41 frustration: high crash numbers lead to call for expansion

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OUTAGAMIE COUNTY, Wis. (WBAY) - If it seems like there are a lot of crashes on Interstate 41 in the Fox Valley, you'd be correct.

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation says since 2013, there have been an average of 469 crashes per year on I-41 between Breezewood Lane and the north junction of Highway 441.

The DOT says that stretch of the interstate has higher crash statistics than the state average for similar roadways.

Officials in Outagamie County have come up with a rallying cry: "Just Fix It."

"It's getting to a point where it's getting very very dangerous. Our guys have to respond to accidents every time they're out there and we're getting sick of it," said Dean Steingraber, Outagamie County Highway Commissioner.

The county's executive would like to see an expansion. However, that would take at least a decade.

"To expand I-41 to Kaukauna to Grand Chute/Appleton that it would take 10 years to complete," said Thomas Nelson.

The project would have to be studied, planned, introduced during budget talks and passed through the legislature.

"We're going to make sure that those local roads are fixed and we're going to put more in the state rehab going forward that as we did in the last budget," Gov. Scott Walker told us Tuesday.

State Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke agrees that something needs to be done.

"It's about time I mean we really need to get on the ball," the Kaukauna Republican says. "I've been talking to colleagues about this over the course of the last year."

The lawmaker says there has to be a sense of urgency.

"Coordinate with the Department of Transportation at the state level, the federal level, transportation department and try to figure out a way to get this in the planning process at least," Steineke says.

The DOT reminds residents that major highway developments are complex, costly and sometimes controversial.