Work to Widen and Upgrade One of Wisconsin’s Busiest Highways Begins

Work has begun on widening one of the busiest highways in Wisconsin.

The I-43 North-South Freeway provides a link in the southeastern section of the state between the Milwaukee area, Chicago and Green Bay. The 50-year-old freeway has exceeded its design life, says the Wisconsin Department of Transportation.

The project, estimated to cost $551.3 million, involves widening 14 miles from four to six lanes between Glendale and Grafton in Milwaukee and Ozaukee counties. Other planned improvements include reconstructing five interchanges and replacing a railroad bridge over the freeway in Glendale.

The freeway handles 49,000 vehicles a day near Grafton to 85,460 vehicles a day near Glendale, leading to “regular and significant congestion,” WisDOT says. That traffic is expected to increase to 65,000 and 112,500, respectively, by 2040.

Along with alleviating congestion, the project is designed to address pavement and structural needs, safety issues, bridge clearances, driver visibility and merging and weaving distances.

The project will also include a diverging diamond interchange at I-43 and WIS 100 and a new interchange at Highland Road.

Work zone preparations began last month. Construction is scheduled to be completed in 2024, according to WisDOT.

I-43 North-South Freeway project mapA map and schedule of the I-43 North-South Freeway expansion project, in which work zone preparation began in August.Wisconsin DOT