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Interstate 29

 

Routing

Interstate 29 serves the Upper Midwest and Great Plains region between Kansas City and Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. The freeway parallels the Missouri River between Kansas City and Sioux City, Iowa before straightening out along a northerly heading to Sioux Falls, South Dakota and Fargo, North Dakota.

The southernmost 5.5 miles of Interstate 29 double along side I-35 north from the Alphabet Loop encircling Downtown Kansas City. I-35 branches eastward to Claycomo and Liberty while I-29 turns west toward Kansas City International Airport (MCI) and a short overlap along side I-435, the Kansas City Beltway.

Leaving the Kansas City area, I-29 bee lines north along low rolling hills to St. Joseph, where an urban loop, I-229 serves Downtown while I-29 bypasses to the city to the east. U.S. 71 leaves the I-29 corridor north of St. Joseph while I-29 bends northwest to Mound City and southwest Iowa parallel to the Missouri River.

While never entering the state of Nebraska, bridges across the Missouri join the I-29 corridor with Nebraska City and Plattsmouth on the northern drive to Council Bluffs. Once in Council Bluffs, I-29 takes a dog leg along side I-80 west before making an ess curve northward to Interstate 680. I-680 (former I-80N) combines with Interstate 29 for ten miles to Loveland.

Migrating westward again toward the Missouri River, I-29 traverses flat areas while en route to Sioux City. The freeway hugs the east banks of the river by Downtown, with I-129 providing a western link to South Sioux City, Nebraska. Just north of there, I-29 crosses into South Dakota.

Interstate 29 turns again at Junction City for the trek to Sioux Falls in southeastern South Dakota. I-229 forms an urban loop east to Downtown while I-29 stays to the west through suburban areas between Tea and Renner. A few east and west shifts occur along the route between Sioux Falls and Brookings, home of South Dakota State University.

Traveler services decrease in frequency as I-29 advances from Brookings north northwest to Watertown. The long exit less stretches and generous sight lines justify the 80 mile per hour speed limits along the freeway through to the North Dakota state line. The landscape remains similar through southeastern North Dakota.

Fargo, the largest city in North Dakota, sees traffic counts increase to 53,445 vehicles per day (vpd) in 2014, as I-29 transitions from rural to suburban and urban settings. North of the metropolitan area, the rural freeway reduces to 13,110 vpd, and only increases to 14,300 vpd through Grand Forks, the last city of significance along the route. Traffic counts along I-29 trickle to below 5,000 vpd beyond Drayton and just 2,915 at the Canadian border north of Pembina.

History

The Official Route Numbering for the National System of Interstate and Defense Highways adopted on August 14, 1957 included two separate routes for what is now Interstate 29. The southern segment followed the current freeway between Kansas City and Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The northern portion was designated Interstate 31 and ran from Fargo, North Dakota north to the Canadian border. Interstate system additions approved on October 18, 1957 included 230 miles of freeway linking the two routes.1

The Paseo Bridge across the Missouri River in Kansas City was replaced as part of a $245-million project between April 2008 and December 2010. The aging four-lane suspension bridge opened as a toll bridge in 1954 and was signed as U.S. 69 Alternate. It remained in operation until November 19, 2010, when traffic fully shifted to the new Christopher S. Bond Bridge.

Interstate 29 opened according to the following schedule (from south to north) in the state of Iowa:4

  • Missouri State Line north to County Route J-64: August 31, 1973
  • County Route J-64 to Iowa 2: December 15, 1972
  • Iowa 2 to County Route J-18: December 1, 1972
  • County Route J-18 to U.S. 34: December 10, 1971
  • U.S. 34 to Iowa 370: December 4, 1971
  • Iowa 370 to Iowa 192: December 22, 1969
  • Iowa 192 to I-80 West/23rd Avenue: November 1, 1970
  • I-80 West/23rd Avenue to 9th Avenue: November 10, 1971
  • 9th Avenue to Iowa 192: October 25, 1968
  • Iowa 192 to U.S. 30: November 26, 1958
  • U.S. 30 to Iowa 175: December 7, 1967
  • Iowa 175 to Iowa 141: October 26, 1961
  • Iowa 141 to Business U.S. 75: November 28, 1959
  • Business U.S. 75 to U.S. 20-77: July 15, 1960
  • U.S. 20-77 to South Dakota State Line: October 1, 1958

