M-68 (Michigan highway)
M-68 highlighted in red
|Maintained by MDOT|
|Length:||53.390 mi (85.923 km)|
|Existed:||1936 – present|
|West end:||US 31 at Alanson|
|US 23 in Rogers City|
Bus. US 23 at Rogers City
|Counties:||Emmet, Cheboygan, Presque Isle|
M-68 is an east–west state trunkline highway located in the northern part of the Lower Peninsula of the US state of Michigan. The western terminus of the highway begins four miles (6.4 km) east of the Little Traverse Bay of Lake Michigan and ends a few blocks from Lake Huron in Rogers City. M-68 skirts just south of Indian River and Burt Lake.
The first incarnation of M-68 existed in the Upper Peninsula before being absorbed into M-35. The current designation was created in 1936. A segment of highway once used by US Highway 23 (US 23) was incorporated into the trunkline as a discontinuous section in the early 1940s until it was later connected in 1946.
M-68 starts in the community of Alanson 4 miles (6.4 km) east of Little Traverse Bay in Emmet County. US 31 runs along Burr Avenue parallel to the former Grand Rapids and Indiana Railroad line and depot in town. M-68 starts at an intersection between Chicago Street and Burr Avenue. The trunkline runs southeasterly from this intersection and on a bridge over the Crooked River. After leaving town, the highway curves to run due east through hilly terrain. After crossing the Cheboygan County line, the roadway meets the community of Burt Lake. It curves southeasterly along the shoreline of the lake of the same name. The roadway rounds the south end of Burt Lake and approaches the community of Indian River. South of Burt Lake State Park, the trunkline meets Straits Highway, the former routing of US 27 through Indian River. M-68 turns north along Straits Highway through downtown and then turns east toward Interstate 75 (I-75). It is along this section of M-68 that the roadway crosses the Sturgeon River. The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) measured the highest annual average daily traffic (AADT) figures for M-68 along the section of highway west of Indian River. AADT is a measure of the average number of vehicles using a segment of roadway on any given day of the year, and for 2007, MDOT measured it at 9,200 vehicles daily.
After crossing I-75 at exit 310, M-68 heads southeasterly, parallel to the Crumley Creek, out of town. The roadway continues through hilly terrain and crosses the Pigeon River on the route to Afton. M-68 merges with M-33 east of Afton. M-33 curves from the north toward the east. There is a small connector in this intersection to allow southbound M-33 traffic to turn west along M-68 instead of merging into the combined eastbound M-33/M-68 traffic. The two highways continue together in a concurrency through the wooded, hilly terrain to the unincorporated community of Tower, where they cross the Black River. It is east of this river crossing where the highway meets the southern end of F-05, a County-Designated Highway that runs along Black River Road.
M-33/M-68 cross into Presque Isle County just west of Onaway. M-68 turns northwest along Washington Avenue, and M-33 turns south along Michigan Street. M-68 turns east on State Street through downtown and runs out of town to cross the Rainy River in rural Presque Isle County. East of the Ocqueoc River crossing, M-68 turns north along Millersburg Road. The highway later curves back to the east near Ocqueoc Falls Highway, home of a bridge that carried the highway before 1954. M-68 continues to follow Hutchinson Road eastward over the Little Ocqueoc River and on to the Rogers City area. This section of highway had the lowest AADT levels in 2007 at 1,400 vehicles daily. The highway turns northeasterly after intersecting Airport Highway on the outskirts of town. Renamed as Erie Street, M-68 meets US 23 southwest of downtown. The highway continues along Erie Street until meeting Bus. US 23, which runs along Third Street. This intersection marks the end of M-68, four blocks from Lake Huron, 53.390 miles (85.923 km) from its start in Alanson.
The first highway to bear the M-68 designation was located in the western Upper Peninsula. It ran north from Rockland to Ontonagon and then westerly toward Silver City in 1919. This roadway was redesignated by 1927 as a segment of M-35.
M-68 was designated along a segment of its current roadway in 1936. The roadway connecting Alanson and Indian River was given the M-68 designation, while US 23 was routed between Rogers City and Afton. When US 23 was moved to its current lakeshore routing between Rogers City and Cheboygan in 1940, M-33 was extended westerly from Onaway to Afton and north to Cheboygan over the former US 23 roadway. The Afton–Onaway segment of M-33 and the remainder of the former US 23 east of Onaway was designated as a second segment of M-68 as well. The gap between these two segments was eliminated by July 1946.
