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Highways 50 through 59

STH-50 | US-51 | SPUR US-51 | STH-52 | US-53 | BYPASS US-53 | STH-54 | STH-55 | STH-56 | STH-57 | STH-58 | STH-59 | Jump to Bottom


STH-50

Western Terminus:

STH-11 in downtown Delavan at cnr Walworth Ave & Seventh St

Eastern Terminus:

STH-32 on the southern edge of downtown Kenosha at cnr Sheridan Rd & 63rd St

Length:

44.43 miles

 

Map:

Route Map of STH-50

 

Notes:

Respectable portions of STH-50 have been upgraded in recent years, improving the safety and capacity of this route which is used as a connection between I-94/US-41 near Racine and the Lake Geneva area, as well as a connection to the US-12 freeway in Walworth Co. Originally, the improvements to STH-50 from new New Munster to I-94/US-41 were depicted on official transportation maps as being built to expressway standards, however since 1999, WisDOT has displayed this portion of STH-50 on its maps as a regular "divided highway," implying little or no control of access.

 

History:

From an historical standpoint, STH-50 has existed generally along its present-day alignment since initally designated in 1917 and signed in 1918! Except for physical improvements to the highway itself to improve sightlines and safety considerations, the routing of STH-50 has changed hardly at all in nearly 90 years.

 

 

In 1997, STH-50 was rerouted in Kenosha. Formerly running easterly via 75th St from 39th Ave to a terminus at STH-32/Sheridan Rd, STH-50 was rerouted onto Roosevelt Rd northeasterly from 75th St & 39th Ave to 63rd St, then easterly via 63rd St to a new terminus at STH-32/Sheridan Rd on the south edge of downtown.

 

Freeway/Expwy:

None.

 

NHS:

From I-43 at Exit 21 near Delavan to eastern terminus at STH-32/Sheridan Rd in Racine.

 

Photographs:

 

 

Weblinks:

• None.


US-51

Southern Entrance:

Illinois state line at Beloit

Northern Terminus:

US-2 just north of Hurley

Length:

316.61 miles

 

Map:

Route Map of US-51

 

Notes:

The route of US-51 in Wisconsin could be described as "The Tale of Three Highways," as the highway takes on three different personas on its trip through the state. First, as the highway enters the state from Illinois, it is a regular "surface arterial" in the built-up areas and normal rural two-lane outside of the cities. This highway, as it passes through Madison, is a major thoroughfare. Second, at Portage, US-51 becomes a full freeway and continues northerly past Stevens Point and Wausau to Merrill, where the highway becomes an on-and-off mix of expressway and freeway from there to southwestern Oneida Co (north of Tomahawk). Third, US-51 becomes a heavily-travelled, rural two-lane highway through the Northwoods, ending at Hurley, just a couple hundred yards west of the Michigan state line.

 

 

During the 1990s, I-39 was concurrently-designated along a major portion of the US-51 freeway from Portage to Rothschild, just south of Wausau. Other than the addition of I-39 route markers, nothing else about the route has changed, including the retention of the US-51 milemarkers, exit numbering, and the BUS US-51 state trunk routings through Stevens Point and Wausau. At present, it seems the I-39 route markers were added to US-51 merely to give the impression that the route has achieved a higher status level, which local civic leaders hope will lead to greater commercial development along the corridor. Since the freeway was "Interstate-compatible" since it was completed, nothing in reality has actually changed.

 

 

A major $249 million project to upgrade the original 1963-era "Wisconsin Beltline" freeway between the southern jct with STH-29 between Rothschild and Schofield northerly to north of the northern jct with STH-29 ont he west side of Wausau is underway. Construction began in 2004 and is scheduled to be completed in 2012. WisDOT states they are "reconstructing seven miles of US 51/WIS 29, between Foxglove Road and Bridge Street in Marathon County. The freeway will be expanded from the current four-lane divided highway to a six-lane divided highway between the WIS 29 east and WIS 29 west interchanges. Additional lanes will also be added between WIS 29 east and Marathon County N, and between Marathon County NN and WIS 29 west." [WisDOT Project Website.]

 

 

The formerly state-designated and state-maintained BUS US-51 routing through Merrill was removed from the state trunk highway system sometime c.1998 and turned over to local control. The route is know designated CTH-Q from US-51 at Exit 205 to CTH-K, and as CTH-K from there northerly through Merrill back to US-51 at Exit 211. It seems this jurisdictional change may have had a connection with the transfer of the former route of US-51 between Merrill and Irma from state to county control after the US-51 expressway was completed in 1996. North of Merrill, all signs of the locally-designated BUS US-51 routing in the Tomahawk/Lake Nokomis area were removed in c.2004-05 and the former route of US-51 in that area is now solely known by its county trunk designations.

 

History:

US-51 debuted in Wisconsin in 1926, simultaneously with most of the other new U.S. Highways and, as with the other new U.S. Highways of the day, replaced existing state trunkline designations. In the case of this highway, the new US-51 supplanted only one existing route: STH-10. (The original STH-10 began at Beloit and headed northerly along the US-51 corridor to Hurley, then continued westerly along the US-2 corridor to a terminus in Superior.) Other than various minor realignments, the next major happening along the route of US-51 came twenty years later in 1946 when the last segment of the highway was hard-surfaced near Mercer. A bit more than a decade later in 1958, a two-lane bypass of Mosinee is completed from just north of town southerly to Knowlton while a year later in 1959, a straightening and realignment of US-51 occurred beginning at Ember Dr south of Westfield and continuing northerly to CTH-C south of Hancock. These 1958-59 realignments, interestingly, were some of the first projects in the ultimate conversion of the route to freeway standards many years later.

 

 

The role of primary thoroughfare for US-51 connecting the cities of Beloit, Janesville, Madison and Portage began to fade when the first segments of the Interstate Highway System began opening in the late 1950s. I-90 was completed from the Illinois state line at Beloit to US-14 at Janesville in 1959, while I-90/I-94 was opened from US-12/US-18 at Madison northerly to Portage in 1961 with the gap between Janesville and Madison completed a year later in 1963. While US-51 remained on its existing alignment, it's role as the primary route between Beloit and Portage was lessened.

 

 

In 1963, a moderate realignment to the route of US-51 began at STH-73 just west of Plainfield and continued due northerly through Bancroft to its existing route along STH-54 just southeast of Plover is completed with the former route between STH-73 and STH-54 being turned back to local control as CTH-BB.

 

 

The conversion of the US-51 corridor from two-lane highway to full freeway standards began in the early 1960s and proceeded along the following schedule:

  • 1963: The "Wausau Beltline," a freeway bypass of the cities of Rothschild, Schofield and Wausau, is completed from the existing US-51 segments at present-day Exit 185 northerly to Exit 194.
  • 1964: The "Wausau Beltline" freeway is extended southerly from present-day Exit 185 south of Rothschild to northern end of the 1958 "Mosinee bypass" realignment north of STH-153 northeast of Mosinee.
  • 1966: Several projects complete, including a new freeway segment from the northern end of the STH-78 freeway bypass of Portage (present-day I-39) northerly to a mile north of the Columbia/Marquette Co line; a new limited-access, two-lane undivided bypass of Packwaukee beginning south of present-day Exit 104 notherly to the 1959 realignment at Ember Dr south of Westfield (including an interchange at STH-23/STH-82); and a new limited-access, two-lane undivided realignment from near CTH-C southwest of Hancock northerly to a mile south of STH-73 at Plainfield.
  • 1970: The eastern Stevens Point bypass opens as a four-lane divided freeway facility from jct US-51 & STH-54 southeast of Plover northerly to existing US-51 at present-day Exit 161 north of the city. The former route is designated BUS US-51.
  • 1973: The freeway bypasses of Stevens Point and Wausau are joined together by a freeway segment beginning at the northern end of the Stevens Point bypass at present-day Exit 161 northerly to south of present day Exit 171 (CTH-DB) near Lake DuBay, where the new freeway supplants portions of the former two-lane alignment, then northerly bypassing Lake DuBay and Knowlton on new alignment to the east before again replacing the former two-lane alignment of the "Mosinee bypass" from the STH-34 interchange (present-day Exit 175) northerly to the southern end of the freeway just north of STH-153 north of Mosinee. Portions of the former route of US-51 not buried under the new freeway are turned back to local control.
  • 1975: The US-51 freeway is extended northerly from the end of the "Wausau Beltline" at present-day Exit 194 north of Wausau to the existing route on the north side of Merrill at present-day Exit 211, where the freeway terminated. The former route of US-51 from north of Wausau to present-day CTH-Q south of Merrill is turned back to county control at CTH-K, while present-day CTH-Q from the new freeway at Exit 205 westerly and former US-51 northerly through Merrill is redesignated as BUS US-51.
  • Late-1970s: During the late 70s, interchanges are completed on the two-lane, undivided portion of US-51 between the Columbia/Marquette Co line and Plover at CTH-D (Packwaukee), STH-21 (Coloma), CTH-V (Hancock) and STH-73 (Plainfield).
  • 1982: The existing two-lane, undivided expressway portion of US-51 from STH-54 near Plover southerly to just north of STH-73 at Plainfield is converted to four-lane, divided freeway with two new interchanges at CTH-W (Bancroft) and CTH-D.
  • 1983: A two-lane, undivided expressway (limited-access) bypass of Tomahawk on four-lane right-of-way is completed in the fall of 1983 from existing US-51 at CTH-S southeast of Tomahawk northerly to US-8 east of Heafford Junction, where US-51 then utilizes US-8 to return back to its former route. Former US-51 through Tomahawk is turned back to local control and becomes a locally-designated BUS US-51 route.
  • 1984: The US-51 freeway is extended northerly from the northern end of the freeway one mile north of Columbia/Marquette Co line northerly to 7th Ave just northwest of Endeavor, partly on new alignment south of Gem Ave and partly a conversion of the existing two-lane route north of Gem Ave at Endeavor.
  • 1985: An additional segment of the two-lane, undivided US-51 alignment from STH-21 at Coloma northerly to the southern end of the existing (1982) freeway just north of STH-73 near Plainfield is converted to four-lane, fully-controlled access freeway, with completion in late 1985.
  • c.1987: By 1987, the conversion of the existing two-lane, undivided US-51 alignment continued with northerly advances from Endeavor past Packwaukee to CTH-M south of Westfield and another additional segment from the Marquette/Waushara Co line northerly to STH-21 at Coloma.
  • c.1989: By 1989, the last segment of non-freeway, two-lane, undivided US-51 between Merrill and Portage was converted to four-lane, divided freeway from CTH-M south of Westfield to the Marquette/Waushara Co line south of Coloma. Included is an interchange at CTH-J at Westfield.
  • 1992: The two-lane, unvidided, limited-access Tomahawk bypass expressway is extended northerly from US-8 for about 7.5 miles into Oneida Co back to the existing route near jct CTH-K north of Heafford Junction, with completion in the fall of 1992.
  • 1996: A new 9.3-mile, four-lane divided expressway (just short of full freeway standards) on new alignment was completed between CTH-K on the north side of Merrill to the existing US-51 at Irma. From Irma northerly for 3.5 miles, the existing two-lane highway was converted to a four-lane expressway. This stretch, from CTH-K, through Irma, to CTH-S was originally proposed to be constructed along completely new alignment from 1/2 to 1-1/4 miles east of the current routing, according to a WisDOT source. Those plans were scrapped, and the existing route at Irma was upgraded instead.
  • 2001: An 11-mile long, $2 million project to convert the existing "Tomahawk bypass" portion of US-51 from south of the BUS US-51/CTH-S interchange (Exit 225) northerly to just north of the US-8 interchange (Exit 234) near Heafford Junction is completed, including interchanges at BUS US-51/CTH-S, CTH-D (existing), CTH-A (added in 1999) and US-8 (existing).

 

Freeway:

The following three segments of US-51 exist as freeway:

  1. Concurrently with I-90/I-39 from Exit 156 north of Edgerton to Exit 160 eight miles east of Stoughton. (4 miles)
  2. From jct I-39 at Exit 92 north of downtown Portage to southern jct of CTH-K north of Merrill. (119 miles)
  3. From south of CTH-S between Irma and Tomahawk northerly to Jct CTH-L near CTH-K southwest of Harshaw. NOTE: The portion north of US-8 is a "Super 2" freeway currently built as a two-lane, undivided, limited-access facility. (17 miles)

 

Expressway:

The following three segments of US-51 exist as expressway:

  1. From Dale Rd/Curtin Dr in McFarland southeast of Madison northerly to jct US-51/Washington St in Madison. (7.4 miles)
  2. Southern jct of US-51 & CTH-K north of Merrill (end of freeway segment No.2 above) to south of CTH-S between Irma and Tomahawk (beginning of freeway segment No.3 above). (12 miles)

 

NHS:

The following five segments of US-51 in Wisconsin are on the National Highway System (NHS):

  1. From Illinois in Beloit to jct SPUR US-51 at the cnr of Pleasant & Broad Sts in Beloit.
  2. From jct STH-11 (former STH-351) south of Janesville to jct STH-26 at cnr of N Parker Dr & Centerway in Janesville.
  3. Concurrently with I-90/I-39 between Exit 156 north of Edgerton and Exit 160 eight miles east of Stoughton.
  4. From US-12/US-18/Madison Beltline to US-151/Washington St in Madison.
  5. From jct I-39 at Exit 92 north of Portage to northern terminus at US-2 in Hurley.

 

Business Connections:

BUS US-51 - Stevens Point: This route throigh Stevens Point, Whiting and Plover is a fully state-maintained and designated state trunk highway, one of only four such routes in the state. (The others are BUS US-41 in De Pere, BUS US-51 at Wausau and BUS STH-13 in Marshfield).

 

 

BUS US-51 - Wausau: This route through Waausau, Schofield and Rothschild is also a fully state-maintained and designated state trunk highway.

 

Continue on:

US-51 south into Illinois - via Rich Carlson's Illinois Highways Page.
US-51 - Charles Sarjeant's Illinois Highways Ends website.

 

Photographs:

 

 

Weblinks:

US 51/WIS 29 project [the Wausau Beltline upgrade project] - from WisDOT: "The project represents an estimated $249 million investment in central Wisconsin's transportation system. US 51 and WIS 29 are on the National Highway System and are key routes in Wisconsin's Corridors 2020 program."

 

 

US 51 project [DeForest area] - from WisDOT: "In order to maintain a safe and efficient transportation system, WisDOT plans to reconstruct US 51 as a four-lane divided highway with interchanges from Reardon Road to just north of Dane County V (Grinde Road) from 2010 to 2012."

 

 

US 51 Needs Assessment - McFarland to Stoughton - from WisDOT: "WisDOT, in cooperation with the FHWA, has prepared an in-depth needs assessment study to review and analyze transportation needs along US 51 from Burma Road in the village of McFarland to the east side of the city of Stoughton."

 

 

Exit numbers on US 51 and I-39 - from WisDOT.

 

 

U.S. Highway 51 - Wisconsin - Kevin Robokoff's photo-essay as featured on The Lost Highway regarding abandoned stretches of old US-51 in central Wisconsin.

 

 

Interstate 39 - from the Interstate Guide portal at AA Roads.


SPURUS-51

Western Terminus:

STH-213/State St in central Beloit (cnr Broad St & State St)

Eastern Terminus:

US-51/Pleasant St in central Beloit (cnr Broad St & Pleasant St)

Length:

0.11 mile / ~580 feet

Map:

Route Map of SPUR US-51

Notes:

SPUR US-51 is the second-shortest state trunk highway in Wisconsin, only approximately 200 feet longer the shortest, SPUR STH-42 in Gills Rock. Beloit's SPUR US-51 runs for only one city block alon Broad St between State and Pleasant Sts, connecting US-51 and STH-213, which just miss meeting each other. This route is one of only three "SPUR"-designated state trunkline highways in the state; the others are SPUR STH-42 in Gills Rock and SPUR STH-794 in Saint Francis.

History:

Not available at this time.

 

Freeway/Expwy:

None.

