What is on these pages?

Active state highways are included in white tables with green headers above each section. Highway markers are also included to the left of the listings; they do not appear if the route is not signed (e.g., much of the 900 series).

Active route listings

Length (in Iowa): How long the route is in miles and kilometers. (To convert other distances, multiply the number of miles by 1.609 to get the distance in kilometers.) For routes less than ten miles long, distances are given in tenths; otherwise, they are rounded to the nearest whole mile or kilometer.
Western/northern terminus: Where the highway begins (or enters Iowa) from the west or north
Eastern/southern terminus: Where the highway ends (or enters Iowa) from the east or south
Neighboring states' highway pages are linked if the highway crosses into another state; for some sites, you may have to scroll down to find the specific highway number. For spur routes that lead from another state-maintained highway into a a town or a state park, I also include the county road that the route continues as from its endpoint.
Terminus photos: Where applicable, these are links to pages that contain photos of highway termini, hosted on Jeff Morrison's site.
Entrance photos: These are links to pages on Jeff Morrison's site that are similar to terminus photos, but show the points where Interstate and US highways enter Iowa.

Counties: A list of the counties, from north to south or west to east, that the route goes through. Links to the Iowa DOT's legal description for the route in that county are provided if available.
Cities along route: A list of incorporated cities along the route. I only include a city on this list if the road runs through or along the city limits; however, I do allow for a little leeway if a freeway or expressway passes the city. (In the case of a freeway, though, the city must be served by its own interchange.) For Interstates, cities listed (1) must be within two miles of the Interstate, and (2) must be served by its own exit(s).
(Note: For the shorter routes, cities are not listed if there is only one of them on the route and it is one of the endpoints; they are mentioned under "length" instead.)

NHS: Which segments of the route are parts of the National Highway System (listed for US and appropriate state highways; Interstate highways are part of the system by default). More information, including maps of each state, can be found here. Most of the NHS in Iowa, except for most segments through urban areas, coincides with the state's Commercial and Industrial Network of highways adopted in 1988.
Freeway segments: The length and starting and ending points of any freeway segments. To qualify, the road must be controlled-access with interchanges and no at-grade intersections.
Expressway segments: The length and starting and ending points of any expressway segments. To qualify, the road must be a divided highway that is at least five miles long (or part of a multiplex or a future expressway corridor), but they can have at-grade intersections as well as interchanges. Short segments of divided highways in cities are not included.
Exit lists: Links to any online lists of exits for that highway, where appropriate.
Multiplexes: Any segments where two or more routes share the same road. (Concurrencies with business routes are not included unless the business route designation is tied to an unsigned state highway number.)
(Note: Freeway and expressway segments are included for all US highways; they are only included with state highways where appropriate. They are also not included with Interstates, for obvious reasons.)

Designated: The approximate date when that segment of highway was designated.
Paving history: Notes which segments were paved at designation and which segments, by year, were upgraded from gravel, dirt, or bituminous ("dustless" gravel) surfaces to paved surfaces. Alignment changes resulting from pavings are listed here.
Major alignment changes: A list of significant relocations for that highway. An alignment change is included if it meets one of the following criteria:
  • It is more than 10 miles long
  • It was moved more than one mile from its old alignment
  • It replaced another state highway, or another state highway replaced the old segment
  • It was extended or truncated by more than 3 miles
  • Many early alignment changes were done as newer paved roads were replacing older gravel and dirt roads. Alignment changes resulting from four-lane highways are listed under "Upgrades" below.
    Upgrades: A list of completion dates of freeway and expressway segments, where appropriate. Information is based mostly on (1) maps and (2) various newspaper articles.
    Other noteworthy information can be found in this section.

    Where applicable, all known branches of the route (past and present, including suffixed and business routes) are listed at the end of the individual route listings. Information on these is based on maps and personal observations.

    Decommissioned routes are listed in gray tables with dark gray cells and italicized headings. Some of them appear with Roman numerals after them, e.g., IA 27 (II); they refer to the specific incarnation of that route (in this case, the second version of IA 27). Each incarnation of a highway has its own route listing. No Roman numerals are listed in route listings if it is referring to the current or only incarnation of a highway.

    Decommissioned route listings

    Designated: The approximate date the route was designated
    Decommissioned: The approximate date when the route was no longer signed, or no longer appeared on maps
    Original western/northern terminus: Where the route began
    Original eastern/southern terminus: Where the route ended. Changes to either terminus along the way are also noted.
    Counties: A list of counties the route went through. Links to DOT legal descriptions are provided where available.
    Paving history: Like the active route listings, the dates when each segment of the route was paved are also listed here.
    Major alignment changes: If there were any significant changes to the route that were not extensions or truncations, they are listed here.
    Replaced by: A list of roads that replaced it.
    Former terminus photos: Links to pages that show the historical termini as they look today. Terminus photo links are only included if the road was decommissioned after 1981, or if they appeared on the 1981 state transportation map (which showed the status of highways as of October 1980). If the link is shown as "Terminus photos" (without the "former"), then the link goes to a page with photos of the road when it was still an active highway.

    Dates of designation, decommissioning, and opening are my best estimates based on maps, newspaper articles, and other sources that contributors and I have seen. In most cases, exact dates are listed if:

    When maps and route logs are consulted, if something changes between one year's map or log and the next year's, then I list the change as having occurred in the previous year (i.e., if the 1971 map had something that the 1970 map didn't have, the change happened in 1970).

    Some unfamiliar terms and abbreviations may appear in the listings; the misc.transport.road FAQ has sections that define many of them. I use state postal abbreviations to refer to state highways: IA=Iowa, IL=Illinois, MN=Minnesota, MO=Missouri, NE=Nebraska, SD=South Dakota, and WI=Wisconsin.

    Sources of information:

    In addition, the Iowa DOT's current highway improvement plan has been a major source in finding out information about the state's expressway construction projects.

    Highway shield images on this site were created with David Kendrick's Shields Up program; they were modified, using Windows Paint and Adobe PhotoDeluxe, and compared to photos of actual highway signs to make them look realistic.

    The maps on the local highway pages were created with Greenstreet Draw 3.5 after putting together a composite of street maps from the U.S. Census Bureau's American FactFinder maps. I used Draw 3.5 for all lines (including roads) and text, another photo editing program to shrink the images, and Windows Paint to paste the shields (which are based on the ones I use for the exit lists) onto the map.

    I am not guaranteeing that this information is 100% accurate. If anyone has any corrections to the data on this site, please let me know.

    About the author

    I was born in Iowa City and have lived my whole life in Iowa. I grew up in Davenport and graduated from North High School in 1994; from there I spent two years at Scott Community College before transferring to the University of Iowa, where I graduated with a B.A. in Geography in December of 1999. I moved to Cedar Rapids in mid-2000 and spent two years there before moving to Des Moines in August 2002. I currently live in Ankeny and work in the technical support business, which keeps me busy for at least eight hours each day.

    During the fall of 1997 I started putting a highway log together and did extensive research on past highway alignments through old road maps at the U of I's Main Library. I launched the Iowa Highways Page on January 10, 1998, as part of Jason's Pad on the Web. Then came Freeway Junctions of the Heartland and the Photo Gallery, which has grown in leaps and bounds since I got my own car in the fall of 1998. As time passed I phased out my non-highway-related pages to focus on the highway content.

    You can see which Iowa counties I have visited here, and which highways I have clinched here.

    Back to the Iowa Highways Page

    © 1997-2017 by Jason Hancock / Last updated January 31, 2017