state fairs for the state of Michigan, the only state to have twin fairs.[17] US 2/US 41/M‑35 continues north on Lincoln Avenue past the campus of Bay de Noc Community College. The four-lane highway crosses the Escanaba River just upstream from its mouth near the large Mead Paper Mill and shifts to run immediately next to Little Bay de Noc.[6][8][17] The section here carried the highest traffic counts along all of US 2 in the state: an average of 23,977 vehicles used this segment of roadway daily in 2011.[12]

Photograph showing
The US 2/US 41 expressway north of Gladstone is the only section of highway in the UP with a speed limit of 65 mph (105 km/h).

The road turns inland again, and US 2/US 41/M‑35 passes to the west of downtown Gladstone. The highway through here is an expressway, four lanes divided by a central median and no driveway access. Unlike a freeway, the expressway has standard intersections and not interchanges. The highway intersects the eastern terminus of County Road 426 (CR 426) and crosses the ELS Railroad south of the stoplight for 4th Avenue North, where M‑35 separates from the US Highways and turns to the northwest. The expressway continues north parallel to the CN Railway, crossing the Days River.[6][8] Through this area, the trunkline carries a speed limit of 65 mph (105 km/h) for car traffic; this status is unique in the UP.[18] The expressway segment runs around the upper end of Little Bay de Noc before ending at Rapid River. In this location, US 41 separates to the north, and US 2 returns to an easterly track as a two-lane road, crossing the Rapid and Whitefish rivers and turning southeast around the head of the bay.[6] As US 2 crosses southern Delta County, it passes through the western unit of the Hiawatha National Forest.[11] Near Garden Corners, the highway runs along the shore of Big Bay de Noc. After the intersection with the northern terminus of M‑183, US 2 turns inland cutting across the base of the Garden Peninsula and enters Schoolcraft County.[6]

As the highway approaches Thompson, US 2 leaves the western unit of the Hiawatha National Forest and enters the Lake Superior State Forest.[8][11] The roadway runs along Lake Michigan to Manistique, crossing the Manistique River. The trunkline turns inland approaching Gulliver and then turns north-northeast to Blaney Park.[6] The community there is a former logging town-turned-resort at the southern terminus of M‑77; the resort was active from the late 1920s but declined by the 1980s.[19] From Blaney Park, US 2 turns due east and crosses into Mackinac County west of Gould City. Where it intersects a former routing, the main highway crosses the CN Railway one last time and runs to the south of Engadine to follow the Lake Michigan shoreline through Naubinway.[6] After passing the community of Epoufette,[8] US 2 crosses the Cut River Bridge, 147 feet (45 m) over the Cut River.[20] The highway crosses into the eastern unit of the Hiawatha National Forest near Brevort, running between Lake Michigan and Brevort Lake in the process.[11] The road continues along the Lake Michigan shoreline, passing Mystery Spot near Gros Cap and turning inland immediately west of St. Ignace. The US 2 designation ends at the highway's partial cloverleaf interchange with I‑75. The roadway continues easterly into downtown St. Ignace as Business Loop I‑75 (BL I‑75).[6][8]


Indian trail through auto trails[edit]

Cloverland Trail marker from 1915
Theodore Roosevelt International Highway marker from 1919
Highway markers for the Cloverland Trail (left) and Theodore Roosevelt International Highway (right), both of which predate the modern highway

In 1701, the first transportation routes through what became the state of Michigan were the lakes, rivers and Indian trails. Two of these trails followed parts of the future US 2. The Sault–Green Bay Trail roughly followed the Lake Michigan shoreline routing of US 2 between Escanaba and St. Ignace. The Mackinac Trail connected St. Ignace with Sault Ste. Marie.[21]

In the age of the auto trail, the roads that later formed US 2 through the UP were given a few different highway names. When the original roadways between Ironwood and Iron River were completed in late 1915, the Upper Peninsula Development Bureau (UPDB) named the area Cloverland and the highway the Cloverland Trail. Later the name was extended over the highway to Escanaba, and to all highways in the area in the early 1920s; the name was phased out by the UPDB completely in 1927.[22] The roadways were also used for the Theodore Roosevelt International Highway, named for former US president Theodore Roosevelt after his death in 1919. Overall, this highway ran from Portland, Oregon, to Portland, Maine, by way of Michigan and the Canadian province of Ontario. Through the UP, the southern branch followed the immediate predecessors to US 2, including the section through Florence County, Wisconsin.[23][b]

The Great Lakes Automobile Route was established in 1917 by the UPDB. A predecessor of the Great Lakes Circle Tours by seventy years, the route followed "a circular journey along the banks of lakes Michigan and Superior and Green Bay ..."[24] This route followed the modern US 2 from Ironwood to the M‑94 junction in Manistique, using the modern M‑69 and M‑95 to stay in Michigan. Branches of the route followed US 41 and M‑35 between Powers and Escanaba. The route was originally intended to entice motorists to drive around Lake Michigan. The name fell out of use before its first anniversary because of World War I.[24]

