Interstate 65 in Kentucky

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Interstate 65 marker

Interstate 65
I-65 highlighted in red
Route information
Maintained by KYTC
Length137.32 mi[1] (221.00 km)
Existed1956–present
Major junctions
South end I-65 at Tennessee state line
  US 231 in Bowling Green
US 68 in Oakland
Bluegrass Parkway in Elizabethtown
US 62 in Elizabethtown
I-265 in Louisville
I-264 in Louisville
US 60 in Louisville
US 150 in Louisville
I-64 / I-71 in Louisville
North end I-65 at Indiana state line
Location
CountiesSimpson, Warren, Edmonson, Barren, Hart, LaRue, Hardin, Bullitt, Jefferson
Highway system
I-64KY 66

Interstate 65 (I-65) enters the US state of Kentucky 5 miles (8.0 km) south of Franklin. It passes by the major cities of Bowling Green, Elizabethtown, and Louisville before exiting the state.

Route description[edit]

Along its 137.32-mile (221.00 km) length in the Bluegrass State,[1] I-65 passes Mammoth Cave National Park, Bernheim Forest, the National Corvette Museum and the Fort Knox Military Reservation before entering the state's largest metropolitan area, Louisville.

It has interchanges with four of the state's parkways. The first of these is with the William H. Natcher Parkway at Bowling Green, followed by the Louie B. Nunn Cumberland Parkway north of that city between Smiths Grove and Park City. At Elizabethtown, it has two more parkway interchanges with the Wendell H. Ford Western Kentucky Parkway and the Martha Layne Collins Bluegrass Parkway.

I-65 also has interchanges with I-265, I-264, and a complex junction with I-64 and I-71 along the south bank of the Ohio River in central Louisville. From there, northbound motorists on I-65 cross into Indiana on the Abraham Lincoln Bridge, while southbound I-65 traffic enters Kentucky from Jeffersonville, Indiana via the John F. Kennedy Memorial Bridge.

The route is reportedly one of the heaviest traveled corridors in the United States, with average daily traffic volumes of 50,000 to 70,000 vehicles. Most of the route has been widened to six lanes throughout the state. The widest stretch of I-65 in its entirety is in Louisville, at Kentucky Route 1065 (Outer Loop) where the mainline is 14 lanes wide.

Interstate 65 northbound at the William H. Natcher Parkway in Bowling Green, Kentucky, with Clearview font signage

The highway crosses between the Central and Eastern time zones on the border of Hart and LaRue counties, respectively and then re-enters the Central Time Zone on the border of Jasper and White counties in the state of Indiana.

For most of 2016, the Ohio River Bridges Project routed all I-65 traffic onto the Abraham Lincoln Bridge (a six-lane cable-stayed bridge now carrying only northbound traffic) while rebuilding the deck of the 1963 John F. Kennedy Memorial Bridge to accommodate six lanes of all-southbound traffic. The project is also completing the rebuild of the Kennedy Interchange just south of both bridges in downtown Louisville.[2] On December 30, 2016, both I-65 bridges began using electronic toll collection (ETC) to charge motorists for their use of this previously toll-free Interstate crossing.[3]

History[edit]

Kentucky Turnpike[edit]

Kentucky Turnpike shield

From July 25, 1954 until June 30, 1975, the portion of I-65 from I-264 in Louisville to the WK Parkway in Elizabethtown was a toll road bearing the Kentucky Turnpike name. It was signed with a distinctive sign featuring a cardinal, the state bird of Kentucky. Unlike most states, Kentucky law requires that tolls be removed when the original construction bonds are paid off. The road was thus the first of the state's extensive system of toll roads to be made free.[4] Unlike the other roads, which maintain their separate names when becoming toll-free, the Kentucky Turnpike signs were removed. It is today almost impossible to find any traces of its former toll status.

Original toll plazas and charges[edit]

The table below shows the original locations of the toll plazas, and toll charges for consumer-sized, or class 1 vehicles.

Exit Location [5] Through cars charge Enter or Exit
94 Elizabethtown (at U.S. 62) 10 cents N/A
117 Shepherdsville (at KY 44) 50 cents 25 cents
127 Louisville (Outer Loop) Free 10 cents
128 Louisville (Fern Valley Road)
Full-length trip $0.60

Service areas[edit]

In addition to toll plazas, the Kentucky Turnpike also provided two service areas just south of Lebanon Junction and just north of Shepherdsville. They each provided a gas station and at least one fast food restaurant. They both closed when the turnpike was absorbed into the Interstate 65 corridor in June 1975, thus making the service area on the Wendell H. Ford Western Kentucky Parkway (a.k.a. the “WK Parkway”) the last remaining service areas on the toll road system, and still remained open even after the WK Parkway became toll-free in 1987, which is 27 years after the Kentucky Turnpike did so.

