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M-22 (Michigan highway)

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M-22 marker

M-22 highlighted in red
Route information
Maintained by MDOT
Length 116.651 mi[2] (187.732 km)
Existed c. July 1, 1919[1] – present
Major junctions
South end US 31 near Manistee

M-115 at Frankfort
M-72 at Empire
M-204 near Lake Leelanau
M-201 at Northport
M-204 at Suttons Bay

M-72 in Greilickville
North end US 31 / M-37 / M-72 in Traverse City
Counties Manistee, Benzie, Leelanau, Grand Traverse
Highway system
M-21AUS 23

M-22 is a state trunkline highway in the US state of Michigan. It is 116.7 miles (187.8 km) long and follows the Lake Michigan shoreline of the Leelanau Peninsula, making up a portion of the Lake Michigan Circle Tour. It also passes through the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. The highway is U-shaped as it rounds the peninsula running through tourist areas in Leland and Suttons Bay in addition to the national park.

M-22 is an original trunkline designation dating back to the 1919 designation of the system. Reroutings have moved the highway closer to the water between Suttons Bay and Traverse City. A section of the highway was used temporarily for another highway, M-109. Two sections of the highway have been designated as separate Pure Michigan Byways. The highway marker is used in marketing by a local business as a symbol of the region, a trademark for which has been the subject of legal controversies. A popular roadway in the area with tourists, the highway's marker has also been the subject of sign theft

Route description[edit]

Marker at Good Harbor, south of Leland

The southern terminus is three miles (4.8 km) northeast of Manistee and the northern terminus is in Traverse City. In between the trunkline loops north along Lake Michigan to Northport before turning south along the West Arm of Grand Traverse Bay. The road itself comprises numerous turns and hills, making it a very popular drive for tourists visiting the area from areas such as Chicago and Detroit, especially during autumn. The road runs north to the village of Onekama running east and north of Portage Lake before returning north to Arcadia. M-22 turns northeasterly to curve around the north shore of Crystal Lake after passing through Elberta and Frankfort. South of the Platte River, the highway crosses into the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. East of Platte Lake, M-22 turns northward again toward Empire, headquarters of the national park. M-22 takes the inland route between Little and Big Glen lakes, losing the Lake Michigan Circle Tour designation to M-109 until the two meet again in Glen Arbor. The roadway follows the shoreline of Pyramid Point and passes east out of the national park before turning north to Leland.[3]

Crossing into Traverse City

Leland is home to Fishtown, and the ferries to the Manitou Islands off the coast of the Leelanau Peninsula. Continuing northward, M-22 reaches its northernmost extent in Northport before turning south. It passes through the reservation of the Grand Traverse Band of Chippewa and Ottawa Indians in Peshawbestown, home to one of the tribe's two casinos. Further south is the community of Suttons Bay located on the small bay of the same name. From here south, the highway runs just off the shore of the Grand Traverse Bay south to Greilickville. Just south of Greilickville, M-22 enters a section of the city of Traverse City that's located in Leelanau County, Michigan formed by an acquisition of a neighborhood of Greilickville. Here is the eastern junction between M-22 and M-72. The two highways run concurrently along Grandview Parkway to Division Street. There they meet US 31/M-37 and M-22 ends.[3] A portion of this road has been designated a what is now called a Pure Michigan Scenic Byway by the state of Michigan.[4]

Cultural references[edit]

Broneah Kiteboarding, a company based in Traverse City, has adopted the M-22 marker as a logo and sells merchandise such as clothing and bumper stickers featuring it.[5] As such, the logo has become a popular symbol for the company as well as a cultural symbol for the western Grand Traverse Bay area.[6] The private corporation has attempted to trademark the road sign, which has been legally opposed by the Michigan Attorney General.[7]

In 2015, the readers of USA Today voted M-22 the "best scenic autumn drive" in the nation,[8] noting that it offers "116 miles [187 km] of stellar autumn leaf-peeping".[9]

