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Author Topic: Symbolic county road letter designations in Wisconsin  (Read 4436 times)

KCRoadFan

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Symbolic county road letter designations in Wisconsin
« on: October 01, 2021, 01:06:01 AM »

As anyone who lives in or has visited Wisconsin will know, the state marks its county roads with letters instead of numbers. The vast majority of these roads are designated either by a single letter, or by the same letter doubled (or sometimes even tripled). However, there are some county roads throughout the state whose designation consists of two different letters. Sometimes, these letter combinations are chosen due to having some symbolic meaning, such as:

  • County Road KR, which runs along the border of Kenosha and Racine counties
  • County Road PB southwest of Madison, named such because it connects Paoli and Belleville; also, it's in a former lead-mining region, and the road's name is the chemical symbol for lead
  • County Road LS, which parallels the Lake Michigan shoreline between Sheboygan and Manitowoc (short for "Lake Shore," perhaps?)

Aside from what I mentioned, what are some other similarly meaningful or symbolic lettered county-road designations that might be found throughout Wisconsin? In addition, there are some others I'm aware of but don't know their meaning; for example, why is Lombardi Avenue in Green Bay marked as County Road VK? (If anything, it should be "VL" for Vince Lombardi.)
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Re: Symbolic county road letter designations in Wisconsin
« Reply #1 on: October 01, 2021, 07:26:08 AM »

There are a lot of symbolic highways like you talk about, but  I don't think Dane County PB has anything to do with those things.  First, PB historically went well north of Paoli.  Second it doesn't go to Belleville - it actually serves as a bypass of the village.  Third, the historic lead mining region of Wisconsin is well southwest of Dane County.

Brown County VK is interesting.  But Brown County has a lot of two letter roads that don't seem to make a lot of sense...so who knows.
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Re: Symbolic county road letter designations in Wisconsin
« Reply #2 on: October 01, 2021, 08:13:38 AM »

Rock County recently renamed a former Hwy 11 segment County WC. It connects existing Hwy 11 to, of course, West Court St. in Janesville, which eventually leads to downtown.
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Re: Symbolic county road letter designations in Wisconsin
« Reply #3 on: October 01, 2021, 09:18:49 AM »

I'm very interested in this thread! I would love to learn where more of the letter designations came from.  Also, why is a lot of former US18 from Verona to Dodgeville signed as County "ID"?
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tchafe1978

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Re: Symbolic county road letter designations in Wisconsin
« Reply #4 on: October 01, 2021, 10:05:42 AM »

I'm very interested in this thread! I would love to learn where more of the letter designations came from.  Also, why is a lot of former US18 from Verona to Dodgeville signed as County "ID"?

County ID stands for Iowa and Dane counties, which it runs between.

I know County LO in Waukesha County, formerly STH 99, is named after former county board chairman Lloyd Owens.

Many other double letter designations may be just random picks of letter combinations. Or they may be connecting routes between "parents". But I don't think there are any rules over how double or triple-lettered county highways are named.
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Re: Symbolic county road letter designations in Wisconsin
« Reply #5 on: October 01, 2021, 11:41:16 AM »

How much money did Kenosha County get for this one? :spin:

https://goo.gl/maps/hXWoo3DUPFzDF4FV9
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Re: Symbolic county road letter designations in Wisconsin
« Reply #6 on: October 01, 2021, 11:44:24 AM »

Intersection of County Road P and County Road OO: NE2's profile picture.
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Re: Symbolic county road letter designations in Wisconsin
« Reply #7 on: October 01, 2021, 12:13:32 PM »

I know county road S in Kenosha is because it goes through the Southport neighborhood in the city. EZ because it was an Easy route from the state line to Kenosha but it has since been truncated to Pleasant Prairie. The other ones in Kenosha County (ML, H, C, U etc) I have no clue. I think in most cases they're randomly generated. In Illinois they're based on letters and numbers in certain counties (Boone, Cook, Lake, McHenry, St Clair) North and South roads get letters at the end of the alphabet while east west roads get letters at the beginning of the alphabet and then the numbers descend as one heads west (for N/S roads) and ascends as one heads south ,(for E/W roads). So for example County Road A1 denotes the IL/WI state line and county road A50 is the Lake Cook county line. With this system the letters W, and V are all shared across Cook , Lake and McHenry counties. B & C are exclusive to cook. It's more organized this way but not all counties follow this system.
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Re: Symbolic county road letter designations in Wisconsin
« Reply #8 on: October 01, 2021, 12:29:31 PM »

CTH-OK in Sheboygan County, symbolizes how it’s OK, not great, not terrible.

