Interstate 35 in Iowa

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Interstate 35 marker

Interstate 35
I-35 highlighted in red
Route information
Maintained by Iowa DOT
Length219.225 mi[2] (352.808 km)
Existedca. September 21, 1958[1]–present
HistoryUnder construction 1958–1975
Major junctions
South end I-35 near Lamoni, Iowa
North end I-35 towards Minneapolis-St. Paul
Highway system
US 34Iowa 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 the town of Lamoni. An interchange that provides access to the adjacent US 69 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 Highway 2 (Iowa 2) at a diamond interchange. Continuing north, the interstate 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 for 1I-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 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

I-35 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 Interstates 80 and 235. I-235 serves downtown Des Moines, while I-35 and I-80 overlap and serve the Des Moines' western and northern suburbs. On the Clive/Urbandale city 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 the community of Williams. It continues north until the Wright County line, 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, I-35 turns north again and meets both 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]

Missouri–Iowa state line0.0000.000 I-35 south – Kansas CityContinuation into Missouri
114 US 69 – LamoniExit number follows Missouri numbering; interchange is on the state line
DecaturLamoni4.1696.7094 US 69 – Lamoni, Davis City
Decatur City12.80420.60612 Iowa 2 – Leon, Mount Ayr
Long Creek Township17.92828.85218 CR J20 – Grand River, Garden Grove
Van Wert22.27235.84322 CR J14 – Van Wert
ClarkeKnox Township29.34847.23129 CR H45
Osceola33.16553.37433 US 34 – Creston, Osceola
34.62555.72434Clay Street – Osceola
Osceola Township36.30758.43036 CR R35Formerly Iowa 152
WarrenVirginia Township43.85070.57043 CR G76 – New Virginia
47.41476.30547 CR G64 – Truro
Jackson Township51.94983.60452 CR G50 – St. Marys, St. Charles
Bevington56.75991.34556 Iowa 92 – Indianola, Winterset
Cumming65.045104.68065 CR G14 – Norwalk, Cumming
PolkWest Des Moines68.006109.44568 Iowa 5 south – Des Moines International Airport, West Des Moines, Norwalk
69.155111.29469Grand Avenue – West Des Moines, DMACC West Campus
70.398113.29570Mills Civic Parkway
72.680116.96772A I-235 east – West Des Moines, Des MoinesI-235 exits 123A-B
72B I-80 west – Council Bluffs, OmahaSouthern end of I-80 overlap; no exit number southbound; I-80 east exit 123B
72.734117.05472C University Avenue – CliveSigned as exit 124 southbound; serves Iowa Methodist Medical Center
Clive74.245119.486125 US 6 (Hickman Road) – AdelExit numbers follow I-80
Urbandale75.252121.106126Douglas Avenue – Urbandale
76.197122.627127AMeredith DriveOpened October 16, 2020[12]
76.649123.355127B Iowa 141 west – Grimes
77.431124.613128100th StreetOpened in 2018
78.625126.535129Northwest 86th Street – Camp Dodge
80.633129.766131 Iowa 28 south (Merle Hay Road) – Saylorville Lake
Saylor Township84.424135.867135 Iowa 415 (2nd Avenue) – Polk City
85.672137.876136 US 69 (E. 14th Street) – Ankeny
Ankeny86.963139.953137 I-80 east / I-235 west – Des Moines, DavenportNorthern end of I-80 overlap; northbound exits signed as 137A (I-235) and 137B (I-80), northbound exits signed as 137A (I-80) and 137B (I-235)
88.922143.10689Corporate Woods DriveExit numbers follow I-35
90.484145.62090 Iowa 160 west (Oralabor Road) – Bondurant
92.486148.842921st StreetFuture diverging diamond interchange[13]
94.856152.65694NE 36th StreetOpened November 20, 2012[14]
Elkhart Township97.474156.86996Polk City, Elkhart
StoryHuxley103.437166.466102 Iowa 210 – Huxley, Maxwell, Slater, Cambridge
Ames112.401180.892111 I-35 Business Loop north / US 30 – Nevada, Ames, Iowa State UniversitySigned as exits 111A (east) and 111B (west/north)
114.255183.876113 I-35 Business Loop south / 13th Street – USDA Veterinary Labs
Milford Township117.255188.704116 CR E29
Howard Township123.672199.031123 CR E18 – Roland, McCallsburg
Story City125.165201.434124Story City
HamiltonScott Township128.655207.050128 CR D65 – Stanhope, Randall
Ellsworth133.637215.068133 Iowa 175 – Jewell, Eldora
Rose Grove Township139.700224.825139 CR D41 / CR R61 – Kamrar
143.180230.426142 US 20 – Waterloo, Fort DodgeSigned as exits 142A (east) and 142B (west)
Williams Township144.719232.903144 CR D25 – Williams, Blairsburg, Ellsworth Community College
147.725237.740147 CR D20 – Iowa Falls, Alden
WrightVernon Township152.060244.717151 CR R75 – Woolstock
FranklinMorgan Township160.551258.382159 CR C47 – Dows
Scott Township166.354267.721165 Iowa 3 – Clarion, Hampton
Marion Township170.807274.887170 CR C25 – Alexander
Richland Township176.989284.836176 CR C13 – Sheffield, Belmond
Cerro GordoPleasant Valley Township180.613290.668180 CR B65 – Thornton
183.164294.774182 CR B60 – Rockwell, Swaledale
Mount Vernon Township189.208304.501188 CR B43 – Burchinal
Lake Township191.436308.086190
US 18 east / Iowa 27 south (Avenue of the Saints) – Charles City, Mason City
Southern end of US 18 / Iowa 27 overlap
Clear Lake193.885312.028193 I-35 Business Loop north / CR B35 – Clear Lake, Mason City
194.755313.428194 US 18 west / I-35 Business Loop south / Iowa 122 east – Mason City, Clear LakeNorthern end of US 18 overlap
Lincoln Township198.446319.368197 CR B20 – Mason City
WorthDanville Township204.367328.897203 Iowa 9 – Manly, Forest City
Brookfield Township209.381336.966208 CR A38 – Joice, Kensett
Hartland Township215.401346.654214 CR 105 – Lake Mills, NorthwoodFormer Iowa 105
Iowa–Minnesota state line219.225352.808 I-35 north / Iowa 27 ends – Minneapolis, St. PaulNorthern end of Iowa 27 overlap; 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. Archived from the original (PDF) on September 29, 2011. Retrieved January 11, 2011.
  2. ^ a b c d 2012 Volume of Traffic on the Primary Road System of Iowa (PDF) (Report). 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. 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. ^ Transportation Map (PDF) (Map). Iowa Department of Transportation. 2011. Retrieved November 16, 2011.
  12. ^ 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.
  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]

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