Interstate 74


The Iowa-Illinois Memorial Bridge one of the few suspension bridges that cross the Mississippi River. The westbound (northbound) span was opened to traffic in 1935, and the eastbound (southbound) span was erected in 1959.3 The suspension bridge carried U.S. 6 (not U.S. 150) prior to the designation of the freeway. Interstate 74 was routed over the bridge once the freeway approaches were constructed in 1974.2 This is one of a couple major bridges along Interstate 74 that span rivers in the Midwest. Photo taken along northbound by AARoads (09/04/05).


Interstate 74, a diagonal (northwest to southeast) freeway, serves the Upper Midwest, Southern Great Lakes, and Ohio River Valley area. Beginning in Iowa at the Interstate 80 interchange in Davenport (Quad Cities area), Interstate 74 crosses the Mississippi River in a southbound direction. From there, the Interstate enters Illinois and meets Interstate 80 again before starting out on its own toward Galesburg. At Galesburg, Interstate 74 turns southeast toward Peoria, Bloomington-Normal, Champaign-Urbana, and Danville in Illinois. At the state line of Indiana and Illinois, Interstate 74 veers toward Indianapolis, before terminating at Cincinnati.

Several extant sections of Interstate 74 also exist in North Carolina, but they do not connect directly with the existing Interstate 74 from the Quad Cities to Cincinnati.

Parallel U.S. Routes

Starting in the Quad Cities area, Interstate 74 follows U.S. 150 southeast to Danville, then follows U.S. 136 the rest of the way into Indianapolis. Southeast of Indianapolis, Interstate 74 at first follows U.S. 421, then U.S. 52 the final distance into Cincinnati.

Planned Improvements

Illinois and Iowa have joined for a Interstate 74 Corridor Study in the Quad Cities area. These improvements would likely include bridge (Mississippi River) and roadway enhancements that would allow for a more efficient configuration for optimal travel times. One of the options is moving Interstate 74 onto a new Mississippi River bridge. Significant funds for this purpose were included in the SAFETEA-LU bill, signed into law in August 2005.

Previously (in the late 1990s), local officials had proposed moving Interstate 74 from its current alignment onto Interstate 280 (existing Interstate 74 would have become Interstate 174); this request was denied in favor of researching methods to reconstruct Interstate 74 through the area.

In addition, Interstate 74 is slated for improvements through Peoria. According to the Upgrade Interstate 74 Project Website, the project began in 2002 and is anticipated for completion in December 2005. When complete, Interstate 74 will feature additional lighting, new overpasses, new pavement, and improved exit/entrance ramps.

High Priority Corridor

North Carolina's section of Interstate 74 is part of High Priority Corridor 5: I-73/74 North-South Corridor. Its designation in North Carolina is written into law. See Interstate 74 in North Carolina for more.


The original layout of the Quad Cities Interstate system planned for Interstate 74 and Interstate 80 overlap from the current west end of Interstate 74 through the Quad Cities into Illinois. Interstate 80 as it is routed today from Interstate 74 to Interstate 280 was to be designated Interstate 274. This was altered to the current configuration before construction began as the Interstate 74/80 overlap seemed redundant.1

In Iowa, Interstate 74 opened on in stages: (1) August 30, 1968 (from Interstate 80 south to U.S. 6), (2) September 2, 1971 (U.S. 6 south to Kimberly Road), and (3) November 26, 1974 (Kimberly Road south to the Mississippi River bridges).1

Future Aspirations

Long range plans call for Interstate 74 to continue east and south of Cincinnati through West Virginia and Virginia into North Carolina and South Carolina, with the freeway ending in Myrtle Beach. Already, Interstate 74 shields have been erected along a stretch of U.S. 220 freeway south of Asheboro, North Carolina and in 2000 along a stretch between the Virginia State Line and Mt. Airy, North Carolina. See Interstate 74 in North Carolina and High Priority Corridor 5 for more information and photos. Future Interstate 74 shields are in place along a stretches of freeway near Asheboro and Rockingham, North Carolina as well.

To make the connection between Cincinnati and Huntington, West Virginia, Interstate 74 has been proposed to pass through either Ohio or Kentucky. A feasibility study of routing Northern Kentucky Outer Loop Interstate 74 in Kentucky was completed in March 2003, and it reveals that constructing an east-west bypass around Cincinnati to the south via Kentucky might be needed someday, but it is not necessary today. Another study is underway to consider routing Interstate 74 along the AA Highway rather than Ohio 32. That study is incomplete.

