The State Trunkline Highway System of the US state of Michigan is a network of roads owned and maintained by the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT). The most prominent of these roads are part of one of three numbered highway systems in Michigan: Interstates Highways, US Highways, and the other State Trunklines. Other systems of roads are operated by the 83 counties in the state as well as each city.
Interstate Highways and US Highways are assigned at the national level. Interstate Highways are numbered in a grid—even-numbered highways are east–west highways (but the lowest numbers are along Mexico and the Gulf of Mexico), and odd-numbered highways are north–south highways (with the lowest numbers along the Pacific Ocean). US Highways are also numbered in a grid—even numbered for east–west highways (with the lowest numbers along Canada) and odd numbered for north–south highways (with the lowest numbers along the Atlantic Ocean). For this reason, mainline (two-digit) Interstate Highways in Michigan all have numbers above 69 and mainline US Highways all have numbers below 45. Three-digit Interstate and U.S. Highways, also known as "child routes," are branches off their main one- or two-digit "parents". The Interstate and US Highways are maintained by MDOT. Interstate 75 (I-75) and US Highway 23 (US 23) are the longest examples in the state.
State Trunklines are the other state highways maintained by MDOT. These highways are completely owned and maintained by the state. Michigan highways are properly referred to using the M and never as "Route 28" or "Highway 115", but as M-28 or M-115. The marker used for state trunklines is a diamond with a block-letter "M" at the top. Roads that are maintained by the state but not assigned a state trunkline designation carry an unsigned highway designation.
County-Designated Highways are assigned numbers in a zone system by MDOT, but maintained by the counties. Each zone is indicated by a letter A–H which is followed by a number based on a grid inside that zone. Each county also maintains any other roadway that is not a state trunkline or a city street. The numbering and signing practices vary from county to county, as does the size of each county's system. Numerical designations typically do not carry over from one county to the next; a CDH that crosses county lines keeps its designation in each county however. County road designations are typically abbreviated "CR" or "Co Rd" followed by the number, and CDHs are abbreviated to just their letter and number assignment.
US 12 is a US Highway that runs for 210 miles (338 km) between New Buffalo and Detroit as a state trunkline highway and Pure Michigan Byway. On its western end, the highway is mostly a two-lane road that runs through the southern tier of counties roughly parallel to the Indiana state line. It forms part of the Niles Bypass, a four-lane expressway south of Niles in the southwestern part of the state, and it runs concurrently with the Interstate 94 (I-94) freeway around the south side of Ypsilanti in the southeastern. In between Coldwater and the Ann Arbor area, the highway angles northeasterly and passes the Michigan International Speedway. East of Ypsilanti, US 12 follows a divided highway routing on Michigan Avenue into Detroit, where it terminates at an intersection with Cass Avenue. When US 12 was designated in Michigan on November 11, 1926, it ran along a more northerly course. It entered from Indiana as it does now, but it followed the Lake Michigan shoreline farther north to Benton Harbor–St. Joseph before turning eastward to run through Kalamazoo, Battle Creek and Jackson. In the Ann Arbor area, it followed a more northerly path into Detroit before terminating downtown. In the 1940s and 1950s, sections of the highway were converted into expressways and freeways. Starting in 1959, these freeway segments were renumbered as part of I-94, and in January 1962, US 12 was shifted to replace US 112. Since 1962, the highway has remained relatively unchanged aside from minor truncations in the city of Detroit. US 112 previously had two business loops, both of which were renumbered Bus. US 12 in 1962. In 2010, the Niles business loop was decommissioned, but the one in Ypsilanti remains. One section of the former US 112 was renumbered US 112S for a few years in the 1930s. (more...)