U.S. Route 51 in Wisconsin

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U.S. Highway 51 marker

U.S. Highway 51
Route information
Maintained by WisDOT
Length: 316.51 mi[1] (509.37 km)
Existed: 1926 (1917 as WIS 10)[citation needed] – present
Major junctions
South end: US 51 in Beloit
  US 14 in Janesville
I-39 / I-90 / WIS 73 in Edgerton
I-39 / I-90 in Stoughton
US 12 / US 18 in Madison
US 151 in Madison
I-39 / I-90 / I-94 in Madison
I-39 in Portage
US 10 / WIS 66 in Stevens Point
I-39 / WIS 29 in Rothschild
US 8 in Bradley
North end: US 2 in Hurley
Location
Counties: Rock, Dane, Columbia, Marquette, Waushara, Portage, Marathon, Lincoln, Oneida, Vilas, Iron
Highway system
WIS 50 WIS 52
US 10 WIS 10 WIS 11

In the U.S. state of Wisconsin, U.S. Route 51 (normally called U.S. Highway 51, Highway 51 or US 51) runs north–south down the central part of the state. It enters from Illinois at Beloit, and runs north to its northern terminus in Hurley where it junctions with US 2.

Route description[edit]

From Beloit, US 51 passes through Janesville and Edgerton. US 51 joines with Interstate 39 and 90 for about 5 miles before splitting off and heading west to Stoughton. US 51 then passes through the east side of Madison as a side route, known locally as Stoughton Road, paralleling to the west of Interstate 39 and Interstate 90. North of Madison, US 51 parallels the Interstates on the east side passing through De Forest, Leeds, North Leeds, Poynette and Portage. In North Leeds, US 51 has a major junction with WIS 22 and WIS 60 where US 51 heads west a bit with 60 before splitting back north toward Poynette. The route joins I-39 north of Portage. There is a short concurrency with WIS 23 from Endeavor to WIS 82 near Oxford. They stay joined until I-39 ends at WIS 29. Along the way, the route bypasses the small communities of Endeavor, Packwaukee, Westfield, Coloma, Hancock, Plainfield, Plover, and Whiting prior to arriving at Stevens Point. Proceeding north from Stevens Point, the highway bypasses Knowlton, Mosinee, and Rothschild where I-39 terminates at WIS 29 East interchange. US 51 continues on with WIS 29 for 5 miles (8.0 km) bypassing Schofield, then proceeding into Wausau where WIS 29 splits to the west. US 51 continues as a freeway to Merrill, passing Brokaw along the way.

U.S. 51, along with Interstate 39, in northern Wisconsin

The section of US 51 from Portage at its junction with I-39 to Merrill, as well as from CTH S to US 8 in Tomahawk, is built to Interstate highway standards. In between these freeway segments exists an expressway from Lincoln Dr north of Merrill further north to CTH S south of Tomahawk with 5 grade-level intersections. This will eventually be converted to a freeway, making US 51 a continuous freeway from Portage to Tomahawk.[2]

The freeway in the Wausau area was not originally fully up to interstate standards, but a project to upgrade the freeway to full interstate standards in the area was recently completed. The upgrades in the Wausau area replaced all of the existing 1963-era low clearance overpasses; upgraded the WIS 29 East, CTH N, CTH NN, Sherman St, WIS 52, and Bridge St interchanges; and constructed a free-flow interchange for WIS 29 West.

The highway becomes a two-lane road just north of US 8 at the Oneida County line. The highway passes through Minocqua, Manitowish Waters, and Mercer on its northwest trek toward Hurley and its terminus — at its junction with US 2.

History[edit]

Prior to 1926, what is now US 51 was State Trunk Highway 10.[3]

US 51 was upgraded to a full freeway over a period of 25 years from Merrill to Portage. The freeway continues around Portage to the West as I-39 (originally as WIS 78) to connect with I-90 and I-94 while US 51 continues along surface roads into and through Portage. In the 1990s, US 51 was designated as I-39 from its junction with WIS 29 eastbound in Wausau to where it left the freeway at Exit 92 in Portage. US 51 remained cosigned with I-39 along this entire stretch of road. Further expansion of the highway northward took place in 2000, when the highway was upgraded to an expressway up to CTH S. In addition, a Super-2 freeway from CTH S to US 8 was upgraded to a four-lane freeway.[3]

The Wisconsin mileage of US 51 is designated by the state as the Korean War Veterans Memorial Highway.[4]

Exit list[edit]

U.S. Route 51's northern terminus at U.S. Route 2 near Hurley, Wisconsin.
County Location Mile # Destinations Notes
I-39.svg begins south of this point and follows US 51.svg South
Marathon Rib Mountain   187 East plate.svg
WIS 29.svg WIS 29 East - Weston, Green Bay
For exits south of this point see I-39.svg Interstate 39.

West plate.svg
WIS 29.svg follow US 51.svg North

  188 WIS County N.svg CTH N - Rib Mountain Dr  
  190 WIS County NN.svg CTH NN - North Mountain Rd  .
Wausau   191A West plate.svg
WIS 29.svgWIS 29 West - Abbotsford, Chippewa Falls
 
  191B Sherman Street Northbound exit; Southbound entrance only.
  192 WIS 52.svg Stewart Ave .

East plate.svg
WIS 29.svg WIS 29 follow US 51.svg South

  193 Bridge St  
  194 No image wide.svgBusiness plate.svg
WIS County U.svgUS 51.svgWIS County K.svg Business US 51, CTH U, CTH K - Wausau
 
Brokaw   197 WIS County WW.svg CTH WW - Brokaw  
Lincoln Pine River   205 WIS County Q.svg CTH Q - Merrill  
Merrill   208 WIS 64.svgWIS 17.svg - WIS 64, WIS 17 Merrill, Antigo Rhinelander, Eagle River use exit 208
  211 WIS County K.svg CTH K - Merrill  
Town of Merrill 214.85   Lincoln Dr at-grade intersection
Irma 220.22   CTH-K – Nelson Dr at-grade intersection
221.24   CTH-J – Irma at-grade intersection
222.24   CTH-V at-grade intersection
Skanawan 223.31   Tamarack Ln at-grade intersection
  225 WIS County S.svg CTH S - Tomahawk  
Tomahawk   229 WIS 86.svgWIS County D.svg WIS 86, CTH D - Tomahawk  
  231 WIS County A.svg CTH A - Tomahawk  
Bradley   234 US 8.svg US 8 - Prentice, Rhinelander  
End of Freeway - US 51.svg two-way traffic.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ DeLorme Street Atlas USA 2007, Driving directions. Retrieved on 2007-06-30.
  2. ^ "Wisconsin Connections 2030: Wausau to Ironwood, Michigan". Retrieved 19 March 2013. 
  3. ^ a b Bessert, Chris. "Wisconsin Highways: Highways 50-59 (U.S. Highway 51)". Wisconsin Highways. Retrieved 2007-03-20. 
  4. ^ "Special Roads". Wisconsin History Explorer. Wisconsin Historical Society. Retrieved 2008-01-02. 


U.S. Route 51
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Illinois
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