Kansas Highways Routelog

US Highway 169

Established c. 1935
South Endpoint:
Oklahoma State Line in Coffeyville

North Endpoint:
Missouri State Line on the Fairfax Bridge
in Kansas City (1935-1991)
Missouri State Line on the Lewis and Clark Viaduct
in Kansas City (1991-present)

Counties Passed through: Montgomery, Labette, Neosho, Allen, Anderson, Franklin, Miami, Johnson, Wyandotte


US 169 was extended south into Kansas in 1935, entering Kansas from the north on the new Fairfax bridge and onto the new 7th Street Trafficway, along with US 69. 169 then turned southwest on Southwest Boulevard, following K-10 to Shawnee, then following US 50 from Shawnee to Olathe and K-7 from Olathe to Osawatomie, then replacing K-6 from Osawatomie to Garnett then following US 59 and replacing US 73W from Garnett to Earlton, and replacing K-16 south to the Oklahoma line.

Much of the new road was already hard surfaced; however, the segments between the Montgomery County line and Thayer, between Welda and Osawatomie, and between Paola and Spring Hill remained gravel. By 1937, the segment between Garnett and Welda was completly hard-surfaced. A project to re-align US 59/169 between Garnett and Welda was designated by resolution in 1936, completed by 1938, and hard surfaced by 1940. The section between Paola and Spring Hill was also hard surfaced by 1940. The segment south of Thayer was hard surfaced by 1945. The final segment between Garnett and Osawatomie was paved by 1950.

In 1953, the segment was rebuilt with a bridge over the Santa Fe rail line and following the west side of the rail line to Colony. To the south, the segment between Cherryvale and Thayer was realigned in 1955. Meanwhile, In Johnson and Wyandotte counties, construction of I-35 was underway, with the section from Olathe to Shawnee let as part of US 50 and continuing north to Southwest Boulevard as US 169. Once completed, US 169 was routed onto I-35 between Olathe and KCK. By 1962, 169 was moved onto the new 18th Street expressway, and 7th Street Trafficway and Rainbow Boulevard south of I-70 was removed from the state highway system. By 1969, the 7th Street Trafficway and Rainbow was reinstated as a state highway, and 169 was re-routed to leave I-35 at the Shawnee Mission Parkway, then followed the SMP east to Rainbow.

A new super-two freeway in Miami County between Spring Hill and Paola was established in 1969 and completed in 1972. The freeway was extended south to Osawatomie in 1972 and completed by 1977. A second section of super-two in Allen County was approved in 1977 with a follow-up section into Neosho County designated in 1980. The new route between Iola and Humbloldt was opened by 1981. The segment between Humbolt and Earlton was opened by 1987.

Prior to 1981, a new US 69 freeway had been built in Johnson County. The north end of this freeway branched into two segments. The east leg connected to the historic US 69 on Metcalf Avenune just north of 119th Street, while the west leg met I-35 between 75th and 87th. The east branch, along with Metcalf north of 119th, initially carried the US 69 designation, while the west branch was designated as US 69 Alternate. In 1981, at the apparent request of AASHTO, the west leg was re-designated US 69 and the east leg, along with Metcalf between 119th and the Shawnee Mission Parkway, was re-designated US 169. 169 followed K-150 from I-35 east to US 69. In 1991, US 169's crossing of the Missouri River was moved from the Fairfax bridge in Kansas to the Broadway Bridge in Missori. 169 was then routed onto I-70 from 7th Street to the Missouri State Line. In 1996, K-150 was turned back, and 169 was routed onto I-435 between I-35 and Metcalf, and the former highway between Metcalf and the US 69 freeway was named "Blue Valley Parkway."

In the early 2000s, residents along the super-two US 169 in Miami County began complaining about an excessive number of head-on collisions along this stretch of road. KDOT subsequently began adding the second set of lanes, turning the roadway into a 4-lane freeway. Work on widening the "Heartbreak Highway" was completed by 2003.

In exchange for adding an additional interchange on I-435 at Antioch, the city of Overland Park agreed to take over Metcalf between 435 and the SMP. In 2008, 169 was removed from 435 and Metcalf, and returned to its 1968-1981 route via I-35 and Shawnee Mission Parkway.

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