U.S. Route 218

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U.S. Route 218

US 218 highlighted in red
Route information
Auxiliary route of US 18
Length321.734 mi (517.781 km)
  • Iowa: 274.995 mi (442.562 km)
  • Minn: 46.739 mi (75.219 km)
Major junctions
South end US 136 at Keokuk, IA
Major intersections
North end I-35 / US 14 at Owatonna, MN
CountryUnited States
Highway system
Iowa 212IA Iowa 220
MN 217MN MN 219

U.S. Highway 218 (US 218) is an original United States Highway that was created in 1926. Although technically a spur of US 18, US 218 neither begins nor ends at US 18, but overlaps US 18 for eight miles (13 km) near Charles City, Iowa. US 218 begins at U.S. 136 in downtown Keokuk and ends 319 miles (513 km) away at Interstate 35 (I-35) and US 14 at Owatonna, Minnesota. A large portion of US 218 in Iowa is part of the Avenue of the Saints, which connects St. Louis, Missouri, and Saint Paul, Minnesota.

Route description


US 218 begins in downtown Keokuk at an intersection with US 136 and US 61 Business (US 61 Bus.) at Main and 7th streets. The highway heads north along Main Street with US 61 Bus. As they exit Keokuk, the business route ends at an intersection with the mainline US 61, which bypasses the city. US 218 and US 61 head north concurrently for a few miles before US 218 exits to the northwest; US 61 follows the Mississippi River north towards Fort Madison. US 218 travels northwesterly for almost ten miles (16 km) along a two-lane road. As it approaches Donnellson, it meets up with and joins Iowa Highway 27 (Iowa 27), the Avenue of the Saints.

The two highways head north on a four-lane expressway. In Donnellson, they meet Iowa 2 at a diamond interchange. Further north, and east of Houghton, they intersect Iowa 16 at an at-grade intersection. Prior to crossing the Skunk River, the roadway angles to the northeast and a freeway bypass of Mount Pleasant begins. From the east, the highways are joined by US 34 and Iowa 163. The four highways loop around the city's eastern side and begin traversing the northern side when US 34 and Iowa 163 split away to continue bypassing Mount Pleasant; US 218 and Iowa 27 continue north.


US 218 enters the state at Lyle, in Mower County. It follows along the east side of the Iowa, Chicago, and Eastern Railroad line as it continues northward through farm fields. Southeast of Austin, US 218 angles northeastward to bypass the city, its former route following County Road 45 (CR 45) into town.[1]

US 218 passes by the Austin Municipal Airport just before its interchange with I-90. The highway runs concurrently with I-90 for nearly three miles (4.8 km) through northern Austin. When US 218 departs from the Interstate and turns back north, it becomes a four-lane divided highway for a short distance. After its junction with State Highway 251 (MN 251), the highway angles north-northwestward again following the IC&E rail line, this time on the west side of the tracks.[1]

The highway enters Dodge County for less than a mile, then reaches Steele County, Blooming Prairie, and an eight-block-long concurrency with MN 30. It continues north-northwesterly after leaving Blooming Prairie, traveling through predominantly agricultural scenery. It passes by Oak Glen Lake before going through the unincorporated community of Bixby.

After passing through the unincorporated community of Pratt, US 218 meets US 14 at a folded diamond interchange. US 218 runs westward concurrently with US 14, while its historic route through downtown Owatonna continues ahead as CR 48. After an interchange with CR 45 (former US 65), US 14/US 218 passes by Kaplan's Woods Park and reaches I-35, where US 218 ends.

Legally, the Minnesota section of US 218 is defined as Route 40 in Minnesota Statutes § 161.114(2).[2]


In 1913, work on the road that is now US 218 was begun. At this time it was called the Red Ball Route. It was called this because the original route was marked with poles which had red balls, six inches (150 mm) in diameter, mounted on each side. In 1920, the Minnesota portion of the route was designated as Constitutional Route 40, as part of the Babcock Amendment that established the Minnesota trunk highway system.

In Iowa, US 218 was extended from its previous southern terminus, at its intersection with US 30 in Benton County, in 1934 when US 161 was split and renamed. The former U.S. 161 had extended from Dubuque, through Cedar Rapids, to Keokuk. After the split, the section of former US 161 from Dubuque to Cedar Rapids extended US 151 south, and the section of US 30 from the former terminus of US 218 to its intersection with the former US 161 in Cedar Rapids, along with the section of former US 161 from Cedar Rapids to Keokuk, extended US 218 south.

In 1965, US 218 was rerouted along bypasses of Austin, Minnesota and Owatonna, Minnesota,[3][4] the latter following a route that would later become the US 14 bypass of that city as well.