Due to the popularity of the road way, sign theft along parts of M-22 has become an issue for MDOT. The department announced in 2016 that it was removing the "M" from the top of some of the M-22 markers to combat the issue. The state had replaced about 90 signs in the previous three years,[10] and a department spokesman said the popularity of the highway from merchandise sales and scenic travelers factored into those thefts. The new signs cost between $325 and $350 apiece to manufacture, no different than the standard M-22 signs cost, and MDOT hoped that the modified signs will prove less popular with thieves.[11] The new signs will be installed as replacements in the areas with the most thefts, like Leelanau County,[12] while the rest of the highway will still receive the standard M-22 marker.[10] A year later, sign theft was still an issue. The department started testing pavement markings because the other efforts had failed. The markings cost $175, but they last only three years compared to the ten-year lifespan of a sign.[13]


M-22 is an original trunkline, dating to the July 1, 1919 designation of the system.[1] In 1929, the highway was rerouted along the west side of Little Glen Lake, using the modern M-109 around the lake.[14] M-22 would be rerouted back around to the present routing the next year, and M-109 was designated on the west side of the lake in its place.[15]

Until 1936, M-22's route was on Cherry Bend and Center roads in Leelanau County to Suttons Bay. At that time, M-22 was relocated along the west arm of Grand Traverse Bay onto Center Road up to Crain Hill Road[16][17] In 1949, M-22 was relocated the rest of the way to Suttons Bay, and the former M-22 on Cherry Bend and Center roads became County Road 633.[18][19] and in 1945, the last gravel stretch of M-22 from Leland to Northport was paved.[20]

In Traverse City, M-22 originally started at Front and Union streets going west on Front to Elmwood, turning north onto Elmwood, then west on Bay Street to Greilickville. It was relocated onto the newly built Grand View Parkway in 1952, from Greilickville to Division Street (relocated US 31).[21] In 2002, the route of M-22 from the BenzieLeelanau county line northward to Northport and then south to Traverse City was designated as part of a Michigan Heritage Route along with M-109 and M-204 as the Leelanau Scenic Heritage Route;[22] this moniker was renamed Pure Michigan Byway at the end of 2014.[23] The remainder of the highway was designated as a separate byway in October 2016.[24]

Major intersections[edit]

