A group representing Wisconsin Harley-Davidson motorcycle enthusiasts and state business leaders have announced a major legislative initiative to rename Wisconsin’s stretch of U.S. Highway 45 the Harley-Davidson Heritage Highway of Honor.
“This is an appropriate way for Wisconsin to recognize the Harley-Davidson Motorcycle Company, its impact on the culture of our state and nation, and what it means to US veterans throughout the world,” said Dave Zien, a former Wisconsin state senator from Eau Claire and a member of Harley-Davidson’s Million Mile Rider Club.
Although the name change would apply only to Wisconsin’s portion of the highway, U.S. 45 is a north-south, border-to-border highway that stretches 1,300 miles from Lake Superior to the Gulf of Mexico.
US 45 enters Wisconsin in the state’s southeast corner and runs concurrent with Interstate 894 and U.S. 41 through the west side of Milwaukee to form a major artery through the metropolitan area. It runs north to Fond du Lac, along the western shore of Lake Winnebago through Oshkosh, then travels north through Appleton, Wittenberg and Eagle River before leaving the state at Land O’Lakes, where it enters Michigan.
Along US 45 in Wisconsin, the highway passes two key Harley Davidson facilities, one in the City of Milwaukee located off Capitol Drive, and another in the Village of Menomonee Falls, adjacent to Pilgrim Road.
“This is long overdue,” said Tony Sanfelipo, founder of ABATE Wisconsin and an investigator with Milwaukee’s Hupy and Abraham S.C. “For 110 years Harley-Davidson has meant the ‘open road’ to millions of riders, and what better way to salute their contribution to Wisconsin then to name a road in their honor.”
The ceremonial naming of a U.S. highway within a state would require the approval of both houses of the legislature and the governor’s signature. Gov. Scott Walker has already indicated his support of the measure, and Zien says he has already begun talking to legislative leaders.
“I believe Wisconsin’s elected officials appreciate what Harley Davidson has done to promote our state, and the company has demonstrated a great ability to be Wisconsin’s ambassador for tourism and economic growth,” said Zien. “To many people throughout the world, Wisconsin is synonymous with great cheese, the Green Bay Packers and Harley-Davidson. Let’s embrace it.”
“It’s time for Harley-Davidson to join Michigan’s Ford Highway (M-153) and Chrysler Highway (I-375) and show that Wisconsinites appreciate what Harley-Davidson means to our economy, culture and history,” Sanfelipo said.