Interstate 94 or I -94 is an Interstate Highway in the U.S. state of Wisconsin. The highway runs from the Minnesota border at Hudson through the capital Madison and the largest city Milwaukee to the Illinois border at Kenosha. A significant portion is double-numbered with I-90 and I-39. The highway is 560 kilometers long.
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I-94 at Hudson, on the Minnesota border.
I-94 at Milwaukee.
North & Central Wisconsin
Interstate 94 in Minnesota crosses the Saint Croix River at Hudson, also the border with Wisconsin. From here, the highway runs mainly to the east for the first 120 kilometers. The Wisconsin countryside here is a mix of farmland and small forests, and the terrain is gently sloping. At Baldwin one crosses US 63, a main road from Ashland in the north to Red Wing in the south. You pass the regional town of Menomonie, before arriving at the somewhat larger town of Eau Claire. This city has about 70,000 inhabitants, and is one of the larger towns in northern Wisconsin. On the east side of Eau Claire, US 53 merges into a highway coming from Duluth.
From here, the highway runs mainly to the southeast. In Osseo you cross the US 10, a main road from Saint Paul to Appleton. The route slopes a little more here, because it crosses several river valleys of tributaries of the Mississippi. Interstate 90 merges at Tomah. After Tomah, the road turns somewhat to the southeast, and after a while the Wisconsin River runs parallel to the highway for a while. The hilliness decreases somewhat towards the east. At Portage, Interstate 39. also joinsinto the highway, so that a triple numbering is created. From here the road also follows a southerly direction. Along the way there are many villages, so that there is more liveliness on and along the road than in the previous few thousand kilometers. It passes by Madison, the capital of Wisconsin, and has 223,000 inhabitants. The city is situated on an isthmus between two lakes. I-90 passes east of town. Here’s an interchange where I-94 exits east to the state’s largest city, Milwaukee. I-90 and I-39 continue heading south toward Illinois.
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After Madison, I-94 again follows a due east course, passing through the agricultural areas of southern Wisconsin. There are a number of small towns along the route, eventually arriving in the Milwaukee metropolitan area.
The first suburb of Milwaukee is Waukesha, a city of 65,000 inhabitants, and one of the larger Milwaukee suburbs. From here, the highway has 2×3 lanes. East of Waukesha, the road widens to 2×4 lanes. One passes through the Brookfield suburb, like most Milwaukee suburbs, very sparsely built. Here there are again 2×3 lanes available, and the road surface can be very bad. It traverses the already densely built-up suburbs of Wauwatosa and West Allis, and intersects Interstate 894, Milwaukee’s western bypass. At Miller Park Stadium, one crosses US 41, a highway that leads to the northwestern suburbs. At the Marquette Interchange one crosses Interstate 43, which runs to Green Bay in the north. I-94 turns south here, to be double-numbered with I-43. Straight ahead is Interstate 794, which runs to the shore of Lake Michigan. The double numbering has 4+3 and 2×3 lanes. It passes through the southern neighborhoods of Milwaukee, and at Greenfield Interstate 43 turns west toward Beloit and Rockford. I-94 runs due south here, through the suburb of Oak Creek.
One passes west of Racine, a town on Lake Michigan with 80,000 inhabitants. The coast of Lake Michigan is highly urbanized, with an urban corridor running through Chicago into Indiana and Michigan. I-94 still has 2×3 lanes here. Shortly afterwards you pass Kenosha, a city of 96,000 inhabitants. At Pleasant Prairie they cross the Illinois border and continue on Interstate 94 towards Chicago.
I-94 at Milwaukee.