ManisteeManistee Township0.0000.000 US 31 / LMCT south – Manistee, Traverse CitySouthern end of LMCT concurrency
BenzieElberta27.79344.728Frankfort AvenueEastern terminus of the former M-168
Frankfort20.00632.197 M-115 east – CadillacWestern terminus of M-115
LeelanauEmpire51.84983.443 M-72 east – Traverse CityWestern terminus of M-72
Empire Township53.91186.761 M-109 north – Glen HavenSouthern terminus of M-109
Glen Arbor59.57695.878 M-109 south – Glen HavenEastern terminus of M-109
Leland Township76.021122.344 M-204 east – Lake Leelanau, Suttons BayWestern terminus of M-204
Northport89.283143.687 M-201 northSouthern terminus of M-201
Suttons Bay100.765162.166 M-204 west – Lake Leelanau, LelandEastern terminus of M-204
Traverse City116.071186.798 M-72 west – EmpireNorthern end of M-72 concurrency
Grand Traverse116.651187.732 US 31 / M-37 / M-72 east / LMCT north – Manistee, Baldwin, Charlevoix, GraylingSouthern end of M-72 concurrency; northern end of LMCT concurrency
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Michigan State Highway Department (July 1, 1919). State of Michigan (Map). Scale not given. Lansing: Michigan State Highway Department. Lower Peninsula sheet. OCLC 15607244. Retrieved December 18, 2016 – via Archives of Michigan. 
  2. ^ a b Michigan Department of Transportation & Michigan Center for Shared Solutions and Technology Partnerships (2009). MDOT Physical Reference Finder Application (Map). Michigan Department of Transportation. Retrieved July 26, 2009. 
  3. ^ a b Michigan Department of Transportation (2008). Michigan: Official Department of Transportation Map (Map). c. 1:975,000. Lansing: Michigan Department of Transportation. § F8–H9. OCLC 42778335. 
  4. ^ Michigan Department of Transportation (November 8, 2007). "Scenic Heritage Routes". Michigan Heritage Routes. Michigan Department of Transportation. Archived from the original on December 9, 2008. Retrieved September 11, 2008. 
  5. ^ M22 LLC (n.d.). "M22 Collection". M22 LLC. Archived from the original on October 16, 2014. Retrieved November 25, 2012. 
  6. ^ Mccray, Vanessa (June 7, 2012). "Attorney General Opinion: Anyone May Use Route Marker". Traverse City Record-Eagle. Archived from the original on July 16, 2012. Retrieved July 14, 2012. 
  7. ^ Pluta, Rick (November 1, 2016). "U.S.: In Michigan, a Highway Sign Is at Center of an Unusual Trademark Dispute". Morning Edition. NPR. Retrieved November 1, 2016. 
  8. ^ Tunison, John (October 3, 2015). "Michigan Highway Voted Best Scenic Autumn Drive in the Nation". MLive. Booth Newspapers. Retrieved October 10, 2015. 
  9. ^ 10Best Editors (October 2, 2015). "10Best Readers' Choice: Best of Fall Travel". USA Today. Retrieved October 10, 2015. 
  10. ^ a b Raven, Benjamin (August 24, 2016). "Michigan Dropping 'M' from M-22 Signs to Deter Thieves". MLive. Booth Newspapers. Retrieved August 25, 2016. 
  11. ^ Johnson, Mark (August 23, 2016). "Modifying M-22: MDOT Changing Signs to Discourage Theft". Traverse City Record-Eagle. Retrieved August 25, 2016. 
  12. ^ "To Prevent Theft, MDOT to Change Signs for M-22". Detroit Free Press. Associated Press. August 24, 2016. Retrieved August 25, 2016. 
  13. ^ Pires, Raphael (July 11, 2017). "MDOT Using New M-22 Markings to Deter Thefts". UpNorthLive. Traverse City, MI: WPBN-TV. Retrieved July 11, 2017. 
  14. ^ Michigan State Highway Department (May 1, 1929). Official Highway Service Map (Map). [c. 1:810,000]. Lansing: Michigan State Highway Department. OCLC 12701195, 79754957. 
  15. ^ Michigan State Highway Department & H.M. Gousha (January 1, 1930). Official Highway Service Map (Map). [c. 1:810,000]. Lansing: Michigan State Highway Department. OCLC 12701195, 79754957. 
  16. ^ Michigan State Highway Department & Rand McNally (June 1, 1936). Official Michigan Highway Map (Map). [c. 1:850,000]. Lansing: Michigan State Highway Department. §§ F9–G9. OCLC 12701143. 
  17. ^ Michigan State Highway Department & Rand McNally (December 15, 1936). Official Michigan Highway Map (Map) (Winter ed.). [c. 1:850,000]. Lansing: Michigan State Highway Department. §§ F9–G9. OCLC 12701143, 317396365. Retrieved December 18, 2016 – via Archives of Michigan. 
  18. ^ Michigan State Highway Department (July 1, 1949). Michigan Official Highway Map (Map). [c. 1:918,720]. Lansing: Michigan State Highway Department. §§ F9–G9. OCLC 12701120. 
  19. ^ Michigan State Highway Department (April 15, 1950). Michigan Official Highway Map (Map). [c. 1:918,720]. Lansing: Michigan State Highway Department. §§ F9-G9. OCLC 12701120. 
  20. ^ Michigan State Highway Department (October 1, 1945). Official Highway Map of Michigan (Map). [c. 1:918,720]. Lansing: Michigan State Highway Department. § F9. OCLC 554645076. 
  21. ^ Michigan State Highway Department (April 15, 1952). Official Highway Map (Map). [c. 1:918,720]. Lansing: Michigan State Highway Department. § G9. OCLC 12701120. Retrieved June 17, 2017 – via Archives of Michigan. 
  22. ^ Leelanau Scenic Heritage Route Committee (n.d.). "The Leelanau Scenic Heritage Route" (PDF). Northwest Michigan Council of Governments. p. 6. Archived from the original on December 31, 2014. Retrieved July 14, 2012. 
  23. ^ Wurfel, Sara & Murray, Dave (December 31, 2014). "Gov. Rick Snyder Signs Bills Focused on Creating Good Government Practices: Also Signs Memorial Highway, 'Pure Michigan Byways' Bills" (Press release). Office of the Governor. Archived from the original on January 3, 2015. Retrieved January 1, 2015. 
  24. ^ "M-22 Designated Pure Michigan Byway". Manistee County Press. October 6, 2016. Archived from the original on February 6, 2017. Retrieved January 6, 2017. 

External links[edit]

Route map: Google

KML is from Wikidata