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Interstate 635 Kansas / Missouri

 

For a one-mile stretch between Exits 8 and 7 in Kansas City, Interstate 635 is cosigned with Kansas 5. It also briefly shares pavement with U.S. 69 on its section in Missouri. Photo taken by AARoads (10/17/04).

Routing

Interstate 635 in Kansas and Missouri provides an inner western bypass to downtown Kansas City. It links Interstate 35 in Overland Park, Kansas, with Interstate 29 in Kansas City, Missouri. This route is the most direct for traffic connecting from Interstate 29 to Interstate 35 (unless the Interstate 435 bypass is used instead). The exit numbers for Interstate 635 in Kansas and Missouri do not reset at the state line. U.S. 69 merges with Interstate 635 briefly between Exits 10 and 11 in Missouri.

Interstate 635 stays to the west of downtown as acts as a connection between Interstate 35 and Interstate 29 in the Kansas City metropolitan area freeway system.

History

Construction of Interstate 635 began in 1969 and was completed by the early 1970s. In 1990, Interstate 635 was designated as the Harry Darby Memorial Highway. In 2004, the reconstructed interchange between Interstate 70 and Interstate 635 was completed and opened to traffic.1

Southern Terminus - Interstate 35 and U.S. 69 - Overland Park, Kansas
Perspective from Interstate 635 south
1.75 miles out from the southern terminus, a centerline guide sign with the final three exits of Interstate 635. The sign is located between Exit 2A (Metropolitan Avenue) and Exit 1C (Shawnee Drive). Photo taken by AARoads (10/17/04).
Within the Exit 1C interchange at Shawnee Drive, the three-quarters of a mile sign bridge for Exit 1A/Interstate 35 and U.S. 69 north. Traffic that does not exit onto Interstate 35 will transition into U.S. 69 southbound/Metcalf Avenue. Photo taken by AARoads (10/17/04).
Sandwiched between Interstate 35/Exit 1A and Exit 1C is Exit 1B to Merriam Lane and Drive. The local road parallels Interstate 35 from Merriam northward into Kansas City. Interstate 635 comes to an end in one-half mile. Photo taken by AARoads (10/17/04).
Leaving the city limits of Kansas City, Interstate 635 sees Exit 1B depart. Interstate 35 and U.S. 69 are just one-third of a mile ahead. Motorists are now in the Overland Park vicinity. Photo taken by AARoads (10/17/04).
Two lanes carry Interstate 635 onto U.S. 69 southbound into Overland Park. The right-hand lanes are designated for Interstate 35/U.S. 69 north and Interstate 35 south. As is the case with the Interstate 435 south junction of Interstate 35, Des Moines is the northbound control city. U.S. 69 south will meet U.S. 169 and U.S. 56 in two miles. Photo taken by AARoads (10/17/04).
Exit 1A departs for Interstate 35 and U.S. 69 north as Interstate 635 ends and U.S. 69 southbound takes over. U.S. 69 southbound will return to Interstate 35 within three miles. The two highways overlap on three separate occasions in the Kansas City metropolitan area. Photo taken by AARoads (10/17/04).
Now on the transition ramp from southbound Interstate 635 to Interstate 35, the right lane connects to southbound Interstate 35 to Wichita, while the left lane connects to northbound Interstate 35/U.S. 69 to Kansas City and Des Moines. Photo taken by AARoads (10/17/04).
Perspective from Interstate 35 and U.S. 69 south
Now traveling south on Interstate 35, a huge diagrammatical sign shows the lane allocation for Interstate 635 south (Exit 231B) and U.S. 69 south (Exit 231A. Both of these are left exits. Stay right to remain on Interstate 35 south. Photo taken by Jeff Morrison (05/14/07).
The next guide sign also features a diagrammatical sign. The ramps within this interchange, which feature left exits and sharp turns, must be navigated slowly. Photo taken by Jeff Morrison (05/14/07).
