Length in Iowa: 269 miles/433 kilometers
Western terminus: Nebraska state line (Missouri River) south of Bellevue, NE
Eastern terminus: Illinois state line (Mississippi River) at
Counties: Mills, Montgomery, Adams, Union, Clarke, Lucas, Monroe,
Wapello, Jefferson, Henry, Des Moines
Cities along route: Glenwood, Hastings, Red Oak, Stanton, Corning,
Creston, Afton, Osceola, Lucas, Chariton, Albia, Ottumwa, Agency, Batavia,
Fairfield, Lockridge, Westwood, Mount Pleasant, New London, Danville, Middletown,
West Burlington, Burlington
NHS: Entire route
8 miles, from the eastern split with US 63 in Ottumwa to IA 16 north of Eldon, including a bypass of Agency (with IA 163)
7 miles, bypass to the south of Fairfield (with IA 163)
8 miles, bypass to the north of Mount Pleasant (with IA 163 and partially with US 218 and IA 27)
8 miles, from Middletown through Burlington (with IA 163)
11 miles, from the Nebraska state line to US 275 east of Glenwood
12 miles, from IA 16 north of Eldon to the west end of the Fairfield bypass, including a bypass of Batavia (with IA 163)
15 miles, from the east end of the Fairfield bypass to the west end of the Mount Pleasant bypass (with IA 163)
17 miles, from US 218 in Mount Pleasant to the end of the freeway segment at Middletown, including bypasses of New London and Danville (with IA 163)
Segment from Ottumwa through Burlington
8 miles with US 275, from I-29 to a point east of Glenwood
7½ miles with IA 25 southwest of Creston
6 miles with US 169 east of Afton
½ mile with US 65 in Lucas
2 miles with US 63 in Ottumwa
78 miles with IA 163, from Ottumwa to Burlington. This includes a 2½-mile, four-highway multiplex with US 218 and IA 27 in the Mount Pleasant area.
Designated: October 16, 1926, along the former IA 8 (I) (Blue
Grass Route) east of Council Bluffs.
Paving history: At the time of designation, the only paved segments were a short segment through Council Bluffs and from Middletown to Burlington.
1926: Paved from Ottumwa to the Jefferson/Henry county line and from the Henry/Des Moines county line to Middletown by the end of the year
1928: Paved from Council Bluffs to Glenwood, Red Oak to the Montgomery/Adams county line, Chariton to Ottumwa, and through Henry County
1929: Paved from Glenwood to Hastings, from the Montgomery/Adams county line to the junction with IA 49, from the Adams/Union county line to Creston, and from Osceola to Chariton
1930: Last original segments paved: Hastings to Red Oak, IA 49 to the Adams/Union county line, and Creston to Osceola
1946: Last segment, from the Nebraska state line to Glenwood, paved (on a new alignment bypassing Pacific Junction)
Major alignment changes:
September 1935 (approved August 7): Re-routed westward from Glenwood into Plattsmouth, NE (along former IA 134 (II)); the former segment from Council Bluffs to Glenwood became part of US 275, a route which it had duplexed with for four years before that.
1957 (approved November 15): Realigned between a point west of Lockridge and Mount Pleasant
September 1961: Two-lane bypass of Chariton opened; part of the old route is currently signed as Business US 34.
October 15, 1962: A new two-lane road opened between Albia and a point west of Ottumwa
July 9, 1964: Realigned between a point west of Ottumwa and Church Street in Ottumwa
October 27, 1964: Realigned between a point east of IA 68 in western Monroe County and Albia. Most of old US 34 west of Ottumwa is now signed as County Road H35.
(Neil Bratney has a page with some
photos of old alignments west of Albia.)
November 5, 1965: New two-lane segment between US 59 and IA 48 at Red Oak opens
November 24, 1965: New two-lane segment between IA 48 and Corning opens
December 15, 1965: New two-lane segment Hastings and US 59 opens. The old segment of US 34 between Hastings and Corning is now signed as County Road H34.
December 12, 1967: New four-lane segment between US 63 and Roemer Avenue in Ottumwa opens; US 34 was then relocated onto a segment of US 63 southeast of Church Street that opened a year earlier. All of the old US 34 in Ottumwa eventually became Business US 34.
For street alignments in Council Bluffs, see Jeff Morrison's Council Bluffs/Omaha Highway Chronology page.
For alignment changes in Ottumwa that are not listed here, see Jeff Morrison's Ottumwa Highway Chronology page.
February 2, 1974: Freeway segment between Central Avenue and Main Street (IA 99) in Burlington completed
May 24, 1974: Expressway segment from I-29 to US 275 near Glenwood opened (resulting in a 3-mile duplex with I-29 that lasted until the new bridge opened in 2014). The segment had opened to two lanes on January 26, creating IA 949 and IA 978 while extending IA 385.
June 13, 1975: Freeway segment between Roosevelt Avenue (US 61) and Central Avenue in Burlington completed
November 10, 1976: Freeway segment between Mount Pleasant Street in West Burlington and Roosevelt Avenue in Burlington completed
October 4, 1993: Great River Bridge across the Mississippi River at Burlington
opens, replacing the old two-lane MacArthur Bridge
May 2000: Bypass of New London opens; in September, the rest of the expressway
segment (9½ miles altogether) east of Mount Pleasant to a point northwest of
December 2001: 1½-mile segment opens between the new US 218 bypass and the west end of the existing expressway segment.
May 11, 2005: 2-mile expressway bypass of Batavia opens; the old segment through town was designated as IA 340 (II) until sometime in 2006.