But it actually does sort of connect Oostburg and Kohler.
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Big John

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Re: Symbolic county road letter designations in Wisconsin
« Reply #9 on: October 01, 2021, 12:31:29 PM »

In addition, there are some others I'm aware of but don't know their meaning; for example, why is Lombardi Avenue in Green Bay marked as County Road VK? (If anything, it should be "VL" for Vince Lombardi.)

That one still baffles me as VK is the best combination for Vikings.
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Re: Symbolic county road letter designations in Wisconsin
« Reply #10 on: October 01, 2021, 02:09:28 PM »

In addition, there are some others I'm aware of but don't know their meaning; for example, why is Lombardi Avenue in Green Bay marked as County Road VK? (If anything, it should be "VL" for Vince Lombardi.)

That one still baffles me as VK is the best combination for Vikings.

Some two-letter county trunk highways in Brown County are named because of their connections. CTH GV, Monroe Road, once connected CTH V (Lime Kiln Road) and CTH G (Dickenson Rd) before it was extended to CTH X (Heritage Rd). But the only newer two-letter CTH that makes sense is HS for Howard-Suamico.

CTH VK is relatively new. Lombardi Avenue once was US 41 before the bypass between Main St De Pere and Velp was built. IIRC, it was WI 119 for a while and may have been a Business Route too. But CTH VK isn't the only baffling two letter combo in Brown County. Packerland Drive is CTH EB. Bay Settlement Rd and Huron Rd have been connected and are CTH EA. CTH KR north of Pamprin Park is also a puzzle as is CTH KB east of Denmark on the former WI 96. At least the former US 141 and rerouted WI 32 were given more traditional single letters, CTH R and CTH W respectively.

Brown County is also one of the counties with triple letter CTHs. CTH AAA is Oneida St just east of Lambeau and eventually Waube Ln in Ashwaubenon. CTH DDD is an old connector from US 41 to Wrightstown (I believe it was formerly CTH DD. No idea when it acquired the third D.). CTH HHH was Ashland Av when WI 32 was Lombardi Av; Hazelwood Rd (CTH VK west of US 41) was CTH BBB at that time. Many of the roads in Brown County have changed names since I was a kid in Allouez.
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US 12 fan

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Re: Symbolic county road letter designations in Wisconsin
« Reply #11 on: October 01, 2021, 03:50:44 PM »

County BD in Sauk County was created from the former route of US 12 from Baraboo to Lake Delton as a link between those two cities.
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Re: Symbolic county road letter designations in Wisconsin
« Reply #12 on: October 01, 2021, 04:56:38 PM »

In addition, there are some others I'm aware of but don't know their meaning; for example, why is Lombardi Avenue in Green Bay marked as County Road VK? (If anything, it should be "VL" for Vince Lombardi.)

That one still baffles me as VK is the best combination for Vikings.

Some two-letter county trunk highways in Brown County are named because of their connections. CTH GV, Monroe Road, once connected CTH V (Lime Kiln Road) and CTH G (Dickenson Rd) before it was extended to CTH X (Heritage Rd). But the only newer two-letter CTH that makes sense is HS for Howard-Suamico.

CTH VK is relatively new. Lombardi Avenue once was US 41 before the bypass between Main St De Pere and Velp was built. IIRC, it was WI 119 for a while and may have been a Business Route too. But CTH VK isn't the only baffling two letter combo in Brown County. Packerland Drive is CTH EB. Bay Settlement Rd and Huron Rd have been connected and are CTH EA. CTH KR north of Pamprin Park is also a puzzle as is CTH KB east of Denmark on the former WI 96. At least the former US 141 and rerouted WI 32 were given more traditional single letters, CTH R and CTH W respectively.

Brown County is also one of the counties with triple letter CTHs. CTH AAA is Oneida St just east of Lambeau and eventually Waube Ln in Ashwaubenon. CTH DDD is an old connector from US 41 to Wrightstown (I believe it was formerly CTH DD. No idea when it acquired the third D.). CTH HHH was Ashland Av when WI 32 was Lombardi Av; Hazelwood Rd (CTH VK west of US 41) was CTH BBB at that time. Many of the roads in Brown County have changed names since I was a kid in Allouez.


Lombardi Avenue was most recently WI-32 up until 1999, which is when it received the County VK designation.  According to Chris Bessert's page, the WI-119 designation was on maps along with Business US-41, but may not have been signed in the field. 
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Re: Symbolic county road letter designations in Wisconsin
« Reply #13 on: October 01, 2021, 05:01:52 PM »

Also, why is University Avenue on the west side of Madison called “MS”? (Maybe because it connects Middleton with Shorewood Hills? In addition, it feeds into US 14 westbound which links to Spring Green. Perhaps it’s that.)
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Re: Symbolic county road letter designations in Wisconsin
« Reply #14 on: October 01, 2021, 05:05:50 PM »

WD in Door County leads to Whitefish Dunes State Park.

