Interstate 35W represented a main route north from I-35 as it turned northeast from Wichita along the Kansas Turnpike to Emporia. The first section of the freeway was under construction around McPherson in 1968, with work on most of the remaining freeway getting underway by the early 1970s.1
The Canal Route section of I-135 through Wichita cost $32 million, with work there starting in 1971. This segment included the most expensive portion of the original Kansas Interstate system built at the time, the 2.2 mile long viaducts between Kellogg Avenue and 21st Street N. The northbound bridge is 12,111 feet long while the southbound span totals 12,497 feet.2 Technical issues extended work on the Canal Route to a December 1979 completion date.1
The Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) submitted an application to the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) for the renumbering of I-35W to I-135 on April 7, 1976.
To comply with the Purpose and Policy of the markings of the National System of Interstate and Defense Highways it is requested the divided number (I35W) be changed. It is recommended that number I 135 be assigned to this route.
It is believed this route qualifies for a spur number off of Route I 35. This also provides a better arrangement in Wichita than assigning a new number. City officials, chambers of commerce and businesses along the route were notified of a proposed change. There was minimal response to a change of marking. Some made requests for a short time period of notification before signs are changed.
AASHTO approved the request on July 13, 1976 and I-35W was renumbered as Interstate 135 on September 13, 1976. There are two remaining I-35W’s nationally, one at Fort Worth, Texas and the other through Minneapolis, Minnesota.
U.S. 81 was wholly realigned onto Interstate 135 from 47th Street S in the South Area of Wichita to the north end at I-70 outside Salina with concurrence by AASHTO on October 13, 1979. Simultaneous action designated business routes for U.S. 81 off I-135 at McPherson and Lindsborg. The Lindsborg loop was subsequently decommissioned in 2011.
Funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) in 2009, a $16.1 million project reconfigured the full cloverleaf interchange joining Interstate 135 with 47th Street (U.S. 81 to the west) in south Wichita. The two year project was unveiled on August 28, 2009 with construction commencing on September 8, 2009. It coincided with development of the South Fork retail and hotel complex at the southwest corner of the exchange. Project aspects included the rebuilding of four bridges for 47th Street S, over both I-135 and adjacent Big Slough Creek, and the removal of three ramps with the installation of three signalized intersections.3
A new diamond interchange was constructed along I-135/U.S. 81 at Mohawk Road to the north of McPherson. Serving an industrial park and provide additional access to the north side of McPherson, the $7.018 million project linked separate segments of Mohawk Road . The bid for the project was let on October 21, 2015. Scheduled work ran through May 26, 2017,4 and a ribbon cutting ceremony took place for the new ramps on April 4, 2017.6