August 15, 2005: 5½-mile bypass to the north of Mount Pleasant opens; US 34 was then rerouted onto the existing US 218/IA 27 freeway east of Mount Pleasant. (The opening of the bypass was delayed twice, first because of bad weather in late 2004 and again in mid-2005 because a curve at the west end of the bypass near Westwood was not banked by the project's contractors like it was supposed to be.)
August 30, 2005: Remainder of the 7½-mile expressway segment around Batavia, from a point east of IA 16 to a point east of County Road V63, opens
November 15, 2005: 9½-mile expressway/freeway segment opens from Danville to the previous end of the freeway at Mount Pleasant Street in West Burlington. (This superseded a four-lane segment between Middletown and West Burlington that was widened in 1942, presumably to serve the Iowa Army Ammunition Plant; that segment became part of the unsigned IA 434.) It was originally scheduled to open in 2001, but problems with underground gas lines in the area, state budget cuts, and bad weather delayed the project. A three-mile segment to the northwest of Danville was still two lanes before opening to four-lane traffic on July 6, 2006.
June 2006: 14-mile segment from east of Fairfield to the beginning of the Mount Pleasant bypass opened (this was delayed from its original December 2004 opening date because of poor weather)
October 2006: 7½-mile segment from the future end of the US 63 Ottumwa bypass to Batavia, bypassing Agency, opened, along with a connector road between the bypass and the existing US 34. This superseded a four-lane segment that was relocated in 1954 and 1955 and opened to four lanes in November 1958. The westernmost three miles of this segment (ending just west of County Road V37) was two lanes until November 29, 2006.
September 25, 2008: 3½-mile expressway segment west of Fairfield, including part of the western interchange of the bypass, opened.
November 18, 2008: 8-mile bypass of Fairfield opens to complete the four-lane link between Des Moines and Burlington. (The bypass was originally scheduled for completion in 2004 but was delayed; although some news sources noted that the endangered crawfish frog species was located in the area, the Iowa DOT mentioned in an October 26, 2001, press release that the bypass would have to be relocated to avoid impacting historic buildings on a site near that of the original bypass route.) The 4.7-mile former segment is signed as Business US 34 between both interchanges with US 34; it was also designated as unsigned IA 904 after the bypass opened, but the segment in the city of Fairfield was turned over to the city in 2010 and the segments outside the Fairfield city limits were turned over in 2012.
October 22, 2014: 4-mile expressway segment, including a new bridge over the Missouri River, opens west of I-29. This segment extends westward to US 75 south of Bellevue, NE. The old segment of US 34 became an extension of County Road L35, which also incorporates the former US 275 segment between Council Bluffs and Glenwood.
US 34 across the state was designated as the 34th Infantry Division Memorial Highway, in honor of the unit which fought during World War II, in 1948. Signs with the unit's "red bull" emblem are posted intermittently.
While the segment from Ottumwa to Burlington was upgraded as part of the Des Moines-to-Burlington expressway project, the rest of US 34, between Glenwood and Ottumwa, is scheduled to be upgraded into a "Super-2" road as part of the long-term transportation plan. Plans were put on hold in September 2001 as a result of state budget problems.
Before the current bridge opened in October 2014, US 34 crossed a bridge that had been owned by the Plattsmouth Bridge Company from its opening in 1929 until the city of Plattsmouth purchased it for $1 on November 30, 2007. The sale enabled the states of Iowa and Nebraska to provide funding for bridge repairs that were done in 2008. The Bellevue and Plattsmouth toll bridges remain open after the opening of the US 34 bridge.
Business US 34
Chariton: The official route that was approved by AASHTO on October 4, 1996, follows Court Avenue and IA 14 (South 7th Street, Woodland Avenue, and Main Street), but the only two Business US 34 signs are posted along Court Avenue. US 34 followed Court Avenue, 7th Street, and Albia Road until September 1961. (Terminus photos)
Ottumwa: This was approved by AASHTO on October 4, 1996, and noted for the first time in the Ottumwa inset of the 1998 state transportation map, but signage dates back to at least 1968, if not earlier. (All of the signs along the route have been replaced, but as the terminus photos show, some of the older assemblies along the route lasted well into the 2000s.) It originally followed Albia Road, Richmond Avenue, Church Street, Jefferson Street, Main Street, and Roemer Avenue through town. US 34 was taken off Albia, Richmond, and Church west of US 63 in 1964, and it was taken off Jefferson, Main, and Roemer after the current four-lane segment east of US 63 opened in 1967. In May 2007 AASHTO approved a rerouting of Business US 34 so that it follows Quincy Avenue between US 34 and Albia Road instead of following Albia Road to US 34; Brian McMillin reported that signs had been changed along the route itself, but not along US 34, as of October 2007. (Terminus photos)
Fairfield: Designated along Burlington Street, the former route of US 34, when the Fairfield bypass opened on November 18, 2008. (Terminus photos)
Mount Pleasant: According to Kyle Johnson in a May 13, 2005, e-mail, signs noting a new Business US 34 were placed on the unopened US 34 bypass. The designation, which follows US 34's present route along Washington Street, became official when the bypass opened on August 15, 2005. (Terminus photos)
Glenwood: This one was originally pointed out to me by Josh Garrett via e-mail in 2000. AASHTO approved the designation on October 4, 1996. It followed the pre-1974 alignment of US 34, via Locust Street (US 275) and Sharp Street (officially IA 949). IA 949 was decommissioned in 2003, and Jeff Morrison noticed that Business US 34 signs had been removed from the route as of July 6. (Terminus photos)