U.S. Route 56

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U.S. Route 56 marker
U.S. Route 56
US 56 highlighted in red
Route information
Length640.250 mi[citation needed] (1,030.382 km)
Major junctions
West end I-25 BL / US 412 / NM 21 at Springer, NM
East end US 71 at Kansas City, MO
StatesNew Mexico, Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri
Highway system
  • State Roads in New Mexico
Oklahoma State Highway System
  • Kansas State Highway System
NM 55NM NM 56
K-55KS K-57
Route 53MO Route 58

U.S. Route 56 (US 56) is an east–west United States highway that runs for approximately 640 miles (1,030 km) in the Midwestern United States. US 56's western terminus is at Interstate 25 Business (I-25 Bus.), US 412 and New Mexico State Road 21 (NM 21) in Springer, New Mexico and the highway's eastern terminus is at US 71 in Kansas City, Missouri. Much of it follows the Santa Fe Trail.

Route description[edit]

The highway passes through New Mexico, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Missouri. The eastbound shoulder also touches a corner of Texas at a small road junction near the New Mexico/Oklahoma border.

New Mexico[edit]

US 56 runs concurrent with US 412 for its entire length in New Mexico, and are signed as such through the state. The two routes begin in Springer and head east towards Abbot, where they serve as the northern terminus of State Road 39. Continuing east, US 56/412 meet the southern terminus of NM 193 south of Farley, the northern terminus of NM 120 east of Gladstone, and the southern terminus of NM 453. US 56/412 intersect US 64 and US 87 in Clayton, New Mexico, and US 64 joins with US 56/412 in their trek northeast. The three routes serve as the southern terminus of NM 406 as they enter the Kiowa National Grassland. The three routes then cross into Oklahoma together.


US-56's short path through Oklahoma consists of a diagonal slice across the western part of the Oklahoma Panhandle. US-56/64/412 enter Oklahoma near the southwest corner of the Panhandle, where they also enter Rita Blanca National Grassland. They leave the grassland near Felt. Three miles[2] (4.8 km) southwest of Boise City, US-385 joins the concurrency. The routes then enter Boise City, where they enter a traffic circle around the Cimarron County Courthouse that involves US-56, US-64, US-385, US-412, State Highway 3, and SH-325. After leaving the traffic circle, US-56 overlaps US-64, US-412, and SH-3. 1.7 miles (2.7 km) east of the courthouse, US-56 meets US-287 at an interchange. US-56/64/412/SH-3 continue northeast for 6 miles (9.7 km),[2] where US-56 splits to travel northeast on its own.

The route parallels the Cimarron Valley Railroad for the remainder of its time in Oklahoma. Keyes is the next town on US-56, and it also serves as the northern terminus of SH-171 where the two highways intersect. US-56 crosses into Texas County east of Sturgis. Just before crossing the Kansas line, US-56 meets the north end of SH-95. US-56 then enters Kansas on the east edge of Elkhart.


Scranton, Kansas on US 56, in 1974

US-56 enters the state at the Kansas/Oklahoma border near Elkhart. It weaves its way across the state from southwest to northeast, passing through such towns as Dodge City, Great Bend, McPherson, Council Grove, and Baldwin City. It joins with I-35/US-50 east of Gardner, and goes northeast with I-35 into the Kansas City Metro Area. It exits the state as part of Shawnee Mission Parkway in Merriam.


For one mile (1.6 km) in Kansas City's Country Club Plaza, Route 56 follows the noted boulevard Ward Parkway along with 47th St through the Country Club Plaza. The route ends at an intersection with U.S. Route 71. It also includes Blue Parkway and Swope Parkway at certain points.


