Interstate 35 in Iowa

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Interstate 35

I-35 highlighted in red
Route information
Maintained by Iowa DOT
Length219.225 mi[1] (352.808 km)
Existedca. September 21, 1958[2]–present
HistoryUnder construction 1958–1975
NHSEntire route
Major junctions
South end I-35 near Lamoni, Iowa
Major intersections
North end I-35 towards Minneapolis-St. Paul
CountryUnited States
Highway system
US 34 Iowa 37

Interstate 35 (I-35) is a north–south Interstate Highway in the United States that runs from Laredo, Texas, to Duluth, Minnesota. In Iowa, the highway runs from south to north through the center of the state, roughly parallel to U.S. Highway 69 (US 69) and US 65. It enters the state near Lamoni from Missouri and continues north through the southern Iowa drift plain. In the Des Moines area, I-35 runs concurrently with I-80, and the two highways bypass Des Moines to the west and north. I-235, the only auxiliary route of I-35, serves the suburbs and downtown Des Moines; it begins and ends at the two interchanges where I-35 and I-80 meet. Near Mason City and Clear Lake, US 18 and Iowa Highway 27 (Iowa 27) overlap with I-35. Shortly after, US 18 splits off to the west in Clear Lake, while Iowa 27 runs with I-35 until they reach the Minnesota state line.

Construction of I-35 in Iowa took place over 17 years. The first 10-mile-long (16 km) section of the route that stretched from Cumming to Urbandale was opened on September 21, 1958. In the next 14 years, new sections of the route opened regularly, only leaving the section between Mason City and US 20 uncompleted. On November 14, 1975, the last 50-mile-long (80 km) section of the route was completed and connected the two noncontiguous sections of I-35.

Route description

Southern Iowa

I-35 enters Iowa at the Missouri state line near the town of Lamoni. An interchange that provides access to the adjacent US 69 and East 100th Street is situated over the state border. The highway travels to the north-northeast for four miles (6.4 km) until it again meets US 69 on the eastern edge of Lamoni. North of Lamoni is a rest area which overlooks the Grand River and provides pedestrian access to Decatur County's Slip Bluff County Park.[3] North of the Grand River, the Interstate straightens to a north–south alignment. Near Decatur City, it intersects Iowa 2 at a diamond interchange. Continuing north, the Interstate slightly eases to the east. Two rural interchanges, for County Road J20 (CR J20) and CR H45/Elk Street, and another in Van Wert for CR J14/East Line Street dot the 21 miles (34 km) separating Decatur City and Osceola.[1]

The Osceola area is served by three interchanges for I-35. The first is a partial cloverleaf interchange with US 34. This junction is so configured because of US 34's proximity to the BNSF Railway line, which carries Amtrak's California Zephyr.[4] The next exit for CR H33/Kansas Street serves a casino and western Osceola. Northwest of Osceola is the western end of Iowa 152, which connects I-35 and US 69 at a narrow point between the two routes. Further north, the small towns of New Virginia, Truro, and St. Charles are each served by an interchange. The Iowa 92 exit just east of Bevington connects I-35 to the larger communities of Winterset and Indianola, to the west and east, respectively. The interchange for Cumming is the last before the Interstate enters the Des Moines metropolitan area.[1]

Central Iowa

Exit 68 along I-35 is the northern end of Iowa 5

I-35 continues north, enters the Des Moines metropolitan area, and meets the Iowa 5 freeway in West Des Moines at exit 68. Further on in West Des Moines, at the West Mixmaster Interchange, I-35 meets I-80 and I-235. I-235 serves downtown Des Moines, while I-35 and I-80 overlap and serve the Des Moines's western and northern suburbs using I-80's exit numbering. On the CliveUrbandale city border, I-35 and I-80 meet US 6/Hickman Road. Further north in Urbandale, they meet Iowa 141/Northwest Urbandale Drive/Southeast Grimes Boulevard and turn eastward. They also meet US 69/Northeast 14th Street north of Des Moines. Between Des Moines and Ankeny, at the East Mixmaster interchange, I-35 and I-80 separate at an interchange where they also meet I-235.

