Wisconsin Roads - I-39/US 51

I-39, I-39/US 51

For photos of I-39 with I-90 (and I-94), visit the big link at the bottom of this page.

NB leaving I-90/94, I-39 took over the former WIS 78 Portage bypass, coincidentally exactly half of the old number. (78 still exists south of the I-90/94 junction.) Somehow, that changed all of the distances, including even the 4 miles to Portage. Yes, sometimes creating a freeway alignment can change (usually, but not always, shorten) distances, but not over such a short length.

Button copy abounds as I continue north around the old bypass. Wisconsin signs alternate routes all over the place in case of traffic or emergencies. They also sign non-cutout Interstate shields with black backgrounds all over the place, for less obvious reasons.

I was heading NB, so these SB signs don't have the best resolution, but the button copy may disappear before you or I returns.

Approaching the SB split with US 51 that marks the beginning of the Portage bypass; it would be helpful to show that I-39 heads left, not just a bunch of TO's. US 51 doesn't leave I-39 from here on north, the product of a draconian AASHTO regulation that prohibits moving a US highway to a lesser grade of route, even if the only reason to put it on a freeway in the first place was in anticipation of an Interstate designation. If that rule had been in place since the 1950s, most US highways would have disappeared by now and the system would probably have been abandoned.

Button copy soon disappears, and I make it another hour north before even seeing another interesting sign of any kind. In this case, the reverse-color "Downtown" caught my eye, especially since it's aligned with the top of the US 51 shield. (Both that and "BUS" should be centered, since they are not directions.)

Lake du Bay, and perhaps the trace of a double rainbow, as I approach Wausau.

Continuing NB into the beginning of construction that will improve the US 51 Wausau freeway bypass so that I-39 can be extended.

A SB look at construction and a stray button copy sign.

To I-90 and I-39/90/94
Exit 92 to US 51 alone

Into Illinois on I-39
Onto I-94 alone
Onto US 10
Onto WIS 29
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