A threshold has been crossed in automotive travel across Iowa affecting thousands of travelers with the completion of U.S. Highway 20. It’s now a four-lane route from the Missouri to the Mississippi.

This stretch of highway entered my life to a great degree once I met the love of my life, who grew up in central Iowa. The first time I made my way into that territory, the expansion was a work in progress. From South Sioux to Moville was complete then a couple miles east of the home of the Woodbury County Fair the two lanes began.

You could see in places where the fences were set far away from the road to accommodate an expansion with crops growing in the unused space until the proper time. Being a South Dakotan with the freedom to travel at a 65 miles per hour limit, it seemed like a long slog at 55 miles per hour and limited passing opportunities in that hilly country.

For approximately 100 miles through Early, Sac City, Rockwell City Lytton and Moorland these burgs would welcome many folks who needed Highway 20 to get across the Hawkeye state. Approaching Fort Dodge the expanded version resumed through the cloverleaf at Interstate 35.

Then the narrows returned as the project looming in the distance included the need for the engineering marvel needed to span the Iowa River. Environmental and agricultural concerns and concessions were needed to build the near $20 million structure.

Through personal experience, I have traveled Highway 20 to Waterloo before taking Interstate 380 south toward Cedar Rapids in the completed four-lane sections. I have also been directed to take the county road detours near Correctionville, Holstein, Galva, and Schaller during the construction process.

A day decades in the making has arrived which will no doubt cause a few trucks to utilize Highway 20 rather than join the armada of 18-wheelers that use Interstate 80. Hopefully, the next major priority for the Iowa Department of Transportation is to make sustained progress on the enduring I-29 project through Sioux City.


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