I-35 then turns north to go through Ankeny. It continues north and at Ames meets US 30. Ames is also served by the Interstate 35 Business Loop (I-35 BL). I-35 continues north and meets Iowa 175 near Ellsworth and meets the US 20 freeway near the community of Williams. It continues north until the Wright County line, where it turns northeast. On this northeasterly alignment, I-35 meets Iowa 3.

Northern Iowa

I-35 in Cerro Gordo county near exit 182 about one mile (1.6 km) west of Swaledale

Shortly after meeting Iowa 3, I-35 turns north again and meets both US 18 and Iowa 27 near Clear Lake at exit 190. I-35 overlaps US 18 and Iowa 27 through the Clear Lake area, which is also served with I-35 BL. US 18 separates in Clear Lake at exit 194, and I-35 and Iowa 27, which serves as the designation in Iowa for the Avenue of the Saints, overlap for the rest of the way to the Minnesota border, meeting Iowa 9 near Hanlontown at exit 203.


"Top of Iowa" traveler information center, located off exit 214

The Iowa Department of Transportation (Iowa DOT) operates 37 rest areas and one scenic overlook in 20 locations along its 780 miles (1,260 km) of Interstate Highway. Along I-35, there are five locations that have facilities accessible to each direction of traffic. A sixth is under construction in northern Polk County. Parking areas are divided so passenger automobiles are separated from large trucks. Common among all of the rest stops are separate men's and women's restrooms, payphones with TDD capabilities, weather reporting kiosks, vending machines, and free wireless Internet. Many stations have family restrooms and dump stations for recreational vehicles.[5]

The first rest areas along Iowa's Interstates were built in the 1960s. They were modest facilities; separate buildings housed the restrooms and vending machines. A few rest stops had another building with local tourist information.[6] The newer facilities feature one large building housing as many as 28 more toilets than the older buildings, in addition to all the other common rest area amenities. They also feature artwork by local Iowa artists.[7] Each new rest area is designed around a theme.[8][9] For instance, the facility near Story City celebrates the history of transportation in the state. Story County is the home of Iowa DOT and the location where the historic Lincoln Highway and I-35 intersect.[10]


The first section of I-35, a 10-mile-long (16 km) stretch from Cumming to Urbandale, opened around September 21, 1958. Within five years, the Interstate had grown to 55 miles (89 km), extending from US 34 in Osceola to the eastern interchange with I-80 and I-235. The next two sections of I-35 were the 25 miles (40 km) from Ankeny to US 30 near Ames and the 30 miles (48 km) from Ames to US 20 near Williams.[2]

By 1972, I-35 was completed at the Missouri and Minnesota state lines. In southern Iowa, the last section, from Iowa 2 near Decatur City to the state line, was completed on December 2, 1970. In northern Iowa, the section from Iowa 9 near Hanlontown to the state line opened on December 12, 1972. The last section of I-35 to open, from US 20 to Mason City, opened on November 14, 1975.[2]

