Wisconsin Gateway

Sitemap to all pages covering the state of Wisconsin. Photographic contributions by Peter Johnson, Alex Nitzman, Andy Field, Brent Ivy and Justin Cozart.

City / Area Guides

Interstate Guides

U.S. Highways

State Trunk Highways

Other Roads

About the Wisconsin Trunk Highway System

Wisconsin was the first place in the world to number its highways. The numbered system was enacted in 1917 to replace the unofficial auto trails that were cluttered and confusing for motorists. The numbered system made it easier for motorists to travel, and was soon adopted by the rest of the nation and the world.

Wisconsin also has a unique lettered county road system. In the 1920s counties started lettering and laying out their own county roads and was adopted by the state. The letter designations can be 1,2, or 3 letters long and letters can be used multiple times throughout the state. They can be lettered just to give a road a designation, or they can can have meaning. County HS in Brown County was named because it passes through Howard and Suamico as one example.

In the late 1980s, Wisconsin adopted a 2020 Highway Plan, which laid the groundwork for Wisconsin's present transportation system with a goal of improving routes within the plan by 2020. It consisted of a 1550 mile system of freeways and expressways that link major population and economic centers. A 2100 mile subsystem of high quality 2 lane and 4 lane roadways that connect key communities throughout the state compliment the backbone system. The final backbone route that was upgraded within the plan was US 41 between Oconto and Marinette in 2009.

The Connections 2030 plan is a revised version of the original 2020 plan and was enacted in 2009 to provide updates and revisions on Wisconsin's Transportation needs.

Population Statistics

State Population
Metropolitan Populations
Milwaukee 1,751,316 Madison 568,593 Green Bay 306,241
Top City Populations
Milwaukee 594,833 Madison 233,209 Green Bay 104,057
Kenosha 99,218 Racine 78,860 Appleton 72,623
Waukesha 70,718 Oshkosh 66,083 Eau Claire 65,883
Janesville 63,575 West Allis 60,411 La Crosse 51,320
Top County Populations
Milwaukee 947,735 Dane 488,073 Waukesha 389,891
Brown 248,007 Racine 195,408 Outagamie 176,695
Winnebago 166,994 Kenosha 166,426 Rock 160,331
Source: 2010 U.S. Census Data

Other Statistics

  • Capitol: Madison
  • Nickname: Badger State
  • Area: 65,503 square miles (land area covers 54,314 sq. mi.) - 23rd largest
  • Statehood: May 29, 1848
  • Total interstate mileage: 833.56
  • Highest point: Timms Hill, 1,951 feet (595 meters) above sea level, located in Hill, Price County
  • Scenic areas: Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, North Country National Scenic Trail, Saint Croix National Scenic River
  • Geography and climate: Various glaciations over time was the primary cause of the rolling topography that makes up Wisconsin today. The northern part of the state sees higher elevations (varying from 1,000 feet to 1,900 feet). The majority of streams and rivers in Wisconsin originate in these higher elevations. A good portion of Wisconsin typically has warm summers and more often freezing winters. The northern reaches of the state often remain within freezing temperatures for the majority of the year, with perhaps only a month or two without any freezes. The southern half reaches a more temperate climate with an average of 180 days of non-freezing conditions. Lake effect snowfall accumulation can peak around 100 inches in areas such as Ironwood along the Wisconsin/Michigan border
  • Usual claim to fame: Lambeau Field is often referred to as "The Frozen Tundra", originating from a 1967 NFL Championship game between the Green Bay Packers and the Dallas Cowboys.
  • Other interesting tidbits: Old Milwaukee, Old Milwaukee Light and Pabst Blue Ribbon beer were all established in Milwaukee in the 1800s; famous actor and narrator, Orson Welles, hailed from Kenosha while famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright was born in Richland Center (Richland County); Wisconsin is also home to over 20,000 miles of snowmobile trails and to the largest cross-country ski race held in the United States.

Major League Sports Franchises

    Page Updated 09-20-2016.

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