 

NHS:

Entire route.

 

Photographs:

 

 

Weblinks:

• None.


STH-52

Western Terminus:

Northern jct of US-51 & STH-29 (at US-51 Exit 192) in Wausau west of downtown.

Eastern Terminus:

STH-32 just west of downtown Wabeno

Length:

74.91 miles

 

Map:

Route Map of STH-52

 

Notes:

During 2004, the route of STH-52 in Antigo was rerouted, adding 6/10-mile to the route. Formerly, STH-52 entered Antigo from the south concurrently with US-45 & STH-47 into downtown where, at the jct with STH-64, STH-52 then turned easterly via 5th Ave to Langlade Rd, then northeasterly via Langlade Rd past the county airport and on toward Lily and Wabeno. With the completion of a reconstruction of 5th Ave in Antigo in 2004, WisDOT removed STH-52 from that route and rerouted it via existing trunklines. From downtown, STH-52 now continues northerly with US-45/STH-47/STH-64 via Superior St and Neva Rd to Century Ave where it now turns easterly with STH-64 for 1.7 miles to the existing jct of STH-52 & STH-64 where STH-52 again splits off to the northeast toward Lily and Wabeno. This changes, while it creates another four-way concurrent route agglomeration, also removes the somewhat odd situation whereby STH-52 and STH-64 formerly "bumped" in downtown Antigo only to cross each other just northeast of the city.

 

History:

The first iteration of STH-52—the one originally designated in 1917—ran from STH-11 (now US-53) east of Galesville to STH-12 (now US-12) in Black River Falls, basically along today's STH-54 in that area. By 1924, though, the STH-52 designation had been transferred from the west side of the state (that route became part of STH-54), and relocated onto a route newly brought under state control from Wausau to Aniwa. In 1949, all of CTH-E in Langlade and Forest Counties, from Antigo to Wabeno, was transferred to the state. The STH-52 designation was extended northerly from Aniwa via US-45 to Antigo, then northeasterly along the new highway to end at STH-32 near Wabeno.

 

Freeway/Expwy:

None.

 

NHS:

The following two segments of STH-52 in Wisconsin are on the National Highway System (NHS):

  1. From the western terminus at US-51 to BUS US-51 in downtown Wausau, inclusive of the BUS US-51/STH-52 concurrency.
  2. Concurrently with US-45 from Aniwa to jct US-45/STH-47 & STH-52/STH-64 on the north side of Antigo.

 

Photographs:

 

 

Weblinks:

• None.


US-53

Southern Terminus:

Downtown La Crosse at jct US-14, US-61, STH-16 & STH-33* (cnr 3rd St & Cass St for southbound traffic; cnr 4th St & Cass St for northbounders). Please see note below as to why STH-33 is listed here.

Northern Entrance:

Minnesota state line (concurrently w/I-535) at Superior/Duluth on the Blatnik Bridge

Length:

239.32 miles

 

Map:

Route Map of US-53
Map of Greater Eau Claire & Chippewa Falls Area

 

Notes:

US-53 from Eau Claire northerly to Superior and Duluth, Minnesota, is a major thoroughfare in western Wisconsin, consisting almost exclusively of freeway and four-lane expressway construction. However, from Eau Claire southerly toward Galesville, the route of US-53 takes a winding course through the hills and valleys of the area on a two-lane highway, mostly superceeded by parallel STH-93. From Galesville through Holmen and Onalaska to La Crosse, though, US-53 becomes a heavily-travelled thoroughfare, with 11 miles of this segment built as a freeway.

 

 

Updated The biggest project in the US-53 corridor in many years—if not ever—has been the construction of an eastern Eau Claire freeway bypass on completely new alignment, linking the southern end of the freeway segment at Chippewa Falls to I-94 southeast of Eau Claire. The new freeway bypass was built to help ease congestion along the former route of US-53 through Eau Claire along Hastings Way, as well as improve traffic safety in the area. Through traffic is now using the new freeway, while local Eau Claire traffic will continue to use the former highway which will be turned back to local control, but signed as BUS US-53. A completely new interchange was constructed at the STH-29 freeway bypass of Chippewa Falls, located immediately adjacent to the former STH-124 interchange. Access from US-53 and STH-29 at that location is not provided. The first segment of the new freeway—from CTH-OO northerly—was completed in 2003 and the second segment from CTH-OO in the Village of Lake Hallie southerly to the new STH-312/North Crossing extension interchange on the east side of Eau Claire was opened to traffic on June 23, 2005. The second segment (CTH-OO to North Crossing), however, was not signed as part of the mainline US-53 prior to the completion of the entire bypass. Instead, WisDOT chose to sign this portion, along with North Crossing itself from Hastings Way easterly to the new freeway, as BYP US-53. The third and final freeway segment—from the North Crossing southerly back to existing US-53 near the STH-93 interchange—was opened to traffic at 11:00 am August 21, 2006. Final clean-up work on the entire $121 million project is scheduled for completion in the fall of 2006. WisDOT's US-53 Project website includes complete details and maps. The Eau Claire Leader-Telegram also features an excellent special section titled "Hwy 53: 4 years, 7.5 miles, 6 interchanges, $121 million." Also see Map of Greater Eau Claire & Chippewa Falls Area.

 

 

The US-53 corridor from Eau Claire northerly to Superior/Duluth was proposed as a potential addition to the Interstate highway system soon after its formation, though such a designation would not be granted. The State of Wisconsin, however, still felt US-53 in Northwestern Wisconsin was such a major thoroughfare that the entire route from Eau Claire northerly was earmarked for conversion to a freeway facility during the 1960s. While a short stretch of freeway was constructed at Superior, most of the construction began near Chippewa Falls and proceeded northerly until further freeway upgrades stalled north of Rice Lake during the late-1970s. Aside from a few expressway upgrades during the 1980s, the remainder of the Eau Claire-Superior corridor was converted to expressway standards during the 1990s bringing the route to four lanes divided. While not the originally-proposed freeway facility, many in the region were happy to have the route upgraded to at least expressway standards. No plans seem to currently exist to convert the expressway segments of US-53 between Haugen and Superior to full freeway standards, although the "Spooner bypass" is quite close as it currently exists. A chronological breakdown of freeway and expressway construction along US-53 from Eau Claire to Superior follows in the History section of this listing.

 

 

As for why STH-33 is included in the southern terminus listing for US-53... Official WisDOT documents point out that the "official" routing of STH-33 takes it along US-14/US-61 on 3rd & 4th Sts north to the junction with US-53 downtown. However, STH-33 may not be signed concurrently with US-14/US-61 along 3rd & 4th Sts in actuality, making it seem that STH-33 ends several blocks south of its "official" terminus.

 

History:

US-53 was one of the many 'original' US Highways to debut in 1926-27, completely replacing the STH-11 designation from La Crosse northerly to Superior where it, interestingly, ended in Duluth, Minnesota where MN TH-11 continued northerly. (US-53 would not be extended northerly from Duluth into Minnesota until 1934.) Soon after being designation, US-53 was straightened and rerouted between Barron and Chetek onto a more direct alignment. Then in 1932, a moderate realignment following alongside the Ohmaha R.R. from Rice Lake to Spooner via Haugen and Sarona moved US-53 onto a much more direct route, while the former route from Rice Lake northerly to STH-70 became CTH-M with STH-70 from there into Spooner retained that designation. In c.1940, the "Eau Claire bypass" via Hastings Way is completed, removing the highway from the downtown district. The last gravel-surfaced stretches of US-53 were finally hard-surfaced in 1946.

 

 

What is now called the John A Blatnik Bridge, then simply referred to as the "Duluth-Superior Bridge," was dedicated on December 2, 1961 connecting Wisconsin with Minnesota and carrying the newly-designated I-535 along with US-53. The former route of US-53 through downtown Superior was redesignated as BUS US-53 in the process. The Blatnik Bridge is technically the first portion of the route of US-53 to be converted to freeway standards. Beginning in 1969 and continuing through today, additional segments of the route are converted to freeway as detailed below.

