Zoo Interchange

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Zoo Interchange
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Coordinates: 43°01′39″N 88°02′04″W / 43.02750°N 88.03444°W / 43.02750; -88.03444
Roads at
I-41 / US 41
US 45
Type: Interchange
Opened: 1963 (1963)[1]
Maintained by: WisDOT

The Zoo Interchange is a freeway Interchange on the west side of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It forms the junction of I-94, I-894, I-41, US 41 and US 45. Built in 1963, it was one of the first Interstate Highway projects in Wisconsin. It is nicknamed because of its location near the Milwaukee County Zoo.


Zoo Interchange at the western terminus of I-894 in 2008

The design of the Zoo Interchange was considered progressive for its time, featuring ramps on both the right and left sides of the roadways. This left-to-go-left, right-to-go-right scheme has since become obsolete, owing to the danger of merging into freeway traffic from the left. For this reason, plans for rebuilding the interchange in 2013-18 include converting all the ramps to right-exit right-entrance ramps.[2]

The control cities and highways at the interchange are, Downtown Milwaukee to the east, Chicago to the south, Madison to the west and Fond du Lac to the north.


The Zoo Interchange was completed in 1963. According to WisDOT: "it is one of Wisconsin's oldest interstate interchanges and is currently the busiest interchange in the state",[1] with an estimated 350,000 vehicles per day.[3]

Redesign and construction[edit]

Westbound on I-94 during reconstruction in 2015

The Zoo interchange is being redesigned to increase efficiency, reduce accidents, and add capacity.[4] Reconstruction began in 2013 and is scheduled to end in 2018.[5] Total cost is expected to be $1.7 billion.[3] The spending of $1.7 billion on this interchange has been criticized by urban groups,[clarification needed] culminating in a lawsuit filed by the Black Health Coalition of Wisconsin and the Milwaukee Inner-city Congregations Allied for Hope against the Wisconsin Department of Transportation in 2012. The lawsuit was settled in 2014 in exchange for $13.5 million in public transit improvements.[6]


External links[edit]