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Economic importance of the Interstate

Case study 3 - Economic Development History of I-43

The focus of this study was on the original length of I-43, completed in 1981, which stretches for 120 miles from Milwaukee north to Green Bay.

Wisconsin I-43 - northern route

Wisconsin Interstate Highway 43 - northern route

Over the 1962-1981 period, upgrades to eastern US 141 turned this route into what is now I-43. I-43 in Wisconsin has become a major route for transportation of goods and people since its completion and has significantly contributed to the overall economic development in counties along the corridor.

  • In the Green Bay area, a spur of manufacturing and retail industries occurred as I-43 opened. In Sheboygan County, the hospitality and retail industries have expanded due to its proximity to the I-43 corridor. In the Milwaukee-Waukesha area, the real estate industry has benefited the most from I-43.
  • The average per capita income along the Wisconsin I-43 corridor remains higher than the State's average. For many years, Ozaukee County, in the corridor's middle region, has had the highest per capita income in Wisconsin. Between 1990 and 2000, the per capita income in the Ozaukee County increased by nearly $12,824, the largest increase along the corridor.
  • Compared to state levels, manufacturing businesses along the I-43 study corridor declined only slightly, however businesses in retail trade increased by 19%.
  • The city of Green Bay has experienced significant increases in the number of business start-ups, expansions, and relocations as I-43 was completed. According to local economic development officials, I-43 and WIS 29, together with strong rail and port services have provided a complementary set of infrastructure resources needed to improve the economic competitiveness of the Green Bay area industries. The paper industry has benefited from the highway as a way of getting goods to market. Logistics, trucking and warehousing related services are critically dependent on I-43's existence.
  • Several of the trucking companies have reported increases in distribution activity, which is related to the completion of I-43, linking the city to the large Chicago market together with its connection through the recently completed WIS 29 project.
  • In the Sheboygan area, I-43 has had a significant impact in the growth of commercial real estate, retail, and hospitality industries.

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Last modified: January 6, 2010

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