Interstate status for Hwy. 41 one step closer

File photo.
File photo.
WASHINGTON - Highway 41 is one step closer to being called I-41.

On Tuesday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a a bill that included a provision allowing trucks that currently use the highway to continue using it once it gains interstate status. Federal law limits trucks on interstate highways to 80,000 pounds. However, bridges along Hwy. 41 - currently a U.S. highway - can handle trucks up to 100,000 pounds. Businesses in the area say their trucks routinely carry more than 80,000 pounds.

U.S. Reps. Tom Petri (R-6th District) and Reid Ribble (R-8th District) wrote legislation to grandfather in higher weight limits on Hwy. 41. The language was included in a larger appropriations bill. The Senate is still considering its version of the bill.

State transportation leaders say this is the last hurdle to be cleared before they seek interstate status from the federal government. The area of highway to be included in the request is a 131-mile stretch from Milwaukee to Howard. It passes through the four largest cities in Northeast Wisconsin: Green Bay, Appleton, Oshkosh and Fond du Lac.