Length in Iowa: 195 miles/314 kilometers
Northern terminus: Wisconsin state line (Mississippi River) at Dubuque with US 151
Southern terminus: Missouri state line
(Des Moines River) near Keokuk with US 136
Counties: Dubuque, Jackson, Clinton, Scott, Muscatine, Louisa,
Des Moines, Lee
Cities along route: Dubuque, Zwingle, Maquoketa, Welton, De Witt,
Long Grove, Eldridge, Davenport, Blue Grass, Muscatine, Wapello, Mediapolis,
Burlington, Fort Madison, Keokuk
NHS: Entire route
2 miles, from the Wisconsin state line to US 52/IA 3 in Dubuque (with US 151)
6 miles, from IA 64 in Maquoketa to IA 136
32 miles, from County Road Y62 north of De Witt to I-280 (exit 6) in Davenport; this includes the multiplexed segments with I-80 and I-280.
9½ miles, bypass to the north of Fort Madison
31 miles, from US 52 through Dubuque to IA 64 near Maquoketa; this includes two interchanges in Dubuque and one where US 61 and 151 split
10 miles, between IA 136 and County Road Y62
41 miles, from I-280 west of Davenport to a point north of 130th Street in Louisa County (19 miles of this are shared with IA 92)
16 miles, from Burlington to the east end of the Fort Madison bypass
15 miles, from IA 2 in Fort Madison to the southern split of US 61 and US 218 near Keokuk.
Fort Madison bypass
Segment between I-80 and the Wisconsin state line
8 miles with US 151, from the Wisconsin state line to the
interchange north of the Dubuque Airport (the two routes join in Dickeyville, WI, before
entering Iowa). This includes a 3½-mile triplex with US 52 in
1 mile with US 30 west of De Witt
5½ miles with I-80, between exits 290 and 295 on the north edge of Davenport
6½ miles with I-280, between I-80 and exit 6 on the west edge of Davenport; this includes a one-mile triplex with US 6.
19 miles with IA 92, from the junction with IA 38 in Muscatine to the western split with IA 92 west of Grandview. This includes a 4-mile triplex with IA 22 along the Muscatine bypass.
5½ miles with US 218 in Lee County, from outside of
Montrose to the outskirts of Keokuk
Designated: October 16, 1926, replacing IA
20 south of Dubuque (most of its northern leg became US
Paving history: At the time of designation, the segment between De Witt and the Scott/Muscatine county line was the only paved segment.
1926: Paved from the junction with IA 136 to De Witt
1927: Paved from Mediapolis to a point northwest of Burlington and from Burlington to the Skunk River crossing
1928: Paved from Maquoketa to IA 136, from the Skunk River crossing to Fort Madison, and from Montrose to Keokuk
1929: Paved from Dubuque to Maquoketa and from the Scott/Muscatine county line to the city of Muscatine
1930: Paved from Muscatine to the Muscatine/Louisa county line, and the remaining paved segments in Des Moines County were paved
1932: Paved through Louisa County, including a new alignment between Grandview and Wapello (part of the old alignment
became IA 252, and the Iowa River crossing became part of IA 99 (II).)
1955: Last segment, from Fort Madison to Montrose, upgraded from a bituminous segment to a paved segment
Major alignment changes:
1956: Re-routed to follow Roosevelt Avenue on the west edge of Burlington.
It previously followed Sunnyside Avenue, Osborn Street, Central Avenue, Maple Street,
and Summer Street; south of Burlington it followed present-day County Road X62.
October 23, 1958: US 61 and IA 22 switch routes between Davenport and Muscatine; US 61 now follows the inland route while IA 22 follows the Mississippi. West River Drive in Davenport opened on November 14 to take US 61 off its old Rockingham Road alignment.
August 1959: Two-lane bypass to the west of Keokuk opened; the old segment was eventually signed as Business US 61.
September 1960: Realigned between Fort Madison and US 218 near Montrose; part of the old segment
leading to Montrose became IA 404. The remaining segment north of Montrose was unsigned IA 998 until 1994 and unsigned IA 924 from then until July 1, 2003; it is now known as Mississippi River Road.
December 11, 1967: Straightened between Zwingle and Maquoketa
May 14, 1969: US 61 and 151 rerouted to follow US 20 across the Julien Dubuque Bridge into Illinois after new weight limits were placed on the Eagle Point Bridge. The two highways ran about 3 miles through East Dubuque before
entering Wisconsin. (The Eagle Point Bridge would remain open to traffic until late 1982.)
August 21, 1982: The four-lane Dubuque-Wisconsin Bridge opens, restoring the direct US 61/151 route between Iowa and Wisconsin. (The old route through Illinois is now
signed as IL 35.)
September 2011: Rerouted to follow I-80 and I-280 around Davenport, with the previous alignment becoming Business US 61 (officially IA 461). (While the legal description notes that the change was effective May 28, 2010, signs did not change until September 2011.)
For other alignment changes in Davenport that are not listed here, see the Highways of Davenport and Bettendorf page.
For maps of alignment changes in Muscatine, see Jeff Morrison's Muscatine Highway Chronology page.
December 11, 1967: Expressway segment from the south edge of Dubuque to the Dubuque Regional Airport opens, adding to an existing four-lane segment south of Grandview Avenue that existed since 1957. A one-mile segment at the future interchange with US 151 would not open to four lanes until sometime in 1968.