Interstate 29 opened in stages through South Dakota between the late 1950s at Sioux Falls and 1982, when the segment between Exits 224 (Peever) and 246 (New Effington) was completed.7 Within Sioux Falls a $33-million upgrade of Interstate 29 was finished in September 2003. This road work entailed the reconstruction of two substandard interchanges within the city:

  • Exit 83 / South Dakota 38 - The wye interchange with a left-hand ramp from southbound to South Dakota 38 (Russell Street) was removed.
  • Exit 82 / Benson Road - A Single Point Urban Interchange (SPUI) was constructed at Benson Road.
  • Exit 81 / Maple Street - The half diamond interchange with Maple Street was upgraded into a six-ramp parclo interchange, offsetting the removal of ramps at the former wye to the north.

These projects were a part of an overall improvement and widening plan for Interstate 29 between Madison Street (Exit 73) and Interstate 90 (Exit 84). The construction was the largest single road related project completed in the state at the time.2

The final section of Interstate 29 to be completed in North Dakota was the portion from Drayton to Pembina in 1977. With this completion, North Dakota became the first state to complete all sections of its Interstate system.6

Within the city of Fargo, upgrades to Interstate 29 included the addition of a third northbound lane through the interchange with I-94. This led to the Main Avenue interchange, where new loop ramps were constructed and the overpass for Main Avenue replaced. This work started in 2004 and ran in conjunction with 2005-07 widening of I-29 to six lanes from Main Avenue to 19th Avenue North.3

