Interstate system turns 60

On the 60th anniversary of the nation’s Interstate highway system, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (DOT) is recognizing the major contributions of Wisconsin’s 876 miles of Interstate to the state’s economy, public safety and quality of life. Among the highlights:

Wisconsin Interstates handle a major share of the state’s overall vehicle travel. While accounting for less than 1 percent of the state’s 115,000 miles of total roadway, Wisconsin Interstates carry over 17 percent of the state’s approximately 60 billion vehicle miles traveled each year

Wisconsin’s Interstates play a vital role in economic development. Nearly 70 percent of Wisconsin’s distribution centers and warehouses, and 40 percent of industrial parks in the state are located within five miles of an Interstate corridor

Interstates are among the safest highways to travel. Of the 555 traffic fatalities in Wisconsin last year, 37 (less than 7 percent) occurred on the Interstate system.

On June 29, 1956, President Dwight Eisenhower signed the Federal Aid Highway Act authorizing construction of a 41,000-mile national Interstate system that has since increased to about 47,000 miles. The majority of Wisconsin’s Interstate system was built between 1959 and 1969, beginning with a seven-mile segment of I-94 near Goerke’s Corners in southeast Wisconsin completed in 1958. The most recent addition to Wisconsin’s Interstate system is I-41 between Green Bay and the Wisconsin/Illinois border added in 2015.

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