Western Kentucky Parkway

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Western Kentucky Parkway marker

Western Kentucky Parkway
Interstate 69/Kentucky Route WK-9001
Route information
Length: 136.796 mi[1] (220.152 km)
Major junctions
West end: I-24 / I-69 south near Eddyville
  US 62 near Eddyville
I-69 / Pennyrile Parkway near Nortonville
US 431 / KY 70 near Central City
Natcher Parkway near Beaver Dam
I-65 in Elizabethtown
East end: US 31W / KY 61 in Elizabethtown
Counties: Lyon, Caldwell, Hopkins, Muhlenberg, Ohio, Butler, Grayson, Hardin
Highway system

The 136.796-mile (220.152 km) Wendell H. Ford Western Kentucky Parkway is a controlled-access highway running from Elizabethtown, Kentucky to near Eddyville, Kentucky. It intersects with Interstate 65 at its eastern terminus, and Interstate 24 at its western terminus. It is one of nine highways that are part of the Kentucky parkway system. The road was renamed for Wendell H. Ford, a former Kentucky governor and United States Senator, in 1998. Previously, it was simply the Western Kentucky Parkway, and often called the "WK Parkway" because of the abbreviation once used on its signs. The Western Kentucky Parkway carries the unsigned designation of Kentucky Route 9001 (WK 9001) for its entire length. The portion from I-24 to the Pennyrile Parkway also carries the signed designation of Interstate 69..[2] It has been considered for the routing of I-50

Route description[edit]

The parkway passes the cities of Clarkson, Leitchfield, Caneyville, Beaver Dam, Central City, Madisonville, Dawson Springs, Princeton, and Eddyville. At exit 77 near Beaver Dam, the parkway intersects with the William H. Natcher Parkway, which goes from Bowling Green to Owensboro. At exit 38 near Madisonville, the parkway intersects with the Edward T. Breathitt Pennyrile Parkway, which runs from Hopkinsville to Henderson.

The toll plazas were, from west to east:

  • Mile 78 (formerly Mile 10), just west of Princeton. Although this toll plaza was demolished shortly after the road became a freeway, its former location could still be seen in the form of a widened shoulder, which was not removed until 2012.
  • Exit 92 (formerly Exit 24), Dawson Springs
  • Exit 58, Central City
  • Exit 94, Caneyville (toll paid only by traffic exiting eastbound and entering westbound)
  • Exit 107, Leitchfield

A service area featuring a gas station and an Arby's restaurant is located in the median, just west of the interchange with the Natcher Parkway. It is the only such service area in the entire Kentucky parkway system. (Two other service areas were once located on the old Kentucky Turnpike, a toll road from Louisville to Elizabethtown that predated the parkway system and later became part of I-65; they were closed when toll collection ended and the turnpike was officially absorbed into the Interstate Highway system.)


The Western Kentucky Parkway's previous shield

The original segment of the parkway was envisioned as a 127-mile (204 km) toll road extending from Elizabethtown to Princeton. The bonds were issued in 1961 and construction wrapped up on the original 127.19 miles (204.69 km) in December 1963 at a cost of $108,548,062. In 1968, construction wrapped up on a 6.60-mile (10.62 km) extension of the Western Kentucky Parkway from Princeton to Interstate 24 in Eddyville coming in at a cost of $5,554,468. The extension was originally proposed to be 10.30 miles (16.58 km) but only 6.60 miles (10.62 km) were constructed, possibly due to a design realignment of Interstate 24 near Eddyville.

The parkway was originally a toll road, as were all Kentucky parkways. State law requires that toll collection ceases when enough tolls are collected to pay off the parkway's construction bonds; that occurred in 1987. It is constructed similar to the Interstate Highway system, though sections do not measure up to current Interstate standards.

Interstate 69[edit]

On May 15, 2006, the section between the Breathitt (Pennyrile) Parkway at Madisonville and Interstate 24 became part of future Interstate 69; crews installed "Future I-69 Corridor" signs along this segment during the last week of May 2006.