Highway Guides

Southern Terminus - Interstate 70 - Kansas City, Missouri
Perspective from Interstate 29-35/U.S. 71 south
Traveling south on Interstate 29-35 and U.S. 71 after the Paseo Bridge, overhead signs no longer advise of the continuation of Interstate 29. Instead, Interstate 35 south and Interstate 70 west traffic are advised to use the right lane, while traffic connecting to Interstate 70 east should use the left lane. Photo taken 10/17/04.
Interstate 29 exit mileage actually begins after Interstate 29 35 split, but the official southern terminus is at Interstate 70, six miles south of that split. This photo looks at the Interstate 29 ends signage posted at that junction. Photo taken 10/17/04.
Stay in the left two lanes for Exit 4A, The Paseo south to Junction U.S. 24 east. The right two lanes continue south as Interstate 35 and U.S. 71 toward the junction with Interstate 70. Photo taken 10/17/04.
Downtown Kansas City comes into view after Exit 4A. The next exit is Exit 3, Junction Interstate 70/U.S. 24-40 east and U.S. 71 south. Continuing south, the first exit on the Central Business District Loop is Exit 2F, which serves Oak Street, Grand Avenue, and Walnut Street. Photo taken 10/17/04.
The official southern terminus, which is located at the northeastern corner of the Central Business District (CBD) Loop. Photo taken 10/17/04.
Southbound Interstate 35 merges with Interstate 70 west via the right lane, while the left lane merges directly onto Interstate 70/U.S. 40 east and U.S. 71 south. This marks the southern terminus of Interstate 29. Photo taken 10/17/04.
Perspective from Interstate 35 north
We begin our journey on northbound Interstate 35 after it meets Interstate 670. Now on the western leg of the Central Business District (CBD) Loop, the first exit on northbound Interstate 35 is Exit 2V, 14th Street, followed by Exit 2W, 12th Street. The pull through sign says Interstate 70 west, even though Interstate 35 is still traveling alone on this stretch of freeway. Note that there is no indication yet of Interstate 29. Photo taken 10/17/04.
Northbound Interstate 35 reaches Exit 2W, 12th Street. The left lane connects to Interstate 70/U.S. 24-40 west and U.S. 169 south. Photo taken 10/17/04.
Continuing north, Interstate 35 will shortly merge onto Interstate 70/U.S. 24-40 eastbound. Prior to doing so, there are two exits: Exit 2X, Junction Interstate 70/U.S. 24-40 west and U.S. 169 south and Exit 2Y, Junction U.S. 169/Broadway north. Photo taken 10/17/04.
Northbound Interstate 35 reaches Exit 2X, Junction Interstate 70/U.S. 24-40 west and U.S. 169 south (left exit). The next exit is Exit 2Y, Junction U.S. 169/Broadway north. The pull through sign now correctly shows both Interstate 35 north and Interstate 70 east. Photo taken 10/17/04.
Northbound Interstate 35 reaches Exit 2Y, Junction U.S. 169/Broadway north Photo taken 10/17/04.
After the ramp to U.S. 169 north (Exit 2Y), Interstate 35 north merges onto Interstate 70 east. At this point, the mainline of Interstate 35 north has only one lane. Note that the next exit is Exit 2D, Main Street, which is closed during the afternoon commute hours. Photo taken 10/17/04.
Perspective from Interstate 35 north/Interstate 70 east
A myriad of exits face Interstate 35 north/70 east/U.S. 24/40 eastbound travelers through downtown Kansas City. This photo is taken as Exit 2D/Main Street, one-half mile to the west of the split with Interstate 35 and the northbound beginning of Interstate 29. Photo taken 10/17/04.
This mileage sign provides the distance to Exit 2E, Junction Missouri 9; Exit 2F, Junction Interstate 29-35 north; and Exit 2G, Junction U.S. 24 and 11th Street. Photo taken 10/17/04.
Four guide signs line up along eastbound Interstate 70 for the pending split with Interstate 35 and U.S. 24. Exit 2E for Missouri 9 North/Oak Street departs to the right. U.S. 71 enters Interstate 70 eastbound as Interstate 35 leaves. Photo taken 10/17/04.
Interstate 35 north and Interstate 70 eastbound part ways at Exit 2G. The northward ramp also is the beginning of Interstate 29 northbound. Traffic not continuing on Interstate 70/U.S. 40 east also has the option to continue east onto U.S. 24 via Exit 2H. Interstate 70/U.S. 40 eastbound turn southward for a short distance to the eastern terminus of Interstate 670 before turning back to the east. U.S. 71 tags along with the paired routes to the Interstate 670 interchange. Photo taken 10/17/04.
Onward to Interstate 29 northbound. This photo shows the roadway partition between Exit 2G/Interstate 29/35/U.S. 71 north and Exit 2H/U.S. 24 east. Interstate 29 is routed southward with Interstate 35 to Interstate 70 for route continuity. Photo taken 10/17/04.
Perspective from Interstate 70/U.S. 40 east and U.S. 71 north