 

 

The conversion of the US-53 corridor between Eau Claire and Superior from two-lane highway to full freeway standards began in the late-1960s and proceeded along the following schedule:

  • 1969: The 1951 realignment of US-2/US-53 from the US-2 jct southeast of Superior northwesterly into the city limit is "twinned" and converted to a freeway facility with an interchange at STH-13. In addition, the four-lane divided highway segment of US-53 from US-12/Clairemount Ave in Eau Claire southeasterly to I-94 is converted to full freeway with an interchange at STH-93.
  • 1970: The segment of US-53 freeway from the existing highway (later STH-124) south of Chippewa Falls northerly to STH-29 west of the city is completed, but may not have been signed as US-53 at the time.
  • 1972: Twenty miles of freeway were completed from STH-29 west of Chippewa Falls northerly past Bloomer to a temporary ending, merging back into the existing highway (present-day CTH-SS) southeast of New Auburn, just northwest of 83rd St. Interchanges are included at CTH-B (Tilden) and at STH-40 and STH-64 (Bloomer).
  • 1973: The US-53 freeway opened from the temporary 1972 termins between Bloomer and New Auburn northwesterly past Chetek to US-8 (relocated) at Cameron, where US-53 traffic diverted back easterly to the former route in Cameron. Interchanges are included at CTH-M (New Auburn), CTH-I (Chetek) and US-8 (Cameron).
  • 1976: The US-53 is extended northerly from US-8 at Cameron past Rice Lake to just south of Haugen, where it merges back into the existing highway. Only one additional interchange is included at STH-48 in Rice Lake. This would be the last freeway segment in Eau Claire-Superior corridor opened for over 25 years.
  • c.1982: The first expressway upgrade along US-53 opened from the US-2 jct southeast of Superior southeasterly to just north of CTH-B at Hawthorne. New interchanges appear at CTH-O southwest of Rice Lake and at the US-2 & US-53 jct southeast of Superior.
  • 1988: Instead of a freeway conversion on all new alignment, the US-53 corridor from the northern end of the existing freeway near Haugen northerly to Trego is converted to expressway, partially on new alignment (Haugen bypass, Spooner bypass) and partially converted existing alignment. Part of the former route from Sarona northwesterly into Spooner is redesignated as STH-253. An interchange is included at STH-70 east of Spooner.
  • 1994: The expressway "twinning" of the existing US-53 alignment in Douglas Co is extended from just north of CTH-B at Hawthorne southerly to south of CTH-L southeast of Bennett (north of Solon Springs).
  • 1995: Additional mileage of expressway "twinning" of the existing US-53 alignment is completed from Trego northerly to the wayside between Lampson and Minong.
  • 1997: More of US-53 is converted to expressway from the wayside between Lampson and Minong northerly to Gordon, mostly along the existing alignment but with a western bypass of the community of Minong.
  • 1998: The US-53 expressway "twinning" is extended from Gordon northerly to just south of Solon Springs, largely on the existing alignment.
  • 1999: The final stretch of expressway—the "Solon Springs bypass"—was opened to traffic and dedicated by Governor Thompson in late September with the burial of a time capsule next to the highway on the north side of Solon Springs. The new expressway bypasses Solon Springs to the west then uses much of the existing alignment from north of town northerly to the southern end of the existing expressway segment southeast of Bennett.
  • 2003: The first portion of the "Eau Claire bypass" freeway is completed from just north of the former STH-124 interchange southwest of Chippewa Falls southerly to CTH-OO, where US-53 traffic is diverted back west to the former alignment.
  • 2005 (Jun 22-23): Gov Jim Doyle officially 'cut the ribbon' on the US-53 "Eau Claire bypass" freeway from CTH-OO in the Village of Lake Hallie southerly to the new North Crossing (STH-312) interchange on the east side of Eau Claire on June 22. The 4.5-mile long segment of new freeway then opened to traffic on Friday, June 23 and was signed as BYPASS US-53 temporarily until the entire freeway was completed, which is scheduled for 2006.
  • New! 2006 (Aug 21): The final three miles of the US-53 "Eau Claire bypass" freeway from STH-312/North Crossing southerly back to existing US-53 south of the US-12/Clairemont Ave and STH-93 interchanges was opened to traffic at 11:00 am. BYPASS US-53 is officially decommissioned and the former route of US-53 along Hastings Way will become a locally-maintained BUS US-53 route.

 

 

In addition to the freeway and expressway conversion projects within the US-53 corridor between Eau Claire and Superior, a smaller project to improve safety and traffic flow along another portion of US-53—from La Crosse northerly—was completed during the late-1980s and early-1990s. In c.1989-90, the US-53 freeway from I-90 at the STH-157 interchange northerly back to the existing route of US-53 between Midway and Holmen, bypassing Onalaska to the east, was completed with the former route retaining the STH-35 designation previously co-signed with US-53. Then in late 1992, the US-53/STH-35 freeway was extended northerly bypassing Holmen to the west and merging back with the former route just north of the STH-35 interchange north of Holmen. The former route of US-53 along Holmen Dr was turned back to local control and redesignated CTH-HD/BUS STH-35.

 

Freeway:

Updated The following four segments of US-53 exist as freeway:

  1. From jct I-90 & STH-35 (at Exit 3) on the north side of La Crosse to just north of jct US-53, STH-35, STH-93 & CTH-HD/BUS STH-35 four miles north of Holmen, with the exception of the I-90/US-53/STH-157 interchange at Onalaska which contains signalized intersections. (11 miles)
  2. Updated From jct I-94 & US-53 (at Exit 70) southeast of Eau Claire northerly to CTH-SS seven miles north of Rice Lake, at southern end of the expressway segment below. (~62.5 miles)
  3. From CTH-AA southeast of Superior (end of the expressway segment below) southeast of Superior to CTH-E in southern Superior. (13 miles)
  4. On Blatnik Bridge, concurrently w/I-535 between Superior and Duluth, Minnesota. (1.2 miles)

 

Expressway:

Updated From CTH-SS near Haugen at the north end of freeway segment No.2 above to CTH-AA southeast of Superior, at freeway segment No.3 above. (58 miles)

 

NHS:

The following two segments of US-53 in Wisconsin are on the National Highway System (NHS):

  1. From southern terminus of US-53 in downtown La Crosse to jct US-53/STH-93 & STH-35 north of Holmen.
  2. Updated From I-94 at Exit 70 southeast of Eau Claire into Minnesota with I-535 at Superior/Duluth, including both the former route of US-53 through Eau Claire (via Hastings Way) and the new US-53 freeway bypass in Eau Claire and Lake Hallie.

 

Circle Tour:

Lake Superior Circle Tour: From jct US-2/US-53 & STH-13 southeast of Superior northerly into Minnesota on Blatnik Bridge at Superior/Duluth.

Great River Road marker

Great River Road:

Great River Road runs via US-53 over the following two segments:

  1. From the southern terminus of US-53 in downtown La Crosse northerly to jct I-90 at Exit 3 on the north side of La Crosse.
  2. From jct STH-35 at Holmen to jct STH-35 & STH-93 three miles north of Holmen.

 

Business Connections:

Updated BUS US-53 - Eau Claire: The former route of US-53 along Hastings way in Eau Claire is signed as a locally-designated BUS US-53 route now that the new "Eau Claire bypass" freeway has been completed opened to traffic.

 

 

BUS US-53 - Minong: This locally-designated route traverses the former route of US-53 through Minong.

 

 

BUS US-53 - Solon Springs: This locally-designated route traverses the former route of US-53 through Solon Springs.

 

 

BUS US-53 - Superior: While Superior's BUS US-53 is locally-designated, it traverses state trunkline (connecting highway) routes US-2 and STH-35.

 

Continue on:

US-53 north into Minnesota - via Steve Riner's Unofficial Minnesota Highways Page.

 

Photographs:

New! US-53 Eau Claire Bypass Construction Photos, May 29, 2004 - a set of 12 photos

 

 

New! BYPASS US-53 Photos, November 4, 2005 - a set of 23 photos on two pages.

