Interstate 635 is an approximately 12 mile long bypass running to the west of downtown Kansas City. It is mostly in Kansas, but runs into Missouri as well. The entire route was recently reconstructed by KDOT in a $98 million project that also saw the rebuilding of its interchange with Interstate 70. Lets take a quick look at Interstate 635 in Kansas. Click any of the image for larger versions.
(Note: The author is just kidding when he says it is boring, he lives next to IH 635 in Dallas and avoids it like the plague)
South of here US 69 and US 169 have an expressway portion that contains a few crazy tight ramps and blind spots. Hitting 635 is a nice change as the road opens up with concrete and a faster design speed.
KDOT closed the Missouri River bridge along 635 for 60 days during construction in 2005. Missouri had closed the Paseo Bridge (I-29 and I-35) over the river at about the same time for urgent repairs, and asked KDOT in a letter to delay closing the 635 bridge for the sake of traffic flow. KDOT denied their request because of the cost of delaying the construction, and went ahead. The closure involved ripping out the freeway entirely and rebuilding it, from K-5 to the bridge. For a time, the only way to get to the other side of the river in Kansas City on an interstate was I-435.
The Interstate’s interchange with Parallel Parkway took place in 2005. The picture above is from 2003, while the one below is from 2008 in about the same spot. Originally opened in 1976, this section of freeway did not even last for 30 years. This phase of the project was 3 miles long and saw 6 new bridges built. This short section was the most expensive reconstruction phase, and cost over $43 million. It saw the freeway closed for lengthy stretches of time, irking many commuters and Kansas airport commuters. The new Parallel Parkway interchange is concrete and the diamond has been replaced with a SPUI.
Eventually, additions in federal funds allowed for a new bridge to be constructed just to the west. This view of what might-have-been is echoed in the short freeway route of K-5 just north of Quindaro.
As for the Missouri section, its much older than the brand-new Kansas section, as is to be expected.