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 4,425 4,425 mi.
Gravel 13,282 52,955 66,237 mi.
Paved 16,869 1,890 18,759 mi.
Total 30,151 59,269 89,420 mi.
Miles of travel per day (by all vehicles) 12,237,982 2,862,596 15,100,578 travel mi./day.
Average daily traffic count 406 48 169 vpd.
No. Bridges 7,049 11,355 18,404 count.
Length of Bridges 724,454 730,904 1,455,358 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 1,013.00 276 86
Adams 717.00 172 71
Allamakee 858.00 167 147
Appanoose 744.00 170 130
Audubon 745.00 197 77
Benton 1,237.00 322 191
Black Hawk 765.00 230 375
Boone 968.00 104 183
Bremer 713.00 192 197
Buchanan 956.00 256 219
Buena Vista 1,002.00 135 161
Butler 951.00 239 131
Calhoun 993.00 178 109
Carroll 994.00 205 162
Cass 893.00 220 69
Cedar 946.00 258 187
Cerro Gordo 960.00 147 229
Cherokee 996.00 207 126
Chickasaw 842.00 260 140
Clarke 656.00 141 65
Clay 965.00 136 174
Clayton 1,070.00 213 147
Clinton 998.00 269 193
Crawford 1,202.00 250 80
Dallas 849.00 103 262
Davis 793.00 168 103
Decatur 764.00 168 77
Delaware 905.00 238 198
Des Moines 636.00 103 254
Dickinson 652.00 71 224
Dubuque 764.00 205 373
Emmet 641.00 68 105
Fayette 1,138.00 287 141
Floyd 884.00 167 172
Franklin 1,000.00 186 122
Fremont 779.00 125 116
Greene 953.00 141 88
Grundy 828.00 229 188
Guthrie 944.00 244 106
Hamilton 929.00 109 153
Hancock 1,006.00 132 133
Hardin 994.00 198 170
Harrison 1,083.00 140 97
Henry 745.00 122 185
Howard 752.00 201 134
Humboldt 710.00 74 125
Ida 724.00 153 91
Iowa 925.00 190 189
Jackson 833.00 199 154
Jasper 1,219.00 293 197
County Total Miles Total Bridges Average Daily Traffic
Jefferson 753.00 129 163
Johnson 917.00 207 411
Jones 841.00 176 164
Keokuk 912.00 171 80
Kossuth 1,646.00 260 117
Lee 733.00 1130 263
Linn 1,128.00 241 506
Louisa 588.00 114 163
Lucas 629.00 166 86
Lyon 1,005.00 244 157
Madison 900.00 210 142
Mahaska 966.00 197 125
Marion 849.00 175 252
Marshall 929.00 245 182
Mills 684.00 127 192
Mitchell 781.00 151 156
Monona 1,056.00 117 92
Monroe 591.00 132 86
Montgomery 714.00 166 78
Muscatine 607.00 101 285
Obrien 1,013.00 235 137
Osceola 728.00 157 128
Page 910.00 161 88
Palo Alto 944.00 125 112
Plymouth 1,420.00 383 163
Pocahontas 1,005.00 185 98
Polk 727.00 132 814
Pottawattamie 1,469.00 310 189
Poweshiek 978.00 226 107
Ringgold 872.00 210 64
Sac 1,027.00 199 128
Scott 559.00 114 538
Shelby 943.00 190 92
Sioux 1,349.00 390 214
Story 925.00 188 319
Tama 1,146.00 289 121
Taylor 910.00 214 65
Union 698.00 166 105
Van Buren 730.00 144 105
Wapello 699.00 125 199
Warren 861.00 179 250
Washington 904.00 162 179
Wayne 829.00 149 73
Webster 1,173.00 170 266
Winnebago 713.00 72 116
Winneshiek 1,042.00 309 191
Woodbury 1,336.00 289 180
Worth 687.00 87 151
Wright 962.00 159 128

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.