Green US-56 marker formerly used in Kansas

In the early 1950s, towns along what was then the K-45 corridor, connecting Ellsworth, Kansas to the Oklahoma state line at Elkhart, formed the Mid-Continent Diagonal Highway Association[3] to push for a new highway from Springer, New Mexico (on US 85) northeast across the Oklahoma Panhandle, along K-45, and continuing to Manitowoc, Wisconsin on Lake Michigan.[4] By mid-1954, it was being promoted as U.S. Route 55 between the Great Lakes and the Southwestern United States.[5] The first submissions to the American Association of State Highway Officials (AASHO) to establish the route were made in 1954; all placed the northeast end at Manitowoc, Wisconsin (absorbing US 151 from Cedar Rapids, Iowa[citation needed]), while they varied on whether the southwest end was to be at Albuquerque, New Mexico or Nogales, Arizona.[6] The first route considered in northeast Kansas was via US 40 from Ellsworth to Topeka and K-4 and US 59 via Atchison to St. Joseph, Missouri.[7] A revised route adopted in March 1955, due to AASHO objections to the original route, which traveled concurrently with other U.S. Highways for over half of its length, followed K-14, K-18, US 24, K-63, K-16, and US 59 via Lincoln and Manhattan.[8] In July, the US 50-N Association proposed a plan that would have eliminated US 50N by routing US 55 along most of its length, from Larned east to Baldwin Junction, and then along US 59 to Lawrence and K-10 to Kansas City; towns on US 50N west of Larned, which would have been bypassed, led a successful fight against this.[9][10]

However, in September of that year, the Kansas Highway Commission accepted that plan, taking US 55 east to Kansas City.[11] On June 27, 1956, the AASHO Route Numbering Committee considered this refined plan for US 55, between Springer, New Mexico and Kansas City, Missouri, with a short US 155 along the remaining portion of US 50N from Larned west to Garden City. The committee approved the request, but since the proposed route was more east–west than north–south, it changed it to an even number – US 56 – and the spur to US 156.[6]

On June 26, 1958, AASHO denied the New Mexico Department of Transportation's request to extend US 56 west from Springer to Santa Fe, which would have followed US 85, US 84 and US 285.[12]

State Highway 114 marker

State Highway 114

LocationNear Boise City, Oklahoma – near Elkhart, Kansas

US 56 originally took a different route between Boise City, Oklahoma and Elkhart, Kansas. The original route followed US 64 east to an intersection south of Eva. It then split off to the north towards Elkhart.[15] By 1961, the section north of US 64 had been overlaid with SH-95.[13] The following year, US 56 was rerouted over SH-114, bringing it to its current diagonal path across the Oklahoma Panhandle.[14] The old alignment is still on the Oklahoma highway system as the north half of SH-95.

Major intersections[edit]

New MexicoColfaxSpringer0.0000.000 NM 21 west (4th Street west) – MiamiContinuation beyond western terminus

I-25 BL (Maxwell Avenue) to I-25 / NM 58 – Las Vegas, Raton, Cimarron, Taos Ski Valley, Springer Lake

