M-1 (Michigan highway)

M-1 (Michigan highway)

M-1 marker

Woodward Avenue
Route information
Maintained by MDOT
Length: 21.48 mi[1] (34.57 km)
Existed: 1970[1] – present
Automotive Heritage Trail All-American Road
Major junctions
South end: Adams Avenue in Detroit

I-94 at Detroit
M-8 at Detroit
M-102 at Ferndale

I-696 at Royal Oak
North end:
BL I-75 / BUS US 24 near Pontiac
Counties: Wayne, Oakland
Highway system

Michigan State Trunkline Highway System
Interstate • US • State

I-696 US 2

M-1, commonly known as Woodward Avenue, named for Augustus B. Woodward, is a north–south state trunkline in the US state of Michigan. Until a few years ago, the northern terminus of M-1 was at BL I-75 and BUS US 24 (Square Lake Road) in Bloomfield Township between the city limits of Bloomfield Hills and Pontiac in Oakland County. Woodward has now been extended north into central Pontiac over what once was called Wide Track Drive. The southern end of M-1 is in downtown Detroit at Adams Avenue; however, Woodward Avenue extends further south in Detroit to Jefferson Avenue.


Route description

Woodward Avenue has been the main artery of Detroit's transportation network since the incorporation of the modern plan of the city in 1805 and it therefore holds considerable cultural significance. Woodward was planned to be the most important of the five major avenues (along with Michigan, Grand River, Gratiot, and Jefferson) planned by Judge Augustus Woodward that extend from downtown Detroit in differing directions. Woodward runs north-northwest from the city's downtown area, while Grand River Avenue extends further west.

Merchants Row on Woodward between Grand Circus Park and Campus Martius Park in downtown Detroit, just south of the David Whitney Building

Many historical sites are located along Woodward Avenue, and the road was designated a Michigan Heritage Route by the Michigan Department of Transportation-Design Division in July 1999 and as a National Scenic Byway by the Federal Highway Administration National Scenic Byways Program on June 13, 2002.

In 1909, the stretch of Woodward Avenue between Six Mile and Seven Mile Roads became the first mile of road in the world to be paved with concrete.

Woodward Avenue in Detroit

Many of Detroit's most important cultural fixtures are located on Woodward in downtown Detroit, including the Fox Theatre, Comerica Park and Ford Field. Farther north, the Detroit Institute of Arts, Wayne State University, and the College for Creative Studies are located on Woodward Avenue. In Oakland County, the important cities of Ferndale, Royal Oak, and Birmingham, including the Detroit Zoo, are centered on Woodward Avenue.

The Woodward Dream Cruise takes place on Woodward Avenue between Pontiac and Ferndale in Oakland County during the middle of summer. The annual event draws thousands of classic car owners and admirers from all over the United States and the world to the Metro Detroit area to celebrate Detroit's automotive history. The event evokes nostalgia of the 1950s and '60s, when it was common for young drivers to "cruise" with their cars on Woodward Avenue.

The total length of Woodward Avenue/M-1 is 21.48 miles (34.57 km), and Woodward Avenue continues into downtown Pontiac after the M-1 designation ceases. In Pontiac, the portion of Woodward Avenue also known as "The Loop" was previously called "Wide Track Drive." Woodward Avenue also continues southerly in Detroit past the southern terminus of M-1 to end at Jefferson Avenue.


Looking south down Woodward Avenue from the Maccabees Building with the Detroit skyline in the distance, July 1942. The Edwin S. George Building is on the left, about ⅔ of the way up.

M-1 was designated by the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) in 1970. Prior to that, Woodward Avenue was designated as US 10. Between Jefferson Avenue and Grand River Avenue, Woodward at one time carried three US routes — US 10, US 12, and US 16, as all three terminated at the junction with US 25, which was routed on Jefferson at the time. All of Woodward Avenue, through "The Loop" in downtown Pontiac, was designated US 10, which extended northward along Dixie Highway.

A bypass of downtown Birmingham opened in 1939, drawing through traffic away from the busy Woodward Avenue-Maple Road intersection. The bypass, which carried the US 10 (and later M-1) designation, was named Hunter Boulevard. In 1996, though, the bypass would be renamed Woodward Avenue, with the previous alignment of Woodward being signed as Old Woodward.

In 1970, US 10 was rerouted to the John C. Lodge Freeway and the portion of Jefferson Avenue between the Lodge and Randolph Street. At the time, there were no single-digit state routes in Michigan, as in 1939, the single-digit numbers (M-X) were reserved by MDOT to be used for future superhighways to be built across the state. Since these superhighways eventually became Interstate and U.S. routes, the single-digit numbers remained unused until MDOT selected M-1 to represent Detroit's "Main Street" to replace US 10. M-1 was designated for the portion of Woodward Avenue from Jefferson Avenue in downtown Detroit, to Square Lake Road along the south border of Pontiac. Woodward north of Square Lake Road was concurrent with business routes of US 10 and I-75. When US 10 was truncated to Bay City in 1986, the BUS US 10 portion of Woodward became BUS US 24. Woodward Avenue is part of the Saginaw Trail and part of the Dixie Highway.

M-1 and Woodward Ave. in downtown Detroit

In the late 1970s, M-1 was truncated in downtown Detroit, as the Woodward Mall area was designated in the area around Cadillac Square. Official MDOT maps and other maps made between the 1970s and the 1990s had conflicting information regarding the routing and terminus of M-1, which had previously reached Jefferson Avenue. In 2001, the southern terminus of M-1 was set at Grand River Avenue, in a spate of jurisdiction transfers between the City of Detroit and MDOT. In 2004, however, the terminus was moved north three blocks to Adams Avenue.

Major intersections

County Location Mile Destinations Notes
Detroit 0.0 Adams Avenue Southern Terminus of M-1; Woodward Avenue continues to Jefferson Avenue
2.0 I-94 (Edsel Ford Freeway) - Chicago No access to eastbound I-94; exit 215C on I-94
5.1 M-8 (Davison Freeway)
8.5 M-102 (8 Mile Road)
Royal Oak 10.6 I-696 (Walter P. Reuther Freeway) – Lansing, Port Huron Exit 16 on I-696
Pontiac 21.5
BL I-75 / BUS US 24 (Square Lake Road)
Northern terminus of M-1; Woodward Avenue continues into Downtown Pontiac
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi
     Concurrency terminus     Closed/Former     Incomplete access     Unopened

See also

Portal icon Michigan Highways portal


  1. ^ a b Bessert, Christopher J. (April 23, 2006). "Michigan Highways: Highways 1 through 9". Michigan Highways. http://www.michiganhighways.org/listings/MichHwys01-09.html#M-001. Retrieved July 25, 2006. 

External links

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