AASHTO Journal, 17 April 2015
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker announced the state has officially achieved a long-sought goal in winning Federal Highway Administration approval to designate U.S. 41 in the eastern part of the state as Interstate 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,” Walker said. “Our Interstate system is a critical part of our infrastructure, which fuels commerce, helps grow the economy and create jobs.”
Walker’s April 9 announcement said the FHWA designation was the final step in a process that began nearly 10 years ago. It clears the way for the Wisconsin Department of Transportation to begin installing about 3,000 new signs this summer and autumn.
And state officials expect the new designation to help woo business and other development along the route.
WisDOT Secretary Mark Gottlieb said: “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.”
The 175-mile, north-south corridor for I-41 begins at the current I-94/U.S. 41 interchange about one mile south of Illinois northern border, and ends at the I-43 interchange in Green Bay, Wis.
To get ready, Wisconsin has already been working on lane widening and interchange projects that comprise one of the largest highway programs in its history.
U.S. Rep. Reid Ribble, R-Wis., a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, issued a statement saying that the transition of U.S. 41 transition to I-41 will benefit the state and the nation by bringing the route up to interstate highway standards mobility and safety while encouraging growth in its region.
“It will bring this manufacturing-rich area a nationally known status as an interstate corridor,” Ribble said, “and allow more communities along this route to contribute to our nation’s agriculture and manufacturing industries as they become better connected and more easily reached.”