I-94 is the oldest Interstate Highway in Wisconsin, the first section was constructed in 1956 and opened on September 4, 1958 around Waukesha, a suburb of Milwaukee. This was a stretch of about 12 kilometers. In 1959, the first 100 miles opened in northwest Wisconsin, between the Minnesota border and the west side of Eau Claire. At the same time, US 41 between the Illinois border was also builtand the south side of Milwaukee converted to highway. In 1961, a long stretch opened between Wisconsin Dells and Madison, which is double-numbered with I-90. In 1961 and 1962, two short stretches in western Milwaukee opened to traffic. In 1963, this stretch was extended east to downtown and west to the Waukesha bypass, which continued I-94 through western Milwaukee metropolitan area. In 1963, a stretch opened in the Madison area up to Cottage Grove, completing the bypass of Wisconsin’s capital.
In 1964, the rest of the double-numbered I-90 opened from Tomah to Wisconsin Dells. The route between Madison and Waukesha was also completed, connecting the capital to the largest city. In 1966, the North – South Freeway opened in Milwaukee, which is double-numbered with I-43. Also, the impressive Marquette Interchange opened in downtown Milwaukee. This completed I-94 in southern Wisconsin.
In 1967, I-94 was opened along Eau Claire to Black River Falls. In 1968 this stretch was extended to Tomah, completing I-94 through Wisconsin. With the completion of the Marquette Interchange in Milwaukee in early 1969, the entirety of I-94 was completed.
The Zoo Interchange with I-894 in Milwaukee was originally a left-wing, split-lane, left-wing interchange, a type of interchange created in many American cities in the 1960s that quickly created 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, costing a total of $1.7 billion and also including the 6-kilometer widening of I-94. The highway has been significantly reconstructed here and widened to 2×4 lanes.
The design of the Stadium Interchange.
It is planned to modernize the east-west portion of I-94 through Milwaukee. The highway will be widened from 2×3 to 2×4 lanes. Plans for a large-scale widening of I-94 in Milwaukee were shelved indefinitely in October 2017 due to the lack of $1 billion funding.
The Stadium Interchange, which has exit lanes on the left, will also be converted into a special interchange type where State Route 341 to US 41 will no longer be grade separated, but will have traffic lights. There will be two flyovers for traffic to and from I-94, so that only the quietest connections will go through traffic lights. This is one of the few cases where a full node is replaced by a semi-grade grade interchange in the United States. This is because the intersecting SR-341/US 41 is only a freeway for 4 kilometers and does not connect to other highways than I-94.
Milwaukee – Illinois
Between 2011 and 2021, I-94 between Milwaukee and the Illinois border will be extensively renovated and widened to 2×4 lanes for 35 miles. Nearly all connections are being reconstructed, as is a small stretch of Interstate 894. This project does not include the part in Milwaukee itself, the northern end is just north of I-894. On November 14, 2014, the southernmost portion of the Kenosha County widening was completed.
The busiest area is west of Milwaukee, where about 140,000 vehicles drive per day. Congestion can occur here, but generally the six lanes can handle traffic. The double numbering with I-43 has 109,000 vehicles per day, and south of Milwaukee that drops to below 100,000 vehicles per day.
|Exit 0 Minnesota state line||Exit 10 Roberts||2×3||16 km|
|Exit 10 Roberts||Exit 65 Eau Claire||2×2||88 km|
|Exit 65 Eau Claire||Exit 70 Eau Claire||2×3||8 km|
|Exit 70 Eau Claire||Exit 108||2×2||222 km|
|Exit 108||Exit 135 Madison||2×3||43 km|
|Exit 135 Madison||Exit 138||2×4||5 km|
|Exit 138||Exit 244 Cottage Grove||2×3||6 km|
|Exit 244 Cottage Grove||Exit 290 Pewaukee||2×2||74 km|
|Exit 290 Pewaukee||Exit 314 Milwaukee||2×3||39 km|
|Exit 314 Milwaukee||Exit 320 South Milwaukee||2×4||10 km|
|Exit 320 South Milwaukee||Exit 339 Kenosha||2×3||31 km|
|Exit 339 Kenosha||Exit 348 Illinois state line||2×4||15 km|