Wisconsin Department of Transportation

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Historical transportation photos

100th anniversary of State Highway Commission logo
100th anniversary of State Highway Commission
Two highway signs W15 and W16

Wisconsin pioneered the concept of numbered highways. A 1917 state law creating a State Trunk Highway System included a provision requiring uniform guide and warning signs.

Telephone pole used as a highway sign

Early Wisconsin highway markers could be found on telephone poles, other roadside posts and culverts.

Mowing along highways in 1920s

Cutting grass along a Trempealeau County roadway, 1925.

Mowing along a road in the 1940s

Mowing along a Dane County road, 1940s.

I-94 under construction

I-94 under construction between Hudson and Menomonie in western Wisconsin in October, 1958. A year later (October 29, 1959), a ceremony was held dedicating the 59-mile segment of I-94 between Hudson and Eau Claire. It represented, at that time, the nation's longest single section of Interstate highway to be officially dedicated.

Climbing lane on US 14, 1959

Climbing lane along "Coon Valley Hill" on US 14 in Vernon County, 1959.

I-94 under construction in 1963

I-94 under construction west of Oconomowoc in Waukesha County in November 1963. The first section of Interstate highway to be completed in Wisconsin was a one-mile segment of I-94 near Johnson Creek in Jefferson County in 1958.

Stadium interchange, Milwaukee, 1964

Looking eastward at the Stadium Interchange in Milwaukee, February 1964.

Hill Farms State Transportation Building - July 1964

Hill Farms State Transportation Building, Madison - completed July 1964.

Governor Knowles cuts the ribbon on the final section of I-94.

Wisconsin Governor Warren Knowles cuts the ribbon on the final section of I-94 in Jefferson County on October 27, 1965, creating a continuous 78-mile Interstate route between Madison and Milwaukee.

Governer Knowles speaks during 1965 ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Wisconsin Governor Warren Knowles speaks during the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the final section of I-94 in Jefferson County on October 27, 1965.

Portage rest area in 1967

Rest area south of Portage along I-90/94 in June of 1967. Wisconsin was one of the first states to provide Interstate rest areas. Currently, Wisconsin is home to 30 rest areas that are widely acclaimed for their amenities and cleanliness.

Merrimac Ferry, 1967

Merrimac Ferry, Colsac II, August 1967.

Past and present secretaries of Wisconsin Department of Transportation

On June 13, 2011, to commemorate the 100-year anniversary of a Wisconsin transportation agency, several Wisconsin Department of Transportation secretaries gathered at the Hill Farms State Transportation building in Madison. Sitting left to right: Chuck Thompson, Ron Fiedler, Owen Ayres and Dale Cattanach. Standing left to right: Mark Gottlieb, Tom Carlsen, Gene Kussart and Terry Mulcahy.


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Contact: Office of Public Affairs, opa.exec@dot.wi.gov
Last modified: June 27, 2011

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