Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker announced today that U.S. 41 in the eastern part of the state has been officially added to the Interstate System as I-41.
“The Interstate designation is the culmination of years of hard work by federal, state, and local officials that will stimulate economic opportunities from Milwaukee to Green Bay and beyond,” Governor Walker said. “Our Interstate system is a critical part of our infrastructure, which fuels commerce, helps grow the economy, and create jobs.”
The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) officially approved the Interstate designation – the final step in a process that began nearly 10 years ago. Installation of about 3,000 new signs will begin this summer with signing expected to be completed by November 2015.
“The official designation of I-41 is tremendous news that will support the safe, efficient movement of people and commerce for many years to come,” said Wisconsin Department of Transportation Secretary Mark Gottlieb. “Along with Governor Walker’s leadership, I want to thank former Congressman Tom Petri, our current Congressional delegation, state legislators, local government officials, and community leaders who helped make I-41 a reality.”
Wisconsin’s newest Interstate route runs concurrently with US 41 for the entire route. I-41 begins at the I-94/US 41 interchange located about one mile south of the Wisconsin/Illinois border. It follows I-94 north to the Mitchell Interchange, I-894 and US 45 around Milwaukee and then joins US 41 north to Green Bay where it ends at the I-43 Interchange.
Existing US 41 in the Milwaukee area will be re-routed to follow I-41 along I-894 and US 45. Current US 41 along Lisbon Avenue and Appleton Avenue from I-94 at the Stadium Interchange northwesterly to the interchange with US 45 will be re-numbered WIS 175.
Additional benefits in designating US 41 part of the Interstate System include:
- Interstates provide a corridor identify, which encourages growth. Of the 26 major distribution centers in Wisconsin, 73 percent are located within five miles of an Interstate.
- The design standards for the Interstate system ensure high levels of mobility and safety.
- Interstate status will elevate US 41 from a regionally-known freeway to a nationally recognized corridor. This will allow communities along the route to be competitive when large corporations are looking for market expansion locations.
In 2005, US 41 from Milwaukee to Green Bay was identified by the federal government for inclusion in the US Interstate Highway System. Planning for the Interstate conversion began in 2007. In May 2011, Governor Scott Walker committed state resources to continue work on the study and make I-41 a reality. As part of this effort, federal legislation was needed to allow certain commercial trucks to continue operating on the corridor after Interstate conversion. That legislation was passed in December 2014.