 

Weblinks:

US-53 Project [Eau Claire Area] - from WisDOT: "The four-lane, divided highway will extend from the US 53/Golf Road interchange area in the city of Eau Claire to a new WIS 29/US 53 interchange in the Chippewa County village of Lake Hallie. This project represents an estimated $94 million investment in Wisconsin's transportation system."

 

 

New! Highway 53 Homepage - from the Eau Claire Leader-Telegram,an excellent website with eight pages of special coverage, a "By the Numbers" section, timeline and photo gallery.

 

 

US Highway 53 Freeway Construction [Eau Claire Area] - from WQOW TV 18, Eau Claire's ABC affliate.

 

 

US 53 Project Information [Eau Claire Area] - from the City of Altoona website.

 

 

US 53 Rice Lake Bypass - from Craig Holl and the midwestroads.com website.

 

 

Interstate 535 Minnesota/Wisconsin - from Interstate-Guide.com, part of the AA Roads empire.

 

 

Exit numbers on US 53 - from WisDOT.

 

 

US-53 Exits - North Wisconsin - from Matt Salek's Upper Midwest Exit Guide.

 

 

US-53 Exits - Onalaska, Holmen - from Matt Salek's Upper Midwest Exit Guide.

 

 

I-535/US-53 Exit Guide - by Jody Aho.

 

 

US-53 Photos - from okroads.com.



US-53
Former State Trunkline

Former So. Terminus:

Jct Former US-53/Hastings Way & STH-312/North Crossing in Eau Claire

Former No. Terminus:

Jct US-53 & CTH-OO in the Village of Lake Hallie, south of Chippewa Falls

Former Length:

~4.2 miles

Map:

Route Map of Former BYPASS US-53
Map of Greater Eau Claire & Chippewa Falls Area

Notes:

Updated After nearly eighty years of signing US Highway routes in the state, Wisconsin received its first BYPASS US Highway in mid-2005 along the northern half of the "Eau Claire Bypass" freeway. When the portion of the new US-53 bypass freeway in the Eau Claire area from CTH-OO in Lake Hallie southerly to the North Crossing interchange opened on June 22-23, 2005 it was not signed as part of US-53, as the entire bypass route was not complete, ending in the middle at the North Crossing extension. WisDOT decided to post this new portion of the freeway, as well as the North Crossing extension westerly back to US-53/Hastings Way, as BYPASS US-53. At no time in its history to this point had Wisconsin ever had a BYPASS highway route, interestingly.

 

 

Updated The BYP US-53 route began at jct US-53 & STH-312 at the Hastings Way/North Crossing interchange in Eau Claire and proceeded easterly via the STH-312/North Crossing extension for approximately 1.1 miles to an interchange with the new Eau Claire Bypass freeway, which was still under construction south of this point. BYP US-53 then turned northerly following the new freeway for approximately 3.1 miles, terminating at the CTH-OO interchange in the Village of Lake Hallie where US-53 jogged over from Hastings Way to begin its northerly journey toward Superior on the freeway. See Map of Greater Eau Claire & Chippewa Falls Area.

 

 

Updated As noted above, the BYP US-53 designation was only a temporary one and was removed when the remainder of the Eau Claire Bypass freeway was completed and opened to traffic on August 21, 2006. From CTH-OO southerly to the North Crossing interchange, it was replaced by the mainline US-53 designation. The North Crossing Extension from the bypass westerly back to the existing route of US-53 at Hastings Way received its new STH-312 route markers in late-2005 and is now marked solely as STH-312 after the removal of the BYP US-53 designation. (STH-124 was truncated back to Lake Hallie in late-2005.)

 

History:

Updated BYP US-53 came into existence in June 2005 with the opening of the northern half of the Eau Claire Bypass freeway, which was then signed as US-53 in its entirety as of August 21, 2006. This route's short history came to an end at that time.

 

Freeway:

From STH-312/CTH-Q/North Crossing interchange in eastern Eau Claire northerly to jct US-53 & CTH-OO in Lake Hallie. (~3.1 miles)

 

Expressway:

The STH-312/North Crossing extension from US-53/Hastings Way easterly to the new bypass freeway has been constructed to four-lane, divided expressway standards, with no private driveway access.

 

NHS:

Entire route. Includes both the STH-312 portion along the North Crossing extension as well as US-53 along the actual bypass freeway.

 

Photographs:

New! US-53 Eau Claire Bypass Construction Photos, May 29, 2004 - a set of 12 photos.
New! BYPASS US-53 Photos, November 4, 2005 - a set of 23 photos on two pages.

 

Weblinks:

US-53 Project [Eau Claire Area] - from WisDOT: "The four-lane, divided highway will extend from the US 53/Golf Road interchange area in the city of Eau Claire to a new WIS 29/US 53 interchange in the Chippewa County village of Lake Hallie. This project represents an estimated $94 million investment in Wisconsin's transportation system."

 

 

New! Highway 53 Homepage - from the Eau Claire Leader-Telegram,an excellent website with eight pages of special coverage, a "By the Numbers" section, timeline and photo gallery.

 

 

US 53 Project Information [Eau Claire Area] - from the City of Altoona website.


STH-54

Western Terminus:

Minnesota state line (connection w/MN TH-43) at Winona, Minnesota on the North Channel Bridge.

Eastern Terminus:

Downtown Algoma at STH-42 at cnr of Jefferson St & Fourth St

Length:

243.12 miles

 

Map:

Route Map of STH-54

 

Notes:

STH-54 is one of eight east-west "state-numbered" (not Interstate or US) highways which traverse the width of the state—in the case of this highway, from the Mississippi River to the shores of Lake Michigan.

 

 

The 8.9-mile stretch of STH-54 from 64th St near Biron (northeast of Wisconsin Rapids) to Grant Ave on the western boundary of Plover near Stevens Point has been upgraded to quasi-expressway standards. While the speed limit has been raised to 65 mph and some local access has been controlled, many pre-existing private driveways are still allowed to access the highway, meaning the highway is technically not up to full expressway standards. WisDOT apparently does consider this segment as being 'expressway' for their purposes.

 

History:

The original iteration of STH-54 occupied the approximately 30 mile route from Green Bay to Algoma. By 1921, STH-54 had been extended westerly over roads previously not in the state trunk highway system, ending at STH-22 four miles west of Royalton. By 1924, STH-54 was extended westerly generally over its present alignment to Plover, then along what had been part of STH-66 into Wisconsin Rapids. From there, STH-54 was extended westerly via Dexterville. City Point and Pray to Hatfield (paralleling the present day Canadian National RR line between City Point and Hatfield), then southerly to Black River Falls via present-day CTH-K (in part), then southwesterly replacing what had been STH-52 to STH-11 (now US-53) near Galesville. From there, STH-54 was extended along STH-35 via Centerville, then across the Mississippi River to Winona, Minnesota. In the late-1920s, STH-54 was rerouted off present-day CTH-A between Shiocton and Binghamton and STH-47 back north to Black Creek and onto its present-day alignment. Then in 1931, STH-54 is rerouted to enter Green Bay from the west via Mason St instead of connecting with STH-29/STH-32 northeast of Oneida as it had done previously.

 

 

Most of the present route of STH-54 from CTH-K northeast of Black River Falls easterly to City Point was completed in 1953, cutting several miles off the route. With this realignment, all of STH-54 was also hard-surfaced throughout. In 1966, the US-10 bypass of Waupaca was constructed, but it wasn't until 1982 that STH-54 was routed out of downtown Waupaca and onto its current place on the bypass. Also in 1982, Riverview Expwy in Wisconsin Rapids is completed from Grand Ave (STH-13 WEST/STH-73 WEST) southerly and easterly to 8th St (STH-13 SOUTH) and STH-54 is transferred to the new highway from 2nd Ave easterly to 8th St, then northerly via 8th St to its former route downtown. In 1999, Riverview Expwy in Wisconsin Rapids was extended easterly from STH-13 SOUTH and STH-54 was rerouted to follow the new highway to the eastern edge of the city where a new divided facility departed northerly bearing the STH-54 designation, reconnecting to the former route at Baker Dr east of downtown.

