U.S. Route 218

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U.S. Highway 218 marker

U.S. Highway 218
US 218 highlighted in red
Route information
Length321.734 mi[1] (517.781 km)
Iowa:274.995 mi (442.562 km)
Minnesota:46.739 mi (75.219 km)
Existed1926[citation needed]–present
Major junctions
South end US 136 at Keokuk, IA
North end I-35 / US 14 at Owatonna, MN
Highway system
Iowa 212IAIowa 220
MN 217MNMN 219

U.S. Highway 218 is an original United States Highway, created in 1926. Although technically a spur of U.S. Route 18, US 218 neither begins nor ends at US 18, but overlaps US 18 for 8 miles (13 km) near Charles City, Iowa. US 218 begins at U.S. Route 136 in downtown Keokuk and ends 319 miles (513 km) away at Interstate 35 and U.S. Route 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[edit]


US 218 begins in downtown Keokuk at an intersection with US 136 and US 61 Business at Main and 7th Streets. The highway heads north along Main Street with US 61 Business. 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 northwest 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 Highway.

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.


U.S. 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, U.S. 218 angles northeastward to bypass the city, its former route following County Road 45 into town.[2]

U.S. 218 passes by the Austin Municipal Airport just before its interchange with Interstate 90. The highway runs concurrent with I-90 for nearly three miles through northern Austin. When U.S. 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, the highway angles north-northwestward again following the IC&E rail line, this time on the west side of the tracks.[2]

The highway enters Dodge County for less than a mile, then reaches Steele County, Blooming Prairie, and an 8-block-long concurrency with State Highway 30. It continues north-northwest 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, U.S. 218 meets U.S. 14 at a folded diamond interchange. 218 runs westward concurrent with 14, while its historic route through downtown Owatonna continues ahead as County Road 48. After an interchange with County Road 45 (former U.S. 65), 218 and 14 pass by Kaplan's Woods Park and reach Interstate 35, where U.S. 218 ends.

Legally, the Minnesota section of U.S. 218 is defined as Route 40 in Minnesota Statutes § 161.114(2).[3]


In 1913, work on the road that is now U.S. 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, U.S. 218 was extended from its previous southern terminus, at its intersection with U.S. 30 in Benton County, in 1934 when U.S. Highway 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 U.S. 161 from Dubuque to Cedar Rapids extended U.S. 151 south, and the section of U.S. 30 from the former terminus of U.S. 218 to its intersection with the former U.S. 161 in Cedar Rapids, along with the section of former U.S. 161 from Cedar Rapids to Keokuk, extended U.S. 218 south.

In 1965, U.S. 218 was rerouted along bypasses of Austin, Minnesota and Owatonna, Minnesota,[4][5] the latter following a route that would later become the U.S. 14 bypass of that city as well.

Highway 218 was featured in the Bellamy Brothers 1976 song "Highway 2-18 (Hang On To Your Dreams)". It was track A5 on their first album, Bellamy Brothers – Featuring "Let Your Love Flow".


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.[6]

Major intersections[edit]

