Wisconsin Department of Transportation

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Commemorative highways and bridges

The Wisconsin Legislature has designated over 40 highways and bridges along the state highway system to honor individuals, veterans and other groups.

Signs along the right of way designating commemorative highways or bridges are being phased out and replaced with more discreetly-located commemorative markers for several reasons:

  • The signs conflict with updated state and federal laws that regulate the type and amount of signs viewable from numbered state and federal highways.
  • The signs distract motorists' attention away from higher priority regulatory or cautionary signage.
  • Many signs designating memorial highways or bridges are reaching the end of their useful life.
  • Appropriately located commemorative markers enhance overall traffic safety and can provide more detailed information about the person or group being honored.

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation works with lawmakers, other state agencies and local governments to find acceptable locations for commemorative markers off the state highway right of way. The markers are frequently placed at rest areas, waysides, parks or similar locations where they are accessible to the public but won't distract other motorists. Typically, the markers consist of text and graphics encased in glass similar to those seen at outdoor interpretive exhibits. Costs associated with producing, installing and maintaining commemorative markers are generally covered through private donations.

Wisconsin's commemorative highways

Below is an alphabetical list of state-designated commemorative highways in Wisconsin, their location, and corresponding language from state statutes or legislative acts.

Highway Commemorative Name
Highway
Location
Commemorating State Statute
Blue Star Memorial Highway WIS 23 Sheboygan County 1993 Act 20: The department shall designate WIS 23 commencing at Sheboygan and proceeding westerly to the Sheboygan County line as a “Blue Star Memorial Highway” to commemorate and honor the armed forces of the United States and all individuals who have served or will serve in this nation’s armed forces.
Cinco de Mayo Memorial Highway WIS 59 The city of Milwaukee 1991 Act 39:  In recognition of the day of celebration that commemorates Mexico's victory over an invading French army on May 5, 1862, and in recognition and appreciation of the contributions and cultural heritage of Hispanics in the state whose ancestors originated in Mexico, the department shall designate WIS 59 within the city of Milwaukee as the "Cinco de Mayo Memorial Highway."
Citizen Soldier Highway WIS 27 Between Brule and Prairie du Chien 2003 Act 218:  The department shall designate WIS 27, commencing at Brule and proceeding southerly to Prairie du Chien, as the “Citizen Soldier Highway” in recognition of the right of the citizens of this state to keep and bear arms and as a tribute to all Wisconsin veterans, members of the national guard and any other reserve component of the U.S. armed forces, law enforcement officers, and fire fighters, and to the first citizen soldiers of this state, American Indians.
Donald K. “Deke” Slayton Memorial Highway WIS 27 Between Sparta and Cashton 2001 Act 16:  The department shall designate WIS 27 in Monroe County commencing at Sparta and proceeding southerly to Cashton as the “Donald K. ‘Deke’ Slayton Memorial Highway” as a living memorial to and in honor of Donald K. “Deke” Slayton, who brought credit to this state and, in particular, Monroe County for his contribution to this country’s space program as one of the seven original astronauts and as a participant in the first joint United States–Soviet space mission.
84th Division “Railsplitters” Memorial Highway WIS 33 La Crosse to Port Washington 1995 Act 297:  The department shall designate WIS 33 commencing at La Crosse and proceeding easterly to Port Washington as the “84th Division ‘Railsplitters’ Memorial Highway” as a living memorial to and in honor of the men and women of the 84th Division who by their bravery and sacrifice in World Wars I and II brought great credit to this state and to their division, which traces its lineage back to the service of Abraham Lincoln in this state during the Blackhawk war of 1832.
