Interstate 435 is the 83-mile, two-state beltway encircling the Kansas City metropolitan area. The freeway serves Independence, Lee’s Summit and Overland Park among other suburban cities. While providing a bypass for long distance travelers north to St. Joseph and Des Moines, and south to Wichita and Joplin, most of the freeway serves commuter traffic. Areas of the north beltway are somewhat rural while I-435 to the southwest, south and east of Kansas City are suburbanized. The northwestern quadrant overlaps with Interstate 29 for 3.1 miles by Kansas City International Airport (MCI).
AASHTO designated the Kansas City beltway as I-435 on June 23, 1969. The route appears on the Missouri Official Highway Map by 1964, but only as an east side bypass between I-35 near Lenexa, Kansas and I-35 at Claycomo, Missouri. Opened to traffic by 1967, the initial section of freeway ran east from I-35 to U.S. 69 in Overland Park, Kansas. The freeway north and east to Missouri Route 78 (East 23rd Street) at Blue Summit was completed by 1970.
The original I-435 alignment east of I-35 was finished by 1975, with a full cloverleaf interchange at the west end with a local road tieing it into Pflumm Road to the south, and a semi directional-T interchange at Claycomo to the north.1 U.S. 50 was relocated to follow I-435 west from Lee’s Summit, Missouri to Overland Park, Kansas as conditionally approved by AASHTO on June 29, 1978.
An east-west section of I-435 parallel to Missouri Route 291 between Exits 36 and 41A/B was opened by 1983. Interstate 435 in Kansas and Missouri was fully open to traffic in December 1986 with the completion of the Missouri River Bridge.1
The Grandview Triangle Interchange, where I-49, I-435, I-470 and U.S. 50 and U.S. 71 come together, was upgraded during roadwork from Fall 2000 to May 2008. $300-million in construction focused on expanding the U.S. 71 mainline by three lanes per direction, adding two lanes for the continuation of I-435 east, and shifting the left side ramp from I-435 east to I-49 and U.S. 71 south, and I-470 east to the right. Interchanges were also revamped along I-49/U.S. 71 to the south at Blue Ridge Boulevard, Red Bridge Road and Longview Road.
Work on the freeway mainlines was formally completed during a ceremony held on December 14, 2007. Officials buried a steel triangle that day to symbolize a new era of transportation as the old Grandview Triangle Interchange days were over. The junction was renamed by the Missouri General Assembly in 2005 as the “Three Trails Crossing Memorial Highway”. The Three Trails name is derived from the trails, Santa Fe, Oregon and California, that historically ran through the area.2
The $600-million Johnson County Gateway project focused on upgrading Interstate 435 between West 87th Street and U.S. 69 in the Overland Park area. Phase 2 of construction rebuilt the beltway from K-10 eastward.
Work commenced on the $288-million Phase 2 of the Johnson County Gateway project in May 2014. Construction altered the three-wye interchange with the K-10 freeway to incorporate it with new collector distributor roadways leading east to Lackman Road and the cloverstack interchange with Interstate 35. Subsequent work replaced the loop ramp from I-35 north to I-435 west with a new flyover while extending the c/d roadway system north from K-10 to 95th Street. Road construction for Phase 2 wrapped up in January 2017, with finishing work including landscaping, signing and painting was completed by late April 2017.3