 

Freeway:

Concurrently with US-10/STH-22/STH-49 along the "Waupaca bypass" (2.7 miles)

 

Expressway:

From 64th St near Biron (northeast of Wisconsin Rapids) to Grand Ave on the western boundary of Plover near Stevens Point. (8.9 miles)

 

NHS:

The following four segments of STH-54 in Wisconsin are on the National Highway System (NHS):

  1. From west jct of STH-13 & STH-54 in Wisconsin Rapids to US-51/I-39 at Exit 151 at Plover.
  2. Concurrently with US-10 bypassing Waupaca.
  3. From US-41 at Exit 168 to cnr University Ave & Webster Ave in Green Bay.
  4. From I-43 at Exit 185 to the eastern jct of STH-54 & STH-57 notheast of Green Bay.

Great River Road marker

Circle Tour:

Lake Michigan Circle Tour: From I-43 at Exit 185 in northeastern Green Bay to eastern jct of STH-57 & STH-54 east of Green Bay.

Great River Road :

Great River Road: From the western jct of STH-35 & STH-54 near Winona, Minnesota to jct STH-35, STH-93 & STH-54 in Centerville.

Continue on:

MN TH-43 west into Minnesota - via Steve Riner's Unofficial Minnesota Highways Page.

 

Photographs:

 

 

Weblinks:

• None.


STH-55

Southern Terminus:

US-151 just south of the community of Quinney (8 miles west of Chilton)

Northern Terminus:

Michigan state line (connection w/M-73) at Nelma

Length:

175.55 miles

 

Map:

Route Map of STH-55

 

Notes:

At its greatest extent, STH-55 stretched from near downtown Milwaukee northerly to the Michigan state line in a very rural area well northwest of Florence. Only a rash of new or extended US Highways in the mid-1930s brought about the eventual shortening of this route. US-45 from northwest Milwaukee to Fond du Lac and US-151 from Fond du Lac to near Quinney replaced the southernmost portions of STH-55. Since that time, other than various minor realignments over the decades, STH-55 has existed in its present corridor ever since.

 

History:

As originally designated in 1917, STH-55 was a short "loop route" beginning at STH-15 (present-day US-41) near Richfield and following present-day US-45 through West Bend to Kewaskum, then heading westerly via present-day STH-28, ending at STH-15 at Theresa. By 1921, though, STH-15 had been extended northerly via present-day US-45 to Fond du Lac. By 1924, STH-55 had been further extended northerly from Fond du Lac along the eastern shore of Lake Winnebago, then north along its present-day corridor via Kaukauna, Shawano, Langlade and Crandon, ending at the Michigan state line. In addition, STH-55 was extended southerly via STH-15 (later US-41) into Milwaukee Co, then southeasterly via Fond du Lac Ave to end at STH-57 north of downtown Milwaukee. By 1930, though, STH-55 was removed from US-41 and transferred to the present routing of STH-145.

 

 

In 1934, two different US Highways were routed along STH-55 and would later be the reason for the highway's shortening. From STH-100 in northwestern Milwaukee Co via Germantown, West Bend and Eden to Fond du Lac, US-45 was concurrently designated along STH-55. From Fond du Lac northerly to just south of Quinney, US-151 replaced the concurrent STH-31 designation along that stretch, resulting in a US-151/STH-55 concurrency. Seventy-three miles of STH-55 were then routed concurrently with US Highways! Nearly two decades later, STH-55 was removed from the 54-mile concurrent US-45/STH-55 segment from Milwaukee Co to Fond du Lac with the 12-mile section along Fond du Lac Ave in Milwaukee redesignated as STH-145. Oddly enough, the 18-mile segment of US-151/STH-55 remained, even though STH-55 ended in Fond du Lac! A total of 31 years passed before the US-151/STH-55 concurrency was be "resolved" in 1965—by truncating STH-55 at US-151 near Quinney, it's current southern terminus.

 

 

In 1996, STH-55 was rerouted between Seymour and Bonduel, replacing the former CTH-C northerly to STH-29 at Angelica, then continuing northwesterly with STH-29 to Bonduel. This change coincided with the completion of the STH-29/Angelica Bypass that same year. The former routing of STH-55 between jct CTH-C & CTH-VV to STH-47 near Nichols became an extension of STH-168 (now part of CTH-VV), while the concurrent STH-47/STH-55 from Nichols to Bonduel reverted to just STH-47.

 

 

One of the bigger projects along the route of STH-55 was the Shawano bypass, an approximately 20 mile long highway built mostly to freeway standards, of which STH-55 occupies about half. This portion of the highway, which opened to traffic in the fall of 1998, begins where STH-29/STH-55 veers off the former route southeast of Bonduel and proceeds westerly, south of the old route past Bonduel (where STH-47 joins) on toward Shawano where STH-47/STH-55/BUS STH-29 depart at an interchange with CTH-K southeast of the city while the STH-29 freeway continues westerly. STH-47/STH-55/BUS STH-29 continue northerly via an extension of Airport Rd to the former route where those routes turn westerly along with STH-22 into downtown Shawano. The former STH-22/STH-29/STH-47/STH-55 from Airport Rd to the STH-22 jct retained the STH-22 designation, while the former route from there southeasterly through Bonduel was turned back to local control as CTH-BE.

 

Freeway:

From the end of the expressway segment (below), two miles east of Bonduel to STH-29 Exit 227 at jct STH-47/STH-55/BUS STH-29/CTH-K southeast of Shawano. (14.9 miles)

 

Expressway:

Jct STH-29 & STH-160 in Angelica westerly to the beginning of the freeway segment (above), two miles east of Bonduel. (5.6 miles)

 

NHS:

The following four segments of STH-55 in Wisconsin are on the National Highway System (NHS):

  1. From CTH-CE/College Ave on the southern limit of Kaukauna to US-41 at Exit 148 on the northern limit of Kaukauna.
  2. Concurrently with STH-29 from Exit 242 at Angelica to Exit 227 at Shawano.
  3. Concurrently with US-8 for eight blocks through downtown Crandon.

 

Continue on:

M-73 north into Michigan - via the Michigan Highways website.

 

Photographs:

 

 

Weblinks:

• none.


STH-56

Western Terminus:

STH-35 in Genoa at cnr Main St & Great River Rd

Eastern Terminus:

STH-80 approximately 3-1/2 miles north of downtown Richland Center

Length:

50.56 miles

 

Map:

Route Map of STH-56

 

Notes:

STH-56 is a minor highway connecting STH-35 at Genoa on the west with STH-80 north of Richland Center on the east, passing through Viroqua and Viola en route.

 

 

At some point in the history of this route since 1923, the STH-56 designation was extended southerly concurrently with STH-80 into Richland Center, where it terminated at US-14 while STH-80 continued southerly. The precise reason for this odd concurrency is not known and at some point all STH-56 route markers were removed from STH-80 meaning the highway ended at one point in the field (at STH-80 north of Richland Center) while the official terminus according to WisDOT records was at the cnr of Main & Seminary in downtown Richland Center. This was rectified in 2000 when the official eastern terminus in WisDOT records was changed to reflect the signed terminus in the field.

 

History:

STH-56 began as a short trunkline routing along present-day US-151 from Fond du Lac to Chilton in 1918. One year later, the route is extended easterly via present-day US-151 from Chilton to Manitowoc. In 1923, with an additional 2,500 miles of highway added to the state trunkline system, a new trunkline routing is added beginning at Genoa and heading easterly via Viroqua and Viola to north of Richland Center and the STH-56 designation is applied to it. The former route of STH-56 on the east side of the state becomes part of an STH-31 extension (now part of US-151). STH-56 has occupied essentially the same routing ever since.

 

Freeway/Expwy:

None.

 

Photographs:

 

 

Weblinks:

• None.


