Interstate 194 North DakotaWebmaster2023-08-04T18:20:58-04:00
Interstate 194 North Dakota
I-194 on the Bismarck-Mandan inset of the 2007 North Dakota Official Highway Map.
Although never signed in the field, I-194 appeared as a full Interstate on the 1982 North Dakota Official Highway Map. It was omitted by the 2002 edition, but reappeared by 2007 as a business route. The 2015-16 map again showed I-194 with a tricolor shield, but with non-Interstate line work.
Interstate 194 represents the northern half of a 3.5 mile long freeway linking I-94 with the capital city of Bismarck at Washington Street via east Mandan. The Interstate portion of the route ends 1.072 miles south of I-94 at the interchange with Business Loop I-94 (Memorial Highway). The remainder of the freeway southeast across the Missouri River is a part of unsigned North Dakota Highway 810.
Bismarck Expressway transitions to an arterial route at Washington Street. The expressway loops across the south side of Bismarck, serving a retail corridor anchored by Kirkwood Mall and an industrial area north of Bismarck Airport (BIS). The ND 810 portion of the route concludes 5.741 miles east of I-194 at 5th Avenue NE. Business Loop I-94 turns north onto the expressway from there on the final 1.658 mile return to Interstate 94 at the Centennial Park area. All mileage figures cited here were obtained from the 2020 Route and Mileage Map prepared by the North Dakota Department of Transportation (NDDOT).
Interstate 194 was the lone Urban Interstate Route approved by the North Dakota State Highway Department in 1958. The route was specified in letter to the American Association of State Highway Officials (AASHO) dated July 14, 1958 as
a Spur connecting Interstate Highway Number 94 with the present U.S. Highway Number 10, at the Missouri River Bridge, west of Biscmarck.
AASHO approved the route on November 10, 1958.
Interstate 194 was constructed at the same time I-94 was built from Mandan eastward through Bismarck. This included the Grant Marsh Bridge spanning the Missouri River, which was dedicated on December 9, 1965.1 I-194 consisted of just the spur southeast to Memorial Highway and Main Avenue, the former alignment of U.S. 10 between the sister cities.
North End – Mandan, ND
South End – Bismarck, ND
Mileage – 1.20 (1.072*)
Cities – Bismarck, Mandan
Source: December 31, 2021 Interstate Route Log and Finders List
* – 2020 Route and Mileage Map Insets – North Dakota Department of Transportation
I-194 Annual Average Daily Traffic (AADT)
Source: 2020 Traffic Volume Map – North Dakota Department of Transportation.
Interstate 194 in Bismarck – 1970 General Drafting Map
Prior to the construction of Bismarck Expressway, I-194 simply linked Interstate 94 with U.S. 10 Business east from Mandan to the Memorial Bridge spanning the Missouri River.
1976 Chamber of Commerce map of Bismarck showing the at-grade connection between I-194 and Business Loop I-94.
Bismarck Expressway / ND 810
A new southerly route across the Missouri River and around Bismarck was identified by Highway Department Engineers Woodie Wolf and Arlie Markley by about 1962. The city of Bismarck was not interested in the project at the time as much of the area remained rural or undeveloped. Area growth south of the Northern Pacific Railroad (BNSF today) line followed with construction of the Civic Center and Kirkwood Mall. As a new economic hub formed to the south, city officials came into agreement that the route should be built. Environmental and design work commenced by the early to mid 1970s, with construction underway in the early 1980s.2
The Bismarck Expressway was completed in 1985 when the 2,151 foot long Expressway Bridge spanning the Missouri River opened to traffic. The four lane highway cost $12.8 million.3
North End – Mandan, North Dakota
Leaving the city limits of Mandan, Interstate 194 heads north 0.75 miles to the trumpet interchange with I-94. 08/06/16
Interstate 194 north defaults onto I-94 west as it bypasses Mandan to the north. Travelers joining I-94 east immediately cross the Grant Marsh Bridge over the Missouri River. 08/06/16
Exit 156 references the connection with parallel Business Loop I-94 in place of the Interstate 194. 08/06/16
Business Loop I-94 follows old U.S. 10 along Memorial Highway through Mandan and on Main Avenue to the Bismarck city center. 08/06/16
Exit 156 partitions from I-94 east with two lanes for Interstate 194 south to the Bismarck Expressway (ND 810). 08/06/16
Interstate 94 crosses the Missouri River on the Grant Marsh Bridge leading west to the exchange with I-194 south. 08/06/16
Left Exit 156 departs from Interstate 94 west for unsigned I-194 and Bismarck Expressway (ND 810) southeast to Mandan and Bismarck. 08/06/16
North End Throwback
Sign changes made along I-194 north by 2011 replaced the local control cities of Bismarck and Mandan with Fargo and Billings. Photo by Jeff and David Morrison (05/11/07).
