Interstate 65 in Kentucky

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This article is about the section of Interstate 65 in Kentucky. For the entire route, see Interstate 65.

Interstate 65 marker

Interstate 65
Route information
Maintained by Kentucky Transportation Cabinet
Length: 137.32 mi[1] (221.00 km)
Existed: 1956 – present
Major junctions
South end: I-65 at Tennessee state line
  US 231 in Bowling Green
US 68 in Oakland
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
Highway system
I-64 KY 66

In the U.S. Commonwealth of Kentucky, Interstate 65 enters the state 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]

Throughout its length, it passes Mammoth Cave National Park, Bernheim Forest, the National Corvette Museum and the Fort Knox Military Reservation.

It junctions with the four parkways. The first major junction is with the William H. Natcher Parkway at Bowling Green, followed by the Louie B. Nunn Cumberland Parkway north of the 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. Interstate 65 also has interchanges with I-265, I-264, I-64 and I-71.

The widest stretch of Interstate 65 in its entirety is in Louisville at the Kentucky Route 1065 (Outer Loop), where the mainline is 14 lanes wide. It crosses the Ohio River into Indiana on the John F. Kennedy Memorial Bridge.

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

Both of the Ford Motor Company truck plants in Louisville are accessible—the Louisville Assembly Plant, which currently builds the Escape SUV, is directly accessible from I-65, while Kentucky Truck Assembly, makers of the F250+ and Expedition/Navigator SUV, is accessed via I-265.

Worldport, UPS' main worldwide air cargo hub and sorting facility, is located at Louisville International Airport, the seventh busiest cargo airport in the world[2] and adjacent to Interstate 65 at MM 128-131.

In Bowling Green, I-65 comes within proximity of a GM plant which makes the Chevrolet Corvette sports car, as well as the adjacent National Corvette Museum.

The highway crosses between the Central and Eastern Time Zones at the border of Hart and LaRue Counties, respectively.

Through 2016, the Ohio River Bridges Project is constructing a new 6-lane Cable-stayed bridge (eventually all-Northbound) at Louisville and rebuilding the I-65/I-64/I-71 convergence interchange just south of I-65's existing (1963) John F. Kennedy Memorial Bridge, to become 6-lanes all-Southbound after completion of the new bridge and the Kennedy Bridge re-hab. Another 4-lane Cable-stayed bridge is also under construction 12 miles upstream on the Ohio, to complete the I-265 loop around fast-growing urbanized Louisville.


Kentucky Turnpike shield

From July 25, 1954 until June 30, 1975, the portion from the outskirts of Louisville to 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.[3] 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; even the old trumpet interchanges characteristic of toll roads have been removed and replaced with diamond interchanges characteristic of a free Limited access highway.[citation needed]

On November 15, 2006, the stretch of I-65 from Bowling Green to Louisville was renamed the Abraham Lincoln Memorial Highway.[4]

On February 12, 2007, a bill passed the Kentucky Senate to rename I-65 in Jefferson County the "Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Expressway".[5] Signage was posted July 25, 2007.[6]

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).[7]

In 2008, Governor Steve Beshear ordered the entire route to be widened to a minimum of six lanes through the entire state. As of 2016,the majority of this project is complete.

Exit list[edit]

