I-194 on the Bismarck-Mandan inset of the 2007 North Dakota Official Highway Map.
Although never signed in the field, I-194 appeared as a full Interstate on the 1982 North Dakota Official Highway Map. It was omitted by the 2002 edition, but reappeared by 2007 as a business route. The 2015-16 map again shows I-194 with a tricolor shield, but with non-Interstate line work.
Interstate 194 represents the northern half of a 3.5 mile freeway linking I-94 with the capital city of Bismarck at Washington Street via east Mandan. The Interstate portion of the route ends 1.072 miles south of Interstate 94 at the interchange with Business Loop I-94 (Memorial Highway). The remainder of the freeway southeast across the Missouri River is a part of unsigned North Dakota 810.
Bismarck Expressway transitions to an arterial route at Washington Street. The expressway loops across the south side of Bismarck, serving a retail corridor anchored by Kirkwood Mall and an industrial area north of Bismarck Airport (BIS). The ND 810 portion of the route concludes 5.741 miles east of I-194 at 5th Avenue NE. Business Loop I-94 turns north onto the expressway from there on the final 1.658 mile return to Interstate 94 at the Centennial Park area. All mileage figures cited here were obtained from the 2016 Route and Mileage Map prepared by NDDOT.
Interstate 194 was constructed at the same time Interstate 94 was built from Mandan eastward through Bismarck. This included the Grant Marsh Bridge spanning the Missouri River, which was dedicated on December 9, 1965.1 I-194 consisted of just the spur southeast to Memorial Highway and Main Avenue, the former alignment of U.S. 10 between the sister cities.
Bismarck Expressway / North Dakota 810
A new southerly route across the Missouri River and around Bismarck was identified by Highway Department Engineers Woodie Wolf and Arlie Markley by about 1962. The city of Bismarck was not interested in the project at the time as much of the area remained rural or undeveloped. Area growth south of the Northern Pacific Railroad (BNSF today) line followed with construction of the Civic Center and Kirkwood Mall. As a new economic hub formed to the south, city officials came into agreement that the route should be built. Environmental and design work commenced by the early to mid 1970s, with construction underway in the early 1980s.2
The Bismarck Expressway was completed in 1985 when the 2,151 foot long Expressway Bridge spanning the Missouri River opened to traffic. The four-lane highway cost $12.8 million.3