Iowa Route 81 is a very short north-south highway in southeastern Iowa, stemming south from Iowa Route 2 to the Missouri border. Iowa Route 81's purpose is to connect to Missouri Route 81, a north-south route in the northeast corner of Missouri. The northern end, at Iowa Route 2, is at Farmington. The southern end, at the Missouri border, is only about 3 miles away. Iowa Route 1's southern end is a short distance to the west along Iowa Route 2, so IowaDOT easily could have continued Iowa Route 1 down the route currently occupied by Iowa Route 81. Instead, IowaDOT established a designation of Iowa Route 81 to help people find the Missouri Highway with the same number.