One Canadian auto trail was routed through the UP as well. In 1920, the King's International Highway linked Vancouver, British Columbia, to Halifax, Nova Scotia, but there was no highway to carry it around the north side of Lake Superior. Motorists had to ship their cars by boat between Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, and Thunder Bay or enter the United States to continue along the auto trail. The routings varied on the maps of the time, but its basic route used US 2 through the UP from Ironwood to Sault Ste. Marie until a highway north of Lake Superior was opened in 1960; by that time, the auto trail had taken on the Trans-Canada Highway name.[25]

State trunkline[edit]

The first state trunkline highway designated along the path of the modern US 2 was M‑12, a designation that was in use by July 1, 1919, between Ironwood and Sault Ste. Marie.[26][c] When the US Highway System was created on November 11, 1926,[1]US 2 partially replaced M-12.[28] Between Crystal Falls and Iron Mountain, US 2 was routed through Florence, Wisconsin. The former routing of M‑12 from Crystal Falls to Sagola became a new M‑69 when the former M‑69 became US 102 (now US 141). M‑12 from Sagola south to Iron Mountain was made a part of an extended M‑45, which is now M‑95. By the next year, M‑48 was added along US 2 from Rexton to Garnet as part of a larger extension.[29]

The first changes to the routing of US 2 itself were made in 1930 with a bypass of downtown Escanaba.[30][31] A larger rerouting was completed in 1933 between Rogers Park and Sault Ste. Marie. The new routing followed Mackinac Trail instead of turning east to Cedarville and north to Sault Ste. Marie; the former routing was given the M‑121 designation.[32][33] Another realignment in the Iron Mountain area shifted US 2/US 141 to a new bridge over the Menominee River between 1932 and 1934.[34][35] Downtown Ironwood was bypassed in 1934, and the former route was initially designated M‑54.[33][35]

Map of the
The Manistique area in mid-1936; US 2, denoted by a thick red line, runs east–west through the area north of its current routing, which is shown as a dashed line.

The Michigan State Highway Department (MSHD)[d] changed the routings and designations of the highways around Cooks, Thompson and Manistique in the mid-1930s. The agency rerouted US 2 between Cooks and M‑149 in Thompson, turning the old road back to county control. The section between M‑149 and M‑125 was redesignated as an extension of M‑149 to Thompson, and M‑125 was replaced by a further extension of M‑149. The last change was to route US 2 along its current alignment in the area, completing the changes on August 2, 1936.[38][39]

The MSHD started construction in 1936 on a new road that rerouted US 2 into St. Ignace for the first time. Between Brevort and Moran, US 2 previously followed Worth Road inland to the Tahquamenon Trail to meet the northern extension of US 31 into the Upper Peninsula.[40] The new routing took US 2 along the lakeshore into St. Ignace. US 31 was truncated to the state ferry docks in Mackinaw City and US 2 was routed through St. Ignace along the former US 31 to Rogers Park; the connection in St. Ignace to the state ferry docks became M‑122.[38] Further changes in the early 1940s straightened the roadway out near Watersmeet and Crystal Falls.[41][42]

Additional realignments were completed by the MSHD to move US 2 to its modern lakeshore routing between Gould City and Epoufette in 1941. The new highway traveled due east from Gould City to Naubinway and then along the lake to Epoufette. The former route through Engadine was turned back to local control as far east as Garnet. From there east, it was numbered just M‑48, removing US 2 from a concurrency. Another former section into Epoufette was added to extend M‑117.[43] The new highway was detoured around the Cut River Bridge until it was completed in 1946 after construction delays over steel shortages during World War II.[44][45]

The western end of US 2 took on two changes in the 1940s. M‑28 was extended along US 2 to the state line at Ironwood from its western terminus at Wakefield.[43] A similar extension was made from M‑28's eastern terminus to Sault Ste. Marie in 1948.[46] The M‑54 designation was renumbered as Business US 2 by 1945.[45] The eastern M‑28 extension was reversed in 1950,[47] and the western extension to the state line was shifted to a new location by 1952.[48]

Interstate era[edit]

Photograph looking north along I‑75 showing
The eastern terminus of US 2 in St. Ignace; until 1983 US 2 continued north of here along the I‑75 freeway.