57th Field Artillery Brigade Memorial Highway (Iron Brigade) WIS 57 From Milwaukee to Sister Bay 2007 Act 163:  The department shall designate WIS 57 commencing at WIS 59 in the city of Milwaukee and proceeding northerly to WIS 42 in the village of Sister Bay in Door County, as the “57th Field Artillery Brigade Memorial Highway” as a living memorial to and in honor of the members of the 57th Field Artillery Brigade of the Wisconsin National Guard, also known as the “Iron Brigade,” who have bravely served their country with pride, distinction, sacrifice, devotion and honor since World War I, including deployment to Afghanistan.
Frank Lloyd Wright Memorial Highway US 14 From Richland Center to Madison 1991 Act 27:  In recognition of the architectural accomplishments of Frank Lloyd Wright, the department shall designate as the “Frank Lloyd Wright Memorial Highway” US 14 commencing at Richland Center and proceeding easterly to Madison.
Gaylord Nelson Highway US 63 Between Pierce and Bayfield counties 2009 Act 116:  The department shall designate the entire route of US 63 as the “Gaylord Nelson Highway” in recognition and appreciation of Gaylord Nelson, the native son of Clear Lake who served with distinction as both the governor from 1959 to 1963 and a U.S. senator from 1963 to 1981, and whose legacy includes numerous environmental achievements, including the founding of Earth Day, the creation of the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program, and the preservation of the Apostle Islands in Lake Superior.
Georgia O’Keeffe Memorial Highway WIS 19 From Sun Prairie to Marshall 2005 Act 137:  The department shall designate WIS 19 from Sun Prairie to Marshall in Dane County as the “Georgia O’Keeffe Memorial Highway” in recognition of the artistic contributions and accomplishments of Georgia O’Keeffe, who was born in the town of Sun Prairie in 1887.
Governor Nelson Dewey Memorial Highway WIS 81 From Cassville to Beetown 1989 Act 76:  In order to commemorate the first governor of the state of Wisconsin, the department shall designate as the “Governor Nelson Dewey Memorial Highway” WIS 81 from its junction with WIS 35 in Grant County to Cassville, Governor Dewey’s home town.
Green Bay Ethnic Trail Various Illinois state line to Green Bay 1993 Act 6:  The department shall designate a transportation corridor commencing at the state line in Kenosha County and proceeding northerly to Green Bay in Brown county as the “Green Bay Ethnic Trail” to commemorate the historical achievements and contributions of earlier ethnic settlements along the shore of Lake Michigan.
Iron Brigade Memorial Highway US 12 From the Illinois state line to the Minnesota state line 1993 Act 442:  The department shall designate US 12 from the state line in Walworth County to the state line in St. Croix County as the “Iron Brigade Memorial Highway” as a living memorial to and in honor of the members of the Second, Sixth and Seventh Wisconsin regiments who served in the Iron Brigade of the Union Army in the Civil War of 1861 to 1865.
Jeannetta Simpson-Robinson Memorial Highway I-43 Between the North Avenue Interchange to the Keefe Avenue and Atkinson Avenue Interchange in the city of Milwaukee 2009 Act 151:  The department shall designate the route of I-43, commencing at the North Avenue interchange in the city of Milwaukee and proceeding northerly to the Keefe Avenue and Atkinson Avenue interchange in the city of Milwaukee, as the “Jeannetta Simpson-Robinson Memorial Highway” in recognition and appreciation of the good works of Jeannetta Simpson-Robinson, a lifelong community leader and activist who championed the poor, the disadvantaged, children, and peaceful non-violent resolutions to conflicts.
John R. Plewa Memorial Lake Parkway WIS/I-794 From the Hoan Bridge to Layton Ave., in Milwaukee County 1999 Act 9:  The department shall designate I-794 and WIS 794 in Milwaukee County commencing from the Daniel Webster Hoan Memorial Bridge and proceeding southerly to the intersection with East Layton Avenue as the “John R. Plewa Memorial Lake Parkway” in recognition and appreciation of the life of John R. Plewa and his public service as a member of the Wisconsin Legislature for more than 20 years.
