I-94 North-South Freeway Project

Project History

The I-94 North-South corridor spans about 35 miles and is comprised of:

  • Six primary traffic lanes (three in each direction) for most of its route.
  • Four northbound lanes that split into east and west directions at the Mitchell Interchange, north of the Airport Spur (WIS 119).
  • Ramp and auxiliary lanes at selected interchanges.
  • The Airport Spur (WIS 119), which is a four-lane freeway facility.
  • Seventeen service interchanges outside of the Mitchell Interchange on I-94, not including the Airport Spur.

The Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission (SEWRPC) studied southeast Wisconsin’s freeway system from 2000 to 2003. The study recommended full reconstruction of the corridor between 2009 and 2016.

The study recommended additional lanes on I-94, and based on WisDOT’s careful analysis of the costs and benefits, as well as the public’s input on other design alternatives, the selected alternative is to reconstruct the corridor to an eight-lane freeway with design and safety improvements.

On May 30, 2008, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) issued its Record of Decision, which announced the agency’s final decision and support to reconstruct the I-94 North-South Corridor to an eight-lane freeway with design and safety improvements. FHWA oversaw the Wisconsin Department of Transportation’s (WisDOT) process in considering various alternatives for the I-94 North-South Corridor project and their impacts.

FHWA’s decision completes the study phase of the project, which began in January 2006. At that time, the purpose and need for reconstruction of the corridor were determined, as well as the environmental impacts such reconstruction would have on the surrounding area.

Since then, the project has advanced through multiple steps including community workshops, data collection, public information meetings, over 500 stakeholder meetings and community presentations, numerous freeway reconfiguration alternatives and the preparation, review, and finalization of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).

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Final environmental impact statement (FEIS)

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) has completed the FEIS on the I-94 North-South corridor.

WisDOT and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) prepared an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to comply with the National Environmental Policy Act. The EIS explains why WisDOT and FHWA propose to reconstruct I-94, the alternatives considered, and their impacts.

The Draft EIS (DEIS) official comment period began November 16, 2007 and was completed on January 25, 2008.

The following documents are in Adobe PDF format. (Note: some files are large and may take longer to download depending on individual connection speeds. Users may need to zoom in to see details.)

FEIS document
297 pages (3.1 MB)

  • Impact summary table
  • Contents
  • Abbreviations and acronyms
  1. Purpose of and need for the proposed action
  2. Alternatives/preferred alternative
  3. Affected environment
  4. Environmental consequences
  5. Final section 4(f) and section 6(f) evaluation
  6. Public involvement and agency coordination during draft EIS preparation
  7. Comments and coordination following draft EIS availability and public hearing
Appendixes
  1. Traffic noise impact summary (345 KB)
  2. Mobile source air toxics (273 KB)
  3. Agency correspondence during draft EIS preparation (2.1 MB)
  4. Agency correspondence on the draft EIS and preferred alternative (2.6 MB)
  5. Agricultural impact statement: Kenosha and Racine counties (336 KB)
Section 1 exhibits
Section 2 exhibits
Section 3 exhibits
Section 4 exhibits
Section 5 exhibits
Record of decision

The Record of Decision (ROD) was signed on May 30, 2008. The ROD is a document from the Federal Highway Administration that announced the agency’s final decision and support to reconstruct the I-94 North-South Corridor to an eight-lane freeway with design and safety improvements.

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Project need

Project Map

The I-94 North-South corridor was first built in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Today, safety issues, pavement and design deficiencies, and traffic congestion require full reconstruction and redesign.

Much of the corridor has been resurfaced three times. Additional resurfacings are not cost effective and will not address long-term pavement needs.

Increased traffic

WisDOT’s 2002 traffic counts in the corridor range from a low of 74,400 daily vehicles in Kenosha County to over 143,000 daily vehicles near Grange Avenue in Milwaukee County. The 1.5-mile WIS 119 airport spur carries about 26,800 vehicles daily as well. Traffic counts have grown steadily in the past years, with Kenosha County seeing the highest growth.