County Location mi[8] km Exit Destinations Notes
Simpson   0.00 0.00 I-65 continues south into Tennessee
  1.980 3.187 2 US 31W – Franklin
  5.979 9.622 6 KY 100 – Scottsville, Franklin
Warren   20.568 33.101 20 Natcher Parkway – Owensboro, Bowling Green
Bowling Green 22.388 36.030 22 US 231 – Scottsville, Bowling Green
  25.732 41.412 26 KY 234 – Bowling Green
Bowling Green 28.066 45.168 28 KY 446 to US 31W – Bowling Green
Oakland 35.631 57.343 36 US 68 / KY 80 – Oakland Northbound exit and southbound entrance
Smiths Grove 37.578 60.476 38 KY 101 to US 68 – Smiths Grove, Scottsville
Barren   43.135 69.419 43 Cumberland Parkway – Somerset, Glasgow Cumberland Parkway exits 0A-B.
Park City 47.371 76.236 48 KY 255 – Park City, Brownsville Serves Mammoth Cave National Park
Cave City 52.423 84.367 53 KY 70 / KY 90 – Cave City, Glasgow Serves Mammoth Cave National Park
Hart   57.627 92.742 58 KY 218 to KY 335 – Horse Cave
Munfordville 64.200 103.320 65 US 31W – Munfordville
  70.407 113.309 71 KY 728 – Bonnieville
LaRue Upton 75.896 122.143 76 KY 224 – Upton
Hardin Sonora 80.457 129.483 81 KY 84 – Sonora
  85.686 137.898 86 KY 222 – Glendale
Elizabethtown 91.086 146.589 91 US 31W / KY 61 / Western Kentucky Parkway – Hodgenville, Paducah, Elizabethtown Serves Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historical Park; WKP exits 137A-B.
93.345 150.224 93 Bluegrass Parkway – Lexington, Bardstown
94.154 151.526 94 US 62 / KY 61 – Elizabethtown
  102.533 165.011 102 KY 313 (Joe Prather Highway) – Radcliff, Vine Grove
Bullitt Lebanon Junction 104.698 168.495 105 KY 61 – Boston, Lebanon Junction
  111.773 179.881 112 KY 245 – Bardstown, Clermont
Shepherdsville 115.574 185.998 116 KY 480 to KY 61
116.639 187.712 117 KY 44 – Mt. Washington, Shepherdsville
  121.722 195.893 121 KY 1526 (Brooks Road)
Jefferson   125.143 201.398 125 I-265 east (Gene Snyder Freeway) / KY 841 I-265 east exit 10, west exits 10A-B; signed as exits 125A (east) & 125B (west) northbound.
  126.746 203.978 127 KY 1065 (Outer Loop) – Okolona, Fairdale
Louisville 128.328 206.524 128 KY 1747 (Fern Valley Road)
129.802 208.896 130 KY 61 (Preston Highway) / Grade Lane
130.710 210.357 131A I-264 (Watterson Expressway) – Louisville International Airport I-264 exit 12; signed as exits 131A (east) and 131B (west) southbound.
130.792 210.489 131B Kentucky Exposition Center
132.601 213.401 132 KY 1631 (Crittenden Drive) – Kentucky Exposition Center
132.955 213.970 133
US 60 Alt. (Eastern Parkway)
133.767 215.277 134 KY 61 south (Arthur Street) South end of KY 61 overlap; no northbound exit
133.978 215.617 134A KY 61 north (Jackson Street) North end of KY 61 overlap; northbound exit and southbound entrance
134.145 215.885 134B Woodbine Street Northbound exit and southbound entrance
134.675 216.738 135 St. Catherine Street west
136A Chestnut Street, Broadway (US 150) Northbound exit and southbound entrance
135.649 218.306 136B Brook Street Northbound exit and southbound entrance
136C as the north and 136 as the south Muhammad Ali Boulevard, Jefferson Street – Downtown Louisville Exit 136 as the southbound exit and Exit 136C as the northbound exit
136.421 219.548 137 I-64 / I-71 north – Lexington, St. Louis, Cincinnati I-64 east exits 5A-B, west exit 5A; I-71 south to 64 west exit 1A; to 65 no number signed
Ohio River 137.318 220.992 John F. Kennedy Memorial Bridge
I-65 continues north into Indiana
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

Auxiliary Routes[edit]

  • I-265: Forms part of an incomplete 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 is under way on an East End Bridge over the Ohio River to connect the Kentucky segment of I-265 with the Indiana segment.

See also[edit]


Route map: Bing / Google

  1. ^ Federal Highway Administration (2002-10-31). "FHWA Route Log and Finder List: Table 1". Retrieved 2009-02-24. 
  2. ^ "Table 2 – TOTAL CARGO TRAFFIC 2013 - Preliminary World Airport Traffic and Rankings 2013 - High Growth Dubai Moves Up to 7th Busiest Airport - Mar 31, 2014". Airports Council International. March 31, 2014. Retrieved 2014-07-06. 
  3. ^ Kleber, John E., ed. (1992). "Rivers". The Kentucky Encyclopedia. Associate editors: Thomas D. Clark, Lowell H. Harrison, and James C. Klotter. Lexington, Kentucky: The University Press of Kentucky. ISBN 0-8131-1772-0. 
  4. ^ "Interstate 65". Travel Mammoth Cave National Park: Guide and Map. MobileReference. 2010. ISBN 1-6050-1034-0. 
  5. ^ Gerth, Joseph (2007-02-13). "Senate OKs renaming I-65 for King". The Courier-Journal. 
  6. ^ Shafer, Sheldon S. (2007-07-25). "Mayor, Democrats back I-65 King plan". The Courier-Journal. Retrieved 2007-07-30. 
  7. ^ "Governor Fletcher Signs Speed Limit Bill" (Press release). Commonwealth of Kentucky. March 21, 2007. Retrieved March 22, 2007. 
  8. ^ Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, HIS Expanded Milepoint Route Log Extract, updated 2007-12-22 Archived November 9, 2007 at the Wayback Machine

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