In West Virginia, Interstate 74 is programmed to follow proposed Interstate 73 along U.S. 52; the two routes would split before entering Virginia, with Interstate 74 merging with Interstate 77 south into North Carolina. See Interstate 74 in North Carolina for what's been signed in that state. In South Carolina, a failed state resolution attempted to designate the Carolina Bays Parkway as part of Interstate 74, the Veterans Highway/Conway Bypass as part of Interstate 73, and the North Myrtle Beach Connector from Main Street to the parkway as part of a new route called Interstate 174.

For more, visit Bob Malme's excellent Interstate 73/74 Progress in North Carolina Page and North Carolina's Proposed Stategic Highway Corridors.

Highway Guides

Western Terminus - Interstate 80 - Bettendorf, Iowa
Perspective from Interstate 74 west
The one-mile advance sign for the final junction on westbound (northbound) Interstate 74 is posted next to the 53rd Street overpass (which is served by Exit 1). The junction with Interstate 80 could be considered Exits 0B and 0A. Photo taken 09/04/05.
This is the final reassurance shield for Interstate 74 west, after the onramp from 53rd Street in Davenport. The junction with Interstate 80 is ahead. Photo taken 09/04/05.
An overhead sign is posted near the 67th Street overpass. Use the right lane to connect to eastbound Interstate 80 to Illinois (Exit 0B); the left lane connects westbound Interstate 80 en route to Des Moines. Use Interstate 80 west to U.S. 61 north to Dubuque and Wisconsin. Photo taken 09/04/05.
The end of Interstate 74 is signed with an Interstate 74 ENDS sign (similar to the signage used at the southern terminus of Interstate 75 in Hialeah, Florida). The Ends signage is fairly standard for Iowa Interstate highways. The two left lanes transition onto westbound Interstate 80, while the right lane departs onto eastbound Interstate 80. Photo taken 09/04/05.
Perspective from Interstate 80 east
Interstate 80 east at Interstate 74 in Davenport, Iowa. Interstate 74 has a total of four miles within the state of Iowa. Photo taken by Chris Curley (7/00).
Another perspective of the above Interstate 74/80 sign bridge. Photo taken by Jim Teresco (07/01).
Perspective from Interstate 80 west
After Exit 301 (Middle Road), this mileage sign provides the first notice of the pending junction with Interstaet 74 along westbound Interstate 80. Photo taken 09/04/05.
After the rest area, another mileage sign provides the distance to the next four interchanges: Exit 298, Junction Interstate 74 south to downtown Davenport; Exits 295B-A, Junction U.S. 61/Brady Street; Exit 292, Junction Iowa 130, Northwest Boulevard; and Exit 290, Junction Interstate 280 and U.S. 6. Photo taken 09/04/05.
The first Davenport interchange is Exit 298, Junction Interstate 74 south (signed as east, even though Interstate 74 only travels north-south through Iowa). Photo taken 09/04/05.
At the Utica Ridge Road overpass is the one-mile advance sign for Exit 298, Junction Interstate 74 south to downtown Davenport. Photo taken 09/04/05.
Westbound Interstate 80 reaches Exit 298, Junction Interstate 74. This is a trumpet interchange, so the connecting ramp wraps in a loop to turn south toward Davenport. Photo taken 09/04/05.
Perspective from Interstate 74 east
First eastbound reassurance shield for Interstate 74, located at milepost 0.4. Photo taken by Jim Teresco (07/01).
Eastern Terminus - Interstate 75 - Cincinnati, Ohio
Perspective from Interstate 74 east
1.75 miles out from the terminus, this overhead guide sign displays button copy signage for Interstate 75. The control point for Interstate 75 is Lexington. The central Kentucky city is 82 miles to the south. Photo taken by Chris Curley (07/00).
Interstate 74 ends in one half mile, as the overhead guide sign displays. Photo taken by Chris Curley (07/00).
The eastern terminus of Interstate 74 is located at this junction with Interstate 75 in northwest Cincinnati. U.S. 52, which overlaps with Interstate 74, merges with Interstate 75 south. Photo taken by Chris Curley (07/00).
The interchange with Interstate 75 is numbered Exit 19. However, there is an Exit 20 to U.S. 27/127/Central Parkway. These U.S. routes are connected to Interstate 75 via Exit 3/Hopple Street to the south. This photograph looks at the terminus of Interstate 74 and the three choices motorists are afforded. Photo taken by Chris Curley (07/00).
Perspective from Interstate 75 south
Southbound Interstate 75, one mile north of the eastern terminus of Interstate 74 and merge with U.S. 52 south. Interstate 75 and U.S. 52 overlap for one mile toward downtown Cincinnati. Photo taken by Don Hargraves (12/02).
Now within one half mile of Interstate 74 on Interstate 75 southbound. Interstate 74 merges with Interstate 275 ten miles to the west. Photo taken by Don Hargraves (12/02).
Exit 4 for the westbound beginning of Interstate 74 departs as Interstate 75 maintains three lanes into downtown. Nearby Exit 3 marks the end of the short overlap with U.S. 52 and connection with the overlapped U.S. 27/127 along Hopple Street. Photo taken by Don Hargraves (12/02).
Perspective from Interstate 75 north
This sign bridge on northbound Interstate 75 shows the next exit (Exit 2B, Harrison Avenue) as well as the first advance signage for the junction with Interstate 74 and U.S. 52 (Exit 4). Photo taken by Steve Hanudel (08/20/05).
At the ramp to Harrison Avenue, Interstate 75/U.S. 52 northbound next approaches Exit 3, Hopple Street, north of downtown Cincinnati. Advance button copy guide signage is in place for the upcoming interchange with the current eastern terminus of Interstate 74 (Exit 4). Note that U.S. 27 north is included on the signage, due to its close proximity to Interstate 74 during its first mile. One of the original shields on the sign was covered up with a green overlay panel. Photo taken by Steve Hanudel (08/20/05).
Northbound Interstate 75/U.S. 52 approaches Exit 3, Hopple Street, followed by Exit 4, Junction Interstate 74, U.S. 27, and the continuation of U.S. 52 west. Interstate 74 travels northwest to Indianapolis and is part of the most direct route to Chicago (with the latter half of the route via Interstate 65). Photo taken by Steve Hanudel (08/20/05).
Sign bridge on Interstate 75 northbound at Exit 3/Hopple Street. The ramp allocations for the pending Interstate 74/75 split are displayed, as the interchange is situated within the next mile. The control point for Interstate 75 is Dayton, which is located another 47 miles to the north. Photo taken by Steve Hanudel (08/20/05).
Northbound Interstate 75 reaches Exit 4, Junction Interstate 74/U.S. 52 west and U.S. 27. Photo taken by Steve Hanudel (08/20/05).