The Iowa Department of Transportation has plans to rebuild the AOTS interchange with I-80 and I-380/US 218/Iowa 27 in Coralville. As the Eastern Iowa region has grown, traffic has increased, and the current arrangement of the interchange with its cloverleaf ramps has been deemed unsafe. The Iowa DOT proposes to rebuilt the interchange as a turbine interchange, which will eliminate weaving. The project is scheduled to begin in 2020.[5]

Major intersections


US 136 west / US 61 Bus. south (7th Street) / US 136 east (Main Street)
Southern end of US 61 Bus. overlap

US 61 south / US 61 Bus. ends
Southern end of US 61 overlap; northern end of US 61 Bus.
Montrose Township9.13214.697
US 61 north
Northern end of US 61 overlap
Charleston Township18.74630.16918

Iowa 27 south – St. Louis
Southern end of Iowa 27 overlap; exit 10 on Iowa 27/Ave. of the Saints
Donnellson20.67333.27019 Iowa 2 – Donnellson, Fort Madison
Marion Township30.76049.503 Iowa 16
HenryMount Pleasant41.66367.05040255th Street – Mount Pleasant

US 34 east / US 218 Bus. / Iowa 163 east – Mount Pleasant, Burlington
Southern end of US 34 overlap; signed as exits 42A (east) and 42B (west)

US 218 Bus. (Iowa 438) to US 34 west / Iowa 163 west – Mount Pleasant, Ottumwa
Northern end of US 34 overlap; US 218 Bus. only signed southbound
Olds55.44789.233 Iowa 78
WashingtonOregon Township67.581108.76166 Iowa 92 – Washington, Columbus JunctionAlso serves Ainsworth and Cotter
70.960114.19970 CR G36
Riverside81.072130.47380 Iowa 22 – Kalona, Lone Tree
JohnsonLiberty Township85.534137.65485Hills
West Lucas Township89.708144.37189Riverside Drive, Airport
Iowa City91.318146.96291 Iowa 1 – Iowa City, Kalona
93.561150.57293Melrose Avenue – University Heights
I-80 – Iowa City, Davenport, Des Moines

I-380 begins
Northbound exit numbers follow mileage of US 218; signed as exits 97A (eastbound) and 97B (westbound); southbound exit numbers follow mileage of I-380, signed as exits 0A (eastbound) and 0B (westbound)
CoralvilleNorth Liberty line98.974159.2832Forevergreen Road
North Liberty100.980162.5124 CR F28 – north Liberty
Shueyville107.791173.47310 CR F12 – Swisher, Shueyville
LinnCedar Rapids110.750178.23513Wright Brothers Boulevard SW – Ely, The Eastern Iowa AirportFormer Iowa 84

I-380 north / US 30 east / US 151 north / Iowa 27 north
Northern end of I-380 and Iowa 27 overlaps; southern end of US 30 and US 151 overlaps
113.596182.815252A6th Street SWExit numbers follow US 30
115.780186.330250Edgewood Road SW

US 151 south / US 151 Bus. (Williams Boulevard SW)
Northern end of US 151 overlap
Clinton Township119.130–
246 Iowa 100 / 16th Avenue / 80th Street – FairfaxInterchange under reconstruction to connect to Iowa 100
BentonEldorado Township135.239217.646
US 30 west
End of US 30 overlap
Iowa 150 north
Monroe Township158.602255.245
Iowa 8 west
Black HawkWaterloo179.468288.82671

I-380 south / US 20 / Iowa 27 – Cedar Falls, Cedar Rapids, Dubuque
Southern end of I-380 overlap; signed as exits 71A (eastbound) and 71B (westbound); exit numbers follow I-380
180.535290.54372 San Marnan DriveAccess to Covenant Medical Center
I-380 ends
Northern end of I-380; exit numbers follow US 218
US 63 north – Downtown Riverfront, Young Arena, Sullivan Brothers Convention Center
No northbound entrance; signed as exit 180 southbound; access to Allen Hospital
US 63 south / University Avenue
No southbound entrance; signed as exit 181 southbound
182Fletcher Avenue, Ansborough Avenue
185.659298.789184Greenhill Road
187.228301.314185Broadway Street, Airport
Cedar Falls189.067304.274

Iowa 27 south / Iowa 57 west / Iowa 58 south – Cedar Falls, Hudson, UNI, UNI-Dome
Southern end of Iowa 27 overlap
190.719306.932189Lone Tree Road
Washington Township193.565311.513192 CR C57 (W. Cedar–Wapsi Road)Interchange opened October 2016
BremerJanesville196.765316.663195 CR C50 – Janesville
US 218 Bus. – Waverly
Access to Waverly Health Center
204.757329.524203 Iowa 3 – Waverly, Shell Rock
US 218 Bus. – Waverly Airport
Plainfield214.012344.419212 Iowa 188 – Plainfield
ChickasawNashua221.316356.174220 Iowa 346 / CR B60 – Nashua
FloydCharles City230.538371.015218

US 18 east / US 218 Bus. / CR T64 – Charles City, New Hampton
Southern end of US 18 overlap; exit numbers follow US 18
234.114376.770214 Iowa 14 – Charles City, Greene
US 218 Bus. / CR B35 – Charles City

