Any photos not otherwise credited are from the personal collection of Frank Passic, Albion Historian.
Morning Star, June 25, 2000, pg. 23.
We continue with our theme of the 40th anniversary of the opening of Interstate-94 (July 1, 1960). Wouldnít it have been great if there had been an interchange to I-94 at 27 Mile Road? It would have been an easy-on, easy-off route for those semi-trucks which service the Albion Industrial Park, Harvard Industries, and other factories. It would have reduced traffic on N. Eaton St. and helped trucks avoid those wide right turns from Eaton onto the angled Austin Avenue.
Well, there was supposed to have been an exit at 27 Mile Rd. In February 1957 highway planning officials announced that there would be an exit at 26 Mile Road to serve Starr Commonwealth for Boys; an exit at 27 Mile Road to service the Calhoun County Road Commission which was located there; an exit at 28 Mile Road; and an exit at 29 Mile Road.
Unfortunately politics entered into the decision making process. Officials in the western portion of the county thought we in the eastern portion were going to get too many exits while they had too few, and protested. They wanted the "ramp" money spent in their area. Others didnít want exits in the middle of farmland which would promote urban sprawl and gas stations, for example at Vernona Road west of Marshall although one was proposed there.
As things turned out, it was decided that an interchange would still be built at 26 Mile Road to service Starr Commonwealth, and was considered one of Albionís two Calhoun Co. exits that were allowed. Trucks could use that exit to enter Albion from the west via Michigan Avenue, but would have to pass through the middle of the Starr campus (26 Mile Rd.). Unfortunately with all the traffic barreling through, a Starr employee was seriously injured in a pedestrian accident. This caused Starr officials to push to move 26 Mile Rd. away from its campus so it curved to the west to meet 25 1/2 mile Rd. at Michigan Avenue.
On May 11, 1958, the Federal Bureau of Roads vetoed interchanges at 27 and 29 Mile Roads. The rationale for not having an exit at 27 Mile Rd. was that traffic could use the 26 Mile Rd. exit instead, or could use the 28 Mile Rd. exit and use C Drive North as a service drive to get to 27 Mile Rd. The 28 Mile Rd. exit (Albionís second exit) would also be used to service 29 Mile Rd. A service drive, B Drive North, was constructed to connect N. Eaton St. with 29 Mile Rd. No service drive was constructed on the south side of I-94, however to connect N. Eaton St. with 27 Mile Rd., and Bemer St. was never allowed to be extended to 27 Mile Rd. Even after Starr Commonwealth moved 26 Mile Road to the west to meet 25 1/2 Mile Rd, no exit was ever constructed at 27 Mile Rd. and I-94.
From our Historical notebook we present a portion of an area map showing the intended 27-Mile Rd. exit at I-94 that was never built, even though the land was purchased to construct one. In the next two years when a new 28 Mile Rd. bridge is constructed over I-94 and N. Eaton St. is widened, weíll all wish that there had been exits at both 27 and 29 Mile Roads. Already you can see the widening stakes that have been placed on N. Eaton St. beginning at Broadwell Avenue. But that is another topic.
Primitive diagram of the I-94 Exits
Next: HAPPY BIRTHDAY I-94!
All text copyright, 2020 © all rights reserved Frank Passic