October 20, 2014

State requests Interstate 41 designation

A plan submitted to the Federal Highway Association this week would rename a 175 mile corridor in eastern Wisconsin Interstate 41. The route would start south of Milwaukee and follow I-94, I-894, US Highway 45, and then US Highway 41 to Green Bay.

Project manager Tammy Raabe says the request is a first step in the ongoing process of achieving the interstate designation. The state must also complete an environmental document, receive an approved agreement with federal transportation officials to convert US 41, and get federal legislation passed dealing with oversized and overweight loads that would be transported on the roadway.

Raabe says the state is pursuing the interstate designation for the corridor because of the economic benefits it will provide. She says many businesses want to locate near an interstate. While much of US 41 is already set up like a freeway, she says having the official red and blue signs of the interstate system actually makes a big difference.

Wisconsin last had an interstate designated in 1996, when Highway 51 became I-39 from Portage to Wausau. Raabe says the state will likely find out in mid-November if the I-41 designation will be approved. The DOT hopes to have the roadway switched over to the interstate system by 2014.

AUDIO: Andrew Beckett reports (1:08)