With the coming of the Interstate Highway System in Michigan, the MSHD planned to convert the eastern section of US 2 to a freeway between St. Ignace and Sault St. Marie. In planning maps from 1947, this highway corridor was included in the system that later became the Interstates.[49] It was also included in the General Location of National System of Interstate Highways Including All Additional Routes at Urban Areas Designated in September 1955, or Yellow Book after the cover color, that was released in 1955 as the federal government readied plans for the freeway system.[50] The proposed number in 1958 was Interstate 75 (I‑75).[51]

The first section of freeway was built in late 1957 or early 1958 between Evergreen Shores and M‑123 north of St. Ignace.[52][53] The Mackinac Bridge was opened to traffic on November 1, 1957; a new section of freeway and an interchange connected US 2 to the bridge.[54] In 1961, another new freeway segment closed the gap between the Mackinac Bridge and Evergreen Shores sections. At the time, the I‑75 designation supplanted US 27 on the bridge, and US 2 was shifted to follow I‑75 along the freeways in the St. Ignace area. The former routing of US 2 in downtown St. Ignace was redesignated BL I‑75.[55] More sections of freeway were opened in 1962 immediately to the south of the newly constructed International Bridge in Sault Ste. Marie as well as between Dafter and Kinross.[56][57] The last two sections opened in 1963 connected the northern end of the freeway at M‑123 to Kinross, and the section between Dafter and Sault Ste. Marie. At this time, all of US 2's former routing became a county road known as Mackinac Trail (H-63).[57][58]

The Department of State Highways[d] expanded US 2/US 41 into an expressway between Gladstone and Rapid River in 1971.[59][60] The state built a new bridge over the Manistique River in 1983, bypassing downtown. MDOT disposed of the former routing of US 2 into downtown in two ways. The western half was initially an unnumbered state highway until it was later transferred to local control. An extension of M‑94 replaced the remainder, including the Siphon Bridge, through downtown. In that same year, the department truncated US 2 to end in St. Ignace by removing it from the I‑75 freeway.[61][62] The last changes were made to US 2's routing through Iron River in 1998, bypassing the bridge that formerly carried the highway over the river in town.[63] In 2011, MDOT raised the speed limit along the expressway section in Delta County from 55 to 65 mph (89 to 105 km/h), although the speed limit for trucks remains 55 mph (89 km/h).[18]

Memorial designations and tourist routes[edit]

On July 1, 1924, the State Administrative Board named M‑12, the predecessor to US 2 in Michigan, the Bohn Highway to honor Frank P. Bohn, a prominent local citizen who later served in Congress from 1927 to 1933.[64] In 1929, the residents of Escanaba created a memorial to the veterans of World War I called Memory Lane. The project consisted of elm and maple trees planted along US 2/US 41 west of town. The American Legion sold the trees to local businesses and individuals who could honor specific soldiers.[65] Later in 1949, the Bessemer Women's Club created a tribute in the form of a permanent living memorial to the area veterans. Also called Memory Lane, the group planted 140 elms and 1,840 evergreens, trees and shrubs as a landscaped parkway along 2.3 miles (3.7 km) of US 2 east of Bessemer.[66]

Most of US 2, along with US 23 in the Lower Peninsula, was designated the United Spanish War Veterans Memorial Highway in 1949. To connect the gap in the routing where US 2 cuts through Wisconsin, M‑95 and M‑69 were used in place of US 2 between Iron Mountain and Crystal Falls. Signs marking the highway were not erected until 1968 when Governor George W. Romney had them installed.[67]

The Amvets Memorial Drive designation was created for the section of US 2/US 41/M‑35 between the northern Escanaba city limits and County Road 426 (CR 426) in Delta County. The American Veterans (AMVETS) organization in Michigan petitioned the Michigan Legislature to grant this designation, which was assigned under Public Act 144 in 1959.[68]

Photograph of showing the
View of Lake Michigan near Brevort; the highway runs along the lake from Naubinway to its eastern terminus at St. Ignace.

Two sections of US 2 are part of the overall Great Lakes Circle Tour (GLCT): the segment from the Wisconsin state line near Ironwood to the M‑28 junction in Wakefield is part of the Lake Superior Circle Tour (LSCT), and the segment from the southern M‑35 junction in Escanaba to the eastern terminus in St. Ignace is part of the Lake Michigan Circle Tour (LMCT).[6] These two tours were created in May 1986 through a joint effort between MDOT and its counterparts in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Ontario.[69] The section of US 2 between Iron River and Crystal Falls has been named the Iron County Heritage Trail. This Pure Michigan Byway was designated to honor the "rich history of two industries that built a state and nation: mining and logging."[70] On August 26, 2007, MDOT announced that the section of US 2 that runs concurrently with M‑35 in Delta County was being included in the UP Hidden Coast Recreational Heritage Trail.[71][72]

Historic bridges[edit]

There are six bridges along current or former sections of US 2 that MDOT has added to its listing of Michigan's Historic Bridges; two of these are also listed on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP). A third bridge added to the NRHP in late 2012 has not been added to MDOT's listing however. The first of these historic bridges is the crossing of the Iron River,[63] which has since been bypassed by a new bridge.[73] The original structure, dating to 1918, is a 55-foot-long (17 m) spandrel arch span that was built by the MSHD as Trunk Line Bridge No. 191.[63] The structure was listed on the NRHP on December 9, 1999, for its architectural and engineering significance.[74]

