The 23-mile I-41 Project segment has four travel lanes – two lanes in each direction. The segment is congested and has a higher rate of crashes than similarly configured freeways in Wisconsin. By federal standards, the project area has multiple roadway design deficiencies, and much of its pavement and several bridges are nearing the end of their useful lives and must be replaced.
The National Environmental Policy Act requires an environmental assessment to document study data that determines whether a federal action such as a transportation project could cause significant environmental effects. The assessment typically includes a discussion of the purpose and need for a proposed action; alternatives and the potential environmental impacts of the proposed action and alternatives; and an accounting of the agencies and stakeholders (including affected members of the public) an agency consults about the proposed project and alternatives.
A Finding of No Significant Impact is a federally approved document that presents the reasons why an agency such as WisDOT has concluded that an action such as a transportation project will not produce significant environmental impacts.
System interchange is used to identify interchanges that connect two or more freeways such as I-41 and US 441. System interchange connections should be high speed and free flowing to provide all directional movements. A service interchange applies to interchanges that connect a freeway with local surface streets or arterials. Service interchange ramps may be a low-speed, free-flowing, or may require a stop at the connection to the local or arterial street.
Based on study data, the current 70-mph speed limit is appropriate for I-41.
Studies show that highways operate the most safely when most vehicles are moving at roughly the same speed. Lowering I-41’s speed limit to 55 mph would increase variations among vehicle speeds and the actions that cause safety issues such as changing lanes to avoid slower vehicles and dangerous merging. State and national safety studies found that wide gaps among vehicle speeds are very likely to decrease the overall safety of the roadway.
A speed study completed for I-41 found the prevailing speed (85th percentile) ranged from 76.1 to 77.8 mph and the average speed ranged from 69.1 to 71.4 mph. I-41 is an Interstate designed for a 70 mph speed limit, and most motorists drive at speeds consistent with a roadway’s geometrics and environment.
Brown and Outagamie counties’ Highway Traffic Safety committee, which include representatives with the Wisconsin State Patrol, local law enforcement, local and county officials, health departments, and safety and driver education groups, meet on a quarterly basis with WisDOT to review all severe and fatal crashes and evaluate best practices for crash mitigation and incident response.
WisDOT also works with emergency responders to develop coordinated protocols and preplanned emergency alternate routes to maximize response efficiencies during incidents.
The WisDOT Safety Patrol sponsored by Geico is also active between WIS 96 and County F (Scheuring Road) to help drivers in the event of a breakdown or minor crash. The safety patrol offers free, limited roadside assistance to drivers in need.
Construction is scheduled to begin in spring of 2024 and is expected to continue through the 2030 construction season. The current project schedule fits within annual state & federal funding limits, allows 4-lanes of traffic to remain open throughout construction, and avoids the need to close consecutive interchanges at the same time. For more information on the project schedule, visit https://i41project.wisconsindot.gov/about
Like the large-scale improvement projects in Winnebago and Brown counties, traffic staging plans will be developed and refined throughout the preliminary and final design of project sections. WisDOT will follow industry-accepted standards and guidelines to implement the most effective traffic management strategy.
Some interchanges and overpasses will have long term closures. During peak travel times 4 lanes of traffic are planned to be open at all times on the mainline. Temporary ramp closures and lane closures will be scheduled for off peak hours.
The Transportation Project Commission only authorized a portion of the four-lane highway to be expanded. Therefore, the Brown County reconstruction had distinct project limits evaluated for addressing that project’s purpose and need.
Yes. The selected alternative includes expanding the four-lane highway to six lanes. The additional lane will be constructed in the existing median; however, interchange reconstruction or the construction of new noise barriers will require real estate. The project’s Finding of No Significant Impact describes the potential impacts the project may produce. As part of the design process, WisDOT has determined the exact location and amount of real estate required. Acquisitions are currently underway and are scheduled to be complete by February of 2027.
Yes, as part of the environmental study, WisDOT conducted a noise analysis. For more information on the noise analysis results and voting process, visit our page on noise.
WisDOT will engage and collaborate with municipal and county representatives so that facilities designed and constructed as part of the I-41 Project – such as lane configurations and pedestrian and bicycle accommodations – complement local and regional transportation planning efforts.
For additional information on Brown County's South Bridge Project, please visit:
Brown County Planning Director/MPO Director
PO Box 23600
Green Bay, WI 54305-3600
WisDOT is replacing the Wrightstown Safety and Weight Enforcement Facility (SWEF), which is about ¾ miles south of County U in Outagamie County, to protect the reconstructed I-41 from overweight vehicle use that could damage the project’s new structures and pavement. The existing facility also requires updated technology and equipment to weigh and inspect commercial truck traffic.
Project construction will impact access to and operations at the current Wrightstown SWEF.
The Wisconsin State Patrol, whose current headquarters in Fond du Lac requires significant upgrades, will move its Northeast Region Headquarters to the new Wrightstown SWEF, which is located more centrally to the region. Co-locating in the new facility will cost less than upgrading the current patrol headquarters.
The project will reconstruct the following three interchanges with I-41 as diverging diamond interchanges (DDIs):
The innovative DDI configuration, sometimes called a “double crossover diamond,” accommodates more traffic than conventional interchange designs and allows drivers to make free-flow right and left turns onto freeway ramps.
Given the large volume of traffic making left turns to access I-41 from the three locations listed above, the DDI alternative best addresses safety concerns and traffic operations.
DDIs are comparable in cost to other diamond interchange alternatives and reduce the number of ways vehicles can collide by almost half (14%) compared with conventional diamond interchanges (26%).
DDIs help drivers easily navigate the interchange with overhead signs, pavement marking and traffic signals, and the design accommodates all road users: large trucks, pedestrians and bicyclists.
The DDI alternative also provides additional safety benefits for pedestrians including signal protection at almost all crossing points in the interchange.
Any contractor interested in bidding on prospective highway construction projects are "prequalified" by WisDOT to ensure that the bidder has "competency and responsibility to perform the work." Contractors are determined by a low bid process and WisDOT will not know who the contractor will be until the process is complete shortly before construction. WisDOT cannot advise on or recommend contractors for services.
2015 Act 55 added state statute 85.0205 (1m) which prohibits the department from expending state funds on primarily aesthetic elements. Aesthetic elements can still be incorporated into the project but must be funded by the requesting municipalities. As a result, the aesthetic elements incorporated in the project are at the discretion of local governments not WisDOT.