Length in Iowa: 236 miles/380 kilometers
Northern terminus: Minnesota state line near Chester
Southern terminus: Missouri state line north of Lancaster, MO
Counties: Howard, Chickasaw, Bremer, Black Hawk, Tama, Poweshiek,
Mahaska, Wapello, Davis
Cities along route: Chester, Lime Springs, New Hampton, Denver, Waterloo, Hudson,
Traer, Toledo, Tama, Malcom, Montezuma, New Sharon, Oskaloosa, Eddyville,
NHS: From Minnesota state line to US 20 in Waterloo, and from
IA 163 near Oskaloosa to the Missouri state line. (The segment in between was added to Iowa's Commercial and Industrial Network in 2012, but has yet to be added to the NHS.)
5 miles, bypass to the west of New Hampton (4 miles are shared with US 18)
8 miles, bypass to the north and east of Ottumwa (with IA 163)
32 miles, between the end of the freeway segment south of New Hampton and County Road C66 near the Waterloo city limits.
18 miles, from the western split with IA 163 south of Oskaloosa to 145th Avenue north of Ottumwa (with IA 163). This includes two interchanges in Eddyville.
New Hampton bypass
Segment from Oskaloosa to Ottumwa
7 miles with US 18 west and south of New Hampton
2 miles with US 6 in northern Poweshiek County
27 miles with IA 163, from exit #60 south of Oskaloosa to exit #191 in Ottumwa
2 miles with US 34 in Ottumwa
5 miles with IA 2 west of Bloomfield
Designated: October 16, 1926, from segments of IA 2 (I)
from Des Moines to Oskaloosa, IA 24 (I) from
Oskaloosa to Ottumwa, and IA 13 from Ottumwa
into Missouri. (For the city street alignment in Des Moines, see the Highways of Des Moines page.)
Paving history: At the time of designation, the segment from Des Moines to the Polk/Jasper county line were paved.
1926: Paved from the Marion/Mahaska county line to Oskaloosa and from the Keokuk/Wapello county line to Ottumwa
1928: Paved from Fremont to the Keokuk/Wapello county line
1929: Paved from Otley (unincorporated town between Monroe and Pella) to the Marion/Mahaska county line, from Oskaloosa to Fremont (including a new diagonal alignment between Oskaloosa and Cedar), and from Ottumwa to the Wapello/Davis county line
1930: Paved from the Polk/Jasper county line to Otley and from Bloomfield westward to the split with IA 3 (now IA 2)
1931: Paved from the split with IA 3 to the Missouri state line
1934: Last original segment, from the Wapello/Davis county line to Bloomfield, was paved.
Most of its post-1934 alignment was paved except for the segment between US 6 and the Poweshiek/Mahaska county line:
1935: Paved from US 6 to Malcom
1936: Paved from Malcom to Montezuma
1938: Last segment, from Montezuma to the Poweshiek/Mahaska county line, was paved
Major alignment changes:
February 15, 1935 (approved November 20, 1934): Realigned along IA
59's old route north of Oskaloosa. The old route between Des Moines
and Oskaloosa became US 163 for a few years, and is now
July 28, 1955: Duplex with US 6 moved one mile to the north as part of US 6's realignment west of Brooklyn. The old segment is now County Road F29.
September 24, 1957: Relocated between 4th Street and Court Street in Ottumwa on a new four-lane road (it had previously followed Court Street, Vanness Avenue, and Jefferson Street). This segment was extended across the Des Moines River on the Wapello Street viaduct on September 4, 1964, replacing its old segment along the Main Street/2nd Street one-ways and Jefferson Street.
1962: Realigned between San Marnan Drive in Waterloo and Hudson
July 30, 1965: Realigned between a point south of Ottumwa and present-day County Road J15 north of Bloomfield.
September 2, 1966: US 63 was moved from Madison Avenue south of Church Street in Ottumwa to its present alignment, which includes a four-lane segment with two interchanges south of downtown. (This was an extension of a short four-lane segment of US 34 that was completed in 1963.) Part of old US 63 south of Ottumwa was still maintained as a state highway, unsigned IA 958, until July 1, 2003.
