Regardless of the number, locals will always refer to Wisconsin's newest interstate as "41". It's what happened with the I-39 extension to Wausau. People continue to call it 51. That won't go away no matter what they number the freeway.
Here's my thing. When you have a US Highway, for a non-local, you never really know what to expect, really. You might have a 2 lane rural road, you might have an urban arterial going through a bustling downtown, or you might have a fully interstate-standard freeway. You just never know. (Like I said, unless you're a local and know better). Many people plan their road trips based on the Interstates to where they're going, because they know, hey, I'm getting at the very least, a 4 lane, divided freeway with limited access only at interchanges. Most people look to get from Point A to Point B in the quickest way possible, and they know they can do that with an Interstate. Even 4 lane divided highways with US Highway designation will downgrade into something less desirable for quick travel. Does not happen with Interstates. (Not considering the traffic aspect of it).
I do believe it will bring more traffic to the area, because it will put Fond du Lac, Oshkosh and Appleton on the map, so to speak. It'll also bring more truck traffic, regardless of any weight restrictions 41 currently has. All three of these towns have Walmarts, Targets, malls...and are the only 50,000+ cities not currently served by an interstate, save for Texas and California as I have read on here. As for economic benefits, that is not my area of expertise. One will simply have to check back with us in 5-10 years to see how we're doing. I hope it does spur more economic development; our state needs it (not that other states don't). So yes, having red white and blue shields on 41 will undoubtedly bring more traffic to the area, be it consumer, business or personal.
The grid system in this nation is completely screwed up. Especially east of the Mississippi River. I think the only thing that could solve this "numbering system crisis" (term used loosely), would be a *MASS* renumbering of every Interstate Freeway from LA to Boston. The Eisenhower Interstate System of the 40's and 50's is considered a mere skeleton compared to today's network of Interstate Freeways. I don't even know that Eisenhower himself envisioned it being as complex as it currently is. Be that as it may, the grid system can't really be perfect due to the shape of the nation. Look at all the x5 freeways, which are supposed to go from north to south as main trans-continent. OK...5-good. 15-good. 25-good...ish. Montana gets the shaft. 35-good. 45-what? it's only in Texas? How does that work. 55-good...ish. The Midwest doesn't end with Chicago. Wisconsin gets the shaft, as does the UP. but they get 75. 65-same concept. Michigan or Wisconsin get the shaft, depending on what way you look at it. 75-good. 85-what the hell were they thinking? 95-great.
And wouldn't it be nice to have one cohesive number going from Chicago north into Badgerland, through Milwaukee and the Fox Cities? "Grandpa, how do I get to your house?" "Well okay, you take 94 out of Chicago, up through Milwaukee, and then you take the 894 bypass till it turns into Highway 45, then follow that. It's gonna turn into Highway 41, but don't worry, you're on the same road. And you take that all the way to Appleton." as opposed to "Take 55 from Chicago all the way up." I'm not saying people are stupid, and that they don't have GPS, but if the Grandson is not familiar with the area, there could be a lot of confusion as opposed to just following the I-55 sign.
I say it is a slap in the face to turn it into a spur, 243, 594 or whatever, because the whole premise behind promoting 41 to an interstate is to bring economic business to the area (among other things). Let's assume this to be true, that it will in fact spur business and that this is how they think. What business will be like "Let's build over there on that spur?" The only type of economic business it'll bring will be from Milwaukee, because "Oh hey look there's a spur around the mainline 43!" Promoting it to 55, say, they'll bring business from not just Milwaukee but Chicago - one of the nation's leading economic centers - St Louis, Memphis and New Orleans. The same holds true for an Intrastate (41, 47, or whatever other number they threw out there). Making it a spur or an intrastate will only help locals, and we want to open Wisconsin's door to the rest of the nation. At least I *THINK* that's the goal here. If *ANYTHING* should be a spur, it should be US 53 from Superior to Eau Claire. Extend 535.
All it takes from IDOT is placement of signs on what are already interstate freeways. Slap a "55" sign next to 90, 94, 294, however you want to route it. Put the prison system to work to make the signs, not just in IL but in WI too. Wisconsin has enough prisoners, and I'm sure Illinois has its fair share too. They already make license plates. Boom. Cheap labor. done. (Shouldn't even pay them anyway...) Sure, some overhead signs will have to be amended and redone because there's currently no room for another shield.
What is the hold up? An argument over a number in an otherwise messed up grid system? Who cares! I know! But unless they're going to do a spur, any number they have will break someone's rule that you can't have a state/US highway with an Interstate number. Regardless of what's done in NC. Ironically enough, Wisconsin started the whole road numbering process, circa 1918 if my memory serves me correctly. What that has to do with this argument, I couldn't tell ya. But you look at the numbers we are throwing out there. 41 - US Highway. Rule breaker. 47 - WIS highway, which intersects the Interstate-to-be in question. Rule Breaker. 55, 57, 65, 243 - Rule breakers, WIS highways in the general vicinity. AND, none of them are even in the grid. (well besides 243 but as I have said I am anti- that number and any other 3di) You see what I am saying? There really isn't any other option, other than to slap Wisconsin in the face and say here here's a spur number. Deal with it and shut up. Sure, that'll give us the Interstate we want, but not for the purpose we want it for.
I should have gone to that meeting on the 23rd!!