NORTH End: Stop sign, IA 175/Market St. and M43/Des Moines St., Odebolt, Sac County

Facing north on 39

Photo by Neil Bratney

The route connecting Denison and Storm Lake used to be the same number, the original IA 4, which ran from border to border, Hamburg to Spirit Lake. After being superseded by US 59 south of Denison, US 71 north of Early, and then IA 110 north of Schaller (its realignment after 71 was commissioned), 4 lost even more mileage when US 71 was rerouted to go straight south of Early. At that time, the main road between Schaller and Odebolt, most of which is today's M43, was decommissioned as it had become too close to another major route. The massively truncated alignment of IA 4, which only ran between Odebolt and Denison by 1940, later had its entire alignment in Sac County shifted east about two miles, giving IA 39 the route it has today in the Great Renumbering.

Facing north on 39

Facing north on 39

Odebolt is on the LGS despite 39 running along the town's east side. Better options would be "<- Ida Grove 12" (see below) or "^ US 20 12".

Facing west on 175

Facing west on 175

Facing east on 175

Facing east on 175

SOUTH End: T intersection/"2½-way" stop, US 59/IA 141, Denison, Crawford County

Facing south on 39

This intersection is set up somewhat strangely. IA 39 stops, which is a given. All traffic on northbound US 59/westbound IA 141 does, too. But for southbound 59/eastbound 141, through traffic does NOT stop while traffic that wants to turn left, onto 39, gets in a lane that curves toward 39 and then has a stop sign before crossing the northbound lanes.

Facing south on 39

The mileage sign is pointing to Denison despite being on the northwest side of town and already having passed the major intersection leading to the business district (Avenue C, old 59).

Facing north on 59/141

Photo by Neil Bratney

Facing north on 59/141

Photo by Neil Bratney

Facing north on 59/141

Neil writes, "There's a Pizza Hut, McDonald's, No Frills Supermarket, and a strip mall at this intersection (probably because access is limited at the US 30 intersection)." Although a four-lane, 59/141 sort of walks the line between freeway and expressway, with some access controlled but some not, as seen below with US 30. This sort-of-controlled road structure was common in the 1950s and early 1960s, but today the development and left turns involved would likely require an entirely different alignment, farther to the west, to bring it up to even current expressway standards.

Facing south on 59/141

Facing south on 59/141

Surrounding area information: Junctions with US 30

Facing north on 59/141, approaching 30

This view, about a mile south of 39, shows the slightly convoluted nature of the at-grade south intersection with US 30. To go west on 30 from here, one must turn left, stop, and then cross the southbound lanes (which have a stop sign) while at the same time, eastbound 30 is coming up to the intersection and merging into a new left lane for northbound traffic. Northbound 59 doesn't stop.

The new alignments of 30 and 59/141 in the Denison area were done in the early 1960s, effectively obliterating the Lincoln Highway alignment in the area. The old Lincoln would be northwest of this point, crossing the present road between the bridges and the north junction in the deep background. Part of the old Lincoln can be accessed by turning left on 30 and then taking the first right.

Facing north on 59, but heading east on 30 AND west on 141

Photo by Neil Bratney

Up, down, and angled arrows on this BGS gantry make for an interesting intersection, which is actually an at-grade with small ramps. That might not be as confusing as the fact that the driver here is going both east and west (while facing north!) at the same time, following a short wrong-way multiplex with US 30 and IA 141. (West of US 59, straight east-west roads are rarer than diagonals in both directions. Just look at the state map.) The "To 39" is possibly a later addition, seeing as though there's really no reason not to have "North 59 West 141 To 39" on the one BGS. Below is a slightly different view of the same gantry with the "To 39" replaced:

Facing north on 59, but heading east on 30 AND west on 141

Facing west on 30

A possible explanation for the "To 39" signage is its relative proximity and how perhaps some people reading small maps expect to run into 39 from 30. (And way, way back in the 1920s, much of 59 south of Denison and 39 north of here were both parts of IA 4.) The leftmost sign here makes you look at either side to catch the wrong-way multiplex.

Pictures by Neil Bratney: First, eleventh, twelfth, and 17th, 9/20/02

Pictures by me: First-eighth, 9/17/07; ;ninth, tenth, 13th-16th, and 18th, 6/15/06; 19th, 1/19/03

Page created 5/2/04; last updated 9/14/08

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