Signs at the north end of Interstate 194 were replaced by 2011. Photo by Jeff and David Morrison (05/11/07).
This ground level sign for Bismarck Expressway on I-94 east was replaced with a Arrow-Per-Lane (APL) overhead by 2011. Photo by Jeff and David Morrison (05/11/07).
This sign bridge on I-94 east was replaced by 2011 with a new APL overhead. Photo by Jeff and David Morrison (05/11/07).
Sign changes made on I-94 west by 2011 added left-exit tabs and Business Loop I-94 and ND 6 for Exit 155. Photo by Jeff and David Morrison (05/11/07).
South End – Mandan, North Dakota
South at Bismarck Expwy /
Ramps from I-94 combine along I-194 south just ahead of a BNSF Railroad overpass. The lone exit of I-194 departs quickly for Business Loop I-94 (old U.S. 10). 08/06/16
An unnumbered off-ramp takes motorists bound for both directions of Business Loop I-94 and 46th Avenue SE south in unison. The business loop follows Memorial Highway west back into Mandan. 08/06/16
East of I-194, Business Loop I-94 crosses the Liberty Memorial Bridge to Main Avenue in Bismarck. 08/06/16
Bismarck Expwy / North at
Bismarck Expressway transitions from unsigned ND 810 to I-194 at the six-ramp parclo interchange with Business Loop I-94. 08/06/16
Signs for Interstate 194 on Bismarck Expressway simply reference the connection with I-94 in the northbound direction. 08/06/16
East at Bismarck Expwy /
Business Loop I-94 (Memorial Highway) angles southeast along a commercialized stretch leading into the parclo interchange with I-194 north and Bismarck Expressway (ND 810) east. 08/06/16
A flyover joins I-194 south with Business Loop I-94 (Memorial Highway) east adjacent to a loop ramp for Interstate 194 northbound. 08/06/16
West at Bismarck Expwy /
Business Loop I-94 spans the Missouri River across the Liberty Memorial Bridge west to I-194/Bismarck Expressway. The Memorial Bridge was dedicated on November 11, 2008.4 08/06/16
Business Loop I-94 (Memorial Highway) west spans Marina Road SE at the entrance ramp for Interstate 194 north. 08/06/16
South End Throwback
This sign for Business Loop I-94 (Main Avenue) was replaced by 2011 to display Clearview font. Photo by Jeff and David Morrison (05/11/07).
The pull through panel for Bismarck Expressway was replaced in 2011 and no longer displays the University of Mary. Photo by Jeff and David Morrison (05/11/07).
- #tbt to the Grant Marsh Bridge dedication in Bismarck on December 9, 1965. Pictured is Highway Commissioner Walt Hjelle (left) and Chief Engineer Robert Bradley (right).
A presentation about this project called “Building the Interstate in North Dakota- Crossing the Missouri” will be presented on Jan. 10, 2016 at the Heritage Center in Bismarck. #throwbackthursday #nddot [Facebook update]. Retrieved from https://www.facebook.com/nddot/photos/a.88387089460.81002.88374649460/10153778491739461/?type=3.
- A lot has changed since this #throwback picture was taken in the early 80s! This is Bismarck Expressway looking west near the 9th Street intersection. #tbt #throwbackthursday #nddot [Facebook update]. Retrieved from https://www.facebook.com/nddot/photos/a.88387089460.81002.88374649460/10153873066009461/?type=3.
- “Bridge’s chances look iffy – Sioux, Emmons counties still want to be connected.” Bismarck Tribune, The (ND), November 24, 1995.
- “Traffic returns to normal on new Memorial Bridge.” Bismarck Tribune, The (ND), October 31, 2008.
Page updated June 30, 2022.