U.S. Route 131 (US 131) is a north-south United States highway. All but of its length is within Michigan. The total length of the highway is around with approximately of that freeway. US 131 also features six business routes. When the U.S. Highway System debuted, US 131 was designated along the path of what had been M-13 in Michigan. The southern terminus of US 131 is approximately five miles (8 km) north of Middlebury, Indiana at an intersection with the Indiana Toll Road, just south of the Michigan-Indiana border, where it continues as State Road 13.The northern terminus is in Petoskey, Michigan, at an intersection with US 31.
While logic and some maps indicate otherwise, US 131 has never extended any farther south than the Indiana Toll Road since its inception in 1926. Indeed, prior to 1959, US 131 terminated at the Michigan-Indiana state line and, as such, existed in only one state.
US 131 markers exist at the intersection of SR 13 and SR 120 roughly one mile south of the Toll Road, but these as a rule are qualified with the word "TO".
It has full interchanges with four freeways: I-94 southwest of Kalamazoo, M-6 on the south side of Grand Rapids, I-196 near downtown Grand Rapids, and I-96 on the north side of Grand Rapids. The portion between I-196 and I-96 also bears the unposted designation of I-296.
US 131 is a freeway from south of Portage to north of Manton, Michigan; it is a divided surface highway from just south of Portage to Three Rivers, a portion of which is constructed to "expressway" standards on controlled-access right-of-way (except that in Schoolcraft it is an undivided city street). While further northerly extension of the US 131 freeway from Manton toward Kalkaska and beyond has been shelved by the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT), a southerly extension of the freeway to or near the Indiana state line is still under study. Improvements to the US 131 corridor from Portage to the Indiana Toll Road have been underway for several years and while a late-2005 decision by MDOT to not pursue a new alignment, controlled-access route through Saint Joseph County seemed to put an end to that discussion, public outcry and backlash from local legislators caused the department to re-evaluate this decision.
Interstate 296 (abbreviated I-296) is an unsigned segment of US 131 entirely within Grand Rapids, Michigan. Its termini are I-96 on the north side of Grand Rapids and I-196 near downtown Grand Rapids. As the entire length coincides with US 131—which continues as a freeway built to interstate standards north and south of the short segment— the Michigan Department of Transportation simplified matters by eliminating all signage for I-296 and removing the designation from their officially published state map.
The first portion of the US 131 corridor to be converted to freeway standards was completed in 1957 between Wayland in Allegan County and M-11 (28th Street) in Wyoming in Kent County. Further extensions in the 1960s took the US 131 freeway both south (to Plainwell, then past Kalamazoo to north of Schoolcraft) and north (through Grand Rapids to I-96) of that original freeway segment. The 1960s also saw a short segment of US 131 freeway constructed south of Cadillac.
The 1970s saw the US 131 freeway expand to the north of Grand Rapids, first to Cedar Springs then to north of Howard City. In the 1980s, major construction in the corridor extended the freeway northerly past Big Rapids and Reed City to a connection with the freeway heading southerly from Cadillac. As of 1986, the US 131 freeway ran from north of Schoolcraft to Cadillac.
By the late 1990s a major section of the US 131 freeway in Grand Rapids was found to be sinking as a result of gypsum mining which left voids in subsurface material. After a major study was completed to analyze the various options for the so-called "Grand Rapids S-Curve," the entire one mile segment of freeway was shut down in January 2000 for complete reconstruction. The new "S-Curve" structure, which includes the bridge spanning the Grand River, was built with an additional through lane in each direction and completed in 209 and 283 days for the north- and southbound lanes, respectively. Early completion of the project allowed the primary contractor, Kiewit, to earn approximately 90% of a possible bonus. In 2001, a freeway bypass of Cadillac was completed and Manton, the next community to the north, was bypassed with an extension of the US 131 freeway in 2003.
|Kalamazoo||Portage||31||Centre Avenue - Portage|
|34||, Chicago||South end of I-94 BL overlap; signed as exits 34A (east) and 34B (west)|
|Oshtemo Township||36||North end of I-94 BL overlap; signed as exits 36A (east/north) and 36B (west)|
|38||Signed as exits 38A (east) and 38B (west)|
|41||Southbound exit and northbound entrance|
|Alamo Township||44||D Avenue|
|Allegan||Plainwell||49||Signed as exits 49A (east) and 49B (west)|
|50||106th Avenue||Southbound exit and northbound entrance|
|Wayland||64||135th Avenue - Wayland, Hilliards|
|Dorr||68||142nd Avenue - Dorr, Moline|
|Kent||Byron Center||72||100th Street|
|74||84th Street - Byron Center|
|76||68th Street - Cutlerville|
|Grand Rapids||82A||Burton Street||Signed as exits 82A (east) and 82B (west) southbound|
|82B||Hynes Avenue||Northbound exit only|
|84B||Northbound exit and southbound entrance|
|85A||Market Avenue||Southbound exit and northbound entrance|
|85B||Pearl Street - Downtown Grand Rapids|
|Southern terminus of unsigned I-296|
|86||Signed as exits 86A (east) and 86B (west)|
|Walker||89||Signed as exits 89A (east) and 89B (west) southbound|
|Northern terminus of unsigned I-296|
|Plainfield Township||91||West River Drive - Comstock, Comstock Park|
|95||Post Drive - Belmont|
|Rockford||97||10 Mile Road - Rockford|
|Cedar Springs||104||South end of M-46 overlap|
|Sand Lake||110||Sand Lake|
|Reynolds Township||120||North end of M-46 overlap|
|Mecosta||Morley||125||Jefferson Road - Morley|
|Stanwood||131||South end of M-20 overlap|
|Big Rapids||139||North end of M-20 overlap|
|Ashton||159||11 Mile Road|
|Le Roy||162||14 Mile Road|
|Tustin||168||20 Mile Road|
|Wexford||Cadillac||176||South end of M-55 overlap|
|180||North end of M-55 overlap|