Interstate 35 in Iowa

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Interstate 35 marker

Interstate 35
I-35 roughly divides Iowa into east and west halves
Iowa's Interstate Highways with I-35 highlighted in red.
Route information
Maintained by Iowa DOT
Length: 219.225 mi[2] (352.808 km)
Existed: ca. September 21, 1958[1] – present
History: Under construction 1958–1975
Major junctions
South end: I-35 near Lamoni, Iowa
North end: I-35 towards Minneapolis-St. Paul
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 is overlapped by I-80 and the two routes 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 non-contiguous sections of I-35.

Route description[edit]

Southern Iowa[edit]

I-35 enters Iowa at the Missouri state line near Lamoni. An interchange that provides access to the adjacent US 69 is situated over the state line. The highway travels to the north-northeast for four miles (6.4 km) until it again meets US 69 on Lamoni's eastern edge. 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 Highway 2 (Iowa 2) at a diamond interchange. Continuing north, the road slightly eases to the east. Two rural interchanges and another in Van Wert dot the 21 miles (34 km) separating Decatur City and Osceola.[2]

The Osceola area is served by three interchanges. 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 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.[2]

Central Iowa[edit]

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

It continues north, enters the Des Moines metropolitan area and meets the Iowa Highway 5 freeway at West Des Moines. Further on in West Des Moines, at the West Mixmaster Interchange, I-35 meets Interstate 80 and Interstate 235. I-235 serves downtown Des Moines, while I-35 and I-80 overlap and serve the western and northern Des Moines suburbs. On the Clive/Urbandale border, I-35 and I-80 meet U.S. Highway 6. Further north in Urbandale, they meet Iowa Highway 141 and turn eastward. They also meet U.S. Highway 69 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.

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

Northern Iowa[edit]

Interstate 35 in Cerro Gordo county, near Exit 182. Swaledale is about one mile to the east.

Shortly after meeting Iowa Highway 3, Interstate 35 turns north again and meets U.S. Highway 18 and Iowa Highway 27 near Clear Lake. I-35 overlaps U.S. 18 and Iowa Highway 27 through the Clear Lake area, which is also served with Business Loop 35. U.S. 18 separates in Clear Lake 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 Highway 9 near Hanlontown.


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

The 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 the Iowa Department of Transportation 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 U.S. Route 34 (US 34) Osceola to the eastern interchange with I-80 and I-235. The next two sections of I-35, 25 miles (40 km) from Ankeny to US 30 near Ames and 30 miles (48 km) from Ames to US 20 near Williams.[1]

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.[1]

Exit list[edit]

