Interstate 80 is the busiest highway across Iowa, stretching from Omaha and Council Bluffs to the Quad Cities while within the state's borders. The majority of people looking at Iowa as a "drive-through" state are driving through on Interstate 80. The highway enters the western end of Iowa by crossing the Missouri River out of Omaha, Nebraska. Soon after entering Iowa, Interstate 80 is joined by Interstate 29 through Council Bluffs, where the two concurrent Interstates are divided into separate express and local lanes. After several miles of togetherness, Interstate 29 departs Interstate 80 to continue south. Interstate 80 jogs northeasterly to meet Interstate 880, and at the meeting point, Interstate 80 returns to an easterly direction. Interstate 80 reaches the Des Moines area in the middle of Iowa, joining Interstate 35 north at an interchange where Interstate 235 gets its easterly start into downtown Des Moines. Interstate 35 and 80 run northerly together to the interchange with Iowa Route 141, and the Interstates cooperatively bend eastward together around the northern side of Des Moines. In the northeast corner of Des Moines, Interstate 35 departs from Interstate 80 to continue north, where Interstate 235's northeastern end occurs. Interstate 80 continues east, meeting Interstate 380, US Route 218, and Iowa Route 27 in Coralville, near Iowa City. Interstate 80 then serves Iowa City and sets out for its final destination in Iowa, the Quad Cities. As Interstate 80 enters the Quad Cities area, it creates Interstate 280, which heads south to flank the west side of the metropolitan area. Then it meets the northwestern endpoint of Interstate 74, which heads south through the city centers of Bettendorf, Iowa, and Moline, Illinois. Interstate 80's path bends southeasterly across the Mississippi River, crossing into Illinois, to head southerly around the eastern side of the Quad Cities. (Don't worry; it bends back easterly about ten miles into Illinois.)
For now, I'll just include a couple of photos. But I will soon get some more photos from the Interstates in Iowa so I can provide full exit lists for everyone. Those exit lists will have a photo for every exit. In the meantime, enjoy a short reel of photos.
First of all, though, here is the photo showing where I got my shield image for Interstate 80. In Clive, a western suburb of Des Moines, the concurrency of Interstate 35 and Interstate 80 meets an interchange with University Avenue. It's the first interchange north of the point where Interstate 35 and Interstate 80 join together. The sign assembly in the photo faces east along University Avenue, pointing out that the right turn onto the southbound onramp is just ahead across the overpass. An October morning in 2021 marked the time I took this photo, just after the rain stopped. I was on the way home from a trip across southern and western Iowa.