Wisconsin Highways

Milwaukee Freeways: Airport Freeway

The Airport Freeway is a 5.5-mile long east-west freeway in southern Milwaukee County, part of the Milwaukee area freeway system. It bears both the I-43 and I-894 route designations, although the I-43 designation was only added in 1987, and forms part of the "bypass route" around the south and west sides of metropolitan Milwaukee. It begins at Hale Interchange in Hales Corners at the junction of the I-43/US-45/Rock Freeway, which continues to the southwest, and the I-894/US-45/Zoo Freeway, which runs northerly. It runs easterly through Greenfield and the mostly-abandoned Greenfield Interchange (proposed junction with the never-built Stadium Freeway South) to a end at the Mitchell Interchange in southern Milwaukee at the junction of the I-94/US-41/North-South Freeway.

The historical predecessor to the Airport Freeway began as a 1.7-mile long facility running in the Howard Ave corridor. It began at the proposed North-South Freeway and continued westerly along Howard Ave to the South 44th Street Expwy (later called the Stadium Freeway South) and was aptly titled the "Howard Avenue Expressway." A westerly extension was proposed, but the entire freeway was moved south approximately 3/4 mile and became the I-894/Airport Freeway we know today. On May 27, 1957, the Airport Freeway was officially incorporated into the Interstate Highway System.

The entire freeway was completed and opened to traffic at one time as part of a 6.8-mile segment of I-894 finished in the fall of 1966 from Beloit Rd southerly and easterly to the I-94/North-South Freeway. The Airport Freeway remained signed solely as I-894 until I-43 was extended from downtown Milwaukee to Beloit on November 24, 1987, replacing the STH-15 designation between Hales Corners and Beloit. Between Hales Corners and downtown Milwaukee, the I-43 designation was run concurrently with I-894 along the Airport Freeway and with I-94 on the North-South Freeway.

Map of Airport Freeway

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"Dedicated to the past, present and future of the Wisconsin State Trunk Highway system as well as other highways and routes throughout the Badger State. This website is intended to be a clearinghouse of information on Wisconsin's highways, from easily-recognized facts to the little-known trivia. It is also meant to change as the state highway system changes."