I-69’s an Interstate… So Is I-94… Here’s Why I-96 Is Not
I-96 is a poser.
There's no debating that I-96 is one of southern Michigan's most necessary thoroughfares. Thousands upon thousands of cars and trucks depend upon it every day to transport people, goods and more along the 192 miles between Muskegon, Grand Rapids, Lansing and Detroit and all points in between.
I-69 is important to Mid-Michigan, and so is I-94.
I-69 and I-94 are real "interstates". I-96 is not.
For years, Interstate 69 ran from Port Huron, Michigan to Indianapolis, Indiana. Now it's expanded to run past Indy through southwestern Indiana, on into Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, and Arkansas before traveling all the way to Laredo, Texas (albeit in several unfinished segments).
Interstate 94 begins in Detroit and then connects several cities and states to the west. It runs through much of southern Michigan and far northwestern Indiana before rolling through Chicago, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, and Fargo, N.D., on the way to its western end in Montana.
Did you notice the difference?
Some may call it "splitting hairs", but I-96 is actually an "intrastate", not an interstate. Intrastate highways like I-96 are the ones that stay completely and totally within one state's borders. Since the only state that I-96 ever sees is Michigan, it doesn't technically meet the definition of an "interstate".
Before you look at I-96 with disdain for lying to you this whole time, consider this. It's not the only one in the US that does this.
Not counting three digit "spur" or "loop" highways such as Lansing's I-496, I-96 is one of almost two dozen intrastates in the United States. Scroll below to see who the other posers are.