About 1.3 million people, 28,500 businesses and 595,000 jobs are in these three counties combined. About one in six residents, businesses or jobs are in close proximity to the corridor.

Crashes

From 2000 to 2003, an average of 2.2 crashes occurred in the corridor each day.

Figures indicate number of crashes from 2000 to 2003 involving injuries or fatalities, not the number of persons injured or killed.
County Injury Crashes Fatal Crashes Total Crashes
Kenosha 267 5 750
Racine 249 2 770
Milwaukee 468 7 1,569
Outdated design

Scissor RampExample of a scissor ramp

The Mitchell Interchange handles over 195,000 vehicles per day and includes a mixture of left and right exits. Quick merging and weaving are necessary at the 27th Street and airport exits.

Scissor ramps are also located along the corridor and involve vehicles leaving the freeway onto a frontage road. Vehicles already on the frontage road need to stop and wait for a clearing in vehicles exiting the freeway in order to continue.

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Public outreach

Environmental justice (EJ)

WisDOT sought out innovative ways to involve minority and low-income populations to ensure that the construction of the corridor does not create disproportionately high and adverse environmental and health impacts to these communities.

The following documents are in Adobe PDF format. (Note: Some files are large and may take longer to download depending on individual connection speeds. Users may need to zoom in to see details.)

Newsletters
Community workshops

A series of four brainstorming workshops were held to gather the public’s input for possible improvements. A total of 540 people attended a series of four community workshops on the I-94 North-South corridor study earlier this year. The workshops allowed the public to interact with the study team and share ideas and concerns about the freeway corridor, as well as explore possible solutions. Citizens were encouraged to ask questions, mark their thoughts on freeway maps, exchange information, offer suggestions and present known problems relating to the corridor. From these workshops, WisDOT assembled the ideas and comments into concepts to be presented at the upcoming public information meetings.

Public information meetings (PIM) and hearings

WisDOT held a series of three public information meetings in Milwaukee, Racine and Kenosha counties to present concepts and ideas on possible improvements to the I-94 North-South corridor, extending from the Mitchell Interchange area in Milwaukee to the Illinois state line.

Advisory committees

Three advisory committees were formed as another vehicle for input and outreach.

  • The Technical Advisory Committee’s (TAC) role is to:
    • Engage officials and agencies on key aspects of the study.
    • Act as liaisons to their communities.
    • Attend meetings or send an alternate.
    • Support the process.
  • The Community Advisory Committee (CAC) is made up of stakeholders along the corridor from Racine, Kenosha and Milwaukee Counties. The purpose is to:
    • Provide feedback on concepts being developed for this study.
    • Act as a sounding board/focus group for stakeholder interests along the group.
    • Act as mechanism for additional community input into the project development process.

    No elected officials or agency representatives are on this committee. It is made up of stakeholders along the corridor from Racine, Kenosha and Milwaukee Counties.

  • Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Committee and Labor Committee’s (Labor Advisory Committee (LAC) and Labor Development Committee (LDC)) purpose is to improve coordination, communication and planning for WisDOT programs and projects within the affected community. This group provides guidance in the areas of training, technical assistance and products to expand capacity and quality of life.
  • The Community Sensitive Design Advisory Committee’s (CSDAC) role is to:
    • Engage officials to determine desired community image.
    • Act as liaisons to their communities to communicate community vision.
    • Attend meetings or send an alternate.
    • Support the study process.

    To date, three separate CSDAC committees have been formed for different geographic regions of the project: Racine/Kenosha, Milwaukee County, and the 27th Street subcommittee in Milwaukee County. Each group consisted of residents and business owners in the area. Together, they worked diligently to determine the final look and feel of the project in their respective area.

Stakeholder group presentations

The I-94 North-South corridor study team met with many constituent groups.

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