Iowa DOT News Release

Branstad, Reynolds, Trombino announce New Iowa Byways in Iowa Byways Program

Posted on: October 31, 2016

This news release is being redistributed through the Iowa Department of Transportation's system as a courtesy to the Governor's Office. 

DES MOINES, Iowa - Oct. 31, 2016 – Today, Gov. Branstad, Lt. Gov. Reynolds and Iowa Department of Transportation Director Paul Trombino announced the designation of three new Iowa Byways and the modification of three existing byways in the state.  State leaders were joined by Loring Miller from the Decatur County Board of Supervisors to discuss one of those byway designations – the Jefferson Highway Byway that runs from the northern border to the southern border of Iowa.  

The byway changes come following the review of proposed routes for designation as Iowa Byways conducted by the Iowa Byways Advisory Council led by the Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT). Three organizations responded to a call for applications in 2014 for new byways.  Proposals were also submitted on behalf of four existing Iowa Byways for route extensions or modifications.

Following is the list of newly designated Iowa Byways and existing Iowa Byways route extensions or modifications.

New Iowa Byways:

  • Bridges Byway in Madison County – Focused on the iconic and widely known covered bridges located throughout Madison County, the 82-mile route will also feature scenic natural areas, the John Wayne birthplace, and other unique destinations.  Submitted by the Madison County Conservation Board with the support of the Madison County Chamber of Commerce and the Interim Madison County Scenic Byway Committee.
  • Jefferson Highway Heritage Byway between Northwood and Lamoni, roughly along U.S. Highways 65 and 69 – The historic north-south U.S. border-to-border route was originally envisioned in 1916 as part of a national corridor for car and freight travel as the auto age developed and before the Interstate system was initiated.  Submitted by Loring Miller (Leon) and the Jefferson Highway Association on behalf of Decatur County.
  • White Pole Road Byway between Adair and Dexter, just north of Interstate 80 along old U.S. Highway 6 – A piece of transportation history linking “five small towns” and events from wagon ruts and train robbery to present day.  The roughly 26-mile route was formerly a part of the route known as the Great White Way is lined with 700 white painted telephone poles.  Submitted by the White Pole Road Development Corporation.

Route extensions or modifications:

  • Driftless Area Scenic Byway – The approved extension will add a 44-mile loop through Winneshiek County and Decorah including additional cold water trout streams, geologic and topographic features unique to the driftless area in Iowa, and visitor amenities along the route. In Allamakee County, a gravel segment on the designated route will be replaced with a paved segment.
  • Historic Hills Scenic Byway – The approved extension will add a 7-mile segment through Moravia to the west terminating at Honey Creek State Park and Resort.  The extension includes the addition of the Moravia Rail museum and Honey Creek State Park and Resort recreation and visitor amenities to the byway.
  • Iowa Great River Road National Scenic Byway –The approved changes were recommended by the Iowa Mississippi River Parkway Commission as part of their 2015 Iowa Great River Road Corridor Management Plan. These changes will improve access to riverfront amenities in addition to resolving other minor route concerns.

The Iowa DOT will work with the new byway applicants over the next several months to assist initiating the byway organization, finalizing the signed byway route, and creating a unique route brand that will be featured on signage to be installed along the route by the 2018 tourist season. 

To learn more about Iowa Byways and to order a free Byways Travel Guide or Byway brand poster, visit


CONTACT:  Mary Stalhut, Iowa Department of Transportation, 515-239-1369


Iowa highway in the evening