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Iowa State Highway Commission

of Ames, Iowa
View Exhibit map

On April 13, 1904, the 30th General Assembly and Governor A.B. Cummins approved House File 371, an act that created the Iowa State Highway Commission (ISHC). The commission was originally established as part of the Iowa State College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts (today the Iowa State University of Science and Technology) in Ames.

The commission’s principal duties were to provide information and act as an administrative advisory agent to the local jurisdictions. Although severely handicapped by a biennial appropriation of $7,000, the commission was to conduct public highway demonstrations, disseminate information to county supervisors, formulate standards for highway repair and construction, investigate the road problems of Iowa, and record and report progress to the governor each fiscal year.

The work was assigned to the divisions of Agriculture and Engineering, directed by C.F. Curtiss and Anson Marston, respectively. Other staff members included Thomas MacDonald, H.M. Bainer, and J.T. Hoover.

While productive, the commission remained hindered by the lack of funds and necessary specialized skills. The commission needed additional funds to carry on “extensive laboratory tests of properties of Iowa road materials, and to build sections of experimental roads, to give actual working tests of material and methods of construction suited to Iowa’s special needs.” Other initiatives included testing and designing concrete culverts and bridges, compiling and publishing road census information, and extending the effort to map county roads in Iowa.

To alleviate the problems inherent in the “disproportionate” relationship between results and expenditures, the commission invested in conducting a road school in June 1905. Split between discussion and demonstration, students received instruction on culvert construction and road machinery, and tools of highway engineers, and listened to lectures by experienced engineers.

On April 9, 1913, the IHC separated from the Iowa State College, becoming an independent state-administered organization, managed by a three-member commission, comprised of Anson Marston, H.C. Beard and J.W. Holden.

Immediately, in conjunction with the Department of Justice, the newly organized IHC attempted to resolve many detrimental business practices that undermined the needs of the state. First, the IHC noticed that the state was divided into districts by supply and bridge companies, allowing insufficient competition and limited oversight. To adequately tackle such tremendous responsibilities, the IHC increased its personnel and re-organized itself into four departments, namely the Office, Designing, Field, and Educational. The commission also was given supervisory control over all county and township road officials, although county supervisors and trustees remained directly in charge of road management and allotted funds.

The IHC continued to operate for 62 years, adapting to the changing needs of the state and making significant contributions to modern highway engineering and construction. Ultimately, it slowly became an integral part of state and federal legislative initiatives, gaining a national reputation for excellence.

By the late 1960s, it was clear that the existing transportation networks were in need of transformation. In 1969, Governor Robert Ray responded by initiating a transportation study by the Office of Planning and Programming. Over the next couple of years, the Task Force on Modernization of Iowa’s Transportation System, in conjunction with a Department of Transportation Study Committee, formed the legislative backbone of for Governor Ray’s transportation initiatives.

In 1974, the 65th Iowa General Assembly created the Iowa Department of Transportation (Iowa DOT), albeit through a long legislative process. It placed other modal agencies, including an Aeronautics Commission, under the department’s responsibility to promote more orderly and effective planning and funding of programs, and to achieve a more balanced transportation system.

In 1974, the legislature also created the Iowa Transportation Commission, consisting of seven members. Members are appointed by the governor and subject to Senate confirmation. No more than four persons can represent the same political party. Serving four-year terms, members are responsible for periodically reviewing programs of the department and making all major investment policy decisions.

For more than a century, the IHC and Iowa DOT have promoted the growth and betterment of Iowa’s transportation system. Still headquartered in Ames, the agency continues to serve the transportation needs of Iowa and its citizens.

The Iowa Department of Transportation and Iowa Transportation Commission, who remain headquartered in Ames, continue to serve the citizens of Iowa today.

Source: http://www.iowadot.gov/about/organizationalhistory.htm


Iowa Avenue Bridge (Johnson County, Iowa)
Built 1916
Three-span arch bridge over Iowa River on Iowa Avenue in Iowa City
Open to traffic

Iowa River Bridge (Hardin County, Iowa)
Built 1936
Steel stringer bridge over Iowa River on Main Street
Open to traffic

Iowa River E Avenue Bridge (Tama County, Iowa)
Built 1938
Through truss bridge over Iowa River on E Avenue
Closed due to severe erosion causing abutment failure.

