NORTH

(1980-2004)

NORTH End: Stop sign/T intersection, US 218, Lee County

Pictures of the intersection at twilight are mine, December 2001; early pictures of the interchange are Jason Hancock's, April 2004. I have grouped all the pictures of the intersection as it looks today (December 2006) at the end.

Facing north on 394(/27)

Notice the semis coming on to this lowly state highway. The traffic on this highway was very heavy both times I have been on it, because this is the southernmost part of the Avenue of the Saints.

Facing north on 394

This is what I originally wrote in 2002: "Iowa 394's days are numbered. That number is the Avenue of the Saints: 27. Soon the route that currently is but soon will be once was (get that?) 394 will be the sole possession of Iowa 27 (which is the only time 27 is the only number on its route). Eventually, there will be an interchange here; plans currently call for this expressway segment to be done in 2004. Construction was visible up and down the road, but signs for 27 were not. In December 2001, this was the ONLY northbound sign for 27 on the whole road." Since then, those statements have come true.

Facing north on 394

Straight ahead is a new road that curves around to become the onramp for southbound 27. The interchange is to the right. Travel southeast for half a mile to get to the onramp for northbound 218/27.

Every directional tag at this interchange has a larger initial letter, another indication that Butt-Ugly Kansas-Style Signage is going to be par for the course.

This was the only time a 27 sign showed up with 394 in 2001.

Facing south on 218

Photo by Jason Hancock

This picture was taken before the 27 signs were added; as of April 2004 this LGS had disappeared. Compare this to the pictures below.

Facing south on 218

The "19" on the LGS seems to be pasted over something else. Compare the area behind the left car to the shot three pics down.

Facing south on 218/27

Photo by Neil Bratney

Closeup of shields in the above picture

Facing southeast

Photo by Neil Bratney

The 2004 Iowa map shows 218/27 using a new bypass of Donnellson, four-laned between IA 2 and this new interchange. It also looks like there is a two-lane bypass of Argyle.

Facing north on 218

In the lower right-hand corner you can see the first 27 shield co-signed with 218.

Facing north, same spot as above picture

Photo by Jason Hancock

The road ahead is no longer 218 because traffic has shifted to the new roadbed here. The two arrows pointing right (northeast) go to the southbound 27 onramp.

Facing north on 27

Photo by Jason Hancock

The exit tabs used here are larger than usual - that is, larger than what has been used until recently. I'm guessing the sign at left will read "North 218/27 / Mt Pleasant / Iowa City." (Update: It does - see bottom of page.)

Facing south on 218/27

Photo by Jason Hancock

The problem with this BGS gantry is that Highway 218 is exiting from itself! The four-lane is the dominant route BUT that doesn't mean the road we're on needs an exit tab. (Adding insult to injury, the number is 218's, as compared to the Exit 10 on NB 27 here.) Possibly the only place that does a situation like this right is US 65 at I-80 in Des Moines, which places the exit tab over I-80 WB (the dominant curve) while the NB 65 "exit" doesn't have an exit tab on the BGS and also has a "North 65 <diagonal right>" on the ground instead of an "EXIT" sign. Either put the exit tab over 27 or drop them altogether.

With the four-lane's completion, an overlooked link emerges: 218 between US 61 and IA 27. In Lee County, the four-lane Avenue of the Saints and the four-lane US 61 parallel each other less than 10 miles apart yet do not have any four-lane connection until US 34 at Mount Pleasant. In addition, it's the only part of 218 south of Benton County that won't be four-lane. After all the work being done in the state, it surely wouldn't be that hard to squeeze in nine more miles of four-lane for 218 here.

Jason pointed out that this is the first standalone 27 BGS in Iowa and the first to mention St. Louis.

Facing south on 27

Photo by Jason Hancock

This is the second mention of St. Louis on an LGS; first is on 218/27 leaving Mount Pleasant. The sign leaving Keokuk on US 61/136 has Hannibal as the bottom city. That 200 seems a little too convenient, though. :-)

Update: Present-day signage

Facing northwest on 218

Facing northwest on 218

Facing northwest on 218

The vehicle is turning onto old 394. This is after going under the bridge two pictures up.

Facing south on 218

The middle 218 marker serves for both directions; it will split into north and south on the other side of the bridge. Had it been a new assembly instead of existing prior to completion of the interchange, the signs left to right would be something like "South 27 <-; South 218 ^; North 218 27 ^".

Facing north on 27

Facing south on 218/27 (2006)

Like IA 965, apparently "Highway 394" refuses to die as well. Apparently "South 27 St Louis," as seen in Jason Hancock's picture from April 2004 shortly after this road opened, wasn't good enough. UPDATE: Now it is:

Facing south on 218/27 (2013)

Iowa Highway 394 is officially dead, again. Look closely at the "South" tags - the one on the left is in Clearview, on a greenout panel, giving us a sign with both Clearview and FHWA fonts.

Prior to its decommissioning, Highway 394 was the best-signed Iowa highway in Missouri, as you can see in the 394 South page.

Pictures by Jason Hancock: Third and eleventh-fourteenth, 4/4/04

Pictures by Neil Bratney: Seventh and ninth, 6/5/02

Pictures by me: First, second, fourth, sixth, eighth, and tenth, 12/30/01; 15th-20th, 12/18/06; 21st, 9/26/13

Page created 3/3/02; last updated 4/18/14

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