A myriad of shields is displayed on this button copy overhead of Interstate 70/U.S. 40 westbound and U.S. 71 northbound as it nears the southern terminus of Interstate 29/Exit 2G. U.S. 40 continues with Interstate 70 onto Interstate 35 south/U.S. 24 west. Missing from this sign is the continuation of Interstate 70 and U.S. 24-40 west; that corner of the sign seems to have fallen off. Photo taken 10/17/04.
Here is the former button copy version of the sign shown in the previous photobox. This button copy sign was in place back in 1982. Interstate 29 begins along the Interstate 35 freeway. Thus the exit numbering scheme of Interstate 29 does not begin until it splits from Interstate 35 at Exit 8B. Photo taken by Michael Summa (1982).
Westbound Interstate 70/U.S. 40 west and U.S. 71 north reach Exit 2H, Junction U.S. 24 east and Missouri 9 north, Admiral Boulevard. The next exit is Exit 2G, Junction Interstate 29-35 and U.S. 71 north to St. Joseph. After this interchange, Interstate 35 south briefly merges with Interstate 70 west, along with U.S. 24-40. Photo taken 10/17/04.
Westbound Interstate 70/U.S. 24-40 west and U.S. 71 north split here. Use the right two lanes to continue along U.S. 71 north as well as Interstate 29-35 to St. Joseph and Des Moines. Use the left two lanes to follow Interstate 70 west along with Interstate 35 south and U.S. 24-40 west to Kansas City, Kansas, and Topeka. Photo taken 10/17/04.
Immediately thereafter, U.S. 24 west departs at Exit 2H. Interstate 29-35 and U.S. 71 north depart from here, joining traffic from Interstate 70 westbound. Photo taken 10/17/04.
Perspective from Interstate 29-35 and U.S. 71 north
Interstate 29 and U.S. 71 north have two lanes for their initial section as they leave the Central Business District (CBD) Loop, then merge with Interstate 35 northbound traffic. After passing through a series of overpasses and underpasses and one interchange (with Front Street, Exit 4B), the freeway prepares to cross the Missouri River. The next exit is Exit 5A, Bedford Street. Photo taken 10/17/04.
Northbound Interstate 29-35 and U.S. 71 approach Exit 4B, Front Street. In addition, the Paseo suspension bridge that carries the freeway over the Missouri River comes into view. This bridge, known as the Paseo Bridge, was built as part of a master plan to upgrade both the U.S. 71 and 69 corridors into freeways leading into downtown Kansas City, was conceptualized in 1949 as part of a City Plan Commission study. It was constructed in 1951-1952, and the Paseo Bridge was dedicated in August 1954 as a toll facility.5 The tolls were retired once the bonds were paid off. Photo taken 10/17/04.
Neither the viaduct that carries the freeway over Front Street nor the suspension bridge are built to Interstate standards. There is virtually no shoulder on either side of the freeway. Plans call for this entire section of freeway to be reconstructed to modern standards. For more information, visit Environmental Impact Statement for Paseo Bridge (issued April 3, 2006) and Summary of I-29/35 Corridor Study. Photo taken 10/17/04.
After the Front Street interchange (Exit 4B), northbound Interstate 29-35 and U.S. 71 cross the Missouri River on the Paseo Bridge, a suspension bridge. Options to upgrade the capacity of the Paseo Bridge include adding a companion span for either northbound or southbound traffic, building an entirely new span nearby for both directions, or building two parallel bridges, one for each direction. It is not clear whether the latter two options would require demolition of the cable suspension bridge. The next exit is Exit 5A, Bedford Street. Photo taken 10/17/04.
A few miles north of the Paseo Bridge and after the Missouri 210 interchange, Interstate 29 and Interstate 35 split at Exit 8B. At that point, Interstate 29 and U.S. 71 finally separate from Interstate 35, and Interstate 29 starts on its own toward St. Joseph, Council Bluffs/Omaha, Sioux City, Sioux Falls, and Fargo. Photo taken 10/17/04.
Northbound Interstate 29-35 and U.S. 71 reach Exit 8A, Parvin Road. The left two lanes connect to northbound Interstate 29 and U.S. 71, while the right two lanes connect to northbound Interstate 35. Photo taken 10/17/04.
Interstate 29/U.S. 71 north and Interstate 35 north divide at this split in Kansas City. Use Interstate 29 north to the international airport. Photo taken 10/17/04.
Perspective from Interstate 29 and U.S. 71 north
This is the first standalone signage for Interstate 29 after departing from Interstate 35, as the freeway reaches Exit 1A, Davidson Road. Note that the exit numbers do not carry forward from the section of alignment shared by Interstate 29 and Interstate 35. Photo taken 10/17/04.
Perspective from U.S. 71 north (south of Interstate 70)