Iron Bridge (Jackson County, Iowa)
Built ca. 1950
Through truss bridge over Maquoketa River on Iron Bridge Road
Open to traffic

Ironwood Road Bridge (Fayette County, Iowa)
Built ca. 1965
Three-span pony truss bridge over Turkey River on Ironwood Road
Open to traffic

Ivanhoe Bridge (Old) (Linn County, Iowa)
Built 1946
Lost through truss bridge over Cedar River on IA 1
Replaced by new bridge

J Avenue Bridge (Louisa County, Iowa)
Design, ca. 1920
Pony truss bridge over Otter Creek on J Avenue
Open to traffic

Jade Avenue Bridge (Howard County, Iowa)
Built 1950
Stringer bridge over Crane Creek on Fm-Jade Avenue
Open to traffic

Janesville Bridge (Black Hawk County, Iowa)
Built 1937
Through truss bridge over Cedar River on Old IA 969 in Janesville
Open to traffic

Jefferson Highway Little River Bridge (Decatur County, Iowa)
Built 1921
Lost Parker through truss bridge over Little River on Jefferson Avenue
Replaced by a new bridge

Johnson Street Bridge (Johnson County, Iowa)
Built 1930
Steel stringer bridge over Ralston Creek on Johnson Street
Open to traffic

Johnsons Run Bridge (Page County, Iowa)
Built 1930
Culvert bridge over Johnsons Run on Southwest Road
Open to traffic

Jonathan Creek Bridge (Decatur County, Iowa)
Built ca. 1920
Warren through truss bridge over Jonathan Creek on Perry Road
Open to traffic

Jones Creek Bridge (Madison County, Iowa)
Built 1929
Concrete arch bridge over Jones Creek on Clark Tower Road
Open to traffic

Jordan Creek Bridge (Pottawattamie County, Iowa)
Design, 1968
Through truss bridge over Jordan Creek on 432nd Street
Open to traffic

K Avenue Bridge (Tama County, Iowa)
Slab bridge over Small Stream on K Avenue
Open to traffic

K Avenue Bridge (Fayette County, Iowa)
Abandoned steel stringer bridge over Otter Creek Tributary on Abandoned Alignment of K Avenue
Abandoned

Kalo Bridge (Webster County, Iowa)
Design, 1932
Lost Pratt through truss over Des Moines River on Nelson Avenue
Replaced by a new bridge

Keg Creek Bridge (Shelby County, Iowa)
Built 1924
Pony truss bridge over Keg Creek on Dogwood Road
Open to traffic

Keg Creek Bridge (Pottawattamie County, Iowa)
Design, ca. 1920
Through truss bridge over Keg Creek on Honeysuckle Road
Open to traffic

Keg Creek Bridge (Shelby County, Iowa)
Built ca. 1930
Pony truss bridge over Keg Creek on 700th Street
Replaced by a new bridge

Keigley Branch Bridge (Story County, Iowa)
Designer, 1913
Concrete arch bridge over Keigley Branch on 550th Avenue
Open to traffic

Kemp Creek Bridge (Adams County, Iowa)
Built 1927
Through truss bridge over Kemp Creek on Fig Avenue
Open to traffic

Kemp Creek Bridge (Adams County, Iowa)
Built 1976
Pony truss bridge over Kemp Creek on Ginko Avenue
Open to traffic

Kempton Bridge (Polk County, Iowa)
Built 1959
Lost Deck plate girder bridge over Des Moines River on NW 66th Avenue
Replaced by a new bridge

Kent Park Culvert (Johnson County, Iowa)
Concrete culvert bridge over Tributary of Clear Creek on Kent Park Road
Open to traffic

Keosauqua Bridge (Van Buren County, Iowa)
Design, 1939
Lost through truss bridge over Des Moines River on IA 1 in Keosauqua
Replaced by new bridge

Kittyhawk Avenue Bridge (Carroll County, Iowa)
Built 1913
Pony truss bridge over an unnamed creek on Kittyhawk Avenue
Most likely in storage.