Korean War Veterans Memorial Highway US 51 From the Illinois state line to the Michigan state line 1987 Act 117.  The department shall designate US 51, extending from the Wisconsin-Illinois border to the Wisconsin-Michigan border, as the "Korean War Veterans Memorial Highway" as a living memorial to and in honor of all Wisconsin veterans, living and dead, of the Korean War.
Lee and Lynn Copen Memorial Highway WIS 50 From 60th Ave. to 70th Ave. in Kenosha County 2009 Act 193:  The department shall designate WIS 50 from 60th Ave. to 70th Ave. in Kenosha County as the “Lee and Lynn Copen Memorial Highway” in recognition of:  Lee’s distinguished service as a 25-year veteran of the Kenosha County Sheriff’s Department; Lynn’s nationally-recognized advocacy as the Victim/Witness Coordinator for the Kenosha County District Attorney’s office and as a volunteer in the community; and Lee and Lynn Copen’s shared dedication to justice.
Major Richard I. Bong Memorial Highway US 2 From the Minnesota state line to the Michigan state line 2003 Act 218:  The department shall designate US 2, extending from the Wisconsin-Minnesota border to the Wisconsin-Michigan border, as the “Major Richard I. Bong Memorial Highway” in recognition and appreciation of the many military accomplishments of Major Richard I. Bong during World War II, including being awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor in 1944 and being widely known as America’s greatest war ace.
173rd Airborne Brigade Highway WIS 173 Between Monroe County and Nekoosa 2005 Act 238:  The department shall designate WIS 173, commencing at WIS 21 in Monroe County and proceeding northeasterly to WIS 73 in the city of Nekoosa in Wood County, as the “173rd Airborne Brigade Highway” as a living memorial to and in honor of the members of the 173rd Airborne Brigade, also known as the “Sky Soldiers,” who bravely served their country and brought great credit to this state from 1963 to 1972, including deployment to Vietnam in 1965 as the first major ground combat unit of the U.S. Army to serve there, and who have continued to serve in Europe since the year 2000.
Peace Memorial Highway US 53 From La Crosse to Superior 1989 Act 343:  The department shall designate US 53 commencing at La Crosse and proceeding northerly to Superior as the “Peace Memorial Highway” to commemorate the contributions and devotion of the citizens of this state to international peace and greater understanding among nations.
Polish Heritage Highway WIS 66 From Stevens Point to Rosholt 1997 Act 27:  In recognition of the outstanding contributions that Polish Americans have made to the vitality and quality of life in central Wisconsin, the department shall designate WIS 66, commencing at Stevens Point and proceeding easterly to Rosholt, as the “Polish Heritage Highway” to commemorate and honor the achievements of central Wisconsin residents of Polish ancestry.
Polish Veterans Memorial Highway WIS 160 From Angelica to Pulaski 1997 Act 27:  In recognition of their courageous, dutiful and selfless service to this state and the U.S. armed forces, the department shall designate WIS 160, commencing at WIS 29 at Angelica and proceeding easterly to WIS 32 at Pulaski, as the “Polish Veterans Memorial Highway” to commemorate and honor the military service and patriotism shown by this state’s Polish veterans throughout its history.
POW/MIA Memorial Highway WIS 13 From Wisconsin Dells to Superior 1993 Act 396:  The department shall designate WIS 13, commencing at Wisconsin Dells and proceeding northerly to Superior, as the “POW/MIA Memorial Highway” as a living memorial to and in honor of all prisoners of war, ex–prisoners of war and those who are currently or were formerly missing in action, of all wars in which the United States has engaged.
Purple Heart Memorial Highway US 14 From Richland Center to the Minnesota state line 1993 Act 347:  The department shall designate US 14 commencing at the Wisconsin–Minnesota border and proceeding easterly to Richland Center as the “Purple Heart Memorial Highway” as a permanent memorial to and in honor of all persons wounded, injured or killed as the direct result of enemy action who have been awarded this high honor in the name of the president of the United States.
