Wisconsin Highway 794
|Maintained by WisDOT|
|Length:||4.76 mi (7.66 km)|
|South end:||CTH-ZZ in South Milwaukee|
|North end:||I-794 in Milwaukee|
State Trunk Highway 794 (officially the John R. Plewa Memorial Lake Parkway and often called Highway 794, STH 794, WIS 794 or Lake Parkway) is a state highway in the U.S. state of Wisconsin. It runs north–south in Milwaukee County from downtown Milwaukee to its southern suburbs. WIS 794 is the highest numbered Wisconsin state highway in the state trunk highway system.
WIS 794 is one of only two numbered state trunk highways, along with WIS 39, that share a number designation with an Interstate or Federal/US highway within the state's borders. Wisconsin Department of Transportation policy prohibited dual designations within the state trunk highway system, prior to the commissioning of I-39.
The Lake Freeway/Lake Parkway
The Lake Parkway was originally planned to be a lakeside freeway, named the Lake Freeway, extending from just north of downtown Milwaukee all the way south to the Illinois state line connecting with the Amstutz Expressway and possibly following all the way to Lake Shore Drive. Due to protests over construction the Lake Freeway was never completed, and the Amstutz Expressway in Illinois was similarly never completed. Before the Lake Freeway project was cancelled, a portion of the route was built immediately south of downtown Milwaukee. The Hoan Bridge, a bridge spanning the mouth of the Milwaukee River connecting downtown and Bay View, was constructed. However, the bridge stood unused for three years subsequent to its completion, unconnected to any other road, and locally it was known as the 'Bridge to Nowhere'. The unfinished bridge was used as the site of the car chase scene in the movie The Blues Brothers. In 1977, the freeway was connected to the East-West Freeway and Carferry Drive, causing traffic from the Lake Freeway to exit and crowd onto surface streets.
In the 1990s, construction on what would become the Lake Parkway began along the Union Pacific / former Chicago and North Western Transportation Company right of way. According to Bessert, the whole project took approximately eight years. The Lake Parkway opened in October 1999.
The "freeway" section of WIS 794 - the John R. Plewa Memorial Lake Parkway, as it is formally known - was finally "completed" to the corner of East Edgerton Avenue and South Pennsylvania Avenue, after six years of terminating at the Layton Avenue off-ramp. Officially, there are four "exits" on the Parkway:
- Layton Avenue (southbound off, northbound on)
- Howard Avenue
- Oklahoma Avenue
- Carferry Drive (access to the dock for the Lake Express ferry to Muskegon, Michigan; northbound continues on to I-794)
The Oklahoma Avenue exit, however, requires a traffic light for southbound vehicles to enter. The stoplight is a major reason why the Parkway is not considered an Interstate highway for its entire length.
A newly constructed half-mile (800 meter) section of Howard Avenue between WIS 794 and WIS 32 is part of the state trunkline system and officially labeled a spur of WIS 794. Along with WIS 341, this spur is one of two unsigned state routes in the greater Milwaukee area.
The entire route is in Milwaukee County. All exits are unnumbered.
|St. Francis||0.0||0.0||Layton Avenue||Southbound exit and northbound entrance only|
|Milwaukee||2.0||3.2||Oklahoma Avenue||Traffic light controlled at-grade intersection|
|3.0||4.8||Port of Milwaukee||Northern terminus; roadway continues as I-794|
|1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi
- Bessert, Chris. "Wisconsin Highways: Highways 400-894 (Highway 794)". Wisconsin Highways. Retrieved 2007-03-20.
- Bessert, Chris. "Wisconsin Highways: Highways 400-894 (I-894)". Wisconsin Highways. Retrieved 2009-03-07.
- Bessert, Christopher. "Wisconsin Highways: Milwaukee Freeways: Lake Freeway".
- Wisconsin Highways: Highways 400-894