STH-57

Southern Terminus:

STH-59/National Ave in Milwaukee, west of downtown (at cnr S 27th St & National Ave)

Northern Terminus:

STH-42 in Sister Bay at cnr Gateway Dr & Bay Shore Dr

Length:

191.82 miles

 

Map:

Route Map of STH-57

 

Notes:

Over the length of its route, STH-57 takes on several different characteristics. Beginning largely as an urban arterial street in the Milwaukee area, it then joins with I-43 in Ozaukee Co for a distance and, after splitting with that highway, heads due northerly as a major divided highway into Sheboygan Co. North of Plymouth, STH-57 narrows down to two lanes, but retains its status as a major route through Chilton and into the Green Bay metropolitan area from the south. After traversing through downtown Green Bay, again as an urban atertial, it emerges on the northeast side of town as a major divided expressway facility, dualed with STH-54, headed toward the Door Peninsula. After STH-54 splits off to the east, STH-57 continues northeasterly as a major two- and four-lane highway to Sturgeon Bay where it continues up the east side of the Door Peninsula as a more minor two-lane route to its terminus at Sister Bay.

 

 

When the Interstate Highway System was being laid out in the late 1950s, the State of Wisconsin petitioned for a route to be included linking the state's largest city, Milwaukee, with another of its major centers and a shipping ports, Green Bay. The state had envisioned the Milwaukee-Green Bay Interstate running directly up the STH-57 corridor, splitting halfway between the existing highly-travelled US-41 (Fond dy Lac-Oshkosh-Appleton) and US-141 (Sheboygan-Manitowoc) corridors. Reportedly, the I-57 designation was even floated for this route which, in addition to preserving the "57" number along the route already in place, would have generally fit into the Interstate numbering scheme, although an I-57 had already been proposed to run from Missouri northerly to Chicago. Some have noted the proposed-but-never-completed "Lake Freeway" facility from Chicago up the Lake Michigan shore to Milwaukee could have connected the existing I-57 with Wisconsin's version. The Wisconsin Transportation Commission's history "Wisconsin Highways 1945-1995" notes the STH-57 corridor was chosen for Interstate status over US-41 and US-141 since it would not favor the lakeshore cities of Port Washington, Sheboygan and Manitowoc over the inland cities of Fond du Lac, Oshkosh and Appleton, or vice versa. This route was rejected by the federal government and several years later I-43 was approved along the US-141 alignment along the lakeshore. The seemingly overpowered and unfinished interchange at I-43 & STH-57 near Saukville is evidence of larger plans which never came to fruition.

 

 

Wisconsin's Door Co and Door Peninsula area is a major tourist and vacationing destination popular not only with in-state residents but hordes of Chicagolanders as well. Increasing pressure on the STH-57 corridor from Green Bay to Sturgeon Bay over the past few decades resulted in improvements to the route from I-43 to STH-54 in Green Bay and to the concurrent STH-42/STH-57 route southwest of Sturgeon Bay. However, increasing traffic and safety concerns led WisDOT to propose a completely upgraded STH-57 corridor from STH-54 east of Green Bay to the southernmost STH-42 junction north of Maplewood during the 1990s. According to WisDOT: "This road serves industrial, commercial and residential areas of the city of Sturgeon Bay and communities throughout Door County. Due to the unique character of the Door County Peninsula, approximately two million people come to visit every year. The WIS 57 expansion project represents an estimated $72.5 million investment in eastern Wisconsin's transportation system."

      Studied during the 1990s, funding for an upgraded STH-57 from STH-54 to STH-42 was approved in 1997 and environment clearances for the $72.5 million project were gained a year later. A description of the corridor from WisDOT:

The recommended transportation corridor for the WIS 57 expansion was selected in 1996 after extensive study and public involvement. The corridor begins near the WIS 57/Brown County P intersection, passes about one mile east of Dyckesville, and returns to existing WIS 57 between Macco Road and Borley Lane. The corridor then follows existing WIS 57 north of Dyckesville to Door County D. The corridor passes about one mile south of Namur and Brussels, rejoining the existing roadway near County H. The corridor then follows the existing roadway up to Tornado Park (Williamsonville). It is directed around the park to avoid impacting the historic archaeological site of Williamsonville. The corridor rejoins the existing WIS 57 near Southern Door School and follows it to WIS 42.

Construction on the interchange at STH-54 & STH-57 was completed in 2000 and the first 8 miles of expressway, partially on existing and partially on new alignment, opened to traffic in 2003 to a point just west of CTH-P near Dyckesville. The remaining upgrades and relocations, including bypasses of Dyckesville and Namur/Brussels, will be completed in phases through 2008. [See the STH-57 Project Website from WisDOT for detailed information, complete schedules and maps.]

 

History:

The original 1918 routing of STH-57 began at Forest Home Ave in Milwaukee and continued southerly via what later became US-41 (now STH-241) to Thompsonville in Racine Co. (A portion of this route is now occupied by the I-94/US-41 freeway.) From Thompsonville, the original STH-57 turned easterly through Franksville, ending in Racine at STH-17 (now STH-32). By 1921, STH-57 had been extended northerly from Milwaukee, concurrently with STH-17 to Saukville, then northerly along its present-day corridor, ending at STH-15 (later US-41) in De Pere, with a few notable exceptions: From Waldo, through Plymouth to Elkhart Lake, STH-57 ran along today's STH-67 and via CTH-J from Elkhart Lake to New Holstein; and in northeastern Calumet Co, STH-57 followed present-day CTH-PP to Brillion, and stair-stepped back to its present alignment at Askeaton. On the south, STH-57 was rerouted out of Racine onto an alignment, stair-stepping south to the Illinois state line. In 1923, STH-57 was extended northerly from Green Bay via the routing of present-day US-141, ending at the Michigan state line in Niagara. Also in 1923, several other realignments occurred, including moving STH-57 off CTH-E onto its present route from Waldo to Plymouth, moving the route onto the present course of STH-67 between Elkhart Lake and New Holstein via Kiel off of the CTH-J alignment, and realigning it to run northerly from Hilbert in Calument Co, through Holland in extreme southwest Brown Co, then easterly via present CTH-Z to Askeaton.

 

 

In 1927, though, STH-57 was scaled back at both ends of the highway: On the south, it was completely supplanted by the US-41 designation from downtown Milwaukee to the Illinois state line and from De Pere northerly through Green Bay and on to Michigan, STH-57 was completely supplanted by US-141. Soon after in 1930, STH-57 was extended on the northern end once again; this time, STH-57 supplanted the STH-78 designation in the Door Peninsula from Green Bay through Sturgeon Bay, ending in Sister Bay. The route was relocated onto its present corridor between Hilbert and Askeaton in 1932, with portions of the former route via Holland becoming part of CTH-D and CTH-Z. It was 1956 when STH-57 was realigned onto its present routing from Plymouth to Kiel. The former route was redesignated STH-67. In 1958, the 4 miles from STH-32 into Kiel were converted to four-lane divided highway, while a similar conversion occured on a 14 mile section from the Ozaukee/Sheboygan Co line to Plymouth occurred in 1962.

 

 

In the early-1990s, the routing of STH-57 through the Cities of Mequon and Cedarburg, the Villages of Thiensville and Grafton, and a portion of the Town of Grafton in Ozaukee Co was turned back to local control as a part of an agreement with WisDOT, where Wauwatosa Rd from STH-167/Mequon Rd to STH-60 would be transferred to state control as an extension of STH-181. STH-57 was rerouted to run easterly with STH-167 to I-43, then northerly via I-43/STH-32/North-South Frwy to its former alignment northeast of Grafton. The exact year of this transfer, however, is unclear. The former routing of STH-57 remained on WisDOT's official highway maps through the 1995/96 issue, while the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel has stated in articles, "In 1992, the state transferred control of the road to the municipalities, dropping its highway designation."

 

Freeway:

From jct I-43/STH-32 & STH-167 at Exit 85 in Mequon to jct CTH-W north of Saukville. (13.9 miles)

 

Expressway:

From just southwest of jct I-43 at Exit 185 in Green Bay northeasterly to just east of Gravel Pit Rd (at Bayshore Co Park) west of Dyckesville. (12.5 miles)

 

NHS:

The following three segments of STH-57 in Wisconsin are on the National Highway System (NHS):

  1. Concurrently with STH-167 and I-43 from jct STH-57 & STH-167 (cnr Cedarburg & Mequon Rds) in Mequon to the jct of I-43 & STH-57 near Saukville.
  2. From jct STH-32 & STH-57 (cnr Broadway & George Sts) in De Pere to cnr University & Webster Aves in Green Bay.
  3. From jct I-43 & STH-54/STH-57 at Exit 185 in Green Bay to the middle jct of STH-42 northeast of Sturgeon Bay. (The portion of STH-42/STH-57 from the Sturgeon Bay bridge northerly to the STH-42 & STH-57 split is an NHS Intermodal Connector route.)