Stephen Ambrose Memorial Highway US 12 From County P to County Line Road in Whitewater 2009 Act 172:  The department shall designate US 12 from County “P” to County Line Road in the city of Whitewater as the “Stephen Ambrose Memorial Highway” in recognition and appreciation of the significant scholastic and literary accomplishments of American historian Stephen Ambrose, who spent much of his early life in the city of Whitewater, began his academic career by attending the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and has deep roots in south central Wisconsin.
32nd Division Memorial Highway WIS 32 From the Illinois state line to the Michigan state line State statute 84.104:  In order to commemorate the 32nd Infantry Division, also known as the Red Arrow Division, which, while composed mainly of men from Wisconsin, Illinois and Michigan, brought fame and glory to these states during World Wars I and II by their sacrifice, devotion and bravery and which is now established as a Wisconsin national guard division, the department is directed to establish a highway memorial designated route 32 by renumbering certain existing highways linking Illinois and Michigan through Wisconsin. Beginning at the Illinois-Wisconsin state line, renumber state trunk highway 42 to a point where it joins the present Wisconsin state trunk highway 32 at Sheboygan; continuing over the present Wisconsin state trunk highway 32 north to the junction with US 8 at Laona; continuing over the present Wisconsin state trunk highway 32 north to junction with US highway 45 at Three Lakes; thence north on US highway 45 to Michigan-Wisconsin state line at Land O'Lakes.
Vietnam War Veterans Memorial Highway US 10 From Manitowoc to the Minnesota state line 1987 Act 117:  The department shall designate US 10, commencing at Manitowoc and proceeding westerly to the Wisconsin-Minnesota border, as the "Vietnam War Veterans Memorial Highway" as a living memorial to and in honor of all Wisconsin veterans, living and dead, of the Vietnam War.
Wisconsin Firefighters and Emergency Medical Technicians Highway WIS 54 From Algoma to the Minnesota state line 2003 Act 218:  The department shall designate WIS 54, commencing at Algoma in Kewaunee County and proceeding westerly to the Wisconsin-Minnesota border, as the “Wisconsin Fire Fighters and Emergency Medical Technicians Highway” to recognize and honor all fire fighters and emergency medical technicians of this state for their dedicated service to the public in protecting life, health, and property.
Wisconsin Law Enforcement Officers Highway US 151 From Manitowoc to the Iowa state line 2003 Act 218:  The department shall designate US 151, commencing at the Wisconsin-Illinois border and proceeding easterly to Manitowoc, as the “Wisconsin Law Enforcement Officers Highway” to commemorate and honor all law enforcement officers of this state for their dedicated public service in defending and protecting life, health, and property.
Wisconsin Veterans Memorial Highway I-90/94 From the Illinois state line to the Minnesota state line 1987 Act 117:  The department shall designate I-90/94 as the "Wisconsin Veterans Memorial Highway" as living memorials to and in honor of all Wisconsin veterans, living and dead, of all wars in which the United States has engaged.
World War I Veterans Memorial Highway WIS 29 From Kewaunee to the Minnesota state line State statute 84.103:  The department shall designate WIS 29 commencing at Kewaunee and proceeding westerly to the state line at Prescott as the “World War I Veterans Memorial Highway” as a living memorial to and in honor of all Wisconsin veterans, living and dead, of World War I.
World War II Veterans Memorial Highway US 41 Between Milwaukee and Marinette 1989 Act 343:  The department shall designate US 41 commencing at Milwaukee and proceeding northerly to Marinette as the “World War II Veterans Memorial Highway” as a living memorial to and in honor of all Wisconsin veterans, living and dead, of World War II.

