WBAY news in Green Bay reports the "Interstate" is now a valuable brand. Governor Maps Road to 'Interstate' 41:
May 04, 2011 12:35 AM EST By Kristin Byrne
Big changes are in the works to turn U.S. Highway 41 into an interstate, which Governor Walker says could mean more economic growth in the state.
Governor Walker was in Green Bay Tuesday to make the announcement.
The interstate would run 142 miles, from the Mitchell Interchange on I-94 in Milwaukee to where Highway 41 connects with I-43 in Green Bay.
So how do you turn a highway into an interstate? And what does it mean for drivers?
Transportation officials at the news conference said drivers won't see much of a difference but the change will ignite economic growth because businesses will want to locate near an interstate.
'Everybody thinks the interstate is like a brand, and then that brand says access, it says safety, it says speed, it says convenience. And we are essentially, you know, in this corridor, we're affiliating ourselves with that brand,' Transportation Secretary Mark Gottlieb said.
'You've got an issue that makes it easier for cars and trucks to drive on. It's certainly safety factors are built in which makes it a more safe corridor, and long term, not only for drivers, it will be good for businesses because it's going to be easier to get on and off,' Governor Walker said.
The governor and the Secretary of the Department of Transportation explained the project could include widening shoulders, making median improvements, and replacing crossroads with on- and off-ramps.
Some preparation work has already been done on Highway 41 with improvements in Brown and Winnebago counties.
The upgrade could cost between $15- to $20 million, mostly federal money the DOT says would come from existing funds.
'What we do is use it on focusing on the infrastructure that, for really for many of the last several years, has been largely ignored,' Governor Walker said.
The goal is to have interstate signs up in 2015.
This would be interesting to validate, do otherwise equivalent roads draw different traffic or development simply due to the "Interstate" brand, or is this just hooey (a technical term)?