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M-55 (Michigan highway)

M-55 marker

M-55 highlighted in red
Route information
Maintained by MDOT
Length: 150.944 mi[1] (242.921 km)
Existed: c. July 1, 1919 – present
Major junctions
West end: US 31 near Manistee

M‑37 near Dublin
US 131 at Cadillac
US 127 near Houghton Lake
I‑75 near Prudenville
M‑33 near West Branch

M‑65 near Whittemore
East end: US 23 in Tawas City
Counties: Manistee, Wexford, Missaukee, Roscommon, Ogemaw, Iosco
Highway system
M‑54 M‑56

M-55 is a state trunkline highway in the northern part of the US state of Michigan. M-55 is one of only three state highways that extend across the Lower Peninsula from Lake Huron to Lake Michigan; the others are M-46 and M-72. The highway crosses through rural forest and farmlands to connect Manistee with Tawas City. M-55 crosses two of the major rivers in the state. Two sections of the highway follow along freeways near Cadillac and West Branch. Running for 150.944 miles (242.921 km) through the state, M-55 is maintained by the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT).

The highway was first designated by July 1, 1919 along a portion of the current roadway. In a series of extensions, M-55 was lengthened to connect its current endpoints by the early 1930s. The trunkline has been rerouted in sections since that time resulting in the modern roadway alignment. One set of changes produced a business loop in the Houghton Lake area.


  • Route description 1
  • History 2
  • Major intersections 3
  • Business loop 4
  • See also 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7

Route description

M-55 starts at a three-way intersection with US 31 north of Manistee. The trunkline runs southeast on Caberfae Highway over the Manistee River and through the Peters and Highpoint bayous. The highway passes near the community of Eastlake before turning eastward through forest land. In eastern Manistee County, the roadway crosses the Pine River south of the Tippy Dam Pond in Wellston. M-55 intersects M-37 in western Wexford County southwest of the Caberfae Peaks Ski & Golf Resort. The roadway turns northeasterly along the south shore of Lake Mitchell where it then curves southeasterly to run concurrently along M-115 along the south shore of Lake Cadillac and through the south side of Cadillac. At the interchange with the US 131 freeway, M-55 merges north along the freeway, bypassing downtown Cadillac.[2][3]

On the east side of town, M-55 leaves the freeway and turns east again running through the Pere Marquette State Forest along Watergate Road. When the highway meets M-66, M-55 joins M-66 and runs north through farmland. As the two highways approach Lake City, they run along the shore of Lake Missaukee and through downtown. M-55 turns east again along Houghton Lake Road, separating from M-66 north of the central business district. This section of trunkline passes through mixed farm and wood lands that transitions to mostly forests near Merritt. The road crosses the Muskegon River and follows Lake City Road into the outskirts of Houghton Lake. M-55 passes over the US 127 freeway and enters Houghton Lake Heights. There the highway runs southeasterly along the shores of Houghton Lake into downtown Houghton Lake. M-18 briefly joins M-55 through Prudenville on the east side of the lake, and M-55 follows West Branch Road as it continues east toward Interstate 75 (I-75).[2][3]

M-55 follows I-75 between exits 227 and 215, a distance of about 12 miles (19 km).[2] This section is the only part of M-55 that has been listed on the National Highway System,[4] a system of roads important to the nation's economy, defense, and mobility.[5] From the end of the freeway concurrency, M-55 follows Business Loop I-75 (BL I-75) into downtown West Branch. After leaving town, the highway runs through farm lands in rural Ogemaw and Iosco counties. The highway curves southeast into Tawas City. The eastern end of M-55 is at an intersection with US 23 along the shores of the Tawas Bay of Lake Huron.[2][3]


M-55 passing over US 131 as it joins the Cadillac bypass

M-55 had its beginning by July 1, 1919 when it was designated from Cadillac to Merritt.[6] In 1926, M-55 was extended eastward to Houghton Lake over a section of the former M-14 that was not used for the then-new US 27. At the same time, another segment of the highway was designated between M-76 at West Branch and US 23 at Whittemore.[7] The next year, M-55 was routed along sections of US 27 and M-76 between the two communities.[8] A western extension was added from Cadillac to US 31 near Manistee in 1932 while the eastern end was shifted from Whittemore to Tawas City when US 23 was rerouted through the area.[9][10]

