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Interstate 41

 

Routing

Interstate 41 is the designation given for the U.S. 41 freeway corridor between Milwaukee and Green Bay via Appleton and for the U.S. 41 overlaps with Interstates 894 and 94 southward from Milwaukee to Exit 1A (Russell Road) of I-94 in Illinois. Resigning of U.S. 41 to Interstate 41 through Wisconsin takes place between late May and November 2015. The $5.9-million project includes the posting of 3,200 signs over the 180 mile route.1

The first signs for Interstate 41 posted in Wisconsin were installed during the evening of May 29, 2015. This sign appears along Wisconsin 172 eastbound at the interchange with I-41 in Ashwaubenon. Photo taken by Peter Johnson (05/30/15).

Interstate 41 creates the unusual situation where a U.S. route changes into an Interstate route with the exact same number (U.S. 74 and Interstate 74 do the same thing at Rockingham and Laurinburg, North Carolina). U.S. 41 will not be shown as cosigned with Interstate 41 however.

High Priority Corridor

Proposed Interstate 41 is part of High Priority Corridor 32: Wisconsin Development Corridor and High Priority Corridor 57: U.S. 41 Corridor from Milwaukee to Green Bay for its entire length.

Planned Improvements

Two projects along Interstate 41 and U.S. 41 involved upgrading the freeway through Brown and Winnebago Counties. The Brown County work entails a 14-mile stretch from Orange Lane to Lineville Road. Construction commenced in 2010 and runs through 2017. Elements of work include rebuilding nine interchanges, adding 24 roundabouts and widening the freeway from four to six and ten overall lanes. More details are as follows:

  • Lineville Road (County Trunk Highway M) interchange - work completed from June 2013 to May 2015.
    I-41 was expanded to six lanes below a new overpass for CTH M while ramps were expanded to two lanes.
  • I-41 and I-43 Interchange - work started in September 2013 and runs through December 2016.
    Construction replaces all loop ramps with directional ramps as part of new directional T interchange. Adjacent work separates movements to Velp Avenue (U.S. 141) to eliminate weaving traffic to and from I-43.
  • Packerland Drive - WIS 29 Interchange - work completed in early 2015 included construction to add flyovers from and to Wisconsin 29 & 32 leading west from Interstate 41 & U.S. 41. The new directional T overlays a diamond interchange with roundabouts at Shawano Avenue.
  • WIS 172 Ramps - construction started in fall 2013 and concludes in 2016.
    Ramps were expanded and realigned to join new collector distributor lanes along Interstate 41.

Work in Winnebago County affected 17 miles of Interstate 41 & U.S. 41 from Wisconsin 26 to Breezewood Lane. Construction was completed between 2009 and 2014. Upgrades included a new eight lane Lake Butte des Morts Causeway, reconstruction of four interchanges, and the addition of 16 roundabouts. Of this work, the interchange with U.S. 45 received a substantial makeover with free flow movements added from north I-41 to north U.S. 45 and from U.S. 45 south to I-41 south.

Further south on the west side of Milwaukee, a major overhaul is underway at the Zoo Interchange, where Interstates 41 and 94 come together. Work underway replaces a 1963-opened directional interchange with left-hand ramps with a new symmetrical stack interchange. Adjacent work expands and modernizes I-41 southward to Lincoln Avenue and northward to Burleigh Street and I-94 west beyond Wisconsin 100 and east to South 76th Street. Elements pertaining to Interstate 41 include:

  • Greenfield Avenue Interchange - the Greenfield Avenue bridge was replaced in 2013. Landscaping and the addition of a decorative wall will be built in 2016 or 2017.
  • Watertown Plank Road Interchange - upgrading the original diamond interchange into a free-flow directional cloverleaf interchange. This work was completed by the end of 2014.
  • Bluemound Road Interchange - new ramps will be added from the Interstate 41 & U.S. 45 mainline to U.S. 18 (Bluemound Road). Work reconstructed Bluemound Road over I-41 during 2014-15. Ramp construction takes place in 2015-17, with ramps to and from Wisconsin Avenue removed during the project.
  • Zoo Interchange - crews will build a four-level interchange with 23 new bridges and 12 new retaining walls. Additionally I-41 & U.S. 41 will be expanded with new lanes, as will the connecting ramps. Construction commenced in late 2014 and runs through 2017.
  • North Avenue Interchange - reconstruct the parclo interchange with slight geometric changes to improve safety. Engineering and design work will be completed by 2016, with construction conducted in 2017-18.