County Location mi[2] km Exit[11] Destinations Notes
Missouri–Iowa state line 0.000 0.000 I-35 south – Kansas City Continuation into Missouri
114 US 69 – Lamoni Exit number follows Missouri numbering; interchange is on the state line
Decatur Lamoni 4.169 6.709 4 US 69 – Lamoni, Davis City
Decatur City 12.804 20.606 12 Iowa 2 – Leon, Mount Ayr
Long Creek Township 17.928 28.852 18 CR J20 – Grand River, Garden Grove
Van Wert 22.272 35.843 22 CR J14 – Van Wert
Clarke Knox Township 29.348 47.231 29 CR H45
Osceola 33.165 53.374 33 US 34 – Creston, Osceola
34.625 55.724 34 Clay Street – Osceola
Osceola Township 36.307 58.430 36 CR R35 Formerly Iowa 152
Warren Virginia Township 43.850 70.570 43 CR G76 – New Virginia
47.414 76.305 47 CR G64 – Truro
Jackson Township 51.949 83.604 52 CR G50 – St. Marys, St. Charles
Bevington 56.759 91.345 56 Iowa 92 – Indianola, Winterset
Cumming 65.045 104.680 65 CR G14 – Norwalk, Cumming
Polk West Des Moines 68.006 109.445 68 Iowa 5 south – Des Moines International Airport, West Des Moines, Norwalk
69.155 111.294 69 Grand Avenue – West Des Moines, DMACC West Campus
70.398 113.295 70 Mills Civic Parkway
72.680 116.967 72A I-235 east – West Des Moines, Des Moines I-235 exits 123A-B
72B I-80 west – Council Bluffs, Omaha Southern end of I-80 overlap; no exit number southbound; I-80 east exit 123B
72.734 117.054 72C University Avenue – Clive Signed as exit 124 southbound; serves Iowa Methodist Medical Center
Clive 74.245 119.486 125 US 6 (Hickman Road) – Adel Exit numbers follow I-80
Urbandale 75.252 121.106 126 Douglas Avenue – Urbandale
Meredith Drive Future half diamond interchange[12]
76.649 123.355 127 Iowa 141 west – Urbandale, Grimes
100th Street Future diamond interchange[12]
78.625 126.535 129 Northwest 86th Street – Camp Dodge
80.633 129.766 131 Iowa 28 south (Merle Hay Road) – Saylorville Lake
Saylor Township 84.424 135.867 135 Iowa 415 (2nd Avenue) – Polk City
85.672 137.876 136 US 69 (East 14th Street) – Ankeny
Ankeny 86.963 139.953 137 I-80 east / I-235 west – Des Moines, Davenport Northern end of I-80 overlap; NB signed as exit 137A (I-235), SB signed as exits 137A (I-80) and 137B (I-235), no exit number NB to I-80; left exits SB, left entrances; I-80 exit 137B
88.922 143.106 89 Corporate Woods Drive Exit numbers follow I-35
90.484 145.620 90 Iowa 160 west (Oralabor Road) – Bondurant
92.486 148.842 92 1st Street Future diverging diamond interchange[13]
94.856 152.656 94 NE 36th Street Opened November 20, 2012[14]
Elkhart Township 97.474 156.869 96 Polk City, Elkhart
Story Huxley 103.437 166.466 102 Iowa 210 – Huxley, Maxwell, Slater, Cambridge
Ames 112.401 180.892 111 I-35 Business Loop north / US 30 – Nevada, Ames, Iowa State University Signed as exits 111A (east) and 111B (west/north)
114.255 183.876 113 I-35 Business Loop south / 13th Street – USDA Veterinary Labs
Milford Township 117.255 188.704 116 CR E29
Howard Township 123.672 199.031 123 CR E18 – Roland, McCallsburg
Story City 125.165 201.434 124 Story City
Hamilton Scott Township 128.655 207.050 128 CR D65 – Stanhope, Randall
Ellsworth 133.637 215.068 133 Iowa 175 – Jewell, Eldora
Rose Grove Township 139.700 224.825 139 CR D41 / CR R61 – Kamrar
143.180 230.426 142 US 20 – Waterloo, Fort Dodge Signed as exits 142A (east) and 142B (west)
Williams Township 144.719 232.903 144 CR D25 – Williams, Blairsburg, Ellsworth Community College
147.725 237.740 147 CR D20 – Iowa Falls, Alden
Wright Vernon Township 152.060 244.717 151 CR R75 – Woolstock
Franklin Morgan Township 160.551 258.382 159 CR C47 – Dows
Scott Township 166.354 267.721 165 Iowa 3 – Clarion, Hampton
Marion Township 170.807 274.887 170 CR C25 – Alexander
Richland Township 176.989 284.836 176 CR C13 – Sheffield, Belmond
Cerro Gordo Pleasant Valley Township 180.613 290.668 180 CR B65 – Thornton
183.164 294.774 182 CR B60 – Rockwell, Swaledale
Mount Vernon Township 189.208 304.501 188 CR B43 – Burchinal
Lake Township 191.436 308.086 190
US 18 east / Iowa 27 south (Avenue of the Saints) – Charles City, Mason City
Southern end of US 18 / Iowa 27 overlap
Clear Lake 193.885 312.028 193 I-35 Business Loop north / CR B35 – Clear Lake, Mason City
194.755 313.428 194 US 18 west / I-35 Business Loop south / Iowa 122 east – Mason City, Clear Lake Northern end of US 18 overlap
Lincoln Township 198.446 319.368 197 CR B20 – Mason City
Worth Danville Township 204.367 328.897 203 Iowa 9 – Manly, Forest City
Brookfield Township 209.381 336.966 208 CR A38 – Joice, Kensett
Hartland Township 215.401 346.654 214 CR 105 – Lake Mills, Northwood Former Iowa 105
Iowa–Minnesota state line 219.225 352.808 Iowa 27 ends Northern end of Iowa 27 overlap
I-35 north (Avenue of the Saints) Continuation into Minnesota
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Completion Map of Interstate System (PDF) (Map). Iowa Department of Transportation. January 1, 1982. Retrieved January 11, 2011. 
  2. ^ a b c d "2012 Volume of Traffic on the Primary Road System of Iowa" (PDF). Iowa Department of Transportation. January 1, 2012. Retrieved October 30, 2013. 
  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. 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. ^ Transportation Map (PDF) (Map). Iowa Department of Transportation. 2011. Retrieved November 16, 2011. 
  12. ^ a b Aschbrenner, Joel (September 4, 2015). "Rider Corner changes bring opportunities, worries". The Des Moines Register. Retrieved September 5, 2015. 
  13. ^ Ta, Linh (December 5, 2015). "Diverging diamond interchange planned in Ankeny". The Des Moines Register. Retrieved March 14, 2016. 
  14. ^ VerHelst, Megan (November 15, 2012). "Ankeny's 36th Street Interchange Slated to Open Tuesday". Ankeny Patch. Ankeny, Iowa. Retrieved November 21, 2012. 

External links[edit]

Route map: Google

KML is from Wikidata
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