This diagrammatic sign is found on northbound U.S. 71 as it approaches downtown Kansas City. At first, U.S. 71 intersects Interstate 70 and Interstate 670; after merging with Interstate 70 briefly, U.S. 71 meets Interstate 29. This shows how the southern terminus of Interstate 29 is signed from the U.S. 71 freeway, which was completed in 2001. Photo taken by Eduardo Delgadillo (05/02).
Northern Terminus - International Border - Pembina, North Dakota
Perspective from Interstate 29/U.S. 81 north
Northbound Interstate 29 and U.S. 81 approaching the Canada-United States International Border, one mile. All vehicles must pass through Canadian Inspections prior to entry. Photo taken by Rich Piehl (07/06/02).
Historical site exit signage along northbound Interstate 29 approaching the International Border. The international border is located near Pembina, North Dakota. Photo taken by Rich Piehl (07/06/02).
The customs facilities for northbound Interstate 29 are visible on the horizon in this picture. The freeway will enter these customs areas, with inspections by Canadian officials for northbound travelers. Photo taken by Rich Piehl (07/06/02).
This sign indicates that trucks should remain in the right lane, and cars should use the left lane as they approach the border inspection area. The inspections and customs requirements vary for different kinds of vehicles. Photo taken by Rich Piehl (07/06/02).
Interstate 29 (and U.S. 81) comes to an end as it enters the inspection station. Since northbound traffic is defaulted into the Canadian Customs, there is a left turn to reach the United States customs, which serves southbound travelers. Note the 25 miles-per-hour speed limit here. Photo taken by Rich Piehl (07/06/02).
There is no end Interstate 29 shield present. The line of cars and trucks waiting to enter the Canadian customs station is visible here. North of customs, the roadway connects with Manitoba 75 (a continuation of U.S. 75, which crosses into Manitoba from Minnesota a few miles east of here). Photo taken by Rich Piehl (07/06/02).
Cars are required to use the left lane and trucks the right lane. Photo taken by Rich Piehl (07/06/02).
As is common at border crossings, this sign shows the last U-turn to return to the United States. After this last chance, traffic is required to enter Canada before returning to the United States. The 49th Parallel marker is the official demarcation between the United States and Canada. Photos taken by Rich Piehl (07/06/02) and last photo taken by Jim Teresco.
Perspective from Manitoba 75 south
Now traveling south on Manitoba 75, this overhead sign at Junction Manitoba Secondary 243 is the first appearance of an Interstate 29 shield, a short distance north of the international border. Photo taken by Jeff Morrison (05/10/07).
Manitoba 75 technically splits off just before customs. It goes a short distance to Emerson, connects to Manitoba Secondary 200, and then ends, although it used to continue south as U.S. 75. It does not reach the border now that the U.S. and Canada have closed that border station. Photo taken by Jeff Morrison (05/10/07).
Perspective from Manitoba 75 north
Traveling south on Manitoba 75 (which is disconnected from U.S. 75 since the U.S. border crossing is closed) from Emerson, a Junction Manitoba 29 shield assembly is posted. This is the only standalone shield assembly for Manitoba 29. Photo taken by Jeff Morrison (05/10/07).
Shortly thereafter, motorists can turn right (north) to follow Manitoba 75 north to Winnipeg (the highway is four-lane divided all the way) or turn left (south) on Manitoba 29 to the United States. Manitoba 29 is signed here as To Interstate 29. Photo taken by Jeff Morrison (05/10/07).
Perspective from Interstate 29/U.S. 81 south
After crossing the international border and passing through the customs station, Manitoba 29 transitions directly onto Interstate 29 and U.S. 81. This is the first reassurance shield assembly for southbound Interstate 29 and U.S. 81. Photo taken by Jeff Morrison (05/10/07).
In Manitoba, Manitoba 75 is known as Pembina Highway. Here the road enters Pembina County with the next exit being for the small town of Pembina. Interstate 29 continues south, with U.S. 81 splitting at Exit 203 and rejoining Interstate 29 north of Grand Forks. The control city for southbound Interstate 29 in North Dakota is Grand Forks, followed by Fargo. Photo taken by Jeff Morrison (05/10/07).
Perspective from North Dakota 59 east
Eastbound North Dakota 59 meets Interstate 29 and U.S. 81 at this interchange, which is the final U.S. interchange before Interstate 29 and U.S. 81 jointly enter Canada (changing into Manitoba 29). Since U.S. 75 no longer crosses into Canada, it might make sense to have U.S. 75 extended west to this interchange, thus allowing a connection to the main port of entry to Canada. Currently, North Dakota 59 east becomes Minnesota 171 east, which intersects with U.S. 75. Winnipeg is the northbound Interstate 29 control city north of Grand Forks. Photo taken by Jeff Morrison (05/10/07).

