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Jacobs-Designed Critical Transportation Infrastructure Keeps Wisconsin Moving

Jacobs Zoo Interchange North Leg project team
Jacobs Zoo Interchange North Leg project team
Jacobs WIS 15 project team
Jacobs WIS 15 project team
MILWAUKEE, WI — Critical infrastructure in Wisconsin is moving forward with the completion of two major roadway projects — the North Leg of the Zoo Interchange in Milwaukee and an 11-mile stretch of WIS 15 in Outagamie County, just northwest of Appleton. The Jacobs team played a significant role in the planning, design, and construction support of both projects.
Zoo Interchange North Leg Corridor
The Zoo Interchange’s North Leg is the final portion of the $1.5 billion Zoo Interchange Reconstruction project, which reconfigured the busiest interchange in Wisconsin and marked the largest public works project undertaken in the state.

Jacobs, as a member of the Forward 45 joint venture, assisted the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) in delivering the final design of the North Leg Corridor. Forward 45 is a joint venture consisting of Jacobs, Kapur & Associates, and HNTB Corporation.

“There are arteries in this state that are so critical to the entire state that were at the end of their useful life, and they had to get done,” WisDOT Secretary Craig Thompson said. “And there’s none more important than the north leg of the zoo and the Zoo Interchange as a whole.”

Serving as a major economic corridor, more than 108,000 jobs are located within two miles of this interchange system, which also provides access to the region’s only Level 1 trauma center and many major manufacturers. Additionally, more than 20,000 trucks pass through the interchange each day, carrying $20 billion in freight each year.

Jacobs' design helped maintain access to these essential community and regional assets, and kept people and goods moving forward. As part of the firm's design work, Jacobs prepared a re-evaluation of the National Environmental Policy Act document and prepared and attended noise barrier public information meetings. The team also ran a 3D clash detection of modeled surfaces, converted all project files to the latest version of Civil 3D, finalized the traffic control and staging design and plans, reviewed the project cost estimate, and managed the consultant team.

WIS 15
Traveling the northeast Wisconsin corridor is now smoother and safer thanks to the expansion and safety improvements to WIS 15 near Hortonville. More than 400 crashes, over 100 injuries, and 15 deaths on this roadway during a seven-year study illustrated a crucial need to upgrade the infrastructure.

After a delayed start due to state budget constraints, the project moved forward in 2021, with Jacobs leading the preliminary design for all 11 miles of the project, which expanded the highway to four lanes, added a bypass around Hortonville, and roundabouts on either end. The Jacobs team also completed the final design for the eastern segment of the project and provided design support to the construction team.

“Essential infrastructure systems establish the backbone of productive, economically strong communities,” said Chrissy Thom, Jacobs Senior Vice President & General Manager, Americas - East. "The completion of the Zoo Interchange North Corridor and WIS 15 projects make Wisconsin’s highway system safer and more efficient, allowing people and goods to keep moving. Our strong relationship with WisDOT and the traveling public allowed us to design roadway improvements that keep Wisconsinites connected to the economic, health care, and community assets that matter most.”

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