Segments of M-55 have been relocated in the years since the basic routing was completed in the early 1930s. A more direct route from West Branch eastward was created in 1938.[11][12] Prior to the construction of present-day Hemlock Road through Tawas City, M-55 entered Tawas City via present-day Plank Road, Second Street, Fifth Avenue, and Mathews Street, ending at the present-day intersection of US 23 and Mathews Street.[13][14] In 1949, US 27 was moved to run to the west of Houghton and Higgins lakes. M-55 was shifted to run concurrently southward along the former M-169 which was replaced by US 27. At the intersection with the former US 27, M-55 was routed east, and the former route of M-55 was designated as a new M-169.[15][16] In 1950, this M-169 was redesignated Business M-55 (BUS M-55).[17] M-55 was rerouted off US 27 when the US 27 freeway was completed in the area. In rerouting M-55, it was shifted back to its former routing through Houghton Lake Heights, replacing BUS M-55 in late 1961.[18][19]

The last gravel segments were paved in Iosco County in the late 1950s.[20][21] Another segment east of Cadillac to M-66 south of Lake City was realigned in 1973. At the same time, M-55 was co-signed with a portion of the newly opened stretch of I-75 between M-157 and West Branch.[22][23] The last routing change was made in November 2000 when the southern segment of the Cadillac bypass was opened. M-55 was moved out of downtown Cadillac and along the freeway and M-115.[24] US 131 joined M-55 on the bypass the next October when the northern half of the bypass was completed in 2001.[25]

Major intersections

County Location Mile[1] km Exit Destinations Notes
Manistee Manistee Township 0.000 0.000 US 31 / LMCT – Traverse City, Ludington Western terminus of M-55
Wexford South Branch Township 25.803 41.526 M‑37 – Traverse City, Baldwin
Cadillac 43.814 70.512 M‑115 north – Mesick, Frankfort Western end of M-115 concurrency
44.276 71.255 Sunnyside Drive Former routing of M-55
Clam Lake Township 46.773 75.274 176 US 131 south / M‑115 south – Grand Rapids, Clare Eastern end of M-115 concurrency; M-55 joins US 131 concurrency, exit numbers correspond to US 131 mileage
48.039 77.311 177
BUS US 131 south – Cadillac
Clam LakeHaring township line 50.898 81.912 180 US 131 north – Petoskey Northern end of US 131 concurrency
Missaukee LakeReeder township line 58.732 94.520 M‑66 south – Marion Western end of M-66 concurrency
Lake City 63.796 102.670 M‑66 north – Kalkaska Eastern end of M-66 concurrency
Roscommon LakeRoscommon township line 84.004–
US 127 – Lansing, Grayling Exit 194 on US 127
Denton Township 92.851 149.429 M‑18 south – Gladwin Western end of M-18 concurrency
93.644 150.705 M‑18 north – Roscommon Eastern end of M-18 concurrency
Backus Township 95.021 152.921 M‑157 north Southern terminus of M-157
99.937 160.833 West Branch Road Former routing of M-55
100.773 162.178 227 I‑75 north – Mackinac Bridge Western end of I-75 concurrency; exit numbers follow I-75 numbering
Richfield Township 105.318 169.493 222 Old 76 – St. Helen Former M-76
Ogemaw Ogemaw Township 112.374 180.848 215 I‑75 south / BL I‑75 south – Saginaw, Detroit Eastern end of I-75 concurrency; western end of BL I-75 concurrency; northern terminus of BL I-75
West Branch 114.197 183.782 M‑30 south – Midland Northern terminus of M-30
115.295 185.549 BL I‑75 south Eastern end of BL I-75 concurrency
Churchill Township 120.197 193.438 M‑33 – Alger, Mio
Iosco Reno Township 136.183 219.165 M‑65 – Hale, Whittemore
Tawas City 150.944 242.921 US 23 / LHCT – Standish, Alpena Eastern terminus of M-55
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

Business loop

BUS M-55
Location: Houghton Lake Heights
Length: 2.898 mi[1] (4.664 km)
Existed: Early 1950[16][17]–Late 1961[18][19]

Business M-55 (BUS M-55) was a business loop designated for just over a decade in Houghton Lake Heights. BUS M-55 ran for 2.898 miles (4.664 km) along Houghton Lake Drive between US 27 and Federal Drive next to the Houghton Lake. M-55 was shifted off the road when several highways in the Houghton Lake area were rerouted. US 27 was moved to the west side of the lakes in the area, and M-55 was moved follow US 27, replace the original M-169 in the area and replace a section of the former routing of US 27 in Houghton Lake in 1949.[15][16] By early 1950, the former route of M-55 through Houghton Lake Heights was designated BUS M-55. This business loop existed until the US 27 freeway was built in the area in late 1961. At that time, M-55 was moved back to its pre-1949 routing, replacing BUS M-55.[18][19]

