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Interstate 635 Kansas / Missouri

Ramps from Interstate 70 join Interstate 635 south at the Kansas River Bridge. The pair of three lane bridges were completed in 1976 and are not fully Interstate standard due to narrow shoulders. Photo taken 06/18/15.


Interstate 635 in Kansas and Missouri provides a western bypass of Downtown Kansas City between Merriam, Kansas, and Interstate 29 in north Kansas City, Missouri. The freeway serves industrial areas both north of the Missouri River and south of the Kansas River while winding through residential areas of Kansas City, Kansas in between. The south end of the freeway ties into U.S. 69 (Metcalf Avenue) south into the commercial center of Merriam.

The exit numbers for I-635 in Kansas continue into Missouri. U.S. 69 merges with the route briefly between Exits 10 and 11 in Missouri.


Missouri submitted Interstate 635 to AASHO as part of its proposed Urban Route Numbering on July 31, 1958. It was approved along with I-435 (Kansas City Eastern Beltway) and I-470 on November 10, 1958. Additionally the November 1958 plan for I-635 took the route eastward along what is now K-5 to U.S. 69 and northward across the Fairfax Bridge toward I-29.1 This was shifted westward to a new alignment after 1968 when additional federal funding would pay for a new Missouri River crossing.

Construction of Interstate 635 began in 1969.2 The freeway was complete in 1975 from I-35 north to Kansas Avenue (K-32 / Old K-132), from State Avenue to Leavenworth Avenue, and northward from the Fairfax Bridge (U.S. 69 / Old U.S. 169) to I-29 & U.S. 71 in Riverside, Missouri. I-635 was finished by 1977.

In 1990, Interstate 635 was designated as the Harry Darby Memorial Highway. Completed in 2004, a $98-million project reconstructed the interchange between Interstates 70 and 635. The work replaced the bridges on I-70 westbound over I-635 and reconstructed I-635 between Kansas and State Avenues.2

A new diamond interchange with Horizons Parkway opened to traffic in December 2007 in Riverside, Kansas. The exit serves the Horizons industrial park area, with Horizons Parkway built northward from I-635 to Missouri 9 in 2008.3

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 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 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 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 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 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 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 10/17/04.
Perspective from Interstate 35 and U.S. 69 south
Now traveling south on Interstate 35, a huge diagrammatic 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 diagrammatic 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 diagrammatic 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 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 10/17/04.
Northbound U.S. 69/Metcalf Avenue approaches its junction with Interstate 35 and Interstate 635, one-half mile. Photo taken 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 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 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 US 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 on 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 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. 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 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 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 10/17/04.
Coming 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 10/17/04.
Interstate 29/U.S. 71 northbound reaches Exit 3A, Waukomis Drive. The center guide sign includes a panel overlay 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 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 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 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 10/17/04.
Interstate 635 leaves Missouri and enters Kansas when it crosses the Missouri River on this steel girder bridge. Photo taken 10/17/04.


  1. Interstate system route numbering web site, Stephen Summers.
  2. Kansas Interstate 50th Anniversary
  3. "The new interchange on Interstate 635 leading to Horizons Parkway should be open by the second week of December, Riverside and state transportation." The Kansas City Star, October 31, 2007.

Page Updated July 15, 2015.

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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: December 31, 2014 Interstate Route Log and Finders List
The proposed route of Interstate 635 in 1968.
K-5 accompanies Interstate 635 between Exits 7 and 8. The K-5 freeway spur east from I-635 to the Fairfax District was completed around 1976.
A short section of Interstate 635 was open by 1972 between State Avenue (former U.S.24 & 73) and K-5 (Leavenworth Road).
K-5 accompanies Interstate 635 between Exits 7 and 8. The K-5 freeway spur east from I-635 to the Fairfax District was completed around 1976.