US 412 begins
Western terminus of US 56/US 412; western end of US 412 overlap
Abbott19.71931.735 NM 39 south – Roy, MosqueroNorthern terminus of NM 39
31.69051.000 NM 193 north – FarleySouthern terminus of NM 193
Union46.68875.137 NM 120 south – YatesNorthern terminus of NM 120
54.04086.969 NM 453 north – GrenvilleSouthern terminus of NM 453
Clayton82.400132.610 NM 402 (S. 1st Avenue)
82.530132.819 US 64 west / US 87 (1st Street) – Dalhart, RatonWestern end of US 64 overlap
85.890138.227 NM 406 north – SenecaSouthern terminus of NM 406
New MexicoOklahoma line94.172
Mileposts reset at state line
OklahomaCimarron28.4945.85 US 385 south – DalhartWestern end of US-385 overlap
Boise City32.3152.00 US 385 north / SH-3 west (Cimmaron Avenue north) / SH-325 west (Main Street west)Traffic circle; eastern end of US-385 overlap; western end of SH-3 overlap; eastern terminus of SH-325
34.0354.77 US 287 – Stratford, DenverInterchange; US-287 exit 21
40.0964.52 US 64 / US 412 / SH-3 east – GuymonEastern end of US-64/US-412/SH-3 overlap
Keyes48.5478.12 SH-171 south – KerrickNorthern terminus of SH-171
Texas71.46115.00 SH-95 south – GuymonNorthern terminus of SH-95
OklahomaKansas line71.68
Mileposts reset at state line
KansasMortonElkhart2.3663.808 K-27 north – RichfieldSouthern terminus of K-27
Rolla17.74628.559 K-51 west – RichfieldWestern end of K-51 overlap
Stevens25.99441.833 K-25 south – Guymon OKWestern end of K-25 overlap
Hugoton33.62954.121 K-51 east – LiberalEastern end of K-51 overlap
35.77557.574 K-25 north – UlyssesEastern end of K-25 overlap
No major junctions
HaskellSatanta61.81399.478 K-190 west – UlyssesWestern end of K-190 overlap
62.893101.216 K-190 east – Liberal, MeadeEastern end of K-190 overlap
Sublette69.316111.553 US-160 – Liberal, Garden City, Meade
Gray87.201140.336 K-144 west – UlyssesEastern terminus of K-144
100.191161.242 K-23 – Cimarron, Meade
FordDodge City116.209187.020 US-400 west – Garden CityWestern end of US-400 overlap
119.752192.722 US-283 south – MinneolaWestern end of US-283 overlap
123.182198.242 US-400 east – GreensburgEastern end of US-400 overlap
126.894204.216 US-50 west – CimarronWestern end of US-50 overlap
Wright128.630207.010 US-283 north – JetmoreEastern end of US-283 overlap
EdwardsKinsley156.790252.329 US-50 east – HutchinsonEastern end of US-50 overlap
116.838188.033 US-183 south – GreensburgWestern end of US-183 overlap
Pawnee165.995267.143 US-183 north – La CrosseEastern end of US-183 overlap
K-19 Spur south – Belpre
Northern terminus of K-19 Spur
183.810295.814 K-156 west – JetmoreWestern end of K-156 overlap; former US-156 west
BartonGreat Bend204.229328.675 K-96 west – Ness CityWestern end of K-96 overlap
206.006331.535 US-281 – St. John, Russell
209.801337.642 K-156 east – EllsworthEastern end of K-156 overlap; former US-156 east
RiceLyons236.876381.215 K-96 east / K-14 (Grand Avenue) – Ellsworth, HutchinsonEastern end of K-96 overlap
McPhersonMcPherson265.669427.553 K-153 south – HutchinsonNorthern terminus of K-153; former US-81
US 81 Bus. south – Newton, Hutchinson, Opera House
Western end of US-81 Bus. overlap