Two realignments were made to the highways routing. The first bypassed a bridge over the Ocqueoc River in Presque Isle County in 1954. This 50-foot (15 m) bridge was built in 1920 at a cost of $8,849 (equivalent to $588,744 in 2015) in the filled spandrel arch style. A second change in the routing between 1961 and 1962 moved the trunkline to a more direct connection between Indian River and Afton. This change also bypassed the last remaining gravel section of the highway.
|Emmet||Alanson||0.000||0.000||US 31 / LMCT – Petoskey, Mackinaw City|
|Cheboygan||Indian River||11.282||18.157||I-75 – Mackinaw City, Gaylord||Exit 310 on I-75|
|Koehler–Walker township line||19.572||31.498||M-33 north – Cheboygan||Western end of M-33 concurrency|
|Forest Township||28.646||46.101||F-05 north (Black River Road) – Cheboygan||Southern terminus of F-05|
|Presque Isle||Onaway||30.303||48.768||M-33 south – Atlanta||Eastern end of M-33 concurrency|
|30.693||49.396||M-211 north – Onaway State Park||Southern terminus of M-211|
|Rogers City||52.687||84.792||US 23 / LHCT – Cheboygan, Alpena|
Bus. US 23 – Cheboygan, Alpena
|Roadway continues northeasterly as Erie Street|
|1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi
- Michigan State Highway Department & Rand McNally (June 1, 1936). Official Michigan Highway Map (Map). [c. 1:850,000]. Lansing: Michigan State Highway Department. § F10. OCLC 12701143.
- Michigan Department of Transportation & Michigan Center for Shared Solutions and Technology Partnerships (2009). MDOT Physical Reference Finder Application (Map). Michigan Department of Transportation. Retrieved April 11, 2010.
- Google (October 28, 2008). "Overview Map of M-68" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved October 28, 2008.
- Michigan Department of Transportation (2007). Statewide AADT Map (PDF) (Map). Scale not given. Lansing: Michigan Department of Transportation. Retrieved October 7, 2008.
- Staff (May 14, 2002). "Ocqueoc Falls Hwy.–Ocqueoc River". Michigan's Historic Bridges. Michigan Department of Transportation. Retrieved October 28, 2008.
- Michigan State Highway Department (July 1, 1919). State of Michigan (Map). Scale not given. Lansing: Michigan State Highway Department. Upper Peninsula sheet. OCLC 15607244. Retrieved December 18, 2016 – via Michigan State University Libraries.
- Michigan State Highway Department (December 1, 1927). Official Highway Service Map (Map). [c. 1:810,000]. Lansing: Michigan State Highway Department. OCLC 12701195, 79754957.
- Michigan State Highway Department & Rand McNally (July 15, 1940). Official Michigan Highway Map (Map) (Summer ed.). [c. 1:850,000]. Lansing: Michigan State Highway Department. §§ F11–F12. OCLC 12701143. Retrieved December 18, 2016 – via Archives of Michigan.
- Michigan State Highway Department & Rand McNally (December 1, 1940). Official Michigan Highway Map (Map) (Winter ed.). [c. 1:850,000]. Lansing: Michigan State Highway Department. §§ F11–F12. OCLC 12701143.
- Michigan State Highway Department (July 1, 1946). Michigan Official Highway Map (Map). [c. 1:918,720]. Lansing: Michigan State Highway Department. §§ F10–F11. OCLC 12701120, 613361131. Retrieved January 2, 2017.
- United States nominal Gross Domestic Product per capita figures follow the Measuring Worth series supplied in Johnston, Louis; Williamson, Samuel H. (2016). "What Was the U.S. GDP Then?". MeasuringWorth. Retrieved April 10, 2016. These figures follow the figures as of 2015.
- Michigan State Highway Department (1961). Official Highway Map (Map). [c. 1:918,720]. Lansing: Michigan State Highway Department. §§ F10–F11. OCLC 12701120, 51857665. (Includes all changes through July 1, 1961)
- Michigan State Highway Department (1962). Official Highway Map (Map). [c. 1:918,720]. Lansing: Michigan State Highway Department. §§ F10–F11. OCLC 12701120, 173191490.