Interstate Business Route 96
Business routes are posted for Interstates 96, 196 and 496. I-696 once had a spur leading southeast to Detroit as well. For more detailed information on all current Interstate Business routes in the Great Lake State, see Chris Bessert’s Michigan Highways Page.
Designated as Business Spur I-196 in 1962, one year prior to the switch of Interstates 96 and 196 west of Grand Rapids, the Muskegon business route originated at the Mart Street entrance to the U.S. 16 carferry. It ran south along what is now U.S. 31 Business to the current west end of I-96.1 The business spur was dropped in 1984, likely because it was incorporated into the longer U.S. 31 Business.
Interstate 96 bypasses Lansing to the west and south while an urban freeway loop (I-496) connects the highway with Downtown. Supplementing the freeway network is Business Loop I-96, a 13.51 mile alignment along old U.S. 16 and old U.S. 27. Beginning at Exit 90, Business Loop I-96 follows Grand River Avenue east to North Street and ramps to the couplet of Cedar Street (south) and Larch Street (north). The one-way pair takes the business loop east of the Grand River and the Michigan State Capitol. Recombining at I-496 as Cedar Street, Business Loop I-96 leaves Downtown Lansing along a five-lane commercial boulevard to end at a high speed access road connecting Cedar Street with I-96 at Exit 104.
The decommissioning of U.S. 16 from Michigan in 1962 resulted in the establishment of Business Loop I-96 through Howell. The 8.15 mile route branches east from I-96 along side M-59 (Exit 133) to overtake Grand River Avenue southeast to the Howell city center.2 A wye interchange (Exit 141) concludes the business loop by Lake Chemung.
Farmington Hills and Detroit
Business Spur I-96 replaced the easternmost portion of U.S. 16 (Grand River Avenue) when it was retired in 1962. The route extended from the Interstate 96 freeway end in Farmington southeast to Downtown Detroit. Signs posted along the route included trailblazers for I-96 west.3
Original proposals for I-96 outlined an overall route paralleling Grand River Avenue (old U.S. 16). In addition to the Farmington spur of I-96, a section of the Jeffries Freeway was also completed in Detroit northwest to West Chicago. Changes made to the I-96 plans during the 1960s resulted in what the Detroit media described as a “jughandle”, a westerly heading for the Jeffries Freeway over most of Schoolcraft Avenue.4 The Jeffries Freeway east to the Southfield Freeway (M-39) opened in 1977 as the new alignment for I-96. The previously signed freeway spur to Farmington for I-96 was redesignated M-102, which also replaced Business Spur I-96 southeast to Eight Mile Road.3,5 Today these sections are both a part of M-5.
The section of Business Spur I-96 on Grand River Avenue between Eight Mile Road and the Jeffries Freeway at Exit 185 was renumbered as M-5. An unsigned state trunk line was retained for the remainder of Grand River Avenue leading south from Exit 185 to Downtown. That section was truncated to the intersection with Middle Street and Cass Avenue in 2004.5
Interstate Business Route 196
Business Loop I-196 follows portions of old U.S. 31 along a 3.74 mile2 alignment north from Exit 18 and west from Exit 20. The route bee lines north along M-140 to becomes LaGrange Street at the city line. The business loop shifts westward via Phillips Street onto Broadway Street to Downtown. Phoenix Street leads the business route back to Interstate 196.
Interstate 196 turns away from U.S. 31 and Lake Michigan for Grand Rapids on the south side of Holland. An 11.6-mile business loop combines with U.S. 31 north from a wye interchange (Exit 44) along an older bypass route of Downtown. The two split near the Macatawa River, where Business Loop I-196 turns east along the former M-21 (Chicago Drive) to an expressway across the city of Zeeland. The loop curves east from the old M-21 alignment to end at Exit 55 opposite Byron Road.
Business Loop I-196 previously totaled 12.26 miles in length when it followed former Business U.S. 31 into Downtown Holland. The route took a combination of Washington, Michigan and River Avenues north from Exit 47 to the one-way couplet of Seventh and Eighth Streets to connect with Chicago Drive (M-21). The old business route through downtown Holland was decommissioned from the state highway system in August 2004.2
Business Spur I-196 travels 4.15 miles from Exit 72 east to U.S. 131 at Franklin Street (Exit 83B) in Grand Rapids. A short access links the business route with Chicago Drive (old M-21) as it traverses an industrial area through the city of Wyoming. Crossing Plaster Creek, Chicago Drive curves north to become Grandville Avenue in the city of Grand Rapids. Franklin Street completes the route with ramps to the U.S. 131 freeway at Sheridan Avenue.
Interstate Business Route 496
Designated internally by MDOT as Connector 96, and formally named the Capitol Loop, the business loop from I-496 runs from Exit 5 (M-99) to Exit 7 (Business Loop I-96) through Downtown Lansing. A couplet along Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard takes the route north to the one-way pair of Allegan Street east and Ottawa Street west by the Michigan State Capitol. Grand Avenue then connects the couplet with Michigan Avenue across the Grand River. The 2.26 mile route combines with Business Loop I-96 (Cedar / Larch Streets) south for a return to I-496.2
Unique trailblazers featuring a capitol dome illustration mark the route. Signs are not as consistent as they used to be, with assemblies missing from turning points by 2015.2
Interstate Business Route 696
Southfield and Detroit
The initial section of the John C. Lodge Expressway northwest from Detroit to Meyers Road was designated as Business Spur I-696 in 1962. The route was extended a year later to I-696 at U.S. 24 (Telegraph Road), as Interstate 696 opened to traffic from that interchange west to I-96.
An alignment change for U.S. 10 in 1970 shifted the route from Woodward Avenue to the John C. Lodge Freeway, retiring the business spur from I-696. U.S. 10 between Southfield and Detroit was eventually renumbered as M-10 when the US highway was retracted to Bay City in 1986.2,3
A remnant marker for Business Spur I-696 appeared at the entrance to the John C. Lodge Freeway at Tiger Stadium well into the 1980s.6
- Michigan Highways: Highways 90 through 99.
- Michigan Highways: Business Connections 96 through 496.
- Email correspondence with Edward M. Curtis.
- Email correspondence with Dyche Anderson.
- Michigan Highways: Unsigned State Trunklines List.
- Email correspondence with Michael Swope.
Page updated August 26, 2016.