In December 2012, the National Park Service approved the listing of the Upper Twin Falls Bridge that crosses the Menominee River northwest of Iron Mountain. The structure is a single-span, pin-connected, camelback, through-truss bridge, and it is the only known example of its type in Michigan. It was built between 1909 and 1910 because the Twin Falls Power Dam would flood an existing river crossing. The span cost $5,106 (equivalent to $705,000 in 2012[75]), paid equally by Dickinson and Florence counties.[76] Until the 1930s, the Upper Twin Falls Bridge carried US 2 across the Menominee River.[77] In 1934, a new bridge was built about a mile downstream, and the highway was rerouted over the new span.[78] The bridge closed to automobile traffic in September 1971,[79] and the nomination process for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places began in 2012.[76]

In 2003, MDOT replaced the Sturgeon River Bridge in Waucedah Township, Dickinson County.[80] As of October 2011, even though the old bridge was demolished and replaced, MDOT retained it on their historic bridge list. It was built in 1929.[81]

Before 1983, US 2 used a different routing through Manistique and crossed the Manistique River on what is nicknamed the "Siphon Bridge". Built as a part of a raceway flume on the river, the water level is actually higher than the road surface. This produces a siphon effect, giving the bridge its nickname. The Manistique Pulp and Paper Company was organized in 1916 and needed a dam on the Manistique River to supply their mill. This dam would require a large section of the city to be flooded, and shallow river banks meant difficulties in any bridge construction. Instead of expensive dikes, a concrete tank was built lengthwise in the river bed; the sides of this tank provided man-made banks higher than the natural banks. The Michigan Works Progress Administration described the bridge as having "concrete bulkheads, formed by the side spans of the bridge, [that] allow the mill to maintain the water level several feet above the roadbed."[82] The Manistique Tourism Council stated: "At one time, the bridge itself was partially supported by the water that was atmospherically forced under it," and that the bridge has been featured in Ripley's Believe It or Not!.[83] The eight-span structure is 294 feet (90 m) long.[84]

Photograph of the
Cut River Bridge as seen from a nearby walkway

The Cut River Bridge carries US 2 across the Cut River in Hendricks Township, Mackinac County. This structure was built during World War II but completion was delayed due to war-induced steel shortages.[44] The span uses 888 short tons (793 long tons; 806 t) of structural steel to bridge the 641 feet (195 m) over the river and its gorge at a height of 147 feet (45 m) above the river. The Cut River Bridge is one of only two cantilevered deck truss bridges in the state.[85][e] On either side of the bridge, there are picnic areas and trails down to the river.[86]

Listed on the NRHP on December 17, 1999,[74] the Mackinac Trail–Carp River Bridge carries H-63, the modern successor to US 2, over the Carp River north of St. Ignace. The bridge is another spandrel arch structure 60 feet (18 m) in length and built in 1920. Increasing traffic along Mackinac Trail prompted the MSHD to "widen its deck by five feet [1.5 m] and install new guardrails in the 1929–1930 biennium" along with the addition of decorative retaining walls.[87]

The last of the historic bridges along a former segment of US 2 is the structure carrying Ashmun Street (BS I‑75) over the Power Canal in Sault Ste. Marie. Built in 1934, it is one of only three steel arch bridges in the state.[88][f] The 42-foot-wide (13 m) and 257-foot-long (78 m) structure is described by MDOT as "massive" with an "innovative" construction method: the previous structure was used as a falsework for the current bridge before removal.[90]

Major intersections[edit]

MDOT has erected milemarkers along the two Michigan segments of the highway that use the total mileage starting at the state line in Ironwood; the signs on the eastern segment reflect the mileage in Florence County, Wisconsin.