Knoll Ridge Trail Bridge (Madison County, Iowa)
Built 1948
Through truss bridge over Middle River on Knoll Ridge Trail
Open to traffic

Knoll Road Bridge (1916) (Story County, Iowa)
Design, 1916
Lost Closed-spandrel arch bridge over College Creek on Knoll Road/Union Drive
Replaced by a new bridge

Lane Bridge (Allamakee County, Iowa)
Built 1916
Through truss bridge over Upper Iowa River on Hartley Drive
No longer exists

LaSalle Bridge (Sioux County, Iowa)
Bridge over Indian Creek on LaSalle
Open to traffic

Lawrence Street Bridge (Mitchell County, Iowa)
Built 1950
Steel stringer bridge over Drainage ditch on Lawrence Street
Open to traffic

Leando-Douds Bridge (Van Buren County, Iowa)
Design, 1954
Haunched deck plate girder over Des Moines River on IA 98
Replaced by a new bridge

Leland Avenue Bidge (Polk County, Iowa)
Closed-spandrel arch Bridge over unnamed Creek on E. Leland Avenue
Intact but closed to all traffic

Lincoln Highway Calamus Creek Bridge (Clinton County, Iowa)
Design, 1921
Pony truss bridge over Calamus Creek on 235th Street (former Lincoln Highway)
Closed to all traffic

Lincoln Highway Culvert (Greene County, Iowa)
Design
Concrete culvert bridge over Small Stream on CR E53
Open to traffic

Lincoln Highway East Indian Creek Bridge (Story County, Iowa)
Design, 1923
Lost Concrete deck girder bridge over East Indian Creek on US 30
Replaced by a new bridge

Lincoln Highway Gladstone Overpass (Tama County, Iowa)
Lost Concrete rigid frame bridge over Abandoned Chicago, Milwaukee St. Paul & Pacific Railway on US 30
Replaced by a new bridge

Lincoln Highway Hardin Creek Bridge (Greene County, Iowa)
Lost Steel stringer bridge over Hardin Creek on Lincoln Highway
Replaced by a new bridge

Lincoln Highway Head Memorial Bridge (Greene County, Iowa)
Design, 1914
Lost Closed-spandrel arch bridge over Buttrick Creek on Lincoln Highway
Replaced by a new bridge

Lincoln Highway Overpass (Marshall County, Iowa)
Design, 1928
Lost Warren pony truss with all verticals bridge over Railroad (CNW) on US30
Replaced by a new bridge

Lincoln Highway South Skunk River Bridge (Old) (Story County, Iowa)
Design, 1920
Lost through truss bridge over South Skunk River on Lincoln Highway
Replaced by new bridge but relocated

Lincoln Highway Wapsipinicon River Overflow Bridge (Clinton County, Iowa)
Built ca. 1930
Pony plate girder bridge over Wapsipinicon River Overflow on 235th Street (former Lincoln Highway)
Open to one-lane traffic

Lincoln Highway West Beaver Creek Bridge (Greene County, Iowa)
Design, 1921
Concrete bridge over West Beaver Creek on a local road
Open to traffic

Lincoln Way Ioway Creek Bridge (1921) (Story County, Iowa)
Design, 1921
Lost Pony/through plate girder bridge over Squaw Creek on Lincoln Way
Replaced by new bridge

Linden Street Bridge (Fayette County, Iowa)
Design, 1916
Lost Concrete deck girder bridge over Otter Creek on W Linden Street
Replaced by a new bridge

Linn Creek Bridge (Marshall County, Iowa)
Design, 1916
Concrete pony/through girder bridge over Linn Creek on Fairman Avenue
Open to traffic

Linn Creek Intersection Bridge (Marshall County, Iowa)
Built 1920
Slab bridge over Linn Creek on Intersection of 200th Street and Durham Avenue
Open to traffic

Linn Street Bridge (Louisa County, Iowa)
Lost Warren pony truss bridge over Indian Creek on Linn Street
Replaced by a new bridge