21st century[edit]

On November 15, 2006, the stretch of I-65 from Bowling Green to Louisville was renamed the Abraham Lincoln Memorial Highway.[6]

On February 12, 2007, a bill passed the Kentucky Senate to rename I-65 in Jefferson County the "Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Expressway".[7] Signage was posted July 25, 2007.[8]

On July 15, 2007, Kentucky officially raised its speed limits on Interstate and State Parkway Highways to 70 miles per hour (110 km/h). Until that date, Kentucky was the only state along I-65's path that had a speed limit of 65 mph (105 km/h).[9]

In 2008, Governor Steve Beshear ordered the entire route to be widened to a minimum of six lanes through the entire state. As of 2017, the majority of this project is complete.[citation needed]

In July 2017, the KYTC opened a new interchange of I-65 at mile marker 30 to provide access to the Kentucky Transpark near Bowling Green. The $66.8 million project, which began in 2016, would improve traffic conditions along I-65 and U.S. 31W in northeastern Warren County. The first phase of the project include the new interchange, Exit 30, plus a four-lane connector road going from the interstate to U.S. 68 just east of Bowling Green. [10] The second phase is building a two-lane connector road running from U.S. 68 to U.S. 31W between Bowling Green and Oakland, thus relieving congestion problems on both U.S. routes. This was the first new exit on I-65 since 2002, when the interchange with KY 234 was built to connect downtown Bowling Green from the freeway.

Exit list[edit]

CountyLocationmi[11]kmExitDestinationsNotes
Simpson0.000.00 I-65 south – NashvilleContinuation into Tennessee
1.9803.1872 US 31W (Main Street) – Franklin
5.9799.6226 KY 100 (Scottsville Road) – Scottsville, Franklin
Warren20.56833.10120 Natcher Parkway – Owensboro, Bowling GreenNatcher Parkway exits 2A-B; signed 20A (south) & 20B (north).
Bowling Green22.38836.03022 US 231 (Scottsville Road) – Scottsville, Bowling Green
25.73241.41226 KY 234 (Cemetery Road) – Bowling Green
Bowling Green28.06645.16828 KY 446 to US 31W – Bowling GreenServes National Corvette Museum
30 KY 3145 to US 68 – Bowling GreenServes Kentucky Transpark; exit opened July 6, 2017[12][13]
Oakland35.63157.34336 US 68 (Glasgow Road) / KY 80 – OaklandNorthbound exit and southbound entrance
Smiths Grove37.57860.47638 KY 101 (Main Street) to US 68 – Smiths Grove, ScottsvilleAlso serves Nolin River Reservoir
Barren43.13569.41943 Cumberland Parkway – Somerset, GlasgowCumberland Parkway exit 0
Park City47.37176.23648 KY 255 (Mammoth Cave Parkway) to US 31W – Park City, BrownsvilleServes Mammoth Cave National Park
Cave City52.42384.36753 KY 70 (Mammoth Cave Road) / KY 90 – Cave City, GlasgowServes Mammoth Cave National Park
Hart57.62792.74258 KY 218 (Flint Ridge Road) to KY 335 – Horse Cave
Munfordville64.200103.32065 US 31W (Main Street) – Munfordville
70.407113.30971 KY 728 (Bacon Creek Road) – Bonnieville
LaRueUpton75.896122.14376 KY 224 (Upton Talley Road) – Upton
HardinSonora80.457129.48381 KY 84 (Western Avenue) to US 31W – Sonora
85.686137.89886 KY 222 (Glendale Hodgenville Road) to US 31W – Glendale
Elizabethtown91.086146.58991 US 31W / KY 61 / Western Kentucky Parkway – Hodgenville, Paducah, ElizabethtownSouthbound exit to Dixie Avenue, Serves Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historical Park; WKP exit 137
93.345150.22493 Bluegrass Parkway – Lexington, BardstownBluegrass Parkway exits 0A-B westbound; trumpet interchange.
94.154151.52694 US 62 (Mulberry Street) / KY 61 – Elizabethtown
102.533165.011102 KY 313 (Joe Prather Highway) – Radcliff, Vine Grove
BullittLebanon Junction104.698168.495105 KY 61 (Preston Highway) – Boston, Lebanon Junction
111.773179.881112 KY 245 (Clermont Road) – Bardstown, Clermont
Shepherdsville115.574185.998116 KY 480 (Cedar Grove Road) to KY 61
116.639187.712117 KY 44 (4th Street) – Mt. Washington, Shepherdsville
121.722195.893121 KY 1526 (John Harper Highway)
Jefferson125.143201.398125 I-265 east (Gene Snyder Freeway) / KY 841I-265 exit 10; signed as exits 125A (east) & 125B (west) northbound.
126.746203.978127 KY 1065 (Outer Loop) – Okolona, FairdaleSouthbound split exit (east) and (west)
Louisville128.328206.524128 KY 1747 (Fern Valley Road)
129.802208.896130 KY 61 (Preston Highway) / Grade Lane
130.710210.357131A I-264 (Watterson Expressway) – Louisville International AirportI-264 exit 12; signed as exits 131A (east) and 131B (west) southbound.
130.792210.489131BKentucky Exposition Center
132.601213.401132 KY 1631 (Crittenden Drive) – Kentucky Exposition CenterNo access back to I-65 Northbound (must use exit 133 from Warnock Street)
132.955213.970133
US 60 Alt. (Eastern Parkway)
No access from I-65 Southbound to (Eastern Parkway, must use Arthur Street)or back to I-65 northbound (must use Warnock Street for I-65 North)
133.767215.277134 KY 61 south (Arthur Street)South end of KY 61 overlap; no northbound exit to Preston Street
133.978215.617134A KY 61 north (Preston Street)North end of KY 61 overlap; northbound exit and southbound entrance
134.145215.885134BWoodbine StreetNorthbound exit and southbound entrance
134.675216.738135St. Catherine Street west
135.195–
135.384
217.575–
217.879
136AChestnut Street, Broadway (US 150)Northbound exit and southbound entrance
135.649218.306136BBrook StreetNorthbound exit and southbound entrance
135.649–
135.919
218.306–
218.740
136CMuhammad Ali Boulevard, Jefferson Street – Downtown LouisvilleSigned northbound as exit 136C
136.421219.548137 I-64 / I-71 north – Lexington, St. Louis, CincinnatiI-64 exit 5; I-71 exit 1
Ohio River137.318220.992John F. Kennedy Memorial Bridge (southbound)
Abraham Lincoln Bridge (northbound)
I-65 north – IndianapolisContinuation into Indiana
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