County Location Mile[2] km Destinations Notes
Montreal River 0.000 0.000 US 2 west – Ashland, Superior Continuation into Wisconsin
Gogebic Ironwood 1.136 1.828
BUS US 2 west (Douglas Boulevard) – Downtown Ironwood
Wakefield 12.543 20.186 M‑28 east / LSCT east – Marquette Western terminus of M-28; eastern end of LSCT concurrency
Marenisco 26.072 41.959 M‑64 south – Presque Isle, WI Western end of M-64 concurrency
Marenisco Township 28.153 45.308 M‑64 north – Merriweather Eastern end of M-64 concurrency
Watersmeet 53.792 86.570 US 45 – Bruce Crossing, Eagle River, WI
Iron Stambaugh Township 70.137 112.875 FFH 16 – Kenton, Phelps Marked as H-16 on MDOT maps
Iron River Township 82.054 132.053 M‑73 south – Nelma Northern terminus of M-73
Iron River 83.505 134.388 M‑189 south (4th Avenue) Northern terminus of M-189
Crystal Falls Township 97.991 157.701 US 141 north – Covington Northern end of US 141 concurrency
Crystal Falls 99.147 159.562 M‑69 east (Superior Avenue) – Sagola Western terminus of M-69
Brule River 109.177 175.703 Wisconsin state line
US 2/US 141 enters Wisconsin and travels 14.460 miles before re-entering Michigan[7]
Menominee River 123.637 198.974 Wisconsin state line
Dickinson Breitung Township 124.302 200.045 M‑95 north – Sagola, Marquette Northern end of M-95 concurrency
Iron Mountain 127.649 205.431 M‑95 south (Stephenson Avenue) – Kingsford Southern end of M-95 concurrency
Breitung Township 130.513 210.040 US 141 south – Green Bay, WI Southern end of US 141 concurrency
Norway 136.104 219.038 US 8 west (Brown Street) Eastern terminus of US 8
Waucedah Township 144.558 232.644 G-69 north – Foster City Southern terminus of G-69
Menominee Powers 157.322 253.185 US 41 south – Menominee Western end of US 41 Concurrency
Delta Bark River Township 170.197 273.906 M‑69 west – Perronville Eastern terminus of M-69
Escanaba 179.308 288.568 M‑35 south / LMCT south (South Lincoln Road) – Menominee Southern end of M-35 concurrency; western end of LMCT concurrency
Gladstone 186.316 299.847 CR 426 west – Arnold
187.726 302.116 M‑35 north (4th Avenue North) – Gwinn, Negaunee Northern end of M-35 concurrency
Rapid River 193.914 312.074 US 41 north – Marquette Eastern end of US 41 concurrency
Nahma Junction 208.135 334.961 H-13 north / FFH 13 north – Wetmore Southern terminus of H-13/FFH 13
Garden Corners 216.702 348.748 M‑183 south – Garden, Fayette State Park Northern terminus of M-183
Schoolcraft Thompson 227.266 365.749 M‑149 north – Palms Book State Park, Indian Lake State Park Southern terminus of M-149
Manistique 232.743 374.564 M‑94 north (South Maple Street) – Munising Southern terminus of M-94
Mueller Township 254.359 409.351 M‑77 north – Seney Southern terminus of M-77
Mackinac Newton Township 263.428 423.946 H-33 north – Curtis Southern terminus of H-33; former M-135
Garfield Township 271.440 436.840 M‑117 north – Newberry Southern terminus of M-117
Hendricks Township 294.380 473.759 Cut River Bridge
Moran Township 308.642 496.711 H-57 north – Allenville Southern terminus of H-57
St. Ignace 319.611 514.364 I‑75 / GLCT south – Mackinac Bridge, Sault Ste. Marie
BL I‑75 north / LHCT north – Downtown St. Ignace
Eastern terminus of the western US segment of US 2; roadway continues east as BL I-75; LMCT continues southward on I-75
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

Business route[edit]

Business US Highway 2
Location: Ironwood
Length: 1.270 mi[2] (2.044 km)
Existed: c. 1945[45]–present

U.S. Route 2 Business Route or BUS US 2 is a 1.270-mile (2.044 km) business route that runs from the Wisconsin state line at the Montreal River. The route extends through downtown Ironwood on Silver and Aurora streets before turning northward along Suffolk Street,[2][91] crossing a Canadian National Railway line.[15] On Frederick Street, BUS US 2 remains parallel to the railway and bears north through a residential area along Douglas Street. The eastern terminus of the route is at its junction with US 2 at the corner of Cloverland Drive and Douglas Street north of downtown.[2][91]

The business route was created by 1945 when former M‑54 in Ironwood was renumbered as a business loop of US 2.[45] It was originally a bi-state business connection before the Wisconsin Department of Transportation decommissioned BUS US 2 in Hurley westward along State Trunk Highway 77 and northward along US 51 in 2002.[9][10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Milemarkers on the eastern segment reflect the mileage in Florence County, Wisconsin.
  2. ^ The northern branch of the Theodore Roosevelt International Highway followed M-28.[23]
  3. ^ The first state highways in Michigan were signposted in 1919.[27]
  4. ^ a b The Michigan State Highway Department was reorganized into the Michigan Department of State Highways and Transportation on August 23, 1973.[36] The name was shortened to its current form in 1978.[37]
  5. ^ The other cantilevered deck truss bridge is the Mortimer E. Cooley Bridge on M‑55 across the Pine River in Manistee County.[44]
  6. ^ The other two are the M‑28–Ontonagon River Bridge and the International Bridge in Sault Ste. Marie.[89]



