The Iowa Department of Transportation (Iowa DOT) has designated three new Iowa Byways and extended or modified three other byways as part of the state’s scenic and off-the-beaten-path route system.
The new Iowa Byways include:
- 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.
The Iowa DOT says it will work with the new byway applicants in the coming months to “assist in 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.”
The byways modified or extended include:
- 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.
More details on the Iowa Byways program is available at www.iowabyways.org.