Federal legislation will enable converting US 41 to an Interstate
“The Congressional action will allow us to move forward with the conversion of 175 miles of US Highway 41 to an Interstate highway route.”
Governor Scott Walker and Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) Secretary Mark Gottlieb thanked the Wisconsin congressional delegation for their efforts to pass federal legislation to enable the state to continue with plans to convert US 41 to an Interstate from the Illinois border north to Green Bay.
“US 41 connects crucial regions of Wisconsin with economic impacts that benefit local, state and regional economies. Converting the corridor to an Interstate highway will improve safety, mobility and economic development,” noted Governor Walker. “I appreciate the efforts of Wisconsin’s congressional delegation, especially those of Congressman Petri who worked over many years to bring this project to fruition.”
The WisDOT plan calls for replacing or modifying 3,500 signs beginning in September 2015 after necessary coordination with the Illinois Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration, along with completion of the required bid process.
Benefits of converting to an Interstate highway include:
- Interstate highways provide a corridor identity and encourage growth. Nineteen of the 26 major distribution centers in Wisconsin are located within five miles of an Interstate.
- 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.
- Companies looking to relocate or expand consistently put highway accessibility at the top of their list. Many have stated they will only relocate or expand near an Interstate.
- The corridor’s approximate center point, Fond du Lac, is within a day’s drive of all other major Midwestern US metropolitan areas containing 15 percent of the country’s population.
- The extension along I-94 links the Fox Valley and Green Bay metropolitan areas and markets to the greater Chicago metropolitan area. Chicago is the economic epicenter of the entire Midwest and a key hub near the end of the corridor.
In 2005, US 41 from Milwaukee to Green Bay was identified by the federal government for inclusion in the US Interstate Highway System and planning for the Interstate conversion began in 2007. In May 2011, Governor Walker committed state resources to complete a study and move ahead with the project. The federal legislation was needed to allow certain commercial trucks to continue operating on the corridor after Interstate conversion.