These designer plates honor the state's Sesquicentennial and were first issued in 1996, but the state Department of Transportation said the anniversary plates have become hard to read.
Transportation officials plan to replace the license plates that commemorate Wisconsin's 150th anniversary because the plate's red lettering is disappearing.
The plates were first issued in 1996 to mark the state's Sesquicentennial in 1998. But the state Department of Transportation said the anniversary plates have become hard to read.
Department officials also say the plates have served their purpose and have been around almost twice as long as standard plates, which are typically replaced every seven to nine years.
"It certainly wasn't a decision we took lightly," said Mitch Warren, director of the Division of Motor Vehicle's Bureau of Vehicle Services. "It's a distinctive part of the motoring life here in Wisconsin."
The special plates, 160,000 of which are still on the road, will be replaced with regular license plates. The DOT said it will also replace 135,000 regular red-lettered plates with standard black-lettered plates.
Warren said motorists with the older plates won't be required to do anything special. They will be mailed their replacement plates and stickers after paying their usual license plate registration fee.
The replacement effort, which began Tuesday, has the support of the Wisconsin Chiefs of Police Association and the Division of State Patrol, which say the faded plates are difficult for law enforcement to read.
Last year, the state renewed plates for about 4.5 million motor vehicles and light trucks. The DOT hoped to complete the replacement process by September 2014.