  1. ^ a b McNichol, p. 74.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h 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 September 14, 2010.
  3. ^ Gogebic County Access Management Team (May 2006) (PDF). US 2 Ironwood Corridor Access Management Plan (Report). Western Upper Peninsula Planning and Development Region. p. 4. Archived from the original on October 12, 2011. http://www.wuppdr.com/pdf/us2AccessManageFinal.pdf. Retrieved October 12, 2011.
  4. ^ Michigan Department of Transportation (April 23, 2006) (PDF). National Highway System, Michigan (Map). http://www.michigan.gov/documents/MDOT_NHS_Statewide_150626_7.pdf. Retrieved October 7, 2008.
  5. ^ Natzke, Stefan; Neathery, Mike & Adderly, Kevin (June 20, 2012). "What is the National Highway System?". National Highway System. Federal Highway Administration. Retrieved July 1, 2012. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p Michigan Department of Transportation (2010). Official Department of Transportation Map (Map). 1 in:15 mi/1 cm:9 km. Section B1–D10. OCLC 639960603.
  7. ^ a b c Staff (December 31, 2008). State Trunk Highway Log for Region 4. Rhinelander, WI: Wisconsin Department of Transportation. 
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p Google, Inc. "Overview Map of US 2". Google Maps (Map). Cartography by Google, Inc. http://maps.google.com/maps?f=d&source=s_d&saddr=W+Cloverland+Dr&daddr=45.91019,-88.22051+to:US-2+E%2FI-75+BUS+S&hl=en&geocode=FSQAxQIdf8if-g%3BFa6IvAIdoty9-imfAUsTtslTTTE7CvQ5foZXsQ%3BFci6uwIdiCXz-g&mra=dme&mrcr=0&mrsp=2&sz=14&via=1&sll=45.853195,-84.726734&sspn=0.056493,0.064116&ie=UTF8&ll=45.85176,-86.901855&spn=7.231083,8.206787&t=h&z=7. Retrieved September 15, 2010.
  9. ^ a b Wisconsin Department of Transportation (2001). Official State Highway Map (Map). 1 in:13 mi (2001–02 ed.). Section E2.
  10. ^ a b Wisconsin Department of Transportation (2003). Official State Highway Map (Map). 1 in:13 mi (2003–04 ed.). Section E2.
  11. ^ a b c d e f g h Rand McNally (2008). "Michigan". The Road Atlas (Map). p. 50, section B10–D14, F1–E8. ISBN 0-528-93981-5.
  12. ^ a b Bureau of Transportation Planning (2008). "Traffic Monitoring Information System". Michigan Department of Transportation. Retrieved October 6, 2011. 
  13. ^ Jensen, Elizabeth (November 25, 2007). "And That's the News From Watersmeet". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved October 7, 2011. 
  14. ^ Hunt, "Watersmeet Area".
  15. ^ a b c Michigan Department of Transportation (April 2009) (PDF). Michigan's Railroad System (Map). http://www.michigan.gov/documents/MDOT_Official_Rail_130897_7.pdf. Retrieved September 14, 2010.
  16. ^ Hunt, "Iron Mountain".
  17. ^ a b Hunt, "Escanaba".
  18. ^ a b Lancour, Jenny (January 19, 2011). "Speed Limit on US 2, 41 Will Rise". Daily Press (Escanaba, MI). OCLC 9671025. Archived from the original on October 8, 2011. Retrieved April 18, 2011. 
  19. ^ Hunt, "Blaney Park".
  20. ^ Batchelder, John & Paramski, Pete (September 2009). "Redecking Michigan's Cut River Bridge". Rebuilding America's Infrastructure (Fayetteville, AR: ZweigWhite) 1 (3): 24–7. ISSN 2162-7169. Retrieved April 18, 2011. 
  21. ^ Mason, p. 4.
  22. ^ Barnett, pp. 57–8.
  23. ^ a b Barnett, p. 211.
  24. ^ a b Barnett, pp. 96–7.
  25. ^ Barnett, p. 127.
  26. ^ Michigan State Highway Department (July 1, 1919). State of Michigan: Upper Peninsula (Map). Cartography by MSHD.
  27. ^ "Michigan May Do Well Following Wisconsin's Road Marking System". The Grand Rapids Press. September 20, 1919. p. 10. OCLC 9975013. 
  28. ^ Bureau of Public Roads (November 11, 1926). 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. OCLC 32889555. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth298433/m1/1/zoom/. Retrieved November 7, 2013.
  29. ^ Michigan State Highway Department (December 1, 1927). Official Highway Service Map (Map). Cartography by MSHD.
  30. ^ Michigan State Highway Department (January 1, 1930). Official Highway Service Map (Map). Cartography by H.M. Gousha.
  31. ^ Michigan State Highway Department (July 1, 1930). Official Highway Service Map (Map). Cartography by H.M. Gousha.
  32. ^ Michigan State Highway Department (May 1, 1933). Official Michigan Highway Map (Map). Cartography by Rand McNally.