US 81 Bus. ends / I-135 / US-81 – Salina, Wichita
Eastern end of US-81 Bus. overlap; I-135 exit 60
Marion285.158458.917 K-15 south – NewtonWestern end of K-15 overlap
Lehigh286.642461.306 K-168 north – LehighSouthern terminus of K-168
Hillsboro291.156468.570 K-15 north – AbileneEastern end of K-15 overlap
Marion301.399485.055 K-256 south – MarionNorthern terminus of K-256
305.390491.478 US-77 south / K-150 east – Emporia, El DoradoWestern end of US-77 overlap; western terminus of K-150; roundabout
US 56 Bus. east – Herington
Western terminus of US-56 Bus.; no access to US-56 Bus. from US-56 westbound
US-77 north / US 56 Bus. west – Herington, Junction City
Eastern end of US-77 overlap; eastern terminus of US-56 Bus.
Morris337.304542.838 K-149 north – White CitySouthern terminus of K-149
Council Grove351.155–
K-177 – Cottonwood Falls, Manhattan
LyonAdmire372.731599.852 K-99 – Emporia, Alma
376.162605.374 I-335 / Kansas Turnpike – Emporia, TopekaTolls at entrance to, and exit from, Kansas Turnpike; Kansas Turnpike exit 147
Miller378.469609.087 K-78 south – MillerNorthern terminus of K-78
Osage386.959622.750 K-31 south / 229th Street – Osage CityWye intersection; western end of K-31 overlap
Burlingame393.732633.650 K-31 north – HarveyvilleEastern end of K-31 overlap
383.775617.626 US-75 – Lyndon, Topeka
DouglasBaldwin City426.126685.783 US-59 – Lawrence, Ottawa
436.919703.153 K-33 south – WellsvilleNorthern terminus of K-33
JohnsonGardnerNew Century AirCenterInterchange
448.458721.723210 I-35 south / US-50 west – WichitaWestern end of I-35 and US-50 overlaps
Olathe451.688726.921214Lone Elm Road / 159th Street
453.208729.368215 US-169 south / K-7 – PaolaSouthern end of US-169 concurrency
454.468731.395217Old Highway 56Southbound exit and northbound entrance
455.668733.327218Santa Fe Street
457.998737.076220119th Street
Lenexa460.198740.617222A I-435 east / US-50 eastNorthern end of US-50 concurrency; I-435 exit 83
I-435 west to K-10 – Lawrence, Topeka
I-435 exit 83
461.658742.96722495th StreetDiverging diamond interchange[16]
462.908744.978225A87th Street
463.398745.767225B US-69 south (Overland Parkway)Southern end of US-69 concurrency; southbound exit and northbound entrance only
Merriam464.788748.00422775th StreetSigned as exit 225C northbound
465.828749.677228A67th Street
466.348750.514228B US-56 east (Shawnee Mission Parkway) / US-69 north / US-169 northNorthern end of US-56 / US-69 / US-169 concurrency
466.848751.319229Johnson Drive
Merriam466.340750.501228B I-35 north / Shawnee Mission Parkway west – Des MoinesEastern end of I-35 overlap
Overland ParkShawnee line467.710752.706 US-69 north (Metcalf Avenue)Eastern end of US-69 overlap; interchange
MissionFairway lineRoe Avenue / Johnson DriveInterchange; westbound exit and eastbound entrance
WestwoodMission Woods line471.201758.325 US-169 north (Rainbow Boulevard)Eastern end of US-169 overlap
KansasMissouri line471.450
State Line RoadMileposts reset; no state maintenance inside Missouri
MissouriJacksonKansas City2.9484.744 US 71Interchange; eastern terminus; road continues as Swope Parkway
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

Related routes[edit]

Herington business loop[edit]

Business plate.svg

U.S. Highway 56 Business marker

U.S. Highway 56 Business

LocationHerington, Kansas
ExistedOctober 13, 1979[17]–present

U.S. Route 56 Business (US-56 Bus.) is a short business loop through Herington, Kansas. US-56 begins at US-56 and US-77 south of Herington. At this intersection, there is no access to eastbound US-56 or northbound US-77 from US-56 Bus. and no access to US-56 Bus. from westbound US-56 or southbound US-77. US-56 Bus. heads north through flat lands with scattered trees for 1.1 miles (1.8 km) then enters Herington. The highway continues for roughly 0.55 miles (0.89 km) then curves east and becomes Trapp Street. US-56 Bus. then crosses Lime Creek as it continues through the city. After roughly 0.85 miles (1.37 km) the highway exits the city and reaches its eastern terminus at US-56 and US-77.

US-56 Bus. and US-77 Bus. was approved through Herington in a meeting on October 13, 1979. US-77 Bus. was approved to be decommissioned in a meeting on June 9, 1991, leaving just US-56 Bus..[18]

Major intersections

The entire route is in Dickinson County.