  1. Interstate 274 routing background obtained from Stephen Summers' Interstate system route numbering page (defunct).
  2. Iowa Interstate - 50th Anniversary (web site no longer online)
  3. Interstate 74 Corridor Study in the Quad Cities area

Page Updated July 19, 2007.

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State Iowa
Mileage 5.36
Cities Davenport, Bettendorf
Junctions Interstate 80
State Illinois
Mileage 220.34*
Cities Moline, Galesburg, Peoria, Bloomington, Champaign-Urbana, Danville
Junctions Interstate 280, Interstate 80/Interstate 280, Interstate 474, Interstate 474, Interstate 55, Interstate 55, Interstate 57
State Indiana
Mileage 171.54#
Cities Crawfordsville, Indianapolis, Shelbyville, Greensburg
Junctions Interstate 465, Interstate 70, Interstate 65, Interstate 465
State Ohio
Mileage 19.47
Cities Cincinnati
Junctions Interstate 275, Interstate 275, Interstate 75
State North Carolina
Mileage 69.61##
Cities Mt. Airy, Winston-Salem, High Point, Randleman, Asheboro, Ulah, Candor, Ellerbe, Rockingham, Laurinburg, Lumberton
Junctions Interstate 77, Interstate 85, Interstate 73, Interstate 95
TOTAL 486.32
Source: December 31, 2014 Interstate Route Log and Finders List
* - 5.89 miles on I-55, # - 20.60 miles on I-465. ## - 16.26 miles on I-73
Interstate 74 Annual Average Daily Traffic (AADT)

State Location AADT Composite Year
Indiana New Ross 15,230 2002
Indiana Indianapolis 151,890 2002
INDOT 2000 Annual Average Daily Traffic Volumes Map
Complete Interstate 74 AADT data.
Interstate 74 through Peoria was recently reconstructed to modern standards between 2002 and fall 2007. The $500 million work affected 11 miles of roads. Photo taken 05/27/08.