A third diagrammatical sign is posted on southbound Interstate 35 and U.S. 69. Photo taken by Jeff Morrison (05/14/07).
Southbound Interstate 35 and U.S. 69 reaches Exit 231B, Junction Interstate 635 north. The two routes divide at Exit 231A, Junction U.S. 69/Metcalf Avenue south. Photo taken by Jeff Morrison (05/14/07).
Perspective from U.S. 69 north
U.S. 69 follows Metcalf Avenue from U.S. 56/Shawnee Mission Parkway north to Interstate 35. South of U.S. 56, Metcalf Avenue is designated as U.S. 169. Photo taken by AARoads (10/17/04).
Between Shawnee Mission Parkway and Interstate 35/Interstate 635, northbound U.S. 69 is a mixture of expressway with occasional freeway ramps for specific intersections. Photo taken by AARoads (10/17/04).
Northbound U.S. 69/Metcalf Avenue approaches its junction with Interstate 35 and Interstate 635, one-half mile. Photo taken by AARoads (10/17/04).
Use Interstate 35 north to downtown Kansas City and use Interstate 635 north to Interstate 29/U.S. 71 and the international airport. Photo taken by AARoads (10/17/04).
U.S. 69 north transitions onto Interstate 35 north; the left two lanes become the mainline for Interstate 635 north. Photo taken by AARoads (10/17/04).
Northern Terminus - Interstate 29 and U.S. 71 - Kansas City, Missouri
Perspective from Interstate 635 north
Traveling north on Interstate 635, we have two views of the north end, from 2007 and 1989. The 1989 photo shows the original button-copy guide signs located one-half mile south of the northern terminus of Interstate 635. An Interstate 35 trailblazer was added for the Exit 12A panel, resulting in the relocation of the U.S. 71 and 169 shields. U.S. 169 no longer is featured on Exit 12A signs as the 2007 photo proves. The federal route is situated nearby as it intersects Interstate 29 south at Exit 2A/B. Photos taken by Jeff Morrison (05/14/07) and Michael Summa (1989).
Interstate 635 northbound comes to an end at Exits 12A/B. Interstate 29 is overlapped with U.S. 71 through north Kansas City, sharing pavement with Interstate highways from downtown. Interstate 35 is situated nearby, just three miles to the east via Interstate 29 south. Photos taken by Jeff Morrison (05/14/07) and AARoads (10/17/04).
This is an overview of the northern terminus of Interstate 635 looking north as seen from the southbound right shoulder of Interstate 635. Photo taken by AARoads (10/17/04).
Perspective from Interstate 29 south
Now traveling south on Interstate 29 and U.S. 71, the next exit is Exits 3C-B, Junction Interstate 635 south and Junction Trunk Route A, N.W. Gateway Avenue. Note the control city of "Kansas," since Interstate 635 almost immediately leaves Missouri by crossing the Missouri River into Kansas City, Kansas. Photo taken by Jeff Morrison (05/14/07).
Interstate 29/U.S. 71 southbound approaches the northern terminus of Interstate 635 (Exit 3B). Note the change in signage for County A on this overhead sign bridge between 2007 and 2001. The interchange from this direction also features a ramp to Trunk Route A (Exit 3C), a local road connecting to U.S. 69 in the Riverside neighborhood of Kansas City. Photos taken by Jeff Morrison (05/14/07) and J.P. Nasiatka (05/01).
Since Interstate 635 skirts downtown Kansas City, it offers a bypass route to avoid downtown. In addition, it is the fastest way for through traffic to Interstate 70/Kansas Turnpike west and to Interstate 35 south. Photo taken by Jeff Morrison (05/14/07).
Southbound Interstate 29 and U.S. 71 reaches Exit 3B, Junction Interstate 635 south to Kansas City, Kansas (double right exit). Continue south on Interstate 29 and U.S. 71 to Interstate 35 and downtown Kansas City, Missouri. The next exit is Exit 3B, N.W. Gateway Avenue (Trunk Route A). Photo taken by Jeff Morrison (05/14/07).