History

This new freeway corridor became an Interstate Corridor as a result of the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU) legislation (signed into law on August 10, 2005). This legislation not only added U.S. 41 between Milwaukee and Green Bay as High Priority Corridor 57, it also designated Corridor 57 as a future Interstate route. An earlier version of this law (HR 3, Section 1839) had language that indicated that High Priority Corridor 57 "is designated as Interstate Route I-41." However, SAFETEA-LU does not have a similar provision that specifies the route number for the future Interstate to be routed over U.S. 41.2

Numbers thrown around by WisDOT included Interstates 47, 243, 594 and 643 in addition to Interstate 41. The selections went to American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) and at their meeting on November 15, 2012 an endorsement of the number "41" was given for the future Interstate highway. The numbering moved to the Federal Highway Administration for approval before Interstate 41 was made official.3

A WisDOT map of the US 41 Conversion showed the proposal to extend Interstate 41 southward along all of Interstate 894 and I-94 south from Milwaukee to the first exit in Illinois.3 Logic behind this overlap retains mileposts and exit numbers along the existing U.S. 41 freeway between Milwaukee and Green Bay.

The non-freeway portion of U.S. 41 along Appleton Avenue from the Stadium Freeway/Miller Park Way northwest to Exit 47 of I-41 near Menonmonee Falls was renumbered as an extension of Wisconsin 175.

Southern Terminus - Interstate 94 - Russell, Illinois
The split of U.S. 41 south from Interstate 94 at Exit 1B in Illinois is the southern terminus of Interstate 41. Photo taken 09/02/05.
U.S. 41 merges onto Interstate 94 west at a wye interchange just ahead of Russell Road (Exit 1) and the Wisconsin state line. The route disappears as Interstate 41 takes over. Photo taken 09/02/05.
Northern Terminus - Interstate 43 - Green Bay, Wisconsin
Perspective from Interstate 43 north
US 41/U.S. 141 advance sign on I-43 north. No mention of I-41 since this sign will probably be replaced when the new interchange is complete. Photo taken by Peter Johnson (06/17/15).
The first reassurance I-41 shield with south US 141 on the I-43 north to I-41/US 141 south ramp. This sign is only temporary, when the new flyover ramp is complete, traffic from I-43 north will not be able to access US 141 south. Photo taken by Peter Johnson (06/17/15).
Historical Perspective from Interstate 43 north
Interstate 43 ended at a folded-diamond interchange with the north end of Interstate 41 and the U.S. 41 & 141 freeway leading south from Suamico. Photo taken 08/12/09.
Perspective from Interstate 41 & U.S. 41 north
Last reassurance sign for I-41 North. The U.S. 141 south / Velp Avenue exit is ahead. Photo taken by Peter Johnson (06/17/15).
The new I-41 south to I-43 south ramp is to the right, this ramp is currently closed. Photo taken by Peter Johnson (06/17/15).
The last exit for I-41 at Highway M / Lineville Road. This is where the I-41 widening project ends and where the road will narrow from three lanes to two. Photo taken by Peter Johnson (06/17/15).
US 41 & 141 north at the Lineville Road overpass where I-41 ends. Photo taken by Peter Johnson (06/17/15).
The first reassurance signs that omit I-41. US 41 & 141 continue as a freeway for about 13 miles until a directional T interchange at Abrams. Photo taken by Peter Johnson (06/17/15).
Historical Perspective from Interstate 41 north
Looking at the former loop ramp from U.S. 41 & 141 north onto I-43 south. This ramp was replaced as part of the I-41 and I-43 interchange project between September 2013 and December 2016. Photo taken 05/30/11.
Perspective from Interstate 41 & U.S. 41 south
Last exit before I-41 begins. Photo taken by Peter Johnson (06/17/15).
Lineville Road is also the limits for the Village of Howard and where I-41 begins. Photo taken by Peter Johnson (06/17/15).
The first I-41 reassurance sign just south of Lineville Road. Photo taken by Peter Johnson (06/17/15).
Sign before the I-43 interchange informing motorists that Green Bay can be accessed from the next four exits. Photo taken by Peter Johnson (06/17/15).
The I-43 south exit from I-41 south. When the new interchange is complete, this exit will be a left exit. The interchange sits on wetlands and had some space limitations which is why a left exit was probably chosen. Photo taken by Peter Johnson (06/17/15).
Historical Perspective from Interstate 41 south
U.S. 41 & 141 split formerly split with Interstate 43 south at a right-hand exit. The new I-41 and I-43 Interchange switches the southbound beginning of I-43 to a left-hand exit as the primary movement through Green Bay. Photo taken 05/30/11.

Sources

  1. "Dignitaries cheer Interstate 41." WBAY, May 28, 2015.
  2. Fiscal Year 2005 Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (H.R. 3) - PDF file.
  3. "Interstate 41 a step closer to reality." Fox 11 News, November 19, 2012.

Page Updated June 30, 2015.

 
Mileage

State Wisconsin
Mileage 176
Cities Kenosha, Milwaukee, Fond du Lac, Appleton, Green Bay
Junctions Interstate 94, Interstate 894, Interstate 43
Source: estimate
South on I-41 at the Wis 29 interchange, a new local/semi directional T interchange replaced the diamond interchange. Local traffic goes straight on Shawano Avenue while regional traffic exits right towards Wausau. Photo taken by Peter Johnson (06/17/15).
Wis 29/Shawano Ave exit ramp where it approaches a three lane roundabout. The bridges above are part of the I-41/Wis 29 semi directional interchange for regional traffic. Photo taken by Peter Johnson (06/17/15).
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