From the Pennyrile Parkway in Madisonville to Interstate 24, the Western Kentucky Parkway officially became part of Interstate 69 with the signing of federal highway legislation (see below) on June 6, 2008. To reflect this decision, Kentucky transportation officials have erected "Future I-69" signs between I-24 and the Pennyrile Parkway. Because Kentucky is using an existing expressway for I-69, highway officials avoided years of costly environmental studies required by other states because the upgrades are being performed within the footprint of the existing highway.

On May 2, 2008 the House of Representatives passed HR-1195 (SAFETEA-LU Technical Corrections Act of 2008) which designates the Pennyrile Parkway from Henderson to Madisonville, and the Western Kentucky Parkway from Madisonville to I-24 at Eddyville as I-69. It further designates the Audubon Parkway as a future spur (I-X69) of I-69 once necessary upgrades are completed. President George W. Bush signed the bill on June 6, 2008.[3][4][5][6]

In September 2011, Governor Steve Beshear announced an agreement with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), officially designating this section as I-69, effective September 30, 2011. The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet unveiled I-69 signs along the route on October 25, 2011.[7]

Western Kentucky Parkway co-signed with I-69 near Dawson Springs, KY

Signage and mile markers were replaced on the 38-mile (61 km) stretch of the Western Kentucky Parkway in mid-December 2012.[8] A link to a complete list of landmarks along the new I-69 section is available at KYTC_DIST#1 or KYTC_DIST#2.


Future Interstate 66[edit]

The section of the parkway between the Natcher Parkway interchange to the western terminus is slated to become part of the proposed extension of Interstate 66.

Exit list[edit]

According to the 2012 State Highway Map issued by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, exits between I-24 and the Pennyrile Parkway have been renumbered to correspond with the mileage of I-69 through the state.[9]

County Location mi[1] km Old exit New exit Destinations Notes
Lyon Eddyville 0.000 0.000 0 68 I-24 / I-69 south to Purchase Parkway – Paducah, Nashville Westbound exit and eastbound entrance; signed as exit 68 (old 0A) (east); no exit number to 24 west (old 0B); west end of I-69 overlap; I-24 exit 42
3.702 5.958 4 71 US 62 – Eddyville Serves Mineral Mound State Park
Caldwell Princeton 11.700 18.829 12 79 KY 91 / KY 139 – Marion, Princeton Serves Lake Barkley State Resort Park
13.116 21.108 13 81 KY 293 – Providence, Princeton
Hopkins Dawson Springs 24.435 39.324 24 92 KY 109 – Dawson Springs, Providence Serves Pennyrile Forest State Resort Park
Nortonville 38.311 61.656 38 106 I-69 north / Pennyrile Parkway – Hopkinsville, Madisonville Signed as exits 38A (106A) (south) and 38B (106B) (north); east end of I-69 overlap
Muhlenberg   48.049 77.327 48 KY 175 (Cemetery Road)
Powderly 52.518 84.520 53 KY 181 – Sacramento, Greenville Serves Lake Malone State Park
Central City 57.947 93.257 58 US 431 / KY 70 – Drakesboro, Central City Serves Lake Malone State Park
Ohio Beaver Dam 74.564 119.999 75 US 231 – Beaver Dam, Morgantown
76.757 123.528 77 Natcher Parkway – Bowling Green, Owensboro Signed as exits 77A (south) and 77B (north)
Grayson Caneyville 94.225 151.640 94 KY 79 – Caneyville, Morgantown Serves Rough River Dam State Resort Park
Leitchfield 106.965 172.143 107 KY 259 – Leitchfield, Brownsville
Clarkson 111.875 180.045 112 KY 224 – Clarkson, Millerstown
Hardin   123.474 198.712 124 KY 84 – Eastview, White Mills
Cecilia 133 214 133 KY 3005 (Ring Road) – Elizabethtown, Cecilia
Elizabethtown 135.816 218.575 136
US 31W Byp. north – Fort Knox
West end of US 31W Byp. concurrency
136.545 219.748 137 I-65 to Bluegrass Parkway – Nashville, Lexington, Louisville Signed as exits 137A (south) and 137B (north)
136.796 220.152
US 31W / US 31W Byp. south / KY 61 – Elizabethtown, Hodgenville
East end of US 31W Byp. concurrency; at-grade intersection
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi


External links[edit]

Route map: Bing