Length in Iowa: 167 miles/268 kilometers
Northern terminus: Minnesota state line near Prosper, MN
Southern terminus: Illinois state line (Mississippi River) at Sabula with IA 64
Counties: Winneshiek, Allamakee, Clayton, Dubuque, Jackson
Cities along route: Decorah, Calmar, Ossian, Castalia, Postville, Luana,
Monona, Garnavillo, Guttenberg, Millville, Luxemburg, Holy Cross, Rickardsville,
Durango, Sageville, Dubuque, St. Donatus, Bellevue, Sabula
NHS: From Minnesota state line to the IA 3/IA 136 junction at
Freeway segments: None
Expressway segments: The 3 miles it shares with US 61/151 in
16 miles with US 18 between Postville and Froelich
26 miles with IA 3 between Luxemburg and Dubuque
3½ miles with US 61 and US 151,
from 9th Street (southbound) and 11th Street (northbound) to Bellevue Road in Dubuque.
(Until 1967, US 67 had also followed US 52 through Jackson
County — the road leading out of Dubuque was once marked as US 52/61/67/151, the last time four US highways were signed together in Iowa.)
3½ miles with IA 64, from west of Sabula to the
Illinois state line; they stay together for an additional 28 miles in Illinois.
Designated: January 31, 1935 (number approved November 20, 1934), to the former US 55 north of Sabula. A 1934 federal aid highway map showed it running with US 20 and IL 80 (now IL 84) between Dubuque and Savanna via Galena, but a Des Moines Register article from December 6, 1934, stated that US 52 was designated along its present route that month.
Paving history: At the time of its designation, the only unpaved segment was between US 61 south of Dubuque and the Mississippi River bridge.
1937: Paved from Bellevue northward to a point between St. Donatus and Bellevue
1940: Paved from the split with US 67 through Sabula to the Mississippi River bridge
1946: Paved from the Dubuque/Jackson county line to a point between St. Donatus and Bellevue
1947: Paved from the split with US 61 to the Dubuque/Jackson county line
1954: Paved from Bellevue to Green Island
1955: Last segment, between Green Island and the split with US 67, was paved
Major alignment changes:
December 20, 1963: Rerouted along a 25-mile segment of US 20 between Dubuque and Dyersville and a 10-mile segment of IA 136 between Dyersville and Luxemburg. The original route was left alone as IA 3 and eventually co-signed as Alternate US 52.June 16, 1964: Bypass to the west of Decorah opened; the previous route followed College Drive, Water Street, Mechanic Street, and Short Street.
October 11, 1967: Original alignment along IA 3 restored
January 28, 1991: 1½-mile expressway segment from Grandview Avenue to 4th Street in Dubuque opens (with US 61 and US 151), adding to an existing 1½-mile segment south of Grandview that had existed since 1957.
August 19, 1993: Last piece of the Dubuque freeway/expressway, the ½-mile segment from 4th Street to 11th Street, opens (with US 61 and US 151)
November 17, 2017: The Dale Gardner Veterans Memorial Bridge opens (with IA 64), replacing the old Savanna-Sabula Bridge that dated back to 1932. (Iowa is replacing the "overflow" bridge between the island of Sabula and the causeway starting in 2018.)
This diagonal highway, which runs from North Dakota to South Carolina,
is signed as a north-south highway in Iowa and Minnesota (but it becomes
an east-west highway in Illinois).
The Great River Road runs along US 52 from Guttenberg to Millville
and again from Sageville through Dubuque to US 67.
On August 9, 2013, the city of Dubuque and the Iowa DOT approved a jurisdictional transfer in which US 52 would be rerouted onto the proposed Southwest Arterial, a 6-mile freeway connecting US 20 and US 61/151, upon completion. This would involve a reroute along IA 136 and US 20, as was done from 1963 to 1967, while IA 3 would remain on its present alignment outside of Dubuque. In the meantime, the city of Dubuque will receive IA 32 and the existing US 52/IA 3 within the city limits at some point in the future. Paving of the Southwest Arterial is currently programmed for 2019.