Green Bay is home to one of the oldest European Settlements in the United States. Jean Nicolet was commissioned to make peace with Indians and find a shorter trade route to China and the Pacific Ocean. He landed in Green Bay in 1634 and founded a small trading post. The area became a major fur trading hub through the 1800s. The British took control of the area after the French and Indian War, and became a part of the United States after the Revolutionary War. After the War of 1812, Fort Howard was built along the Fox River near the Bay of Green Bay to protect the area from possible invasions.
After the 1850s, lumber and paper took over as the primary industries. Several paper mills along the Fox River still remain today, as the Fox River Valley is one of the largest suppliers of paper in the world with 24 paper mills between Neenah and Green Bay.
The Green Bay Packers are what Green Bay is most famous for. Curly Lambeau founded the team in 1919 and was sponsored by the Acme Meat Packing Company, which the team received its nickname from. Despite existing in the smallest city with a professional sports team, the team was able to survive and thrive by offering fans to purchase stock as a way to invest in the team. The Packers also played some games in Milwaukee to attract more fans throughout the state. The team no longer plays there, but fans from Milwaukee still get tickets for two Packer games a year.
Green Bay in 1984
Today the Green Bay Metropolitan Area has a population of a little over 300,000 people. The immediate area cities of Green Bay and De Pere, and seven villages which include: Allouez, Ashwaubenon, Bellevue, Hobart, Howard, Pulaski, and Suamico.
Green Bay was left out of the original interstate system, but Wisconsin officials finally received their wish in the early 1970s as Interstate 57 was approved to be extended north to Green Bay. The original route was supposed to follow Wis 57 north of Milwaukee to avoid bias between the Fox Valley and Lakeshore by splitting down the middle. But soon after, Illinois rejected extending I-57 north so the proposal was named I-43. Farmers protested and there was strong opposition to the proposed interstate route along Wis 57, so a compromise was reached to route I-43 along the US 141 freeway to Sheboygan and extend the interstate north along existing US 141. In 1982, Green Bay had its interstate connection.
Also in the 1960s and 1970s, a beltway was proposed to accommodate the areas growth. A new freeway on the west side of Green Bay was built to reroute US 41, Wis 172 was built on the south end to provide a new Fox River crossing, and I-43 formed the north and east legs of the Green Bay Beltway. Green Bay was the first city to have a freeway beltway encircle the city, and Appleton is the only other Wisconsin city that currently has a complete beltway.
In 2005, Green Bay received another interstate designation as US 41 became an interstate from Green Bay south. The plan was approved in 2014 and signs were posted in 2015.
Interstate 41 / U.S. 41
I-41 is the main freeway in the Green Bay area. A construction project is upgrading the freeway to anywhere between 6 and 10 lanes throughout the Green Bay metro area. It passes near major points of interest, and is the main entrance for traffic entering from Madison, the Fox Cities, and Michigan's Upper Peninsula.
I-43 is the first interstate to serve Green Bay. It is the primary interstate where traffic enters from Milwaukee and Chicago. It enters from the southeast in Bellevue, travels north along the east side of Green Bay, and curves west across the Fox River on a high level bridge so it does not have to open for ships below the Fox River. It ends at I-41 in Howard.
US 141 primarily serves local traffic in Green Bay and stretches from northwest to southeast through Suamico, Howard, Downtown Green Bay, and Bellevue. It is another major route to Michigan's Upper Peninsula and is an expressway before joining US 41 as a freeway in Abrams. The route ends at I-43 near Bellevue. US 141 once continued south to Milwaukee, but I-43 replaced the route.
State Trunk Highways
Wis 29 is a major expressway that connects Green Bay with western Wisconsin and I-94. It enters Green Bay as a freeway but departs the limited access highway just before a major freeway to freeway interchange with I-41. It follows Shawano Ave across most of the west side of Green Bay. It becomes Walnut Street in Downtown and follows it until Wis 54/57. It turns north for a few blocks before turning southeast with US 141, which it runs concurrent with until Bellevue, where Wis 29 splits off as a mainly local road towards Kewaunee.
Wis 32 is a north south road that travels mainly through the west side of Green Bay. It enters concurrent with Wis 57 in De Pere, and crosses the Fox River on the only crossing in De Pere. It passes through Downtown West De Pere before turning north to follow the Ashland Avenue Expressway through Ashwaubenon and Green Bay. It then turns west to follow Wis 54 to I-41, and turns north briefly along collector/distributor roadways to a system interchange with Wis 29, where it follows the freeway/expressway for about 7 miles west until splitting towards Pulaski.
Wis 54 is a semi commuter route that serves communities west and east of the immediate Green Bay area. It enters as a 2 lane road in Hobart, and becomes 4 lanes in Green Bay. It follows Mason Street and crosses on a short freeway segment across the Fox River. It exits Mason Street at Wis 57 and runs concurrent with Wis 57 through the northeast side of Green Bay. At I-43, it becomes a freeway and departs from Wis 57 about 5 miles east of I-43, towards Luxemburg, a sprawling community outside of Green Bay.
Wis 57 enters De Pere concurrent with Wis 32. It runs close to the Fox River through De Pere, Allouez, and the south end of Green Bay. There are very few signals along this stretch. After Mason Street, it runs concurrent with Wis 54 and briefly with Wis 29. After US 141, it curves east across the northeast side of Green Bay. It becomes a freeway after I-43 past the UW Green Bay campus and continues as an expressway after Wis 54 departs towards Door County and Sturgeon Bay, which are popular tourist areas.
