Wisconsin Roads - I-/WIS 794

I-794 and WIS 794

Heading east from I-94 onto I-794, and continuing through a maze of construction on the tangle known as the Marquette Interchange, courtesy Doug Kerr. As you can tell from the LEFT banners, this is a very old freeway (at one point westbound there's a 360-degree loop into a left merge), and thus some reconstruction is in order. The left exits and entrances within the Marquette Interchange itself (I-94, I-794, I-43) are disappearing and ramps are being widened, lengthened, and straightened. Exit 1F, a wye interchange, was intended to close a downtown loop to the Park Freeway (a mostly unbuilt phenomenon since mostly torn down, the only remnant being I-43's interchange with WIS 145).

At the time Doug took these westbound photos, both sides of I-794 were on the westbound elevated span, which of course means no left exit (and thus is a great opportunity to rebuild that exit). You can see in the first photo why so much of this freeway needs to be redone, so hopefully plenty more will happen in the near future. Notice that US 41 gets short shrift and has to pretend to head west with I-94, despite being a north-south route.

Traveling through the new interchange, after completion, on the WB-SB flyover ramp, looking south along I-43 as I-94 comes in to join it.

Almost an assembly, Clybourn St. (the WB de facto frontage road) at 2nd St. The exit loops to the left, back under I-794, and up on the right side of the WB lanes between the freeway and Clybourn St. It's a neat trick.

It's completely true: the best views of the Milwaukee skyline are on the I-794 WB (or NB, as you wish) approach coming off of the Hoan Bridge. Some of the worst signs are right there, too, with just horrid proportions on the Interstate shields, a misaligned US 41, wide kerning in the "WEST," and then, moving over to the right sign, a "g" that's too high up (who figured that winner out?) and an EXIT ONLY panel with arrows too close together and no black border. Out of all that, you barely get a view of the most interesting thing at Exit 1F - the Park East freeway stub that juts out from the right side of the exit ramp. I talked about it up in the first caption - the whole thing was officially Park Freeway, but each segment of it would have been known locally as Park East, Park West, etc.

WB on the approach to the Hoan Bridge just after I-794 begins, as the parade of milemarkers with too-narrow shields is happy to inform you. The bridge was essentially a stub until 1998, and then part of it almost collapsed catastrophically two years later. For all that history, it's a fairly simple-looking arch bridge, but still graceful.

A couple of NB/WB photos from Doug Kerr, one before and one after the bridge, showing signs during Marquette Interchange construction doing their best to keep up with changing traffic patterns. Ramp closures necessitated the use of a couple of decently high-capacity surface streets; see the non-cutout shields at the bottom right of the second photo - WisDOT sometimes has black-background shields on a permanent basis, but these white-background shields are strictly contractor screwups. In the second photo, the orange I-94 West patch covers up I-94 and I-43 shields; as you saw in Doug's WB photos above, those left ramps were closed during that construction stage, leaving only through traffic heading west.

EB across the Hoan Bridge and turning south onto the then-new Lake Parkway, once more courtesy Doug Kerr. The Lake Parkway was originally conceived as an extension of the Lake Freeway south to Mitchell Airport, but doesn't meet Interstate standards and thus gets a state highway number.

The sights of WIS 794 NB. I would imagine the Whitnall Avenue sign and overpass started out pretty close to white or ecru, and I don't know what's been streaking down over the top of the parapet.

College Ave. EB, coming out from Mitchell International Airport runway tunnels, at the beginning of WIS 794 along Pennsylvania Avenue. Lake Parkway doesn't begin for a little over a mile, near the north end of the airport, even though it was initially planned as an eastern relief route for I-94 to pick up traffic from Racine and Kenosha and tie into I-94/US 41 at the Edens Expressway after Waukegan. Obviously, those plans have been rather scaled back over time.

Exit 1 to I-94 (and I-43, US 41)
Exit 1 to US 41 alone
Exit 1 to I-43 alone
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