Wisconsin Department of Transportation

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I-94 East-West Corridor - Need/purpose

Purpose of this project

The I-94 East-West Corridor project would accomplish the following:

  • Maintain a key link in the local, state and national transportation network.
  • Address the obsolete design of I-94 to improve safety and decrease crashes.
  • Replace deteriorating pavement.
  • Accommodate existing and future traffic volumes at an acceptable level of service.

The project would neither require nor preclude other future transportation improvements identified in the regional transportation plan. The project would provide a safer and more efficient transportation system in the I-94 East-West Corridor, while minimizing impacts to natural, cultural and built environment to the extent feasible and practicable.

Why is this project needed?

I-94 is a major east-west freeway link across the norther United States and is part of the national Highway System. It is also a federal and state "long truck route" and a backbone route in WisDOT's Connections 20130 Long-Range Multimodal Transportation Plan. I-94 is a critical link in Milwaukee County's freeway system. In addition to serving long distance travelers and regional and national freight movement, the study-area freeway system is an important communter route for many of the local residents and employees who work in Milwaukee County.

Exisitng freeway conditions and deficiencies

This segment of I-94 was completed in 1963. Over the years, the concrete pavement has become worn and cracked. WisDOT resurfaced I-94 in the mid 1970s, late 1990s, and again in 2011–2012, which returned a smooth riding surface to the roadway, but did not address the cracks in the concrete or the voids in the gravel base, under the pavement. In addition to the physical condition, there are other substandard design elements, such as inadequate ramp spacing, that must be addressed. The most notable functional deficiencies are the closely spaced service interchanges and the combination of left and right-hand entrance and exit ramps, which are contrary to driver expectations and result in major safety and operational problems, such as traffic weaving and congestion.

The condition of bridges in the study area has deteriorated over the years due to age, heavier than expected traffic, road salt, freeze thaw cycles and water entering cracks in the bridges. At some locations, bridge clearances (the vertical distance from the pavement to the lowest portion of the bridge above the roadway) are below current accepted criterion.


From 2005 to 2009, there were 2,230 crashes (not including deer/other animal crashes) on the freeway and interchange entrance/exit ramps. Roughly 1.2 crashes per day. Crash rates on the I-94 East-West Corridor are mostly at least two to three times higher than the statewide average for similar roadways, and several sections are more than 4 times higher than the statewide average. The most common types of crashes on the I-94 east west-Corridor, were rear-end, single-vehicle off-road, and sideswipe.

Existing and future traffic volumes

This section of I-94 carries 143,000 to 160,500 vehicles on an average weekday. Currently, during the heaviest traffic periods, level of service on I-94 ranges between level of service C and level of service F. By 2040 (the project’s design year), traffic volumes are expected to rise to approximately 160,000 to 186,000 vehicles per day, which represents an 11 to 16 percent traffic increase over the current conditions. By 2040, I-94 would generally operate at level of service D to F during the morning peak period and at level of service E or F in the evening peak period.


SSI - Project contacts Questions about the content of this page:
WisDOT Southeast Region Office, ser.dtsd@dot.wi.gov
Last modified: November 24, 2014

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