See also


  1. ^ a b c "MDOT Physical Reference Finder Application". Michigan Department of Transportation. 2009. Retrieved January 20, 2011. 
  2. ^ a b c d Michigan Department of Transportation (2010). Official Department of Transportation Map (Map). 1 in:15 mi/1 cm:9 km. Section H8–H12.
  3. ^ a b c Google Inc. "Overview Map of M-55". Google Maps (Map). Cartography by Google, Inc.,-85.4024545+to:44.2525458,-85.351406+to:Hemlock+Rd&hl=en&geocode=Fdp6owIdeC_b-g%3BFYSjogIdqtzo-in5X_4iIg8fiDGjroIhxfqubg%3BFYE9owIdEqTp-in3KLMv3wsfiDE7xFxdrEh65w%3BFcCPowId4L8F-w&mra=dme&mrcr=0&mrsp=3&sz=13&via=1,2&sll=44.289698,-83.490257&sspn=0.115751,0.116386&ie=UTF8&ll=44.288469,-84.765015&spn=3.704091,3.724365&z=8. Retrieved January 19, 2011.
  4. ^ Michigan Department of Transportation (April 23, 2006) (PDF). National Highway System, Michigan (Map). Retrieved October 7, 2008.
  5. ^ "National Highway System". Federal Highway Administration. Retrieved December 12, 2010. 
  6. ^ Michigan State Highway Department (July 1, 1919). State of Michigan: Lower Peninsula (Map). Cartography by MSHD.
  7. ^ Michigan State Highway Department (December 1, 1926). Official Highway Service Map (Map). Cartography by MSHD.
  8. ^ Michigan State Highway Department (December 1, 1927). Official Highway Service Map (Map). Cartography by MSHD.
  9. ^ Michigan State Highway Department (October 1, 1931). Official Michigan Highway Map (Map). Cartography by Rand McNally. Section H8–H9, H11–H12.
  10. ^ Michigan State Highway Department (October 1, 1932). Official Michigan Highway Map (Map). Cartography by Rand McNally. Section H8–H9, H11–H12.
  11. ^ Michigan State Highway Department (May 1, 1938). 1938 Official Michigan Highway Map (Map). Cartography by Rand McNally (Spring ed.). Section H11–H12.
  12. ^ Michigan State Highway Department (December 1, 1938). 1938 Official Michigan Highway Map (Map). Cartography by Rand McNally (Winter ed.). Section H11–H12.
  13. ^ Iosco County Road Commission (1940). 1940 Iosco County Map (Map).
  14. ^ Mobil (1934). Mobilgas Map of Michigan: North Eastern Michigan, Zone 5 (Map). Cartography by Rand McNally. Section O10–O11, Reverse inset.
  15. ^ a b Michigan State Highway Department (April 1, 1949). Michigan Official Highway Map (Map). Section H10.
  16. ^ a b c Michigan State Highway Department (July 1, 1949). Michigan Official Highway Map (Map). Section H10.
  17. ^ a b Michigan State Highway Department (April 15, 1950). Michigan Official Highway Map (Map). Section H10.
  18. ^ a b c Michigan State Highway Department (1961). Official Highway Map (Map). Section H10. (Includes all changes through July 1, 1961)
  19. ^ a b c Michigan State Highway Department (1962). Official Highway Map (Map). Section H10.
  20. ^ Michigan State Highway Department (1958). Official Highway Map (Map). Section H12. (Includes all changes through July 1, 1958)
  21. ^ Michigan State Highway Department (1960). Official Highway Map (Map). Section H12. (Includes all changes through July 1, 1960)
  22. ^ Michigan Department of State Highways (1973). Official Highway Map (Map). 1 in:14.5 mi. Section H9, H11.
  23. ^ Michigan Department of State Highways and Transportation (1974). Official Highway Map (Map). 1 in:14.5 mi. Section H9, H11.
  24. ^ Bauza, Margarita (November 15, 2000). "Cadillac Hears Sounds of Silence Thanks to Bypass". Grand Rapids Press. p. D1. 
  25. ^ Bornheimer, Hank (October 27, 2001). "Temporary Recreation Trail Ready for Traffic—You Can Walk, Run, Skate or Bike the Cadillac Bypass—until Tuesday". Grand Rapids Press. p. A1. 

External links

  • M-55 at Michigan Highways
  • M-55 at Michigan Highway Ends
  • M-55–Pine River Bridge at Michigan's Historical Bridges (MDOT)
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