 

Circle Tour :

Lake Michigan Circle Tour: in two segments:

  1. Concurrently with I-43 between Mequon and Saukville.
  2. From I-43 at Exit 185 in Green Bay to the northern terminus of STH-57 in Sister Bay.

 

Business Connection:

BUS STH-57 - Sturgeon Bay: Posted concurrently with BUS STH-42. This is a locally-maintained and locally-signed business routing and is not a state trunkline highway. The route of BUS STH-42/BUS STH-57 contains several examples of old-style Wisconsin state trunkline markers, which have likely been in place since this route was a part of STH-42/STH-57 through the city in the 1970s.

 

Photographs:

 

 

Weblinks:

WIS 57 expansion project - from WisDOT: "WisDOT is developing WIS 57 as a four-lane divided highway with access management, allowing for uninterrupted travel from Green Bay to Sturgeon Bay. This project begins one mile north of the intersection of WIS 54 and WIS 57 in Brown County and extends to the intersection of WIS 57 and WIS 42 south of Sturgeon Bay in Door County."

 

 

A Peninsular Point of View: Archaeology of the STH 57 Transportation Corridor in Brown, Door, and Kewaunee Counties, Wisconsin - from the 49th Annual Midwest Archaeological Conference, a symposium held in Milwaukee October 16-19, 2003.

 

 

Wisconsin's history uncovered while constructing Highway 57 - from AASHTO: "An archeological survey for a highway expansion project in Wisconsin's popular Door County has led to a finding that pushes back the dates for human habitation in the area to the time of the last great glaciations of North America."


STH-58

Southern Terminus:

US-14 four miles southeast of Richland Center

Northern Terminus:

STH-80 four miles south of downtown Necedah

Length:

53.92 miles

 

Map:

Route Map of STH-58

 

Notes:

STH-58 is a relatively minor state trunkline in the central/west-central portion of the state, passing through only one community of any size: Mauston.

 

History:

In 1917, STH-58 was designated along its present-day corridor from STH-11 (now US-14) northwest of Sextonville northerly to STH-33 at LaValle. In 1923, STH-58 had been extended northerly to end in Mauston at STH-12/STH-29 (now US-12/STH-16). Seven decades would pass before any other major change would occur to the routing of this highway. In about 1994, STH-58 was extended northerly via the former CTH-Q from Mauston to STH-80 south of Necedah, adding 11 miles to the route.

 

Freeway/Expwy:

None.

 

Photographs:

 

 

Weblinks:

• None.


STH-59

Western Terminus:

STH-11/STH-81 at Monroe (at the 6th St interchange on the STH-11 bypass)

Eastern Terminus:

STH-32 in Milwaukee south of downtown at cnr First St & National Ave

Length:

116.21 miles

 

Map:

Route Map of STH-59
Map of Whitewater Bypass

 

Notes:

STH-59 ambles across approximately two-thirds of the southern portion of the state. Beginning at Monroe, the highway stair-steps its way into northwestern Rock Co via Albany and Evansville before meandering through Edgerton, dropping down through Milton and then running east-northeasterly through Whitewater, Palmyra and Eagle to Waukesha where STH-59 turns nearly due easterly into Milwaukee, ending south of downtown.

 

 

In metropolitan Milwaukee, STH-59 goes by the following names, which tend to be used by locals over the highway route number: From Waukesha, it is first known as Arcadian Ave for a short distance between STH-164 and Springdale Rd (the New Berlin city limit), then as Greenfield Ave from Springdale Rd and easterly along the border of Brookfield and New Berlin into West Allis. On the eastern side of West Allis, where STH-59 veers onto National Ave, the highway retains that name until its eastern terminus south of downtown Milwaukee.

 

 

At Whitewater, WisDOT constructed a 6.3-mile long US-12 bypass of that city which opened to traffic on August 4, 2005 after a 10:00 am ribbon-cutting ceremony at the CTH-S/Walworth Ave intersection. Construction on the $36.7 million (erroneously stated as $115.5 million in some WisDOT documents) bypass began in 2002, a year later than originally hoped. With the opening of the bypass, the route of STH-59 was added to the bypass heading easterly from the south side of Whitewater to the east end of the new highway, then doubling-back on the former route of US-12 into the city to its existing route along Newcomb St. The former connecting highway route of STH-59 along Janesville, Whitewhater, Main and Milwaukee (east to Newcomb) Sts has been removed from the trunk highway system. The new route adds approximately two miles to the length of STH-59. [See Map of the bypass.]
      This new facility was built as a two-lane, limited-access expressway with limited at-grade intersections, but on four-lane right-of-way. When traffic volumes climb—something many believe will happen in a short timeframe—and budget dollars are found, the Whitewater bypass could then easily be converted to full limited-access freeway standards with interchanges or grade separations built at all intersecting roads.

 

 

The STH-59/STH-164 bypass of Waukesha was named the "Les Paul Pkwy" in 1998 in honor of the electric guitar pioneer. Les Paul was born and raised in Waukesha where he lived until moving on in the 1930s, eventually making a name for himself in the development of the solid-body electric guitar as well as in other areas such as multi-track recording.

 

History:

The original routing of STH-59 from 1917-18 began at STH-12 (now US-12) near La Grange, at the 90-degree curve in US-12 north of Elkhorn, and ran northeasterly via present-day STH-67 to Eagle, then northeasterly along its present corridor, ending at Waukesha. In 1923, the highway was rerouted at Eagle to head westerly supplanting the STH-99 designation along the present route of STH-59 through Palmyra and Whitewater to Milton where it then continued via its present route through Edgerton to Cooksville. There, STH-59 turned southerly via Tolles Rd and southwesterly via present-day CTH-M and westerly via STH-13 (present-day US-14) into Evansville. From Evansville, the route continued southwesterly via Old 92 to present-day STH-59, then along its modern alignment through Albany, terminating in Monroe.

 

 

In c.1929, STH-59 was extended east of Waukesha generally along its present Greenfield Ave alignment, then via National Ave in Milwaukee dualling with STH-14 (later STH-15) to a common terminus, replacing the US-18 designation along that route which it occupied for a few years before being moved onto the Bluemound Rd corridor. In 1931, STH-59 between Cooksville and Evansville was removed from the Tolles Rd/CTH-M route onto its present corridor. Also in that year, STH-59 was relocated off today's Old 92 southwest of Evansville and onto its present route via STH-13 (prsent-day STH-213), then westerly. In the early 1980s (c.1983-84), STH-59 was transferred to the Waukesha Bypass (Les Paul Pkwy), taking the route out of the downtown area of that city. Similarly on August 4, 2005, STH-59 was removed from its through-town routing at Whitewater and transferred to the new US-12 bypass of that city.

 

Freeway:

None.

 

Expressway:

Concurrently with US-12 along the two-lane, limited-access Whitewater Bypass expressway from jct STH-89 on the south side of Whitewater easterly to the CTH-P intersection southeast of the city.

 

NHS:

The following three segments of STH-59 in Wisconsin are on the National Highway System (NHS):

  1. Concurrently for two blocks with STH-26/Janesville St in Milton.
  2. Concurrently with US-12 along the Whitewater Bypass.
  3. Concurrently with STH-164 along the Les Paul Pkwy on the south and east sides of Waukesha.

 

Photographs:

 

 

Weblinks:

Waukesha County Historical Society & Museum: Future Exhibits - Les Paul, a Waukesha native and name on guitar headstocks worldwide, is working with the Waukesha County Historical Society & Museum on an exhibit about his life.


 

STH-50 | US-51 | SPUR US-51 | STH-52 | US-53 | BYPASS US-53 | STH-54 | STH-55 | STH-56 | STH-57 | STH-58 | STH-59 | Up to Top


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