Interstate 635 Kansas / Missouri
Interstate 635 in Kansas and Missouri provides a western bypass of Downtown Kansas City and truck route between Merriam, Kansas, and I-29 in north Kansas City, Missouri. The freeway serves the Santa Fe and Fairfax Industrial District on the Kansas side of the Missouri River and Horizons Business Park in Riverside, Missouri. The urban route also serves the Argentine, Quindaro Bluffs and Turner residential areas of Kansas City, Kansas. The south end of the freeway ties into U.S. 69 (Metcalf Avenue) from the commercial center of Mission.
The exit number sequence for I-635 in Kansas continues northward into Missouri. There are no control cities for the freeway in Kansas and signs on the Missouri side simply reference the state of Kansas. 2015 traffic counts along Interstate 635 in Kansas peaked at 77,200 vehicles per day (vpd) on the segment between K-32 and I-70/U.S. 24-40. Counts for I-635 in Missouri range from 49,125 vpd at the Missouri River to 53,542 vpd south of I-29.
Missouri submitted Interstate 635 to the American Association of State Highway Officials (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. The November 1958 plan for I-635 took the route eastward along the freeway spur on K-5 to U.S. 69 (7th Street), and along U.S. 69 to the Platte Purchase and Fairfax Bridges across the Missouri River 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 (old U.S. 24-73) north to Leavenworth Avenue (K-5 west), and from the Fairfax Bridge (U.S. 69 / Old U.S. 169) northward to I-29/U.S. 71 in Riverside, Missouri. I-635 was finished by 1977.
Interstate 635 was designated as the Harry Darby Memorial Highway in 1990. Completed in 2004, a $98 million project reconstructed the interchange between I-70 and I-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 (Exit 1) with Horizons Parkway opened to traffic in December 2007 just north of the Missouri River. The exit serves the Horizons Business Park and Argosy Casino. Horizons Parkway was built northward from I-635 to Missouri Route 9 in 2008,3 while Argosy Parkway was extended west to Exit 1 in 2009.
Kansas – 8.90
Missouri – 3.77
Source: December 31, 2021 Interstate Route Log and Finders List
The initial alignment for I-635 was slated to use the Fairfax Bridge built in 1933 and the Platte Purchase Bridge built in 1957 across the Missouri River. The narrow spans for U.S. 69 were eventually replaced during a two-year project through December 2016.
K-5 accompanies I- 635 between Exit 7 and Exit 8. The freeway spur east from I-635 to the Fairfax District was completed around 1976.
North End – Kansas City, Missouri
North End Throwback
U.S. 169 previously overlapped with U.S. 69 north from 7th Street in Kansas City, Kansas across the Platte Purchase Bridge onto I-635 north. The route took a dog leg east from the end of I-635 to Arrowhead Trafficway via I-29/U.S. 71 south. U.S. 169 was relocated eastward away from I-635 to the Broadway Bridge in 1991 when toll collection ceased at the crossing. Photo by Michael Summa (1989).
South End – Overland Park, Kansas
Entering the folded diamond interchange (Exit 1B) with Merriam Drive west to Merriam and east to Shawnee Heights in Kansas City. I-35 parallels Merriam Drive / Lane south to Shawnee Mission Parkway and north to Southwest Boulevard. Collectively the three roads represent the historic eastern extent of K-10. K-10 follows a freeway west from I-35 and I-435 to Lawrence now. 11/03/16
- Interstate system route numbering web site
http://www.nwindianahwys.homestead.com/INTER_MAIN.HTML, Stephen Summers.
- Kansas Interstate 50th Anniversary
- “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 June 29, 2022.