5500 Westown Parkway, Suite 190
West Des Moines, Iowa 50266

515-244-0779

ABOUT SECONDARY ROADS

Iowa has three classes of public roads: the state primary highways, secondary (county) roads and city streets. The state highways serve the need for travel and transport between Iowa's major cities and shipping/receiving points. City streets provide to homes, shopping, employment, civic resources, and services. County roads provide rural land access for farming, living, livestock production, and recreation. On the people side, they enable convenient rural residency, access to schools, and connect workers to jobs. On the economic production side, they facilitate the distribution of seed and fertilizer from suppliers to myriad field locations in the spring and fall collecting the grains harvested from all those fields in the fall.

Iowa county roads are divided into two systems. The first, called Area Service roads primarily serve connect vehicles to rural area endpoints where trips start or end. These roadways are mostly gravel and earth surfaced. For them, providing access is more important than handling traffic levels. The second, known as the Farm to Market network, collect the Area Service originated trips and provide all-weather routes to destination points. These links are mostly paved and serve both access and traffic carriage needs.

County roads provide drivable surfaces to carry vehicles from where they started to their destinations. Culverts carry runoff and snow-melt underneath, so it doesn't interfere with travel conditions. The type of surfacing varies according to the need: infrequent land access can be handled via earth surfacing, roads with 10 to 200 cars/trucks per day are granular surfaced, seal coat toppings facilitate still more traffic and begin to offer all weather reliability, and pavements are used to support higher traffic, heavy truck movements and year-round service.

Roads enable the movement of vehicles but brides enable free circulation of traffic. Healthy bridges maximize this freedom of movement. But if there gets to be too many deteriorated or weight limit posted structures, land can no longer be efficiently accessed.

Convenient, Efficient, and Safe

All road agencies work hard to enable travel that is convenient, efficient and safe. The safety component of this service is present in all levels of design, construction and maintenance. It is present in the form of curves being matched to expected driving speeds, provision of sight distance, shoulders, embankment slope recoverability, warning and regulator signage, pavement markings, rumble strips at intersections, winter snow and ice removal, work zone delineation, guardrails and bridge load carrying capacities. In recent years, there has been national emphasis on reducing fatalities. Iowa's counties have participated in this effort by upgrading signs, adding rumble strips to alert motorists when they begin to depart from the traveled way, and through the making of systemic improvements that reduce overall accident rates.

STATEWIDE DASHBOARD

County roads serve rural Iowa transport needs in two capacities: Local Access roads assure a pubic road connection for every parcel of land; Farm to market roads also provide access and, in addition, serve as conduits that collect the flow of people and commodities, channeling them to and from towns and terminals. Even though county roads are considered 'low volume' the daily travel they carry is equivalent to a single vehicle making 60 round trips to the moon.

Statewide Totals
Category Farm to Market Local Access Total
Dirt 0 4,459 4,459 mi.
Gravel 13,300 52,917 66,217 mi.
Paved 16,830 1,895 18,725 mi.
Total 30,130 59,271 89,401 mi.
Miles of travel per day (by all vehicles) 11,675,492 2,794,051 14,469,543 travel mi./day.
Average daily traffic count 388 47 162 vpd.
No. Bridges 7,086 11,599 18,685 count.
Length of Bridges 727,215 742,781 1,469,996 ft.

COUNTY DASHBOARD

Individual counties vary greatly in total miles, number of bridges and traffic levels. Each one customizes its road network to fit with the way the private sector needs to operate.

County Totals
County Total Miles Total Bridges Average Daily Traffic
Adair 1,013.00 274 85
Adams 718.00 176 71
Allamakee 861.00 163 141
Appanoose 743.00 174 125
Audubon 742.00 198 76
Benton 1,231.00 321 184
Black Hawk 764.00 229 362
Boone 969.00 106 177
Bremer 713.00 189 189
Buchanan 956.00 256 211
Buena Vista 1,001.00 135 156
Butler 951.00 239 130
Calhoun 993.00 178 106
Carroll 994.00 215 150
Cass 893.00 221 70
Cedar 939.00 258 182
Cerro Gordo 960.00 147 221
Cherokee 996.00 206 123
Chickasaw 842.00 261 135
Clarke 657.00 147 68
Clay 965.00 136 170
Clayton 1,070.00 223 142
Clinton 997.00 275 186
Crawford 1,202.00 256 77
Dallas 849.00 106 244
Davis 793.00 174 99
Decatur 765.00 169 77
Delaware 904.00 236 191
Des Moines 635.00 104 245
Dickinson 653.00 71 220
Dubuque 763.00 213 361
Emmet 641.00 67 102
Fayette 1,137.00 287 136
Floyd 883.00 166 166
Franklin 999.00 185 118
Fremont 779.00 126 123
Greene 952.00 142 88
Grundy 830.00 225 181
Guthrie 944.00 244 106
Hamilton 929.00 110 148
Hancock 1,007.00 136 130
Hardin 994.00 199 165
Harrison 1,082.00 141 100
Henry 740.00 126 180
Howard 753.00 206 130
Humboldt 710.00 77 122
Ida 724.00 154 89
Iowa 926.00 195 182
Jackson 832.00 201 148
Jasper 1,218.00 293 190
County Total Miles Total Bridges Average Daily Traffic
Jefferson 751.00 134 158
Johnson 917.00 211 461
Jones 841.00 178 159
Keokuk 914.00 175 77
Kossuth 1,646.00 264 114
Lee 731.00 132 254
Linn 1,131.00 247 488
Louisa 589.00 114 159
Lucas 628.00 171 84
Lyon 1,005.00 248 153
Madison 899.00 213 136
Mahaska 963.00 198 121
Marion 847.00 182 244
Marshall 928.00 246 176
Mills 684.00 132 208
Mitchell 781.00 152 150
Monona 1,054.00 119 95
Monroe 591.00 135 83
Montgomery 712.00 171 84
Muscatine 606.00 102 275
Obrien 1,013.00 234 134
Osceola 728.00 158 124
Page 910.00 162 84
Palo Alto 943.00 126 109
Plymouth 1,419.00 385 158
Pocahontas 1,004.00 185 95
Polk 734.00 139 705
Pottawattamie 1,468.00 317 189
Poweshiek 968.00 232 104
Ringgold 872.00 216 63
Sac 1,026.00 200 123
Scott 559.00 114 518
Shelby 943.00 194 90
Sioux 1,349.00 390 208
Story 927.00 191 313
Tama 1,144.00 299 1,116
Taylor 909.00 220 65
Union 697.00 168 102
Van Buren 730.00 144 101
Wapello 698.00 129 191
Warren 860.00 180 231
Washington 905.00 162 172
Wayne 828.00 152 71
Webster 1,173.00 179 260
Winnebago 712.00 77 113
Winneshiek 1,043.00 313 183
Woodbury 1,336.00 293 177
Worth 687.00 87 145
Wright 963.00 159 125

FUNDING AND SPENDING

The chart below shows where revenue for Iowa secondary roads comes from, where it is deposited and what it is used for.