Iowa Highway 4

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Iowa Highway 4

Iowa 4 highlighted in red
Route information
Maintained by Iowa DOT
Length146.343 mi[1] (235.516 km)
ExistedJanuary 1, 1969 (1969-01-01)–present
History1920–1968: Iowa 17
Major junctions
South end Iowa 44 / CR P28 at Panora
Major intersections
North end MN 4 north of Estherville
CountryUnited States
Highway system
Iowa 3 No. 4

Iowa Highway 4 (Iowa 4) is a state highway which runs from north to south across the state of Iowa. It is 146 miles (235 km) long, beginning at an intersection with Iowa Highway 44 in Panora and ending at the Minnesota state line north of Estherville. It continues north as Minnesota State Highway 4. The route was created on January 1, 1969, when several route designations were changed to match other states' route numbers. Before 1969, Iowa 4 was known as Iowa 17.

Route description

Iowa 4 terminus in Panora

Iowa Highway 4 begins at Panora at Iowa 44. It goes north and is briefly overlapped with Iowa Highway 141 north of Yale. It continues north until Jefferson, where it intersects U.S. Highway 30 (US 30). It goes north, then turns west to enter Churdan, then turns north until meeting Iowa 175. At Iowa 175, the highway turns west, with Iowa 175, passing through Lohrville. It turns north west of Lohrville, and continues north through Rockwell City, where it intersects US 20.

Iowa 4 along Broadway in Emmetsburg

After crossing US 20 at a diamond interchange, Iowa 4 continues north, and intersects Iowa 7. They overlap through Pomeroy, then Iowa 4 goes north through Pocahontas, which is where it intersects Iowa 3. North of Pocahontas, Iowa 4 meets Iowa 10 east of Havelock before passing through Mallard. Iowa 4 then goes north into Emmetsburg, where it meets US 18.

Iowa 4 and US 18 continue west of Emmetsburg together, then Iowa 4 turns north to go through Graettinger. Iowa 4 then turns slightly northwesterly to go through Wallingford, before meeting Iowa 9 in Estherville. Iowa 4 then goes northeasterly out of Estherville before ending at the Minnesota border.


Iowa 4 was created on January 1, 1969, during an effort by the Iowa State Highway Commission (IHC) to renumber Iowa's state highways. The goal of the effort was to reduce confusion among drivers crossing into Iowa from other states by aligning Iowa's route numbers with their adjoining routes in other states.[2] However, most of the route on which Iowa 4 is now applied has been in the primary highway system since it was created in 1920.[3]

At its designation, Primary Road No. 17 was a much longer route than Iowa 4 is today. Primary Road No. 17 began in Albia at Primary Road Nos. 8 (now US 34) and 59 (now Iowa 5) and headed northwest through Knoxville and Des Moines. It continued west and north by passing through Adel and Perry before turning more northerly at Jefferson. It entered Rockwell City, Pocahontas, Emmetsburg, and Estherville. It ended at the intersection of Primary Road Nos. 4 (now US 71) and 9 in Spirit Lake.[3]

In 1926, when the U.S. Highway System was introduced, Iowa 17 was shortened on both ends. A service bulletin from the IHC in late 1925 listed Iowa 17 would begin in Jefferson and follow the same route to Estherville.[4] However, maps published the highway commission in 1927 show the route extended south to Adel ending at US 6.[5] By 1931, it had been extended north to the Minnesota state line along what was then Emmet County Road H (CR H).[6][7]

Ten years later, the southern end of the route shifted west to its current in end Panora, replacing Iowa 150 in its entirety. The sections that were duplicate routes with US 30, US 169, and Iowa 141 were removed, while the standalone section between Grand Junction and Perry became part of Iowa 144.[8] Over the next 28 years, sections of Iowa 17 were straightened and the paving of the route was completed.[9]

As of 2011, construction of a new four-lane expressway for US 20 has caused a portion of that route to be rerouted onto Iowa 4. The expressway begins eastbound at Iowa 4 and extends across the rest of the state to Dubuque.[10]

Major intersections

GuthriePanora0.0000.000 Iowa 44 / CR P28 – Guthrie Center, Dallas Center
township line
5.9819.625 CR F25 – YaleFormer Iowa 271
Richland Township10.24916.494
Iowa 141 east – Jamaica
Southern end of Iowa 141 overlap
Iowa 141 west – Bagley
Northern end of Iowa 141 overlap
GreeneJefferson22.68036.500 Lincoln Highway Heritage Byway (Lincolnway Street)Former US 30
24.00338.629 US 30 – Grand Junction, Scranton
CalhounReading Township44.90772.271

Iowa 175 east / CR P13 north – Farnhamville
Southern end of Iowa 175 overlap
Calhoun Township53.78686.560
Iowa 175 west – Lake City
Northern end of Iowa 175 overlap
Rockwell City62.847101.142 CR D36 (High Street) – Rockwell CityFormer US 20
Twin Lakes Township63.847102.752 CR D36 – Sac CityFormer US 20
67.375108.430 US 20 – Fort Dodge, Sioux City
Twin LakesSherman
township line
69.052111.128 CR N57 – Twin Lakes State ParkFormer Iowa 124
township line

Iowa 7 east / CR D15 west – Manson
Southern end of Iowa 7 overlap
township line

Iowa 7 west / CR C66 east – Fonda
Northern end of Iowa 7 overlap
80.096128.902 CR C56 – PalmerFormer Iowa 315
Pocahontas87.076140.135 Iowa 3 (Elm Street South) – Gilmore City, Cherokee
Iowa 10 west – Laurens
township line
97.124156.306 CR C15 – PloverFormer Iowa 195
Palo AltoEmmetsburg113.258182.271
US 18 east (Main Street) – Algona
Southern end of US 18 overlap
Emmetsburg Township118.027189.946
US 18 west – Spencer
Northern end of US 18 overlap
EmmetEstherville138.133222.304 Iowa 9 (Central Avenue) – Spirit Lake, Armstrong
Ellsworth Township146.344235.518
MN 4 north – Sherburn
Continuation into Minnesota
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi


  1. ^ 2018 Volume of Traffic on the Primary Road System of Iowa (PDF) (Report). Iowa Department of Transportation. July 31, 2019. Retrieved October 1, 2010.
  2. ^ "New Iowa Map Goes on Sale". Telegraph-Herald. Dubuque, Iowa. January 14, 1969. Retrieved October 12, 2011.
  3. ^ a b Iowa State Highway Map (PDF) (Map). Iowa State Highway Commission. 1919. Retrieved October 12, 2011.
  4. ^ "October–November–December 1925". Service Bulletin. Iowa State Highway Commission. XIII (10–11–12): 8. 1925.
  5. ^ Iowa State Highway Map (PDF) (Map). Iowa State Highway Commission. 1927. Retrieved October 12, 2011.
  6. ^ Iowa State Highway Map (PDF) (Map). Iowa State Highway Commission. 1930. Retrieved October 12, 2011.
  7. ^ Iowa State Highway Map (PDF) (Map). Iowa State Highway Commission. 1931. Retrieved October 12, 2011.
  8. ^ Iowa State Highway Map (PDF) (Map). Iowa State Highway Commission. 1941. Retrieved October 12, 2011.
  9. ^ Iowa State Highway Map (PDF) (Map). Iowa State Highway Commission. 1968. Retrieved October 12, 2011.
  10. ^ Transportation Map (PDF) (Map). Iowa Department of Transportation. 2011. Retrieved October 12, 2011.
  11. ^ "Road Network (Portal)" (ESRI shapefile). Ames: Iowa Department of Transportation. April 9, 2021. Retrieved August 19, 2021.

External links