Iowa Road Signs


Advance Destination Sign

A Destination (Guide) Sign which is located well in advance (usually 1 mile) of an exit point and which gives notice of routes and principle destinations served by the next interchange and the distance to that interchange.

Advertising Device

Any outdoor sign, display, device, figure, painting, drawing, message, placard, poster, billboard, or any other device designed, intended, or used to advertise or give information in the nature of advertising, and having the capacity of being visible from the traveled portion of any interstate or primary highway.

Exit Number Sign

A sign which gives the number of the exit; this number corresponds with the milepost number preceding the point where the intersected road crosses the mainline. Multiple exits at the same interchange are designated by the suffixes "A" and "B".

Freeway Primary Highway

Highway with access only at established interchanges.

Freeway System

A system of fully-controlled access 4-lane primary highways.

Interstate System

A system of fully-controlled access multi-lane divided highways which are part of the National System of Interstate and Defense Highways.


Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices. A national manual that has been adopted by the State in accordance with Iowa Code Section 321.252 and which contains standards and specifications for a uniform system of traffic control devices to be used on streets and highways within the state. On-line version of MUTCD.

Official Signing

Signing fabricated, erected, and maintained by the Iowa Department of Transportation within state right-of-way.

Primary Highway

Those roads and streets both inside and outside the boundaries of municipalities which are under the jurisdiction of the Iowa Department of Transportation.

Primary Interstate Route

A highway that crosses the state boundary to boundary and which extends into another state.

Primary Intrastate Route

A highway that has its entire length within the state.


Land acquired for and dedicated to the construction and maintenance of the highway.

Supplemental Destination Sign

A Destination (Guide) Sign which is normally installed between the Advance Guide Sign and the Exit Destination Sign and which gives information on the additional approved supplemental destinations accessible from the next exit.

Tourism Signing Committee

A panel chaired by the Director of Tourism and Travel Division of the Department of Economic Development and is comprised of representatives of the Department of Economic Development, the Department of Transportation, the Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, the Travel Federation of Iowa, the Office of Cultural Affairs, the Department of Natural Resources, and the Iowa Outdoor Advertising Association.

Trailblazing Signs

Small signs erected on the roads accessed from a Logo-signed interchange. They are used to direct motorists to a particular business if the business is not located along the roadway that intersects with the ramp.


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