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It begins: Five-year I-41 expansion project kicks off; expect closures and delays

Posted at 6:51 PM, Apr 01, 2024

GRAND CHUTE (NBC 26) — An I-41 expansion project set to last until 2029 officially began Monday. The project will add a lane to the highway in each direction.

  • Construction began with the closure of the Capitol Drive overpass in Grand Chute, which will be torn down this week, according to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WISDOT)
  • The demolition will cause the closure of both lanes of I-41 between Wisconsin Avenue and Richmond Street on Wednesday and Thursday nights from 11:30 p.m. until 4:30 a.m., and Friday night from 11:30 p.m. until 6 a.m. — weather permitting
  • A separate I-41 project will cause northbound lanes to be closed Monday, Wednesday and Thursday nights at County Road JJ in Neenah
  • Video shows the construction work and neighbors' reactions

(The following is a transcription of the full broadcast story, with additional details for the web)

We're at the spot on I-41 where this week there will be lane closures and a full highway closure.

This overpass is getting torn down, and that could add some time to your drive.

Shovels are in the ground, and construction noise is in the air.

The Capitol Drive overpass in Grand Chute is closed and soon won't exist — its removal will forever change the landscape for drivers.

"You'll see a lot of drums and barrels and arrow boards and things like that, directing the traffic where to go," WISDOT I-41 project development chief Kurt Peters said.

The overpass removal is the first step of an I-41 expansion project set to last until the end of the decade. The project will add a lane to the highway in each direction.

"This area of 41 has a higher crash rate than similar roadways throughout the state and the nation," Peters said. "Therefore, we need to address the safety concerns out there."

Neighbors near the overpass have mixed feelings about the project kicking off.

"There are a lot of kids walking that go up and over this bridge, so it'll be safer that way," Grand Chute resident Stephanie Olson said. "So in the long run, it'll be a positive impact."

"I'm in favor with 41 being the way it has to go, because there has been a lot of accidents," Grand Chute resident Brenda Miller said. "But it'd be nice if they'd put up a noise barrier on this end too because you can't really hear people."

This stretch of I-41 will be completely closed Wednesday and Thursday night from 11:30 p.m. until 4:30 a.m. — plus from 11:30 to 6 a.m. Saturday — for bridge removal.

An unrelated project will also cause the northbound lanes to be closed here at County Road JJ on Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday nights.

WISDOT says this is just the beginning of I-41 construction delays.

"It's going to continue for several years," Peters said. "This is the start, so we're really just asking people to be aware of your surroundings and be cautious out there."

There will be marked detours to get around the four-mile stretch of closed highway starting Wednesday night.