Interstate 41 or I -41 is an Interstate Highway in the United States, located in the state of Wisconsin. The route runs from the Illinois border at Kenosha via Milwaukee and Appleton to Green Bay with a length of 277 kilometers.
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I-41 south of Milwaukee.
I-41 between Oshkosh and Fond du Lac.
I-41 begins 1 kilometer in Illinois at the junction of US 41 in Illinois and Interstate 94 in Illinois. I-41 and I-94 are then double-numbered to Milwaukee. The highway heads north through flat terrain with 2×3 lanes. Slightly to the east is the large Lake Michigan with the regional cities of Kenosha and Racine. In the south of Milwaukee is a short parallel structure near the airport.
I-41 is thereafter double-numbered with Interstate 894, which forms Milwaukee’s south and west bypass. The east-west section is also double -numbered with Interstate 43. The highway has 2×3 lanes here. West Milwaukee then crosses I-94 for the final time, after which the highway continues through the western and northwestern suburbs of Milwaukee. I-41 also has 2×3 lanes here.
Northwest of Milwaukee, I-41 leads through flat to rolling farmland and passes the town of Fond du Lac. I-41 then runs west of Lake Winnebago, passing through the city of Oshkosh. In Oshkosh, part of the highway has 2×3 lanes. North of Oshkosh one passes through the town of Appleton, where I-41 runs along the west and north sides. The part along the west side has 2×3 lanes, along the north side 2×2 lanes. The highway then curves to the northeast and you reach the regional town of Green Bay. I-41 runs through the west of town with 2×2 lanes and ends on the north side of Green Bay at Interstate 43.
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I-41 replaces US 41 and part of US 45. US 41 was created in 1926 and was one of the primary north-south routes of the United States. Much of US 41 north of Milwaukee has been upgraded to a freeway since the 1960s. In November 2012, the AASHTO granted conditional approval for the creation of Interstate 41. On August 1, 2013, the first I-41 signposts were installed in suburban Milwaukee. On April 9, 2015, I-41 was formally added to the Interstate Highway system, from the Illinois border to I-43 in Green Bay. In 2015, 3,000 signposts with I-41 were installed.
The Zoo Freeway is the north-south portion of US 45 in western Milwaukee, from I-43 to SR-145. The southern portion of this is also numbered as Interstate 894. The highway was originally going to be called the West Freeway, but when the Milwaukee Zoo moved west, the highway was renamed the Zoo Freeway.
Construction of the highway began in the early 1960s, the first section of which opened in 1963 over almost 6 kilometers. This is now I-894. Circa 1965, the northernmost section of the Zoo Freeway opened, a two-mile stretch south of the Fond Du Lac Freeway (State Route 145). In 1966 the Zoo Interchange opened between the East-West Freeway (I-94) and the Zoo Freeway. In 1967, most of the Zoo Freeway opened, namely the missing link from I-94 to Appleton Avenue. This completed the Zoo Freeway in a short time. The highway has not been modified since then. In 2013, the number I-41 was assigned to the Zoo Freeway.
The Zoo Interchange with I-94 was originally a left-hand, left-hand, split-lane interchange, a type of interchange created in quite a few U.S. cities in the 1960s that quickly led to road safety and traffic flow problems. Between 2013 and 2018, the Zoo Interchange was completely reconstructed into a 4-level stack. The last flyover opened to traffic on June 25, 2018. By August 2018, the entire project was completed, which cost a total of $1.7 billion and also included the widening of I-41 3 kilometers. The highway has been significantly reconstructed here and widened to 2×4 lanes.
Fond du Lac Freeway
The Fond du Lac Freeway is part of several routes. The portion east of US 45 in Milwaukee is numbered as State Route 145. Between SR-145 and Richfield Interchange, the route is numbered I-41/US 41/US 45. This route was opened in 1953 as a divided highway. However, it was not a highway, there were level intersections. From the 1960s to the 1970s, intersections were replaced by connections and the Fond du Lac Freeway was created. In 1971, US 41 between Milwaukee and the fork of US 41/45 was a freeway.
The part outside the Milwaukee metropolitan area, from the US 41/US 45 junction to Fond du Lac, was built in the 1950s as a new two-lane road avoiding the villages on the route. This was then quickly doubled to a 2×2 divided highway, in 1958 most of US 41 up to Fond du Lac had 2×2 lanes. However, this was not a freeway, most intersections were at ground level, with or without traffic lights. From the 1960s, intersections on this route were replaced by grade-separated intersections. This was a lengthy process that lasted more than 35 years. US 41 between Milwaukee and Fond du Lac has been a full-fledged freeway since about 1997-1998. Since 2013, this section is also considered part of Interstate 41.
Fond du Lac – Appleton
I-41/US41 at Fond du Lac.
US 41 was upgraded to a 2×2 divided highway mainly in the 1950s between Fond du Lac and Appleton. In 1955, the Lake Butte des Morts Causeway opened to traffic, part of the Oshkosh bypass. It was doubled in 1969 and numerous connections were also opened around Appleton during the 1960s. The highway through Oshkosh was completed in 1973. In 1975, US 41 between Oshkosh and Appleton was granted freeway status after all intersections were replaced with connections. In 1999, the last intersection between Fond du Lac and Oshkosh was replaced by a junction, completing the highway between Fond du Lac and Appleton.
A 40-kilometer stretch from the south side of Oshkosh to the west side of Appleton has been widened to 2×3 lanes. The section between Neenah and Appleton was widened to 2×3 lanes as early as the 1990s. In about 2010, a major project to widen US 41 to 2×3 lanes between Oshkosh and Neenah began and was completed by 2012, and the Oshkosh bypass was widened to 2×3 lanes, which was completed by 2015.
Appleton – Green Bay
Appleton’s bypass dates back to the 1930s. The first section of Appleton’s two-lane bypass opened in 1937 and was completed in 1948. Construction was delayed by the Second World War. During the 1960s, the Appleton bypass was upgraded to freeway.
In 1953, the Green Bay bypass opened to traffic. In 1958, the route just south of Green Bay was upgraded to a 2×2 divided highway with intersections. The Green Bay bypass was upgraded to freeway in 1968. In 1974 the bypass was extended south to De Pere. For a long time there were intersections with traffic lights between Appleton and Green Bay. Between 1999 and 2001 the last intersections here were replaced with connections, and since 2001 the highway between Milwaukee and Green Bay has been completed.
The entire passage of Green Bay has been widened to 2×3 lanes over a length of 21 kilometers. This was an extensive project that was carried out in the period 2011-2016, in which connections and nodes were also reconstructed.
77,000 vehicles drive daily on the Illinois border, rising to 87,000 vehicles at Racine and 160,000 vehicles at the Milwaukee airport. The double-numbered I-43 along the south side of Milwaukee has 133,000 vehicles per day. After that, 160,000 vehicles drive along the west side of Milwaukee, just north of I-94. This drops to 120,000 vehicles in the northern suburbs and 40,000 vehicles until the split with US 45. After that, 30,000 to 35,000 vehicles drive to Fond du Lac.
Fond du Lac has a maximum of 38,000 vehicles, increasing to a maximum of 62,000 vehicles in Oshkosh and 59,000 vehicles between Oshkosh and Appleton. This rises to 77,000 vehicles in Appleton and 52,000 vehicles between Appleton and Green Bay.