Perspective from Interstate 29 and U.S. 71 north
After splitting from Interstate 35 north of downtown Kansas City, Interstate 29/U.S. 71 reaches Exit 1C, Oak Trafficway. The next two exits connect to Exit 1E, Junction U.S. 69/Vivion Road and Exit 2A, Junction U.S. 169 north to Gladstone and Smithville. This sign bridge includes the first guide sign for Interstate 635, two miles to the east of the terminus. This sign was installed between 2002 and 2004, replacing an original button copy sign. The control "city" is Kansas. Photo taken by AARoads (10/17/04).
The next exit is Exit 1E, Junction U.S. 69/Vivion Road north (east) toward Liberty. U.S. 69 takes an odd route through northern Kansas City, generally choosing to avoid the Interstates for awhile, then merge briefly, then separate once again. Its routing is a bit more convoluted in Kansas. Contrary to what some maps say (such as the 2006 Rand McNally inset of Kansas City), U.S. 69 does not merge with Interstate 29. Instead, U.S. 69 passes under the freeway traveling west to Riverside, south via NW Gateway Avenue, and then west via Missouri 9. U.S. 69 then merges onto Interstate 635 south for one exit, then crosses the Missouri River on its own alignment once again. Photo taken by AARoads (10/17/04).
Northbound Interstate 29 and U.S. 71 reach the next interchange at Exit 2A, Junction U.S. 169 north to Gladstone and Smithville. U.S. 169 travels due north from here, while Interstate 29 and U.S. 71 angle northwest toward the junction with Interstate 635 and the international airport. There is no direct connection to southbound U.S. 169 from northbound Interstate 29/U.S. 71. Photo taken by AARoads (10/17/04).
Drawing to within 0.75 miles of Interstate 635/Exit 3C on Interstate 29/U.S. 71 northbound. The off-ramp to Interstate 635 south departs from the left. Before that junction, Exit 3A for Waukomis Drive is encountered. This interchange serves the Lake Waukomis and Northmoor neighborhoods of north Kansas City. Photo taken by AARoads (10/17/04).
Interstate 29/U.S. 71 northbound reaches Exit 3A, Waukomis Drive. The center guide sign includes a panel overlay ("greenout") for Kansas City International Airport. The transportation facility is located ten miles to the north via Exit 13. Interstate 635 southbound leaves in approximately one-fourth of a mile. Photo taken by AARoads (10/17/04).
At this interchange, Interstate 29/U.S. 71 northbound and Interstate 635 southbound split (Exit 3C). The overpass in the background is that of the Interstate 635 northbound to Interstate 29 northbound ramp. Interstate 635 will cross the Kansas/Missouri state line in less than four miles. Photo taken by AARoads (10/17/04).
Perspective from Interstate 635 south
The first shield for Interstate 635 is cosigned with U.S. 169; however, U.S. 169 does not even cross over Interstate 635 or merge onto it. This is likely an error. Photo taken by AARoads (10/17/04).
The first sign bridge along Interstate 635 south indicates the first interchange (a cloverleaf): Exits 11B-A, Junction U.S. 69 and Missouri 9. Like Interstate 435, the exit numbers on Interstate 635 not restart upon crossing the state line. Photo taken by AARoads (10/17/04).
Interstate 635 leaves Missouri and enters Kansas when it crosses the Missouri River on this steel girder bridge. Photo taken by AARoads (10/17/04).

Sources:

  1. Kansas Interstate 50th Anniversary

Page Updated August 25, 2007.

 
Mileage

State Kansas
Mileage 8.90
Cities Kansas City
Junctions Interstate 35, Interstate 70
State Missouri
Mileage 3.77
Cities Kansas City
Junctions Interstate 29
TOTAL 12.67
Source: October 31, 2002 Interstate Route Log and Finders List
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