US 18 west / Iowa 27 north
Northern end of US 18 and Iowa 27 overlaps
MitchellBurr Oak Township249.987402.315
Iowa 9 east
Southern end of Iowa 9 overlap
Iowa 9 west
Northern end of Iowa 9 overlap
St. Ansgar265.754427.690 CR 105
IowaMinnesota state line
I-90 east / CSAH 61 – La Crosse
Eastern end of I-90 overlap
12.47820.081180AOakland PlaceWestbound exit and eastbound entrance
13.07121.03617911th Drive NEInterchange
13.72522.088178B CR 16 (6th Street NE)Interchange
14.34723.089178A CR 45 (4th Street NW)Interchange
I-90 west – Albert Lea
Western end of I-90 overlap
Lansing Township20.63333.206
MN 251 west – Hollandale
DodgeNo major intersections
SteeleBlooming Prairie28.36545.649
MN 30 east – Hayfield
Southern end of MN 30 overlap
MN 30 west – Ellendale
Northern end of MN 30 overlap
Owatonna Township43.71770.356
US 14 east / CSAH 48 – Rochester
Eastern end of US 14 overlap
45.53973.288 CSAH 45Former US 65
I-35 / US 14 west – Minneapolis, St. Paul, Albert Lea, Waseca
Western end of US 14 overlap; I-35 exit 40
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

Related routes

Mount Pleasant business route

Business plate.svg

U.S. Highway 218 Business

LocationMount Pleasant

U.S. Highway 218 Business (US 218 Bus.) was designated along a former routing of US 218 through Mount Pleasant, the northernmost 0.7 miles (1.1 km) are officially known as Iowa 438. The routing was created as a result of construction of the Avenue of the Saints corridor through Iowa. The new Avenue of the Saints corridor took US 218/Iowa 27 and US 34 around the eastern and northern edges of Mount Pleasant. The Iowa 438 section of US 218 Bus. serves as a connector from southbound US 218/Iowa 27 to westbound US 34.

Waverly business route

Business plate.svg

U.S. Highway 218 Business

Length6.6 mi (10.6 km)
ExistedDecember 1998–present

US 218 Business (US 218 Bus.) in Waverly was designated December 2, 1998, on the old segment of US 218 after it was routed around Waverly. The business route spans 6.6 miles (10.6 km). It intersects Iowa 3 in downtown Waverly and the two routes run concurrently for about one mile (1.6 km). South of Iowa 3, US 218 Bus. is officially known as Iowa 116. US 218 Bus. begins at exit 198 on US 218/Iowa 27 south of Waverly and ends at exit 205 on US 218/Iowa 27.

Charles City business route

Business plate.svg

U.S. Highway 218 Business

LocationCharles City

US 218 Business (US 218 Bus.) in Charles City was designated along the old alignment of US 218 in 2000 after the construction of the Avenue of the Saints corridor created a bypass around Charles City. Upon its designation, the route was officially known by two Iowa state highways: Iowa 337 and Iowa 162. Iowa 337 was turned over to local jurisdictions in 2001 and Iowa 162 was turned over in 2006 after US 18 was relocated through Charles City.

Browse numbered routes
Iowa 415Iowa 438 Iowa 450
Iowa 110Iowa 116 Iowa 117


  1. ^ a b Minnesota Department of Transportation (2010). General Highway Map of Mower County, Minnesota (PDF) (Map). 1:126,720. St. Paul: Minnesota Department of Transportation. Archived from the original (PDF) on September 10, 2012. Retrieved December 29, 2010.
  2. ^ Minnesota Codified Laws
  3. ^ Minnesota Department of Highways (1965). Official Road Map Minnesota (Map). 1:792,000. St. Paul: Minnesota Department of Highways. §§ J20–K21. OCLC 5673160, 80405240, 663975081. Retrieved January 25, 2010 – via Minnesota Digital Library.
  4. ^ Minnesota Department of Highways (1966). Official Road Map Minnesota (Map). 1:792,000. St. Paul: Minnesota Department of Highways. §§ J20–K21. OCLC 5673160, 80405240, 243533967. Retrieved January 25, 2010 – via Minnesota Digital Library.
  5. ^ Kalk, Jordee. "Construction timeline for I-380/80 Interchange". Cedar Rapids, Iowa: KCRG-TV.
  6. ^ 2009 Volume of Traffic on the Primary Road System of Iowa (PDF) (Report). Iowa Department of Transportation. January 1, 2009. Retrieved November 20, 2010.
  7. ^ Minnesota Department of Transportation (August 23, 2010). "Trunk Highway Log Point Listing – Construction District 6" (PDF). Minnesota Department of Transportation. Archived from the original (PDF) on December 4, 2008. Retrieved November 21, 2010.
  8. ^ Iowa Department of Transportation (2010). State of Iowa Transportation Map (PDF) (Map). Ames: Iowa Department of Transportation. Retrieved November 21, 2010.

External links