New Hwy. 41/29 ramps to open Thursday

State and local officials hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new flyover ramps connecting highways 41 and 29 in Brown County, June 23, 2014. (WLUK/Gabrielle Mays)

BROWN COUNTY - Brown County is going to new heights on Highway 41.

The DOT is another step closer to completing the U.S. 41 Project.

The area's first flyover ramps are set to open Thursday.

The interchange is connecting U.S. 41 and Wisconsin Highway 29 in Howard.

"There's a lot of commerce and a lot of people travel this highway every day. In fact, on average, about 110,000 cars per day travel this interchange prior to it being constructed," said Deputy Transportation Secretary Mike Berg,

The DOT says the goal of this project is to decrease traffic and create a reliable transportation system in Northeast Wisconsin.

"We project 20 years from now that it'll be somewhere around 165,000 cars per day," Berg said.

The DOT says the highest points on the ramps are 50 to 75 feet above ground.

Concrete barriers are put in place to keep drivers from noticing the height of the interchange.

"These 54 inch barrier walls are more than enough to help drivers kind of focus on that task. We have the road tipped a little bit and we've also applied an extra friction surface so that even when the roadway is wet, people will still be able to navigate the ramp safely," said U.S. 41 Project Group Chief Brian Roper.

The flyover ramps are only a small part of the $1.5 billion U.S. 41 Project from Brown County to Winnebago County.

The DOT says some of the other improvements include traffic lanes increasing from four to six lanes, reconstructing 13 interchanges, improving 16 interchanges, and adding 40 roundabouts.

"We do have three more years on construction so we at the department will not take our eye off the ball. We have a lot of work left to do," Berg said.