Wis 172 is the main east west roadway in Green Bay and is the south leg of the Green Bay Beltway. It starts as a 2 lane road in Hobart, but becomes an expressway in Ashwaubenon past the airport and casino. At I-41, it becomes a 6 lane freeway and provides the busiest Fox River crossing in the area, at 85,000 VPD. It then passes through Allouez and Bellevue, where it ends at a system interchange with I-43. Wis 172 passes by most major attractions and points of interest in Green Bay, which is why most traffic entering Green Bay from Milwaukee exits onto Wis 172.
County Trunk Highways
County G is the main east west roadway that serves De Pere and crosses the Fox River at the only bridge in the city of De Pere. The interchange with I-41 is the main De Pere interchange along the interstate.
County M is where I-41 begins and straddles the village line between Howard and Suamico. It serves the fastest growing area in the Green Bay metro area.
Initially a rural road, County V travels north through Bellevue into the old Preble area of Green Bay. It turns east at Mason Street along a controlled access 4 lane road. The interchange with I-43 is the busiest local interchange on the east side of Green Bay. It then continues as a 4 lane road through the I-43 Industrial Park and becomes a 2 lane rural road when it exits Green Bay.
County EA is a north south arterial that serves local businesses and residential areas near I-41 It is primarily 4 lanes and passes through Hobart, Ashwaubenon, Green Bay, and Howard.
County EB is the counterpart to County EA and parallels I-43. It serves newer developing areas of Bellevue and Green Bay's east side.
County GV is a 4 lane road serving developing areas of the Town of Ledgeview and Bellevue. It provides a bypass of the east side of De Pere with County X. County GV is the main interchange for Bellevue at Wis 172 and runs into County V about 1/2 mile north of Wis 172 where it ends.
County VK passes by Green Bay's most famous landmark, Lambeau Field. It starts as Hazelwood Lane in a residential area, but expands to 6 lanes at I-41, where it becomes Lombardi Avenue. It expands to 6 lanes until Oneida Street, where it narrows to 4 lanes at the northeast corner of the Lambeau Field property. It passes by several businesses and ends at Wis 32.
County AAA passes by most of the entertainment and shopping areas in the Green Bay area. It is located in Ashwaubenon for almost its entirety, except by Lambeau Field where it touches Green Bay. It starts as a 4 lane undivided roadway by County EB and becomes Oneida Street at I-41, where it turns northeast. County AAA is lined with restaurants, shops, and passes by the largest shopping mall in Green Bay, Bay Park Square. Beyond the mall it passes through a mixture of businesses and residential areas, until it passes by Lambeau Field, the Don Hutson Center, the Resch Center Arena, and an end at County VK (Lombardi Avenue).
Ashland Avenue (Unsigned Business U.S. 41)
The southernmost 0.7 miles of Ashland Avenue consists of an unnumbered connector between Interstate 41 and Wis 32 at 8th Street in De Pere. The route for U.S. 41 Business was officially decommissioned in 2004, but the 0.7-mile segment south of Wis 32 remains classified as Business 41.
|Ashland Avenue south|
|I-41 south sign posted on Ashland Avenue after the roundabout with Wis 32. Photo taken 05/09/16.|
|Sign prohibiting pedestrians indicating that the freeway starts here. 9th Street north ties into Ashland Avenue north out of view. Photo taken 05/09/16.|
|The flyover bridge was rehabilitated and is one of the only bridges along I-41 that was not rebuilt as part of the US 41 Project from 2010 to 2017. Photo taken 05/09/16.|
|A junction Interstate 41 sign appears next. There was once an end Business U.S. 41 sign at the same location. Photo taken 05/09/16.|
|The loop ramp from County G (Main Avenue) merges onto the Ashland Avenue connection just ahead of the merge onto Interstate 41 south. Photo taken 05/09/16.|
Mason Street crosses the Fox River as one of three bridges linking Green Bay surface streets to the west and east. The street consists of an arterial as part of Wis 54 and 32 from Hobart to the Mason Street freeway across the Fox River. The freeway portion doubles as Wis 54 and 57 through to Monroe Avenue. East from there, Mason Street continues as an unnumbered boulevard and residential through street to U.S. 141 & Wis 29 at CTH-V. County V carries the remainder of Mason Street east as a controlled access arterial through to I-43 Industrial Park and the rural east side of Green Bay.
|Mason Street east|
|East Mason Street becomes a four lane undivided roadway past Webster Avenue. Photo taken 05/14/16.|
|Baird Street travels past Old City Stadium, the former home of the Packers to the north. To the south, it travels into Allouez and becomes Libal St until it ends at County G in De Pere. Photo taken 05/14/16.|
|Crossing the East River, Mason Street reaches the Oak Grove and Starlite neighborhoods. Photo taken 05/14/16.|
|Bellevue Street travels south into Bellevue where it becomes County XX and ends at Hoffman Road. Photo taken 05/14/16.|
|A narrow corrugated median separates traffic on Mason Street past Cass Street. Photo taken 05/14/16.|
|East Mason Street intersects Lime Kiln Road as County V joins East Mason Street past the intersection. County V follows Lime Kiln Road south through Bellevue and the Town of Ledgeview before ending at County G. Lime Kiln Road north ends at nearby U.S. 141 & Wis 29 (Main Street). Photo taken 05/14/16.|
Page updated 06/09/16.