1971: Interchange with relocated US 151 south of Dubuque opens
November 12, 1975: 4-mile freeway bypass of De Witt opens, part of a loop with US 30; the old segment became unsigned IA 956
October 19, 1982: 4-mile freeway segment between County Road F45 in Eldridge and I-80 in Davenport opens
December 1, 1982: 15-mile freeway segment between US 30 near De Witt and County Road F45 opens; the former US 61 segments from both 1982 openings also became part of IA 956.
December 13, 1984: 7½-mile expressway bypass of Muscatine opens. It was named the Douglas King Memorial Expressway on October 20, 2012, in honor of a Muscatine native who was killed in action during the Vietnam War.
January 28, 1991: 1½-mile expressway segment from Grandview Avenue to 4th Street in Dubuque opens (with US 52 and US 151)
December 26, 1991: 2-mile freeway segment from 11th Street to the Dubuque-Wisconsin Bridge opens to southbound traffic (with US 151); it would open to northbound traffic on August 25, 1992.
August 19, 1993: Last piece of the Dubuque freeway/expressway, the ½-mile segment from 4th Street to 11th Street, opens (with US 52 and US 151)
Also in 1993: 5½-mile expressway segment north of Keokuk (consisting of most of the duplex with US 218) opens
1994: 8-mile expressway segment from Wever (Lee County) to Fort Madison opens
1996: 4-mile expressway segment between I-280 and the outskirts of Blue Grass opens
August 1996: 4-mile freeway segment from South Main Street in Maquoketa to IA 136 opens
October or November 1996: 10-mile expressway segment from IA 136 to County Road Y62 north of De Witt opens
August 1997: 8-mile expressway segment from US 34 in Burlington to Wever opens
November 1997: 9-mile expressway segment from the Dubuque Airport to Zwingle opens
October 5, 1999: 18-mile segment between Maquoketa and Zwingle opens, completing the four-lane link between Dubuque and Davenport.
November 2000: 9½-mile segment between the Muscatine bypass and County Road Y36 west of Blue Grass opens
May 1, 2001: 3-mile bypass of Blue Grass opens, completing the four-lane link between Davenport and Muscatine. The old segment through Blue Grass became part of unsigned IA 421 until it was turned over in early 2003.
August 1, 2001: 9-mile expressway segment between Fort Madison and US 218 opens.
July 2002: 7½-mile expressway segment between the Louisa/Muscatine county
line and Grandview Avenue in Muscatine opens (with IA 92).
November 28, 2011: 9½-mile freeway bypass of Fort Madison opens; the previous route became Business US 61.
December 1, 2017: 6-mile expressway segment between the Louisa/Muscatine county line and a point north of 130th Street in Louisa County opens (4 miles with IA 92).
All of US 61 was designated as a priority route for development as
a four-lane highway on June 30, 1998, meaning that the rest of US 61 in
southeast Iowa will gradually become a four-lane expressway.
US 61 follows the Great River Road from County Road X62 south
of Burlington, through Fort Madison, to County Road X28 outside of Montrose.
- A 10-mile expressway segment from 210th Street south of Mediapolis to the end of the four-lane segment in Burlington is programmed for paving in 2020.
- The remaining segments, including bypasses of Wapello and Mediapolis, are currently unfunded, although right-of-way acquisition for the Mediapolis bypass is programmed to start in 2022. The latest proposed alignments for the segments from IA 78 southward to Burlington and the Wapello bypass can be found on the Iowa DOT's site.
Business US 61
Maquoketa (unsigned): In 1998 AASHTO approved a Business US 61 following IA 64 (Platt Street) and Main Street; however, this route is not signed aside from a few circle "City Route 61" signs along Main Street. (Terminus photos)
Davenport: On May 20, 2010, AASHTO approved plans to reroute US 61 onto I-80 and I-280 as part of a plan to move truck traffic away from downtown Davenport and the "truck-eating bridges," which are a pair of railroad overpasses with 11'8" low-clearances located near the intersection with 5th Street. Signs along the previous US 61 alignment (Brady Street, Welcome Way, Harrison Street, and River Drive) were changed to Business US 61 in September 2011. Its official designation is IA 461. (Terminus photos)
Muscatine: Designated in 1984, after the Muscatine bypass opened, but not approved by AASHTO until October 4, 1996. The 6-mile route follows (from south to north) Grandview Avenue, Green Street, Hershey Avenue, Mississippi Drive, Mulberry Avenue, 2nd Street, and Park Avenue. The segment south of the IA 92 bridge was co-signed with IA 92 until September 2014, after the streets it followed were turned over to the city of Muscatine. North of the bridge, Business US 61 follows IA 38, IA 92, and (north of Washington Street) IA 22 to its north end at the US 61 bypass. (Terminus photos)
Fort Madison: Replaced the existing US 61 route along Avenue O, Avenue L, 18th and 20th Streets, Avenue H, and 2nd Street when the bypass opened. All but the segment along 2nd Street was multiplexed with IA 2 until December 2013, when the city of Fort Madison took over that segment; the segment along 2nd Street, extending northward to the US 61 bypass, was designated as IA 961. The piece of IA 961 in the Fort Madison city limits was turned over on September 30, 2013, while the piece outside the city limits was turned over sometime in 2014.
Keokuk: AASHTO approved this designation on October 4, 1996, even though US 61 bypassed Keokuk in 1959. The six-mile route is always co-signed with US 136 (7th Street) and US 218 (Main Street). (Terminus