Wisconsin's commemorative bridges

Below is an alphabetical list of state-designated commemorative bridges in Wisconsin, their location, and corresponding language from state statutes or legislative acts.

Bridge Commemorative Name
Highway Location Commemorating State Statute/ Act
Airborne Forces Memorial Bridge US 10 Over the Wisconsin River in Stevens Point State statute 84.1046:   The department shall designate the bridge across the Wisconsin River on US 10 in the city of Stevens Point as the "Airborne Forces Memorial Bridge" in recognition and appreciation of the military service performed by members of the airborne forces of the U.S. armed services, who served in time of war and in time of peace.
Freedoms Bridge WIS 13 Over the Flambeau River, town of Fifield in Price County 2003 Act 68:  The department shall designate the bridge on WIS 13 across the south fork of the Flambeau River in the town of Fifield in Price County as “Freedoms Bridge” in honor and recognition of all veterans who fought to preserve freedoms in the Korean War.
Leo Frigo Memorial Bridge I-43 Over the Fox River in Green Bay 2001 Act 101:  The department shall designate the bridge on I-43 across the Fox River in the city of Green Bay as the “Leo Frigo Memorial Bridge” in recognition and appreciation of Leo Frigo, a civic and philanthropic leader in the Green Bay area whose legacy includes one of the largest food pantry programs in the nation for feeding the hungry.
Lloyd Spriggle Memorial Bridge US 63 Over the Wisconsin channel of the Mississippi River in Pierce County 1993 Act 364:  The department shall designate the bridge on US 63 across the Wisconsin channel in Pierce County as the “Lloyd Spriggle Memorial Bridge” in recognition and appreciation of Lloyd Spriggle, a local civic leader of Pierce County who actively worked for over 50 years to preserve and protect the environment and to improve the water quality and the beauty of the rivers, streams, lakes and forests of this state.
Nichole M. Frye Memorial Bridge WIS 141 Town of Lena, Oconto County 2005 Act 338:  The department shall designate the bridge on WIS 141 in the town of Lena in Oconto County as the “Nichole M. Frye Memorial Bridge” in honor and recognition of Nichole M. Frye, who sacrificed her life in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Roland Kampo Bridge WIS 441 Little Lake Butte des Morts 1993 Act 237:  The department shall designate the Little Lake Butte des Morts bridge on WIS 441 in Winnebago County as the “Roland Kampo Bridge” in recognition and appreciation of Roland Kampo, a local civic leader of the Fox Valley region who was instrumental in the creation of the tri–county expressway in Calumet, Outagamie and Winnebago counties.
Sgt. Avery Wilber Memorial Bridge WIS 156 Over the Shioc River in Shawano County 2007 Act 30:  The department shall designate the WIS 156 bridge across the Shioc River in the town of Navarino in Shawano County as the “Avery Wilber Memorial Bridge” as a living memorial to and in honor of a World War II hero.
Steven Drees Memorial Bridge US 41 Over the Peshtigo River outside the city of Peshtigo 2009 Act 127:  The department shall designate the bridge on US 41 across the Peshtigo River as the “Steven Drees Memorial Bridge” in honor of Private First Class Steven Drees, a member of the 2nd Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, United States Army, who died on June 28, 2009, as a result of combat wounds suffered on June 24, 2009, while serving in Afghanistan.
Veterans Memorial Bridge County L (4th Street Bridge) Over the Wisconsin River in Tomahawk 2007 Act 6:  The department shall designate the 4th Street bridge, under the department’s jurisdiction, on County L across the Wisconsin River in the city of Tomahawk in Lincoln County as “Veterans Memorial Bridge” as a living memorial to and in honor of all Wisconsin veterans, living and dead, of all wars in which the United States has engaged.
Veterans of the American Revolution Memorial Bridge I-39/90/94 Over the Wisconsin River in Columbia County 2007 Act 161:  The department shall designate the bridge on I-39/90/94 across the Wisconsin River between the towns of Dekorra and Caledonia in Columbia County as the “Veterans of the American Revolution Memorial Bridge” as a living memorial to and in honor of veterans who are buried in Wisconsin who served this nation in the American Revolution.
Wisconsin Fire Fighters/Emergency Medical Technician/Citizen Soldier Bridge WIS 29 Westbound over the Chippewa River 2003 Act 218:  The department shall designate the westbound lanes of any bridge on WIS 29 across the Chippewa River in Chippewa County as the “Wisconsin Fire Fighters-EMT/Citizen Soldier Bridge” to recognize and honor all fire fighters and emergency medical technicians of this state for their dedicated service to the public in protecting life, health, and property, and in recognition of the right of the citizens of this state to keep and bear arms and as a tribute to all citizen soldiers of this state.
Wisconsin Law Enforcement/Citizen Soldier Bridge WIS 29 Eastbound over the Chippewa River 2003 Act 218:  The department shall designate the eastbound lanes of any bridge on WIS 29 across the Chippewa River in Chippewa County as the “Wisconsin Law Enforcement/Citizen Soldier Bridge” to recognize and honor all law enforcement agencies in this state for their tireless efforts in preventing and detecting crime and enforcing state and local laws, and in recognition of the right of the citizens of this state to keep and bear arms and as a tribute to all citizen soldiers of this state.

Questions about the content of this page:
Leif Hubbard, leif.hubbard@dot.wi.gov

Last modified: June 4, 2010

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