Little Beaver Creek Bridge (Boone County, Iowa)
Built 1939
Pony truss bridge over Little Beaver Creek on Irish Avenue
Open to traffic

Little Beaver Creek Bridge (Polk County, Iowa)
Built 1919
Steel stringer bridge over Little Beaver Creek on Nw 100th Street
No longer exists

LIttle Beaver Creek Lincoln Highway Bridge (Greene County, Iowa)
Design, 1915
Stringer bridge over Middle Beaver Creek on 210th Avenue, Original Lincoln Highway
Open to traffic

Little Cedar Creek Bridge (Van Buren County, Iowa)
Design, 1961
Pony truss bridge over Little Cedar Creek on Teal Avenue
Open to traffic

Little Muchakinock Creek Bridge (Mahaska County, Iowa)
Built 1965
Pony truss bridge over Little Muchakinock Creek on Merino Avenue in Oskaloosa
Open to traffic

Little Silver Creek Bridge (Pottawattamie County, Iowa)
Design, 1915
Through truss bridge over Little Silver Creek on 420th Street
Open to traffic

Little Sioux River Bridge (Buena Vista County, Iowa)
Design, 1940
Haunched deck plate girder bridge over Little Sioux River on Weaver Street
Open to traffic

Little Sioux River Bridge (Monona County, Iowa)
Design, 1958
Lost through truss bridge over Little Sioux River on CR E54 (270th Street)
Replaced by a new bridge

Little Sioux River Bridge (Woodbury County, Iowa)
Built 1915
Through truss bridge over Little Sioux River on Mason Avenue (Mason Ave)
Open to traffic

Little Sioux River Bridge (Harrison County, Iowa)
Built 1971
Through truss bridge over Little Sioux River on 120th Street
Open to traffic

Livermore Bridge (Humboldt County, Iowa)
Built 1937
Lost through truss bridge over East Fork Des Moines River on 120th Street east of Livermore
Replaced by a new bridge

Locust Street Bridge (Louisa County, Iowa)
Design, 1915
Steel stringer bridge over Monkey Run on Locust Street
Replaced by a new bridge

Long Branch West Nishnabotna River Bridge (Shelby County, Iowa)
Built ca. 1950
Lost pony truss bridge over Long Branch West Nishnabotna River on a local road
Replaced by a new bridge

Long Creek Bridge (Decatur County, Iowa)
Built 1968
Through truss bridge over Long Creek on 130th Street
Open to traffic

Long Creek Bridge (Decatur County, Iowa)
Built ca. 1930
Through truss bridge over Long Creek on 122nd Street
Open to traffic

Long Point Bridge (Tama County, Iowa)
Built 1941
Through truss bridge over Iowa River on P Avenue
Open to traffic

Lost Creek Bridge (Lee County, Iowa)
Design, 1925
Lost through truss bridge over Lost Creek on Lost Creek Road
Replaced by a new bridge

Lower Old Highway 6 Road NW Bridge (Johnson County, Iowa)
Built 1900
Culvert over Tributary of Clear Creek on Lower Old Highway 6 Road NW
Open to traffic

Lower Oxford Road Bridge (Johnson County, Iowa)
Lost Steel stringer bridge over Small Stream on Lower Oxford Road NW
Replaced by a new culvert

Lucas Street Bridge (Muscatine County, Iowa)
Design, 1928
Culvert bridge over Lowe Run on Lucas Street
Open to traffic

Lundy Bridge (Warren County, Iowa)
Design, ca. 1950
Camelback through truss bridge over Middle River on a local road
Replaced by a new bridge

Lux Creek Bridge (Jackson County, Iowa)
Built ca. 1930
Pony truss bridge over Lux Creek on 400th Street
Open to traffic

Mad Creek Bridge (Muscatine County, Iowa)
Designer, 1924
Arch bridge over Mad Creek on Park Avenue W
Open to traffic

Main Street Bridge (Sioux County, Iowa)
Design, 1919
Lost Pratt through truss bridge over Rock River on Main Street
Replaced at some point with a concrete slab.

