Wisconsin Highways

Milwaukee Freeways: Airport Spur Freeway

The Airport Spur Freeway, commonly just called the "Airport Spur," is a 1.89-mile long freeway in the southernmost portion of the City of Milwaukee and designated STH-119 in its entirety. It serves as the primary connection between General Mitchell International Airport and the I-94/US-41/North-South Freeway. It begins at the Airport Interchange on I-94/US-41 and continues a short distance to the east into the airport itself.

The Airport Spur Freeway is the last true freeway built in Milwaukee County and was the only one of the five freeways involved in a November 5, 1974 countywide referendum—17 miles of freeway scheduled and budgeted, but stalled by opposition—to be constructed, even though all five were approved by voters. This was likely due not only to the freeways very short length at less than two miles, but also because of its perceived necessity by both the pro- and anti-freeway forces when wrangling over the future of the Milwaukee County freeway system. The Airport Spur was completed in 1978.

The overall look and feel of the Airport Spur Freeway may undergo a makeover of sorts in the future. As part of the initial planning stages for the rebuilding of the I-94/US-41 corridor from the south side of Milwaukee to the Illinois state line in 2010-16, local citizens and civic leaders were asked in 2006 for their ideas about what could be done with the STH-119 freeway spur. While any makeover plans are far from certain, some envision the Airport Spur as more of a heavily-landscaped "gateway" boulevard instead of a standard four-lane freeway.

While officially a state trunk highway and fully a part of the state highway system, STH-119 was, for nearly three decades, an unsigned route. WisDOT, however, denoted STH-119 on their official state highway maps for most of that time and most commercial mapmakers (Rand McNally, Seeger, Milwaukee Map, Hedberg, Hudson, Mapquest, etc.) did so as well. Until April 2007, signs along I-94/US-41 at the STH-119 exit only pointed toward "Gen Mitchell Int'l Airport." New signs along the North-South Freeway now point to STH-119 as well as the airport. WisDOT officials have noted STH-119 route markers will be posted along the Airport Spur itself in the future as well. It was one of only a handful of unsigned state trunklines around Wisconsin and one of three in Milwaukee Co; the others are STH-341 and SPUR STH-794.

Additional Information

Map of Airport Spur Freeway

 

"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."