  33. ^ a b Michigan State Highway Department (September 1, 1933). Official Michigan Highway Map (Map). Cartography by Rand McNally.
  34. ^ Michigan State Highway Department (April 1, 1932). Official Highway Service Map (Map). Cartography by H.M. Gousha.
  35. ^ a b Michigan State Highway Department (September 1, 1934). Official Michigan Highway Map (Map). Cartography by Rand McNally.
  36. ^ Kulsea, p. 27.
  37. ^ Kulsea, pp. 30–1.
  38. ^ a b Michigan State Highway Department (December 15, 1936). 1936/7 Official Michigan Highway Map (Map). Cartography by Rand McNally (Winter ed.). Section D7.
  39. ^ "Dedicate New US 2 with Program Today in Thompson Village". The Escanaba Daily Press. August 2, 1936. p. 9. 
  40. ^ Michigan State Highway Department (June 1, 1936). 1936 Official Michigan Highway Map (Map). Cartography by Rand McNally. Section D7.
  41. ^ Michigan State Highway Department (December 1, 1939). 1939 Official Michigan Highway Map (Map). Cartography by Rand McNally (Winter ed.). Section C2–D3.
  42. ^ Michigan State Highway Department (July 1, 1941). 1941 Official Michigan Highway Map (Map). Cartography by Rand McNally (Summer ed.). Section C2–D3.
  43. ^ a b Michigan State Highway Department (June 1, 1942). 1942 Official Michigan Highway Map (Map). Cartography by Rand McNally (Summer ed.). Section C1, D10.
  44. ^ a b c Hyde, p. 106.
  45. ^ a b c d Michigan State Highway Department (October 1, 1945). Official Highway Map of Michigan (Map). Section C1, D10.
  46. ^ Michigan State Highway Department (July 1, 1948). 1948 Official Highway Map (Map). Section C11.
  47. ^ Michigan State Highway Department (April 15, 1950). Michigan Official Highway Map (Map). Section C1.
  48. ^ Michigan State Highway Department (April 15, 1952). 1952 Official Highway Map (Map). Section C1.
  49. ^ Public Roads Administration (August 2, 1947). National System of Interstate Highways (Map). http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Interstate_Highway_plan_August_2,_1947_big_text.jpg. Retrieved September 4, 2010.
  50. ^ Bureau of Public Roads (September 1955). General Location of National System of Interstate Highways Including All Additional Routes at Urban Areas Designated in September 1955 (Yellow Book) (Map). OCLC 4165975. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Interstate_Highway_plan_September_1955.jpg. Retrieved September 4, 2010.
  51. ^ Staff (April 25, 1958). "Recommended Interstate Route Numbering for Michigan". Michigan State Highway Department. Archived from the original on August 5, 2004. Retrieved September 4, 2010. 
  52. ^ Michigan State Highway Department (October 1, 1957). 1957 Official Highway Map (Map). Section D10.
  53. ^ Michigan State Highway Department (1958). Official Highway Map (Map). Section D10. (Includes all changes through July 1, 1958)
  54. ^ Kulsea, p. 22.
  55. ^ Michigan State Highway Department (1961). Official Highway Map (Map). Section C11. (Includes all changes through July 1, 1961)
  56. ^ Michigan State Highway Department (1962). Official Highway Map (Map). Section C11.
  57. ^ a b Michigan State Highway Department (1963). Official Highway Map (Map). Section C10–C11.
  58. ^ Michigan State Highway Department (1964). Official Highway Map (Map). Section C10–C11.
  59. ^ Michigan Department of State Highways (1971). Official Highway Map (Map). 1 in:14.5 mi. Section D6.
  60. ^ Michigan Department of State Highways (1972). Official Highway Map (Map). 1 in:14.5 mi. Section D6.
  61. ^ Michigan Department of Transportation (1983). Official Transportation Map (Map). 1 in:14.5 mi./1 in:23 km. Section C10–C11.
  62. ^ Michigan Department of Transportation (1943). Official Transportation Map (Map). 1 in:14.5 mi./1 in:23 km. Section C10–C11.
  63. ^ a b c Staff (May 10, 2002). "US 2–Iron River". Michigan's Historic Bridges. Michigan Department of Transportation. Retrieved September 15, 2010. 
  64. ^ Barnett, pp. 36–7.
  65. ^ Barnett, p. 151.
  66. ^ Barnett, p. 149.
  67. ^ Barnett, pp. 216–7.
  68. ^ Barnett, p. 24.
  69. ^ Davis, R. Matt (May 1, 1986). "Signs to Mark Lake Circle Tour". The Daily Mining Gazette (Houghton, MI). p. 16. OCLC 9940134. 
