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The newly designated Iowa’s Historic Route 20 Auto Trail covers 333 miles of roadway across the state.

Following formal approval by the Iowa Department of Transportation on Jan. 28, a years-long push by a grassroots organization to have a historic route designated as an auto trail has succeeded.

The Historic Route 20 Association celebrated the decision to officially approve Iowa’s Historic Route 20 Auto Trail in a press release, which detailed the effort to establish the 333-mile trail that follows the original 1926 alignments of Highway 20 from Dubuque to Sioux City.

“To complete the task, Iowa DOT required the association to secure resolutions from all 35 cities and 13 counties that the proposed trail would travel through,” the release states. “Bryan Farr, president of the association, met with local leaders, tourism agencies, economic development groups, county supervisors and more to secure the resolutions.”

With many smaller communities being bypassed following the completion of the four-lane in 2018, the new designation hopes to bring back some of the cultural significance and heritage these communities represent.

“While the importance of the four-lane is understood, the historic Auto Trail created a new tourism route across Iowa and the organization is working to extend similar designations across the United States,” the release states. “US Route 20 is the longest federal highway in the country at 3,365 miles between Boston, Ma., and Newport, Or.”

The brown signs marking the original Highway 20 route are already popping up all along the trail. The grassroots effort was funded by local donations and contributions from cities and counties.