[Study] The Deadliest Road Stretches in Wisconsin

In Wisconsin, hundreds of people die in car collisions each year. Over the past 5 years, the state has averaged over 500 fatal crashes and around 573 fatalities annually. So, where are the most dangerous roads located in Wisconsin? Is there an area where motorists are more likely to die in an accident? We have analyzed 20 years of data from the NHTSA on fatal crashes to determine what five-mile stretches of road in Wisconsin are the deadliest. Based on fatal collision volume and number of deaths in each location, we have identified the nine deadliest five-mile stretches of road in the state.

At Mingo & Yankala, we know that fatal car accidents can have catastrophic effects on the families of the victims involved. For this reason, we were motivated to find and identify the deadliest stretches of roads in Wisconsin and provide this insight to drivers to help them stay safe when driving.

We worked with 1Point21 Interactive, a data visualization agency, to analyze data from the NHTSA on fatal car crashes. We have identified the road segments in Wisconsin with the most fatal car crashes and highest number of deaths. Below is data on the top 10 deadliest stretches and a more in-depth breakdown of the top five.

The map below is interactive. Pinch or use the mouse wheel to zoom in and hover over each stretch to reveal more information.

Interactive Map

 

Five of the top nine deadliest road stretches are located in Milwaukee. The top five all cross either a state highway or interstate. Heavily trafficked roads such as state highways or interstates see significantly more traffic than other roads. Because of the higher rates of traffic and cars at these interchanges and intersections, there is a higher incident rate of accidents. In the past 20 years, there has been a total of 132 crashes and 143 deaths along the top 9 deadliest stretches of road in Wisconsin.

The Deadliest Roads in Wisconsin

Table: The Deadliest Road Stretches in Wisconsin

Rank City Road Exits Crashes Deaths
1 Milwaukee SR-190 SR-100 W Hopkins St 19 23
2 Milwaukee SR-59 S 1st St S 76th St 17 18
3 Madison US-51 Anderson Rd SR-30 17 17
4 Janesville I-90 171B 177 16 19
5 Milwaukee I-94 305A 310B 16 16
6 Milwaukee SR-57 W Pierce St W Capitol Dr 15 17
7 Green Bay I-41 157 161 13 14
8 Kenosha SR-31 SR-50 18th St 12 12
9 Milwaukee SR-175 W Center St W Bobolink Ave 7 7

A Closer Look at the Top Five

Let’s take a more detailed look at the details and surroundings of the top five deadliest stretches of road in Wisconsin. Each of these deadly stretches of road intersects with other main roads, state routes, or an interstate interchange. These intersections are heavily trafficked and merging at interchanges greatly increases the likelihood of accidents occurring.

Number 1: SR-190
City: Milwaukee
Exits: SR-100 & W Hopkins St
Fatal Crashes: 19
Deaths: 23

The top deadliest road stretch in Wisconsin is found in Milwaukee on State Route 190 between the exits for State Route 100 and W Hopkins Street. Along this stretch, there have been 19 fatal crashes and a total of 23 deaths along this 5-mile stretch. On the SR-100 exit side, there is a golf course, several churches, a memorial park, and several stores. Off the W Hopkins Street exit are several schools, warehouses, and a large residential neighborhood. Along this 5-mile stretch, the road crosses over N 76th street, which is a main road, SR-175, and SR-145.

Number 2: SR-59
City: Milwaukee
Exits: S 1st St & S 76th St
Fatal Crashes: 17
Deaths: 18

The second deadliest 5-mile stretch of road in Wisconsin can be found in Milwaukee on State Route 59, between the exits for S 1st Street and S 76th Street. The S 1st Street end of this section is a main intersection with several restaurants and bars located nearby. On the other end of this deadly road segment is another main intersection with 76th Street. This road leads to an onramp for I-94, and the state fairgrounds, city hall, several churches, and a large residential area surround this intersection. This stretch of road has seen 17 fatal crashes and a total of 18 deaths over the past 20 years. Along this stretch, SR-59 intersects S Layton Boulevard and SR-175, which are also heavily trafficked roads.

Number 3: US-51
City: Madison
Exits: SR-30 & Anderson Rd
Fatal Crashes: 17
Deaths: 17

The third deadliest stretch of road can be found in Madison, Wisconsin along US-51 highway between the exits for SR-30 and Anderson Road. This 5-mile stretch intersects SR-151, and along it there have been 17 fatal crashes and 17 deaths. The SR-30 exit side of this section is an interchange between the two highways. On the other side of this segment at the Andersond Road exit is Madison Area Technical College and Dane County Regional Airport.

Number 4: I-90
City: Janesville
Exits: 171B & 177
Fatal Crashes: 16
Deaths: 19

The fourth deadliest road section is in Janesville, Wisconsin along I-90. This deadly 5-mile section is located between exit 171B and exit 177 and crosses over SR-14 and SR-26. There have been 16 fatal crashes and 19 deaths along this segment in the past 20 years. On the 171B exit side is an interchange with SR-26, and just off the exit are several large stores, Walmart, Target, and Home Depot. On the other end, exit 177 is the interchange with SR-11.

Number 5: I-94
City: Milwaukee
Exits: 305A & 310B
Fatal Crashes: 16
Deaths: 16

The fifth deadliest road stretch in Wisconsin is located in Milwaukee, along I-94. There have been 16 fatal crashes and 16 deaths in this 5-mile stretch between exit 305A and exit 301B. On the exit 305A end is a freeway interchange between I-94 and I-41, as well as the Milwaukee Zoo. Just off exit 301B are two golf courses, a Walmart, and a large residential area. Additionally, along this segment is an exit for SR-100.

Data Sources, Takeaways, and Methodology

Fatal car accidents occur every day and can happen anywhere. While fatal accidents in Wisconsin cannot be blamed on an overly dense population, residents of the state do face extreme weather that can cause perilous road conditions and contribute to fatal accidents.  Both rain and snow can cause dangerous road conditions that contribute to fatal accidents.

Five of the top nine deadliest road segments in the state are located in Milwaukee, which is the most populated city in the state, with over 569,000 residents. Each of the top five deadliest road segments intersects with either another main road or highway or have an interchange with an interstate. These intersections and interchanges cause two heavily trafficked roads to cross or merge, and heighten the possibility for accidents to occur. At intersections, cars may run red lights, or turn without properly checking for oncoming traffic. Additionally, extreme weather such as rain or snow may make visibility low, and cause conditions that make stopping in time difficult. Interchanges mean cars are merging on and off of the road, couple that with extreme weather conditions and low visibility and accidents are sure to occur.

Keeping this information in mind, drivers should drive slower when weather and road conditions are hazardous, and take extra caution when driving along these top 10 deadliest stretches of road.

This study was conducted using data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) on fatal crashes that occurred on highways in Wisconsin between 2000-2019.

If you would like to use any of the images, findings, or data in this study for a report or republishing purposes, please link to this page to provide credit.