Ramps from Interstate 70 join Interstate 635 south at the Kansas River Bridge. The pair of three lane bridges were completed in 1976, but are not fully Interstate standard due to narrow shoulders. 06/18/15
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 into 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 peak 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 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 K-5 freeway spur 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.
In 1990, Interstate 635 was designated as the Harry Darby Memorial Highway. 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 9 in 2008,3 while Argosy Parkway was extended west to Exit 1 in 2009.