Auxiliary routes[edit]

  • I-265: Forms three-quarters of a beltway around Metro Louisville. The signage runs from I-65 to I-71 on the northeast side of the Metro. It is cosigned with KY 841 for its entire length and is known as the Gene Snyder Freeway. Construction of the Lewis and Clark Bridge over the Ohio River to connect the Kentucky segment of I-265 with the Indiana segment was completed and opened to traffic on December 18, 2016.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Adderly, Kevin (January 27, 2016). "Table 1: Main Routes of the Dwight D. Eisenhower National System of Interstate and Defense Highways as of December 31, 2015". Route Log and Finder List. Federal Highway Administration. Retrieved March 31, 2016.
  2. ^ "The Ohio River Bridges". Ohio River Bridges Project. March 31, 2016. Retrieved March 31, 2016.
  3. ^ Mitchell, Kyle (December 29, 2016). "Last-minute rush hits RiverLink offices hours before tolling begins". Louisville, KY: WDRB. Retrieved January 2, 2017.
  4. ^ Kleber, John E.; Clark, Thomas D.; Harrison, Lowell H.; Klotter, James C., eds. (1992). "Rivers". The Kentucky Encyclopedia. Lexington: The University Press of Kentucky. ISBN 0-8131-1772-0.
  5. ^ Kentucky Department of Highways (1973). Kentucky Official Highway and Parkway Map (PDF) (Map). c. 1:760,320. Frankfort: Kentucky Department of Highways. Kentucky Turnpike and Interstate 65 (Toll schedule) inset. Retrieved October 12, 2017.
  6. ^ "Interstate 65". Travel Mammoth Cave National Park: Guide and Map. MobileReference. 2010. ISBN 1-6050-1034-0.
  7. ^ Gerth, Joseph (February 13, 2007). "Senate OKs renaming I-65 for King". The Courier-Journal. Louisville, KY.
  8. ^ Shafer, Sheldon S. (July 25, 2007). "Mayor, Democrats back I-65 King plan". The Courier-Journal. Louisville, KY. Retrieved July 30, 2007.
  9. ^ "Governor Fletcher Signs Speed Limit Bill" (Press release). Commonwealth of Kentucky. March 21, 2007. Archived from the original on October 30, 2007. Retrieved March 22, 2007.
  10. ^ Sergent, Don (July 5, 2017). "New I-65 exit improves access to Transpark". Bowling Green Daily News. Retrieved July 6, 2017.
  11. ^ Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (December 22, 2007). "HIS Expanded Milepoint Route Log Extract". Archived from the original on November 9, 2007.
  12. ^ [1][dead link]
  13. ^ Doyle, Darren (July 6, 2017). "Grand Opening of New I-65 Exit 30 Held Today At Ky Transpark". EdmonsonVoice.com. Retrieved July 6, 2017.

External links[edit]

Route map:

KML is from Wikidata


Interstate 65
Previous state:
Tennessee
Kentucky Next state:
Indiana