0.000.00 US-56 west / US-77 southWestern terminus; no access to US-56 east/ US-77 north from US-56 Bus. west; no access to US-56 Bus. from US-56 west/ US-77 south
US-56 west / US-77 – Junction City, LincolnvilleEastern terminus
US-56 east – Council GroveContinuation beyond eastern terminus
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

U.S. Route 156[edit]

U.S. Highway 156 marker

U.S. Highway 156

LocationGarden City, Kansas – near Ellsworth, Kansas
Length175.663 mi (282.702 km)
ExistedJune 27, 1956[6]–April 1, 1981[19]

U.S. Route 156 (US-156) was an approximately 175.7-mile-long (282.8 km) highway entirely within Kansas. On June 27, 1956, the AASHO Route Numbering Committee approved US-56, between Springer, New Mexico and Kansas City, Missouri, with a short US-156 along the former of US-50N from Larned west to Garden City, Kansas.[6] Between 1966 and 1967, US-156 was extended northeast from Larned along US-56 to Great Bend, then along K-45 to I-70 northeast of Ellsworth.[20][21] The entirety of US-156, from Garden City to I-70 northeast of Ellsworth, was decommissioned on April 1, 1981, and redesignated as K-156.[19]

Major intersections
FinneyGarden City0.0000.000

US 50 Bus. / US 83 Bus. – Lakin, Scott City, Liberal
Western terminus
1.9363.116 US-50 / US-83 – Scott City, LiberalDiamond interchange
24.21038.962 K-23 north – DightonWestern end of K-23 overlap
30.19048.586 K-23 south – CimarronEastern end of K-23 overlap
HodgemanJetmore56.06990.234 US-283 (Main Street) – Ness City, Jetmore
Pawnee89.939144.743 US-183 – Lacrosse, Kinsley
98.908159.177 K-264 south – Larned State HospitalNorthern terminus of K-264
Larned101.734163.725 US-56 west (Broadway Street) – Belpre, KinsleyWestern end of US 56 overlap
BartonGreat Bend122.153196.586 K-96 west – Ness CityWestern end of K-96 overlap
123.930199.446 US-281 (Main Street) – Russell, St. John
127.725205.553 US-56 / K-96 east – LyonsEastern end of US 56/K-96 overlap
142.989230.118 K-4 – Lindsborg, HoisingtonFolded diamond interchange

K-14 (Grand Avenue) / K-14 Truck begins – Ellsworth, Lyons
Southern terminus of K-14 Truck; west end of K-14 Truck overlap
Ellsworth163.747263.525Kanopolis via Blake StreetPartial interchange; access via westbound exit ramp and connector road

K-14 Truck north (15th Street) / K-140 to I-135
East end of K-14 Truck overlap
170.417274.260 K-111 south – KanopolisNorthern terminus of K-111
175.663282.702 I-70 / US-40 – Salina, HaysEastern terminus; I-70 exit 225; diamond interchange
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

Temporary route[edit]

Temporary plate.svg

U.S. Highway 56 Temporary marker

U.S. Highway 56 Temporary

LocationNear Boise City, Oklahoma – Elkhart, Kansas
Length42.9 mi[6] (69.0 km)
ExistedJuly 11, 1956[6]c. 1961[13][14]

U.S. Route 56 Temporary (US-56 Temp.) was a 42.9-mile-long (69.0 km) temporary route of US 56 in Oklahoma. It began on modern US-56 northeast of Boise City, Oklahoma and followed US 64 and SH 3 east to SH 95. It then traveled north along SH 95 to Elkhart, Kansas. The route was approved on July 11, 1956, along existing highways, when the current routing of US-56 was being constructed.[6] By 1962, US 56 was rerouted over SH 114, bringing it to its current diagonal path across the Oklahoma Panhandle.[13][14]

Major intersections
Cimarron0.00.0 US 56 west / US 64 west / SH-3 west / SH-114 eastTransitions to US 56; west end of US 64 and SH 3 overlap; western terminus of SH 114
Texas US 64 / SH-3 east / SH-95 southEast end of US 64 and SH 3 overlap; west end of SH 95 overlap
SH-114 westEastern terminus of SH 114
42.969.0 US 56 east / K-27 north /

SH-95 ends
Transitions to US 56; southern terminus of K-27; eastern end of SH 95 overlap; northern terminus of SH 95
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi


Route map:

KML is from Wikidata
  1. ^ Official Road Map of New Mexico (ZIP File) (Map). 1:1,267,200. Cartography by Louis Hesch. Santa Fe: New Mexico State Highway Department. 1957. §§ 9B,8B. Retrieved August 3, 2019 – via University of New Mexico RGIS.
  2. ^ a b Official State Map (PDF) (Map) (Centennial ed.). Oklahoma Department of Transportation. 2007.
  3. ^ "Highway Assured". Atchison Daily Globe. December 17, 1953. p. 20. Retrieved October 7, 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
  4. ^ "Vernon Tip Traylor..." Great Bend Daily Tribune. October 1, 1953. p. 1. Retrieved October 7, 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
  5. ^ "New Mexico Okays US-55 Road Proposal". Great Bend Daily Tribune. June 2, 1954. p. 7. Retrieved October 7, 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h Oklahoma Department of Transportation, Chronological History Documentation: US 56 Archived 2016-03-03 at the Wayback Machine (correspondence between ODOT, AASHO, and other DOTs)
  7. ^ "Another Effort to Reroute Proposed Federal Highway". Great Bend Daily Tribune. January 6, 1955. Retrieved October 7, 2020 – via NewspaperArchive.
  8. ^ "New US-55 Route Approved Here". Great Bend Daily Tribune. March 20, 1955. p. 3. Retrieved October 7, 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
  9. ^ "Call Meeting On Road Proposals". Great Bend Daily Tribune. July 26, 1955. p. 1. Retrieved October 7, 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
  10. ^ "US 50N Boosters Turn Down New Route, Name". Great Bend Daily Tribune. July 29, 1955. Retrieved October 7, 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
  11. ^ "Highway Boosters Here Oppose New US-55 Plan". Great Bend Daily Tribune. September 16, 1955. Retrieved October 7, 2020 – via NewspaperArchive.
  12. ^ U.S. Route Numbering Committee (November 29, 1958). "U.S. Route Numbering Committee" (PDF) (Report). Washington, DC: American Association of State Highway Officials. p. 159 – via Wikimedia Commons.
  13. ^ a b c d Oklahoma 1961 Road Map (PDF) (Map). Oklahoma Department of Highways. Retrieved January 19, 2008.
  14. ^ a b c d Oklahoma 1962 (PDF) (Map). Oklahoma Department of Highways. Retrieved January 19, 2008.
  15. ^ Oklahoma's Highways 1957 (PDF) (Map). Oklahoma Department of Highways. Retrieved January 19, 2008.
  16. ^ Carney, Candi. "The construction is over! Drivers have access to the I-35 and 95th Street interchange". kshb.com. 41 Action News-KSHB. Retrieved August 18, 2016.
  17. ^ Special Committee on U.S. Route Numbering (October 13, 1979). "Route Numbering Committee Agenda Showing Action Taken by the Executive Committee" (PDF) (Report). Washington, DC: American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials. p. 508 – via Wikimedia Commons.
  18. ^ Special Committee on U.S. Route Numbering (October 12, 1991). "Report of the Special Committee on U.S. Route Numbering to the Executive Committee" (PDF) (Report). Washington, DC: American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials. Archived (PDF) from the original on October 16, 2017.
  19. ^ a b Resolution to redesignate a Highway (Map). KDOT. Archived from the original on July 23, 2020. Retrieved August 2, 2019.
  20. ^ State Highway Commission of Kansas (1966). Kansas State Highway System (PDF) (Map). Scale not given. Topeka: State Highway Commission of Kansas. Archived (PDF) from the original on March 10, 2016. Retrieved August 10, 2020.
  21. ^ State Highway Commission of Kansas (1967). Kansas State Highway System (PDF) (Map). Scale not given. Topeka: State Highway Commission of Kansas. Archived (PDF) from the original on November 10, 2015. Retrieved August 10, 2020.

External links[edit]

Browse numbered routes
NM 55NM NM 56
SH-55OK SH-56
K-55KS K-57
I-55MO I-57