  70. ^ Staff (December 8, 2010). "US 2: Iron County Heritage Trail". Interactive Heritage Route Listing. Michigan Department of Transportation. Retrieved October 6, 2011. 
  71. ^ Hunt, "M-35 Along the Green Bay Shore".
  72. ^ "MDOT Declares UP Road as Heritage Route". Negaunee, MI: WLUC-TV. August 28, 2007. 
  73. ^ "US 2 Relocation Project Finally Finished in '98". Iron County Progress. February 24, 1999. 
  74. ^ a b Staff (July 9, 2010). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. Retrieved October 6, 2011. 
  75. ^ United States nominal Gross Domestic Product per capita figures follow the "Measuring Worth" series supplied in Johnston, Louis & Williamson, Samuel H. (2014). "What Was the U.S. GDP Then?". MeasuringWorth. Retrieved April 18, 2014.  These figures follow the figures as of 2012.
  76. ^ a b Hoffmann, Lisa M. (May 17, 2012). "Twin Falls Bridge Nominated". The Daily News (Iron Mountain, MI). Archived from the original on January 13, 2013. Retrieved January 13, 2013. 
  77. ^ Michigan State Highway Department (1933) (PDF). Plan and Profile of Proposed Federal Aid Project No. E 471 State Line-Iron Mountain-Interstate Bridge. Dickinson County. Breitung Township. (Map). Cartography by MSHD. p. 5. http://www.historicbridges.org/michigan/twinfalls/plans.pdf. Retrieved January 15, 2013.
  78. ^ Sparpana, Joe (April 8, 2011). "Historic Twin Falls Bridge Turns 100". The Daily News (Iron Mountain, MI). Archived from the original on January 13, 2013. Retrieved January 13, 2013. 
  79. ^ "Twin Falls Bridge on Historic Places List". The Daily News (Iron Mountain, MI). January 7, 2013. Archived from the original on January 13, 2013. Retrieved January 13, 2013. 
  80. ^ Gardner, Dawn (October 13, 2003). "Sturgeon River Bridge Will Open to US 2 Traffic Tuesday" (Press release). Michigan Department of Transportation. Retrieved October 6, 2011. 
  81. ^ Staff (May 9, 2002). "US 2–Sturgeon River". Michigan's Historic Bridges. Michigan Department of Transportation. Retrieved October 6, 2011. 
  82. ^ Hunt, "Manistique—Siphon Bridge and Water Tower".
  83. ^ Staff (February 13, 2007). "Road and Highway Facts". History and Culture. Michigan Department of Transportation. Retrieved August 28, 2008. 
  84. ^ Hyde, p. 132.
  85. ^ Staff (May 9, 2002). "US 2–Cut River". Michigan's Historic Bridges. Michigan Department of Transportation. Retrieved October 6, 2011. 
  86. ^ Hunt, "Epoufette—Cut River Bridge and Picnic Area".
  87. ^ Staff (May 13, 2002). "Mackinac Trail–Carp River". Michigan's Historic Bridges. Michigan Department of Transportation. Retrieved October 6, 2011. 
  88. ^ Hyde, p. 104.
  89. ^ Hyde, pp. 102–4.
  90. ^ Staff (May 9, 2002). "I-75 BR (Ashmun St.)–Power Canal". Michigan's Historic Bridges. Michigan Department of Transportation. Retrieved October 6, 2011. 
  91. ^ a b Google, Inc. "Overview Map of BUS US 2". Google Maps (Map). Cartography by Google, Inc. http://maps.google.com/maps?f=d&source=s_d&saddr=Silver+St%2FU.S.+2+Bus&daddr=46.45872,-90.1694705+to:E+Cloverland+Dr&hl=en&geocode=FfbExAId-vyf-g%3BFWDnxAIdgh-g-inXBwrTl-ipUjH-a332EVCbIA%3BFf74xAIdtB-g-g&mra=ls&via=1&sll=46.456456,-90.169752&sspn=0.013821,0.014548&ie=UTF8&ll=46.456574,-90.173335&spn=0.013821,0.014548&t=h&z=16. Retrieved April 18, 2011.

Works cited[edit]

  • Barnett, LeRoy (2004). A Drive Down Memory Lane: The Named State and Federal Highways of Michigan. Allegan Forest, MI: Priscilla Press. ISBN 1-886167-24-9. 
  • Hunt, Mary & Hunt, Don (2007). Hunt's Guide to Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Albion, MI: Midwestern Guides. Retrieved September 15, 2010. 
  • Hyde, Charles K. (1993). Historic Highway Bridges of Michigan. Detroit: Wayne State University Press. ISBN 0-8143-2448-7. 
  • Kulsea, Bill & Shawver, Tom (1980). Making Michigan Move: A History of Michigan Highways and the Michigan Department of Transportation. Lansing, MI: Michigan Department of Transportation. OCLC 8169232. 
  • Mason, Philip P. (1959). Michigan Highways from Indian Trails to Expressways. Ann Arbor, MI: Braun-Brumfield. OCLC 23314983. 
  • McNichol, Dan (2006). The Roads that Built America. New York: Sterling. ISBN 1-4027-3468-9. 

External links[edit]

Route map: Google / Bing

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