US 136 west / US 61 Business south (7th Street) / US 136 east (Main Street)
Southern end of US 61 Business overlap
US 61 south / US 61 Business ends
Southern end of US 61 overlap; northern end of US 61 Business
Montrose Township9.13214.697 US 61 northNorthern 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 Business / Iowa 163 east – Mount Pleasant, Burlington
Southern end of US 34 overlap; signed as exits 42A (east) and 42B (west)
US 218 Business (Iowa 438) to US 34 west / Iowa 163 west – Mount Pleasant, Ottumwa
Northern end of US 34 overlap; US 218 Business 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
Coralville96.934156.0000 I-80 / I-380 north – Davenport, Des MoinesSouthern end of I-380; southbound exits signed 0A (eastbound) and 0B (westbound); exit numbers follow I-380; I-80 exits 239A-B
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 Airport
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 Business (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 westEnd of US 30 overlap
Vinton148.199238.503 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 71A (eastbound) and 71B (westbound); exit numbers follow I-380
180.535290.54372 San Marnan DriveAccess to Covenant Medical Center
181.116291.478 I-380 endsNorthern end of I-380; exit numbers follow US 218
181A US 63 north – Downtown Riverfront, Young Arena, Sullivan Brothers Convention CenterSigned as exit 180 southbound; no northbound entrance, access to Allen Hospital
183.425295.194181B US 63 south to University AvenueSigned as exit 181 southbound; no southbound entrance
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 IA 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 Business – Waverly
Access to Waverly Health Center
204.757329.524203 Iowa 3 – Waverly, Shell Rock
US 218 Business – 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 Business / 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 Business / CR B35 – Charles City
US 18 west / Iowa 27 north
Northern end of US 18 and IA 27 overlaps
MitchellBurr Oak Township249.987402.315 Iowa 9 eastSouthern end of IA 9 overlap
Osage253.985408.749 Iowa 9 westNorthern end of IA 9 overlap
St. Ansgar265.754427.690 CR 105
IowaMinnesota state line
MinnesotaMowerAustin12.19519.626180B I-90 eastEast 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
15.03124.190177 I-90 westWest end of I-90 overlap
Lansing Township20.63333.206 MN 251 west
No major junctions
SteeleBlooming Prairie28.36545.649 MN 30 eastSouthern end of MN 30 overlap
29.45947.410 MN 30 westNorthern end of MN 30 overlap
Owatonna Township43.71770.356 US 14 eastEast end of US 14 overlap
45.53973.288 CR 45Former U.S. 65
46.73975.219 I-35 / US 14 westI-35 exit 40; west end of US 14 overlap.
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

Related routes[edit]

Mount Pleasant business route[edit]

U.S. Highway 218 Business
LocationMount Pleasant

U.S. Highway 218 Business (US 218 Business) 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 / IA 27 and US 34 around the eastern and northern edges of Mount Pleasant. The Iowa 438 section of US 218 Business serves as a connector from southbound US 218 / Iowa 27 to westbound US 34.

Waverly business route[edit]

U.S. Highway 218 Business
Length6.6 mi[10] (10.6 km)
ExistedDecember 1998–present

US 218 Business 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 1 mile (1.6 km).[10] South of Iowa 3, US 218 Business is officially known as Iowa Highway 116. US 218 Business begins at exit 198 of US 218 / IA 27 south of Waverly and ends at exit 205 of US 218 / IA 27.

Charles City business route[edit]

U.S. Highway 218 Business
LocationCharles City

US 218 Business 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 Highway 337 and Iowa Highway 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 438Iowa 922
Iowa 110Iowa 116Iowa 117


  1. ^ "United States Numbered Highways". AASHTO. 1989. Archived from the original on February 4, 2007. Retrieved December 24, 2009.
  2. ^ a b General Highway Map of Mower County, Minnesota (PDF) (Map). Minnesota Department of Transportation. 2010. Retrieved December 29, 2010.
  3. ^ Minnesota Codified Laws
  4. ^ 1965 Official Road Map of Minnesota (Map). Minnesota Department of Highways. 1965. § J20-K21. Retrieved January 25, 2010.
  5. ^ 1966 Official Road Map of Minnesota (Map). Minnesota Department of Highways. 1966. § J20-K21. Retrieved January 25, 2010.
  6. ^ Kalk, Jordee. "Construction timeline for I-380/80 Interchange". Cedar Rapids, IA: KCRG-TV.
  7. ^ "2009 Volume of Traffic on the Primary Road System of Iowa" (PDF). Iowa Department of Transportation. January 1, 2009. Retrieved November 20, 2010.
  8. ^ "Trunk Highway Log Point Listing – Construction District 6" (PDF). Minnesota Department of Transportation. August 23, 2010. Archived from the original (PDF) on December 4, 2008. Retrieved November 21, 2010.
  9. ^ Iowa Department of Transportation (2010). State of Iowa Transportation Map (PDF) (Map). Ames: Iowa Department of Transportation. Retrieved November 21, 2010.
  10. ^ a b Google. "U.S. Route 218" (Map). Google Maps. Google.

External links[edit]

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