Interstate 264 (Kentucky)

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Interstate 264 marker

Interstate 264
Watterson/Shawnee Expressway
I-264 highlighted in red
Route information
Auxiliary route of I-64
Maintained by KYTC
Length22.93 mi (36.90 km)
HistoryConstruction completed in 1974
Major junctions
West end I-64 / US 150 in Shawnee
Northeast end I-71 in Glenview Manor
Highway system
KY 259I-265

Interstate 264 is a partial loop around the city of Louisville, Kentucky, south of the Ohio River. A child route of I-64, it is signed as the Georgia Davis Powers Expressway for its first eight miles from its western terminus at I-64/US-150 to US-31W/US-60; and as the Watterson Expressway for the remainder of its length from US-31W/US-60 to its northeastern terminus at I-71. It is 22.93 miles (36.90 km) in length,[1] and runs an open circle around central Louisville, Kentucky. The highway begins four miles (6 km) west of downtown at I-64 just east of the Sherman Minton Bridge which links Southern Indiana with Kentucky as it crosses the Ohio River. The interstate ends approximately six miles northeast of downtown Louisville, where it connects to I-71.

I-264 is Louisville's inner beltway (in conjunction with I-64 and I-71) and the later constructed I-265, the Gene Snyder Freeway, is Louisville's outer beltway. I-264 is currently used as the primary detour route when Interstate 64 is closed through Downtown Louisville. This may change for through traffic in late 2016 with the completion of the East End Bridge, which will connect the currently separate segments of I-265 in Kentucky and Indiana.

In discussions about the city, Interstate 264 is often used as a rough line dividing the older areas of Louisville from its suburbs.


East-bound I-264 on the approach to I-64 and Shelbyville Road exits

In 1948, a bypass was built between Shelbyville Road and U.S. Route 31W (Dixie Highway) in Louisville, as a relocation of US 60. It was named the "Watterson Expressway" after local journalist and editor Henry Watterson, and eventually extended to I-71. Between 1970 and 1974, the western segment from Dixie Highway to I-64 northwest of downtown Louisville was opened in segments when the entire expressway became part of the Interstate Highway System. The original section from Dixie Highway to I-71 still retained the "Watterson Expressway" moniker and was co-signed, along with the original US 60 designation, as I-264, while the western segment was originally named the "Shawnee Expressway", even though signage referred to it simply as "I-264", with no mention of the "Shawnee Expressway" name. The interstate was completed in 1974. The designation US 60 was dropped in 1984 when the original surface roads through Louisville were restored to their original US 60 designations. On April 1, 2010, the Kentucky General Assembly designated the western portion to be renamed as the Georgia Davis Powers Expressway.[2] The original Dixie Highway to I-71 segment signage reads as "I-264 Watterson Expressway", while the western segment signage still only reads as "I-264", with a small sign at both the western I-64 terminus, and the Dixie interchange reading "Georgia Davis Powers Expressway".

Watterson Expressway Reconstruction (1985–1995)[edit]

Junction of U.S. Route 31E and Interstate 264

The Watterson Expressway underwent a major reconstruction effort that began in 1985. The vintage freeway had outlived its useful purpose and had numerous characteristics that defined it as a blight on Louisville: deteriorating overpasses, buckling pavement, deficient and too closely spaced interchanges, and rampant congestion. Dozens of bridges were reconstructed and widened, and the majority of the interchanges were redesigned and rebuilt from the ground up from Dixie Highway east to Shelbyville Road. The entire highway reconstruction project was completed in 1995.

A typical deficient interchange along I-264 was the I-65, Kentucky Exposition Center and Louisville International Airport exit. Before the reconstruction, two cloverleafs with no collector and distributor lanes existed and posed serious weaving issues. The interchange today has been rebuilt and features numerous flyovers and collector and distributor lanes, making it safer, though not necessarily easier to navigate.

Shawnee Expressway Reconstruction (2003–2004)[edit]

The segment of I-264 from Dixie Highway to the northwest I-64 interchange opened in segments from 1970 to August 1974 and received no more than emergency or spot patching. After several years of planning, in early 2003, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet began a rehabilitation project on this segment of Interstate Highway stretching from the Dixie Highway interchange northwest to just east of Bank Street.

A concrete surface several inches thick was constructed on the mainline and access ramps, a new median barrier was formed, new lighting fixtures were installed, 37 bridges were rehabilitated, and 380 new roadway signage was posted and all guardrails were replaced as part of the 7.6-mile (12.2 km) project. In addition, the segment from River Park Drive to I-64, which was only two lanes, was widened to three lanes. No major ramp or interchange modifications were needed. The highway reconstruction project cost approximately $66 million and required 18 months of labor.