CTH DDD is an old connector from US 41 to Wrightstown (I believe it was formerly CTH DD. No idea when it acquired the third D.).
No idea of the history behind these roads, but right now DDD runs south from I-41 and CTH U into Wrightstown, and DD is the east-west Broadway St in town. It appears as though DDD is just a branch of DD, which is itself a branch of D.
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Re: Symbolic county road letter designations in Wisconsin
« Reply #16 on: October 01, 2021, 08:45:40 PM »

Always liked County HHH: https://goo.gl/maps/58ML2zXJS8ShcUH27
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Re: Symbolic county road letter designations in Wisconsin
« Reply #18 on: October 02, 2021, 07:43:14 AM »

WD in Door County leads to Whitefish Dunes State Park.

CTH DDD is an old connector from US 41 to Wrightstown (I believe it was formerly CTH DD. No idea when it acquired the third D.).
No idea of the history behind these roads, but right now DDD runs south from I-41 and CTH U into Wrightstown, and DD is the east-west Broadway St in town. It appears as though DDD is just a branch of DD, which is itself a branch of D.


That is usually the logic that was employed for county highways in the past.

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Re: Symbolic county road letter designations in Wisconsin
« Reply #19 on: October 02, 2021, 05:15:47 PM »

Always liked County HHH: https://goo.gl/maps/58ML2zXJS8ShcUH27
That is the most-used triple-letter county highway designation.
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Re: Symbolic county road letter designations in Wisconsin
« Reply #20 on: October 02, 2021, 09:58:48 PM »

IIRC there’s also a CTH-AAA somewhere?
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Re: Symbolic county road letter designations in Wisconsin
« Reply #21 on: October 03, 2021, 02:35:59 PM »

IIRC there’s also a CTH-AAA somewhere?

I already mentioned it. It's Oneida St and Waube Ln in Ashwaubenon, connecting Lambeau Field to Packerland Drive.
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Re: Symbolic county road letter designations in Wisconsin
« Reply #22 on: October 04, 2021, 09:14:09 PM »

Here in Madison, Broadway (old US 12/18) is known as CTH-BW. I wish it was signposted on the Beltline. Exits 262 through 265 all intersect (or in 265's case, nearly) County Highways, but none are signed. 262 intersects CTH-MM, 263 marks the eastern terminus of CTH-MC, 264 marks the western terminus of CTH-BW, and 265 is located just south of CTH-BB's southern terminus at CTH-BW (I don't think BB was ever extended to the Beltline interchange). Even CTH-MS has never been signed at Exit 251A-B.
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Re: Symbolic county road letter designations in Wisconsin
« Reply #23 on: October 04, 2021, 11:06:00 PM »

Also, why is University Avenue on the west side of Madison called “MS”? (Maybe because it connects Middleton with Shorewood Hills? In addition, it feeds into US 14 westbound which links to Spring Green. Perhaps it’s that.)

While this is a supposition, County Trunk MS connected County Trunk M/US 12 along University Avenue and Park Street with the urban extension of County Trunk S /Mineral Point Rd/Speedway Road/Regent Street.  Granted these streets are not signed as county trunks anymore, but I remember very small route markers that did not conform to WisDOT standards in the early ‘60s. 
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Re: Symbolic county road letter designations in Wisconsin
« Reply #24 on: October 04, 2021, 11:15:46 PM »

As anyone who lives in or has visited Wisconsin will know, the state marks its county roads with letters instead of numbers. The vast majority of these roads are designated either by a single letter, or by the same letter doubled (or sometimes even tripled). However, there are some county roads throughout the state whose designation consists of two different letters. Sometimes, these letter combinations are chosen due to having some symbolic meaning, such as:

  • County Road KR, which runs along the border of Kenosha and Racine counties
  • County Road PB southwest of Madison, named such because it connects Paoli and Belleville; also, it's in a former lead-mining region, and the road's name is the chemical symbol for lead
  • County Road LS, which parallels the Lake Michigan shoreline between Sheboygan and Manitowoc (short for "Lake Shore," perhaps?)

Aside from what I mentioned, what are some other similarly meaningful or symbolic lettered county-road designations that might be found throughout Wisconsin? In addition, there are some others I'm aware of but don't know their meaning; for example, why is Lombardi Avenue in Green Bay marked as County Road VK? (If anything, it should be "VL" for Vince Lombardi.)

County highways in Wisconsin are not county roads.  Most people have posted using the correct CTH acronym.  For generations, county highways were called county trunks (County Trunk A), with CTH A, County A, or County Highway A also used.  However, County Road is incorrectly used due to the incorrect addressing by the USPS (when did the post office ever have jurisdiction over or maintain county highways?), and also by Google et. al., and people from surrounding states that call them county roads.
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