Exit list

IowaMissouri state line0.0000.000
I-35 south – Kansas City
Continuation into Missouri
114 US 69 – LamoniExit number follows Missouri numbering; interchange is on the state line
DecaturLamoni4.1786.7244 US 69 – Lamoni, Davis City
Decatur City12.82320.63712 Iowa 2 – Leon, Mount Ayr
Long Creek Township17.94628.88118 CR J20 – Grand River, Garden Grove
Van Wert22.29335.87722 CR J14 – Van WertFormer Iowa 258
ClarkeKnox Township29.36847.26329 CR H45
Osceola33.17753.39333 US 34 – Creston, OsceolaAccess to Clarke County Hospital
34.24755.11534Clay Street – Osceola
Osceola Township36.31558.44336 CR R35Former Iowa 152
WarrenVirginia Township43.85970.58443 CR G76 – New VirginiaFormer Iowa 207
47.42376.32047 CR G64 – TruroFormer Iowa 400
Jackson Township51.95883.61852 CR G50 – St. Marys, St. CharlesFormer Iowa 251
Bevington56.75391.33556 Iowa 92 – Indianola, Winterset
Cumming65.041104.67365 CR G14 – Norwalk, Cumming
PolkWest Des Moines67.858–
Iowa 5 south – Norwalk, Carlisle, West Des Moines
Access to Des Moines International Airport
69.165111.31069Grand Avenue – West Des MoinesFormer Iowa 90; access to DMACC West Campus
70.406113.30770Mills Civic Parkway
I-235 east – West Des Moines, Des Moines
I-235 exit 123
I-80 west – Council Bluffs, Omaha
Southern end of I-80 concurrency; no exit number southbound; I-80 east exit 123B
West Des MoinesClive line73.231117.85472C University Avenue – CliveSigned as exit 124 southbound; access to MercyOne West Des Moines Medical Center
CliveUrbandale line74.443119.804125 US 6 (Hickman Road) – Adel, WaukeeExit numbers follow I-80; access to Living History Farms
Urbandale75.448121.422126Douglas Avenue – Urbandale
76.452123.038127AMeredith DriveNorthbound exit and southbound entrance only; opened October 16, 2020[13]
Iowa 141 west – Grimes
Signed exit 127 southbound
77.806125.217128100th StreetOpened in 2018
78.811126.834129Northwest 86th Street – Camp Dodge
Iowa 28 south (Merle Hay Road) – Saylorville Lake
Former Iowa 401
Saylor Township84.844136.543135 Iowa 415 (2nd Avenue) – Polk City
85.860138.178136 US 69 (E. 14th Street) – Ankeny

I-80 east / I-235 west – Des Moines, Davenport
Northern end of I-80 overlap; northbound signed as exits 137A (I-235) and 137B (I-80), southbound signed as exits 137A (I-80) and 137B (I-235)
89.041143.29889Corporate Woods DriveExit numbers follow I-35
Iowa 160 west (Oralabor Road) – Bondurant
Access to Saylorville Lake and Des Moines Area Community College
92.604149.032921st StreetDiverging diamond interchange[14]
94.678152.36994NE 36th StreetOpened November 20, 2012[15]
Elkhart Township96.788155.76596Polk City, ElkhartFormer Iowa 87
StoryHuxley102.752165.363102 Iowa 210 – Huxley, Maxwell, Slater, Cambridge
I-35 Business Loop north / US 30 – Nevada, Ames, Iowa State University
Signed as exits 111A (east) and 111B (west/north)
I-35 Business Loop south / 13th Street – USDA Veterinary Labs
Milford Township116.570187.601116 CR E29
Howard Township122.989197.932123 CR E18 – Roland, McCallsburgFormer Iowa 221
Story City124.482200.334124Story City
HamiltonScott Township127.974205.954128 CR D65 – Stanhope, Randall
Ellsworth132.955213.970133 Iowa 175 – Jewell, Eldora
Rose Grove Township139.018223.728139 CR D41 / CR R61 – Kamrar
142.498229.328142 US 20 – Waterloo, Fort DodgeSigned as exits 142A (east) and 142B (west)
Williams Township144.038231.807144 CR D25 – Williams, Blairsburg, Ellsworth Community CollegeFormer US 20
147.046236.648147 CR D20 – Iowa Falls, Alden
WrightVernon Township151.369243.605151 CR R75 – Woolstock
FranklinMorgan Township159.862257.273159 CR C47 – DowsFormer Iowa 72
Scott Township165.670266.620165 Iowa 3 – Clarion, HamptonAccess to Franklin General Hospital
Marion Township170.114273.772170 CR C25 – Alexander
Richland Township176.301283.729176 CR C13 – Sheffield, Belmond
Cerro GordoPleasant Valley Township179.924289.560180 CR B65 – Thornton
182.471293.659182 CR B60 – Rockwell, Swaledale
Mount Vernon Township188.518303.390188 CR B43 – Burchinal
Lake Township190.749–

