US highways in Iowa
(decommissioned routes are in italics):
For an explanation of the route listings, click here.

US 65
Length in Iowa: 238 miles/383 kilometers
Northern terminus: Minnesota state line north of Northwood
Southern terminus: Missouri state line at Lineville
Entrance photos

Counties: Worth, Cerro Gordo, Franklin, Hardin, Story, Jasper, Polk, Warren, Lucas, Wayne
Cities along route: Northwood, Kensett, Manly, Mason City, Rockwell, Sheffield, Hampton, Iowa Falls, Hubbard, Zearing, Colo, Collins, Bondurant, Altoona, Pleasant Hill, Des Moines, Indianola, Lucas, Humeston, Lineville

NHS: From the IA 117/330 junction to I-80, and the freeway segment between I-80 and US 69 east of Des Moines
Freeway segments: 13½ miles, from I-80 exit 141 near Altoona to US 69 south of Des Moines. This is part of a beltway bypassing Des Moines to the south and east; the southern leg, which was completed in October 2002, is part of a relocated IA 5.
Expressway segments:
  • 15 miles, from I-80 at Altoona to the interchange with IA 117 northwest of Mingo (with IA 330, which continues along the diagonal expressway northeastward to US 30 near Marshalltown)
  • 13 miles (with US 69), from end of freeway segment to Indianola
  • Exit lists:
  • Freeway bypass of Des Moines
  • Multiplexes:
  • 6 miles with IA 175, north and east of Hubbard
  • 15 miles with IA 330, between the junction with IA 117 northwest of Mingo and I-80 in Altoona
  • 1½ miles with I-80, between exits #141 (at the north end of the freeway) and #142 in Altoona
  • 3 miles with IA 5 between US 69 and the Carlisle exit
  • 15 miles with US 69, from the interchange south of Des Moines to about 5 miles south of Indianola (see note below)
  • ½ mile with US 34 in Lucas
  • History
    Designated: October 16, 1926, replacing IA 1 (I) (the Jefferson Highway).
    Paving history: At the time of designation, the segments from Mason City to the Cerro Gordo/Franklin county line and through Polk County were paved.
  • 1928: Paved through Franklin County and from Indianola to Osceola
  • 1929: Paved from Colo to Ames (with US 30), from Ames to the Story/Polk county line, from the Polk/Warren county line to Indianola, and from Osceola to Leon
  • 1930: Paved from the Franklin/Hardin county line to Colo (including a new alignment east and north of Iowa Falls and a straightening north of Zearing, creating IA 175 to serve Hubbard) and from the Decatur/Wayne county line to the split with IA 3 (I) in Wayne County
  • 1938: Paved from the Lucas/Wayne county line to a point south of Humeston
  • 1940: Paved from a point south of Humeston to the junction with IA 3
  • 1948: Paved from IA 2 (formerly 3) to the Missouri state line
  • 1953: Paved from US 34 at Lucas to the Lucas/Wayne county line
  • 1958: Segment from a point north of Liberty Center to Lucas upgraded from bituminous to paved
  • 1959: Segment from IA 205 to a point north of Liberty Center upgraded from bituminous to paved
  • 1968: Last unpaved segment, from US 69/IA 349 south of Indianola to IA 205, upgraded from bituminous to paved
  • Major alignment changes:
  • February 15, 1935 (approved November 20, 1934): Re-routed along the former IA 137 (I) (which, ironically, was IA 65 between 1920 and 1926) through Warren, Lucas, and Wayne counties after the extension of US 69. (The duplex with IA 3 (I) west of Leon was eliminated.)
  • September 11, 1940: Re-routed along a former segment of IA 117 and part of IA 64 between Des Moines and Colo once paving was completed on IA 117; the duplexes with US 30 east of Ames and US 69 between Ames and Des Moines were eliminated.
  • October 19, 2018: Realigned near the junction with IA 117 and IA 330 northwest of Mingo after a new interchange opened where US 65 and IA 330 split.
  • For alignment changes in Des Moines that are not listed here, see the Highways of Des Moines page.
  • Upgrades:
  • December 2, 1971: Expressway segment between Des Moines and Indianola opens (with US 69)
  • 1975: 4-mile expressway segment between I-80 and Bondurant opens
  • December 21, 1994: First phase of freeway, 5 miles between I-80 west of Altoona and IA 163 at Pleasant Hill, opens
  • December 16, 1997: Second segment of freeway, 8½ miles between IA 163 and the existing US 65/69 south of Des Moines, opens
  • September 30, 1999: 6-mile expressway segment from Bondurant to Polk County Road S27 opens
  • November 22, 2002: 5-mile expressway segment from County Road S27 to the IA 117/330 junction opens to complete the diagonal expressway between Des Moines and Marshalltown. This includes a bypass of the Engledinger Marsh in northeastern Polk County, created as a result of environmental concerns; the old segments there were designated, but not signed, as IA 312 (II).
  • Notes
  • Before the first segment of the US 65 freeway east of Des Moines opened, it shared an additional nine miles with US 69 up to the intersection of East 14th Street and Euclid Avenue, after which it shared five and a half miles with US 6 all the way up to I-80 near Adventureland. Between 1995 and late 1997, it shared 7 miles with IA 163 (University Avenue) from Pleasant Hill to downtown Des Moines.
  • The US 65 bypass has no minimum speed limit (which, in Iowa, is usually 40 MPH); this is because with the removal of the old IA 46 bridge in 1998, there are no crossings on the Des Moines River between US 69 and IA 316. In a February 12, 2004, e-mail, Steve Young explained why this was done: "When they took out the bridge on IA 46, the local farmers complained because they had no way to cross the river with their equipment. To please them, the DOT took the minimum speed off of the Bypass. There are signs at the Hubbell/8th Street exit heading north that say that any vehicles running at less than 40 mph must exit, since itís the last exit before I-80." Similar signs are present at the interchange with US 69, as well as a few other interchanges in Iowa where four-lane highways transition from expressway to freeway.

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    © 1997-2018 by Jason Hancock / Last updated October 21, 2018