Skiers and riders from Chicago, Indianpolis, and South Bend, Ind., who are planning trips to northern Michigan to visit ski resorts around the Petoskey/Harbor Springs area, should plan on a little longer trip this winter. That includes Shanty Creek, Boyne Mountain and Highlands and Nubs Nob areas.
The bridge over the Manistee River on U.S. 131, north of Cadillac, is being repaired and is closed for the winter. There are a limited number of bridges along the Manistee, Michigan's longest river, for alternative options.
The detour has you getting off U.S. 131 onto M-55, just south of Cadillac, heading east to M-66 and taking that to Kalkaska where you again intersect U.S. 131 to continue heading north. The Michigan DOT says the milage for the detour is similar and not much out of the way. The problem is you are trading about 15 miles of expressway for a similar amount of two-lane highway, and this is snow country. Hopefully they will make sure the alternative route is serviced by snowplows. Heavy snow could make it seem even longer.
I live in this region of Lower Michigan, and there really is no better route if you're heading north to the Petoskey/Harbor Springs area from southwestern Lower Michigan. Heavy snowfall could be another problem with Michigan's shrinking road clearing budget. Just be aware, and plan on leaving a few minutes ealier this winter for your trip north. Click on the link below to view the alternative DOT route.