Main Street Bridge (Old) (Delaware County, Iowa)
Design
Lost Haunched deck plate girder bridge over Maquoketa River on Main Street
Replaced by a new bridge

Main Street Bridge (Old) (Fayette County, Iowa)
Design, 1919
Lost Concrete deck girder bridge over Volga River on Old IA 150/Main Street
Replaced by a new bridge

Main Street Overpass (Marion County, Iowa)
Built 1940
Timber stringer bridge over Railroad (UP) on Main Street
Open to traffic

Malone Creek Bridge (Buchanan County, Iowa)
Design, 1925
Concrete pony/through girder bridge over Malone Creek on 195th Street
Open to traffic

Manhattan Bridge (2nd) (Keokuk County, Iowa)
Lost Through truss bridge over South Skunk River on CR V5G
Replaced by a new bridge

Maple River Bridge (Cherokee County, Iowa)
Built 1921
Pony truss bridge over Maple River on 600th Street
Open to traffic

Marble Rock Bridge (1914) (Floyd County, Iowa)
Built 1914
Lost Closed-spandrel arch bridge over Shell Rock River on Bradford Street
Replaced by a new bridge

Martz Lane Culvert (Muscatine County, Iowa)
Design
Concrete culvert bridge over Unnamed Stream on Martz Lane
Open to traffic

Matsell Bridge (Linn County, Iowa)
Designer, 1939
Plate girder bridge over Wapsipinicon River on Matsell Park Road
Open to traffic

Maxson Avenue Bridge (Muscatine County, Iowa)
Built 1936
Steel stringer bridge over Wapsinonoc Creek on Maxson Avenue
Open to traffic

McCandless Cleghorn Ditch Bridge (Monona County, Iowa)
Built 1923
Concrete tee beam bridge over McCandless Cleghorn Ditch on K-45
Open to traffic

McHone Drive Bridge (Story County, Iowa)
Built 1918
Steel stringer bridge over Tributary of Rock Creek on McHone Drive
Abandoned

McKeown Bridge (Muscatine County, Iowa)
Built 1951
Haunched steel stringer bridge over Cedar River on Former alignment of 231st Street
Intact but closed to vehicular traffic.

McKinley Lake Bridge (Union County, Iowa)
Built 1940
Concrete deck girder bridge over Mckinley Lake on Adams Street
Demolished

Merrimac Bridge (Old) (Jefferson County, Iowa)
Built 1917
Through truss bridge over Skunk River on Road
Replaced by a new bridge

Middle Nodaway River Bridge (Adams County, Iowa)
Built ca. 1930
Through truss bridge over Middle Nodaway River on 190th Street
Intact but closed to all traffic

Middle Nodaway River Bridge (Adams County, Iowa)
Design, 1951
Lost through truss bridge over Middle Nodaway River on 125th Street
Replaced by a new bridge

Middle Nodaway River Bridge (Adams County, Iowa)
Design, 1920
Through truss bridge over Middle Nodaway River on 110th Street
Open to traffic

Middle Nodaway River Bridge (Adair County, Iowa)
Built 1948
Pony truss bridge over Middle Nodaway River on 280th Street
Open to traffic

Middle Raccoon River Bridge (Carroll County, Iowa)
Pony truss bridge over Middle Raccoon River on 260th Street
Open to traffic

Middle Raccoon River Bridge (Carroll County, Iowa)
Built 1951
Through truss bridge over Middle Raccoon River on Raven Road
Open to traffic

Middle River Bridge (Adair County, Iowa)
Design, 1968
Pony truss bridge over Middle River on 200th Street
Open to traffic

Middle River Bridge (Adair County, Iowa)
Built ca. 1920
Through truss bridge over Middle River on 320th Street
Open to traffic

Middle River Bridge (Adair County, Iowa)
Design, 1915
Pony truss bridge over Middle River on 350th Street
Open to traffic

Middle River Bridge (Madison County, Iowa)
Built 1932
Through truss bridge over Middle River on CR R35 (Bevington Park Road)
Open to traffic

Middle River Bridge (Adair County, Iowa)
Built 1950
Through truss bridge over Middle River on County Road G39
Open to traffic