Sources:

  1. "The Dwight D. Eisenhower System of Interstate and Defense Highways - Part I - History." FHWA web site.
  2. 29 Russell. http://www.29-russell.com/ South Dakota Department of Transportation project web site.
  3. I-29 Fargo: Project Details. http://www.i29fargo.com/project/ ND Department of Transportation project web site..
  4. Iowa Interstate - 50th Anniversary (web site no longer online)
  5. Environmental Impact Statement for Paseo Bridge Replacement Project - April 2006. http://www.kcdesigncenter.org/reports/kcICON/DEIS/Chapter_I.pdf
  6. "Sprynczynatyk Attends Kick-Off Celebration for 50th Anniversary of the Interstate Highway System." North Dakota DOT Communications, January 23, 2006,
  7. The Unofficial South Dakota Highways Page: Highways 1 to 30.

Page Updated July 6, 2015.

 
Mileage

State Missouri
Mileage 130.72*
Cities Kansas City, St. Joseph
Junctions Interstate 70, Interstate 35, Interstate 635, Interstate 435, Interstate 435, Interstate 229, Interstate 229
State Iowa
Mileage 154.75#
Cities Council Bluffs, Sioux City
Junctions Interstate 80, Interstate 80, Interstate 480, Interstate 680, Interstate 680, Interstate 129
State South Dakota
Mileage 252.50
Cities Vermillion, Sioux Falls, Brookings, Waterton
Junctions Interstate 229, Interstate 90
State North Dakota
Mileage 217.54
Cities Wahpeton, Fargo, Grand Forks
Junctions Interstate 94
TOTAL 755.51
Source: December 31, 2014 Interstate Route Log and Finders List
* - 5.50 miles on I-35, # - 3.00 miles on I-80
Opened in August 1954, the Paseo Bridge carried Interstates 29 & 35 over the Missouri River north of Downtown Kansas City, Missouri until 2010. Opening that year was the Christopher S. Bond Bridge, a seven lane wide cable stay bridge. Photo taken 10/17/04.
Kansas City - 1961
The North Midtown Freeway was completed by 1958 from the Intercity Viaduct (U.S. 24-40-73) to Armour Road (former Missouri 10) and north to the split of Interstates 29 and 35 by 1961.
The oldest sections of Interstate 29 were the sections from Council Bluffs to Missouri Valley and from Onawa to the South Dakota state line. Both were completed by 1961 - 1964 Iowa Official Highway Map
A multi-year project underway through 2019, the I-29 Improvement Project upgrades the freeway through Iowa City, Iowa. Split into 3 Segments, construction along Segment 1 commenced in August 2010, with work on Segment 3, a reconstruction of the northbound lanes to the SD state line, completed in 2012. This phase included six-laning the freeway and improving ramps at the Singing Hills and Interstate 129 interchanges. Segment 2 started in spring 2012. It entails widening I-29 to six overall lanes and upgrading several interchanges through the Downtown area.
A 33-mile stretch of Interstate 29 was open from Drayton to the Canadian Border - 1964 North Dakota Official Highway Map
Interstate 29 directly overlays most of U.S. 81 from the South Dakota state line to the International border. Business loops through Grand Forks and Fargo are either signed as U.S. 81 or U.S. 81 Business. The portion north of Exit 203 remains co-signed as I-29 & U.S. 81.
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