About 70,000 vehicles a day use the portion of Interstate 264 near Dixie Highway and about 40,000 daily use the segment near its western terminus with I-64.

Westport Road interchange (2008-2010)[edit]

Although the Kentucky General Assembly considered plans for an interchange with Westport Road (Kentucky Route 1447) as early as 1992, work did not begin until October 2008 and was completed in May 2010.[3][4][5][6][7]

Exit list[edit]

The entire route is in Louisville, Jefferson County.

0.00.00 I-64 / US 150 – Louisville, Lexington, New Albany, St. LouisWestern terminus; Westbound exit/eastbound entrance & signed as exit 0A (east) & left 0B (west); I-64 exit 1; tri-stack interchange.
0.20.321Bank Street / Northwestern ParkwayEastbound exit and westbound entrance
1.01.62Muhammad Ali Boulevard / River Park Drive
2.33.73Virginia Avenue / Dumesnil Street
3.55.64 KY 2054 (Algonquin Parkway) / KY 2056 (Bells Lane)Eastbound exit not signed for KY 2054/Algonquin Parkway
5 KY 1934 (Cane Run Road) / Ralph AvenueEastbound exit signed as exits 5A (Ralph Avenue, Cane Run Road north) and 5B (Cane Run Road south) eastbound
6.911.18 US 31W / US 60 (Dixie Highway) – Fort Knox, ShivelySigned as exits 8A (south/west) and 8B (north/east)
West of this exit, I-264 is the Georgia Davis Powers Expressway; east of this exit it is the Watterson Expressway.
8.613.89 KY 1865 (Taylor Boulevard)
9.615.410 KY 1020 (Southern Parkway) / 3rd Street
10.516.911Crittenden Drive – Kentucky Exposition Center
10.817.411Louisville International Airport
10.817.412Kentucky Exposition Center (Freedom Way)Westbound exit is part of exit 11
10.917.512 I-65 / KY 61 – Nashville, IndianapolisI-65 exit 131A northbound, 131A-B southbound; former northern terminus of the Kentucky Turnpike, I-65 continued north
12.920.814 KY 864 (Poplar Level Road)
Curtis Avenue, Durrett LaneWestbound exit and entrance closed 1986; eastbound exit and entrance closed 1987[8]
14.122.715 KY 1703 (Newburg Road)Signed as exits 15A (north) and 15B (south) westbound
15.124.316 US 31E / US 150 (Bardstown Road)
16.426.417 KY 155 (Taylorsville Road)Signed as exits 17A (south) and 17B (north)
17.227.718 KY 1932 (Breckenridge Lane)Signed as exits 18A (south) and 18B (north)
18.429.619 I-64 – Lexington, LouisvilleI-64 exit 12 westbound, 12A-B eastbound; signed as exits 19A (east) and 19B (west).
18.830.320 US 60 (Shelbyville Road) – Middletown, St. MatthewsSigned as exits 20A (east) and 20B (west)
20.432.821 KY 1447 (Westport Road)
21.634.822 US 42 / KY 22 (Brownsboro Road)
22.436.023 I-71 – Cincinnati, LouisvilleEastern terminus; Eastbound exit and westbound entrance; signed as left exit 23B (south) & 23A (north); I-71 exit 5; tri-stack interchange
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

See also[edit]


  1. ^ U.S. Department of Transportation: Federal Highway Administration (October 31, 2002). "Auxiliary Routes of the Dwight D. Eisenhower National System Of Interstate and Defense Highways as of October 31, 2002". Retrieved November 7, 2006.
  2. ^ "House Joint Resolution 67" (PDF). Retrieved February 1, 2011.
  3. ^ Courier-Journal article dated 10/1/08[dead link]
  4. ^ Alcock, Andy (April 29, 2010). "New I-264 Interchange Opens At Westport Road - Louisville News Story - WLKY Louisville". Archived from the original on September 28, 2011. Retrieved February 1, 2011.
  5. ^ "Interstate 264 at Westport Road" (PDF). Retrieved February 1, 2011.[permanent dead link]
  6. ^ "KY 1447". March 31, 2010. Retrieved February 1, 2011.
  7. ^ Business First (September 22, 2008). "State to spend $47 million on I-264 at Westport Road interchange | Business First". Retrieved February 1, 2011.
  8. ^ Ken Shapero (October 18, 1987). "Ramps at Watterson and I-65 are a-mazing for motorists". The Courier Journal. pp. B1. Retrieved October 25, 2018.

Further reading[edit]

  • Kleber, John E., et al. (editor) (2000). The Encyclopedia of Louisville. University Press of Kentucky. ISBN 0-8131-2100-0.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)

External links[edit]

Route map:

KML is from Wikidata