WTBA's beginnings are linked to a number of contractor-related groups that organized in 1902. They worked to promote highway building in Wisconsin at a time when the automobile was increasingly becoming an important and popular means of transportation. In 1939, after the consolidation of a number of these organizations, WTBA emerged as the primary trade association representing the interests of the highway construction industry. A year later in 1940, WTBA moved from Milwaukee to Madison, Wisconsin's capital, to be closer to legislative decision-makers.
The Association expanded its activities from solely road-building activities to working on issues such as highway industry safety, and balancing environmental protection with mobility for travelers and products.
Today, WTBA has more than 280 member companies, including contractors, consultants, and a broad range of other firms that supply diverse products and services to the transportation construction community.