US 18 east / Iowa 27 south (Avenue of the Saints) – Charles City, Mason City
Southern end of US 18/Iowa 27 overlap
Clear Lake193.194310.916193
I-35 Business Loop north / CR B35 – Clear Lake, Mason City

US 18 west / I-35 Business Loop south / Iowa 122 east – Mason City, Clear Lake
Northern end of US 18 overlap; access to MercyOne North Iowa Medical Center, Mason City Municipal Airport, and North Iowa Area Community College
Lincoln Township197.753318.253197 CR B20 – Mason City
WorthDanville Township203.675327.783203 Iowa 9 – Manly, Forest City
Brookfield Township208.691335.856208 CR A38 – Joice, Kensett
Hartland Township214.712345.545214 CR 105 – Lake Mills, NorthwoodFormer Iowa 105

I-35 north (Avenue of the Saints) / Iowa 27 ends – Minneapolis, St. Paul
Northern end of Iowa 27 (and overlap); continuation into Minnesota
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

See also


  1. ^ a b c 2012 Volume of Traffic on the Primary Road System of Iowa (PDF) (Report). Iowa Department of Transportation. January 1, 2012. Retrieved October 30, 2013.
  2. ^ a b c Completion Map of Interstate System (PDF) (Map). Iowa Department of Transportation. January 1, 1982. Archived from the original (PDF) on September 29, 2011. Retrieved January 11, 2011.
  3. ^ "Natural Environment" (PDF). near Lamoni: Iowa Department of Transportation. November 9, 2006. Retrieved December 28, 2013.
  4. ^ "Passenger Rail in Iowa". Iowa Department of Transportation. Retrieved December 28, 2013.
  5. ^ Office of Maintenance. "Iowa Interstate Rest Areas". Iowa Department of Transportation. Retrieved August 10, 2012.
  6. ^ Mastellar, Mark (2003). "Iowa's New Interstate Rest Areas" (PDF). Center of Transportation Research and Education. p. 2. Archived from the original (PDF) on May 3, 2013. Retrieved October 14, 2012.
  7. ^ Petroski, William (July 30, 1999). "State-of-the-Art Rest Stop to Make Its Debut; New Facility Has Welcome Center, Bank of Vending Machines". The Des Moines Register. p. 8 (Metro).
  8. ^ Office of Maintenance. "Iowa Interstate Rest Area Posters". Iowa Department of Transportation. Retrieved August 10, 2012.
  9. ^ Buddenberg, Roger (September 5, 2009). "I-80 drivers can still rest easy". Omaha World-Herald. Archived from the original on October 23, 2012. Retrieved October 23, 2012.
  10. ^ "Celebration of Transportation" (PDF). near Story City, Iowa: Iowa Department of Transportation. Retrieved December 27, 2013.
  11. ^ "Road Network (Portal)" (ESRI shapefile). Ames: Iowa Department of Transportation. April 9, 2021. Retrieved April 19, 2021.
  12. ^ Transportation Map (PDF) (Map). Iowa Department of Transportation. 2011. Retrieved November 16, 2011.
  13. ^ Norvell, Kim (October 13, 2020). "As long-awaited Highway 141 flyover bridge, other I-35/80 improvements open, Urbandale looks for building boom". The Des Moines Register. Retrieved November 12, 2020.
  14. ^ Ta, Linh (December 5, 2015). "Diverging diamond interchange planned in Ankeny". The Des Moines Register. Retrieved March 14, 2016.
  15. ^ VerHelst, Megan (November 15, 2012). "Ankeny's 36th Street Interchange Slated to Open Tuesday". Ankeny Patch. Ankeny, Iowa. Retrieved November 21, 2012.

External links

Interstate 35
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