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May 3, 2011

For Immediate Release

Green Bay – Governor Scott Walker today announced plans to convert a 142-mile segment of US 41 near Green Bay to the Mitchell Interchange in Milwaukee into an Interstate highway.   Governor Walker indicated the state would proceed with an environmental study that would allow Interstate shields to be installed by 2015.

“US 41 connects crucial regions of Wisconsin with economic impacts that benefit local, state and regional economies,” Governor Walker said. “Converting the corridor to an Interstate highway will provide enhanced safety, mobility and economic development potential.”

 "Upgrading U.S. Highway 41 will give a boost to the regional economy, which is why I worked successfully to have it designated as a future interstate in the 2005 federal transportation law,” said Congressman Petri.  “The Milwaukee to Green Bay corridor and the Fox Valley are major centers for economic growth and employment in Wisconsin, and the entire area deserves the infrastructure necessary to support the businesses there.  'Interstate' is our premier class of roads, and this region deserves no less, so I am pleased to be working with Gov. Walker on this to build our state's competitiveness and create jobs.”

Governor Walker noted the state’s commerce is heavily dependent upon US 41 with trucks using the highway to move the bulk of the state’s commodities to domestic and foreign markets.  The corridor also contributes significantly to the state’s tourism dollars.

The Governor applauded Congressman Tom Petri for the steps he took back in 2005 to identify US 41 for potential inclusion in the Interstate Highway System.

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation has completed initial reviews and analyses to prepare for an Interstate conversion. The Governor’s action allows for the required Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) study process to proceed. It will take several years to complete the EIS which includes a public involvement component to allow the public to share views and weigh in on a potential number for the converted corridor. Ultimately, the numbering of the Interstate will be decided by federal officials.

The effort to convert the US 41 corridor to an Interstate highway complements the expansion and reconstruction efforts already underway for segments of US 41 in Winnebago and Brown counties.  The multi-year project represents an investment of approximately $1.5 billion in the state’s transportation system.  That work is scheduled to continue into 2017.