1968: Moved from its old alignment between downtown Waterloo and San Marnan Drive
(Franklin Street, the Park Avenue and 5th Street "reverse" one-ways across
the Cedar River, Washington Street, and 4th Street) to the Mullan Avenue (SB) and 1st Street (NB) one-ways, US 218, and Sergeant Road. (Park Avenue went northbound and 5th Street southbound, even though Park is further west than 5th, hence the "reverse" one-ways. The US 218 multiplex was removed in 1992 after the Rooff Expressway opened; it was replaced with a complicated interchange.)
July 16, 1997: Relocated along IA 137 between
Oskaloosa and Eddyville, and a new expressway segment between Eddyville and Ottumwa, part of which ran followed the former IA 23 (III); this alignment is part of the Des Moines-to-Burlington expressway project. The old route from Oskaloosa to near Fremont became the current IA 23, and the route from that point southward to Ottumwa became an extension of IA 149.
For alignment changes in Ottumwa that are not listed here, see Jeff Morrison's Ottumwa Highway Chronology page
For alignment changes in Waterloo that are not listed here, see Jeff Morrison's Waterloo/Cedar Falls Highway Chronology page.
1991: 7-mile expressway segment completed from a point between Denver and the Bremer/Black Hawk County line southward to County Road C66 north of Waterloo.
November 2, 1994: 4-mile expressway segment from IA 3 to a point south of Denver (including the Denver bypass) completed. (The Denver bypass was two lanes wide at first but was opened to four lanes by the end of 1994 or early 1995.)
July 16, 1997: 10-mile expressway segment between Eddyville and IA 149 north of Ottumwa completed
August 7, 1998: 6-mile expressway segment between IA 163 south of Oskaloosa and
September 11, 2002: New Hampton bypass opens north of US 18.
October 5, 2002: New Hampton bypass segment between US 18/IA 24 and 225th Street (3 miles)
opens, creating Business US 63 along US 63's old route. The southern segment, between 225th
Street and a point south of US 18/IA 346 (5 miles), opened in early November.
July 12, 2004: 3-mile bypass to the east of Eddyville opens to complete a four-lane link between Oskaloosa and Ottumwa. The old segment in Eddyville became the unsigned IA 342 (II).
November 19, 2007: 7-mile freeway bypass of Ottumwa — which was originally scheduled for completion in 2004 but delayed due to budget cuts in late 2001 — opens. The former segment through Ottumwa became Business US 63, while IA 149 was extended to end at US 34.
December 2, 2009: 7½-mile expressway segment opens from the south end of the New Hampton bypass to a point one mile south of IA 188 in Bremer County. This includes a new diagonal alignment west of Frederika; the old segment became the unsigned IA 463.
September 2012: 1½-mile segment north of IA 3 (including a new interchange with IA 3) and 5-mile expressway segment between the point south of IA 188 and County Road C33 opens
October 15, 2012: 2½-mile segment opens south of County Road C33 to complete the expressway segment between Waterloo and New Hampton.
The Eddyville bypass was a sticking point in the Des Moines-to-Burlington
expressway project due to environmental concerns -- the route was supposed to run through the
Eddyville Dunes (which contain several rare plant and animal species) east
of town before an alternate route away from the dunes was approved on June
30, 1998. More environmental concerns in the area, followed by state budget
problems, delayed the opening of the bypass.
Plans to eventually upgrade US 63 from Ottumwa to the Missouri border as a combination four-lane and "Super-2" road, with the four-lane segment running from Ottumwa to Bloomfield, were slashed from the budget in late 2001.
Meanwhile, north of Waterloo, plans have been in place to widen the route from IA 3 northward. While the widening of US 63 between Waterloo and New Hampton was completed in 2012, plans to upgrade US 63 as a "Super-2" highway from New Hampton into Minnesota were put on hold in September 2001.