It is Michigan's most interesting highway, M-185. Why? Because it's the only highway in the state, where motorized vehicles are NOT allowed. Yes, it's the highway surrounding Mackinac Island.

But just because it doesn't have everyday wear and tear on it, doesn't mean the eight-mile stretch of road doesn't need work from time to time. The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) says about half of the eight miles around the island sustained severe damage that kept getting worse and worse in Fall 2019 and Winter 2020.

High water and storm damage undermined the roadway along Mackinac Island's M-185 prior to repair work. (Photo provided by MDOT)

"In 2020, it was a disaster out here. The high lake levels were eroding the road into the water. Large chunks of it were washed away; the rest of it was often covered in boulders." - Steve Brisson, director of the Mackinac State Historic Parks.

Work on the roadway started as emergency repairs and then restoration of a safe pavement surface on M-185 and finally work to stop or at least significantly slow down future erosion damage.

(MichiganDOT via YouTube)

"We had to come to a decision," Brisson said. "We either had to let the road go or do what MDOT did here. And it's a remarkable job, and this is what it will take to preserve this remarkable roadway."

A $6 million project, which began in May and finished recently, repaired armor stone along M-185, primarily along the eastern and northern shore of the island. (MDOT photo: Daniel Weingarten, MDOT. Courtesy MDOT)
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