Office of Traffic and Safety

Access management

The efficiency and safety of a highway depends largely on the amount and character of interruptions to the movement of traffic. The primary cause of these interruptions is vehicular movements to and from business, residences and other developments along the highway. Regulation and overall control of highway access are necessary to provide efficient and safe highway operation and to utilize the full potential of the highway investment. Accordingly, the Iowa DOT has established an access management policy to control access to the Primary Highway System.

You can request a connection to the highway online

Request permit online

Request an entrance to the primary highway

A request for an access connection to the primary highway can be made using our online electronic permitting system.

Permit process

In Iowa, the permitting process is administered by the Iowa DOT's district offices.  Iowa is divided into six districts as shown below.  Each district has designated staff, commonly known as engineering operations technicians or EOT’s, to assist applicants and review the requests for permits.  Use the map below to find your district contact. The permit application must be approved before work may begin.  The approval process may include internal Iowa DOT review by different offices. Additionally, there may be more requests for more information from the applicant.

Access policy

In accord with Administrative Code 761
Chapter 112(306A)

The Access Policy guidebook contains the current administrative rules governing access to the primary highway system, and some illustrative examples of those rules.

What is the meaning of the word Access?

Access as used in this report is technically defined as a means of ingress or egress between a primary highway and abutting property or an intersecting local public road or street. In lay terms, access is also defined as entrances or driveways from properties to a public road system.

What is Access Management?

A means to maintain the safe and efficient movement of traffic by controlling:
  • The design of accesses
  • The location of accesses
  • The number of access allowed

Why is Access Management needed?

The primary road systems serve two necessary but often conflicting functions:
  • Through traffic and traffic accessing adjacent properties.
  • The efficiency and safety of the highway system is impacted by the frequency and character of interruptions. The primary cause of these interruptions are vehicular movements to and from business, residencies, streets and other developments.

What are the goals of Access Management?

Create a safer environment for the entire transportation network by:
  • Limiting the number of conflicts (accesses)
  • Separating potential conflict points
  • Removing or minimizing turning vehicles and queues from through traffic movements

What benefits are received from Access Management procedures?

The most important benefit of access management is providing a safer roadway and decreasing the number of severe crashes and congestion.

The traveling public receives operational benefits when conflicts points are minimized or separated, highway capacity is increased, delays are reduced and the free flow of traffic is expedited and the public investment made in the highway system is preserved.

Environmental benefits are also gained because vehicle emissions are reduced and fuel economy is increased.

How does the department control Access?

Iowa Code Chapter 306A grants the roadway authorities (Iowa Department of Transportation, cities and counties) the rights and responsibilities to regulate, restrict or prohibit access to the primary road system. Basically controlling access is accomplished either by "Regulatory Management" which is often referred to as "Police Power" or by the acquisition of the property's access rights. Both of these methods are accomplished by the Department by regulations adopted in Iowa Administrative Rule 112.

Jan Laaser-Webb, P.E.

Access policy administrator
Eric Wright

Access policy guidebook

Access Policy PDF

Guidelines for Traffic Impact Analysis

Guidelines for Traffic Impact Analysis