Interstate 69 in Kentucky

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Interstate 69 marker

Interstate 69
Route information
Maintained by KYTC
Length: 148.090 mi (238.328 km)
Existed: October 25, 2011 (2011-10-25) – present
  • Signed into law in 2008
  • Calvert City to Nortonville signed on October 25, 2011
  • Nortonville to Henderson signed on November 16, 2015
  • Upgrades in progress on Fulton to Calvert City section.
Major junctions
South end: Future I-69 / US 51 at Tennessee border in Fulton
North end: US 41 near Henderson
Highway system
US 68 KY 69

Interstate 69 (I-69) is a 148.090-mile-long (238.328 km) freeway that overlaps I-24 from Calvert City to Eddyville, the Western Kentucky Parkway from Eddyville to the Pennyrile Parkway in Nortonville, the Purchase Parkway for its entire length, and the Pennyrile Parkway from the Western Kentucky Parkway to U.S. Route 41 (US 41) on the southern outskirts of Henderson. Eventually, I-69 will leave the Pennyrile Parkway just south of the Audubon Parkway (Future I-369[citation needed]) interchange north into Indiana. The proposed route for the remainder of I-69 in Kentucky travels about ten miles (16 km) utilizing a bridge into Indiana.

I-69 has been divided into three sections of independent utility (SIUs) through Kentucky. SIUs 5 and 6 encompass existing freeways. Federal legislation has designated the route for these sections and Kentucky is in the process of installing I-69 signs on the route. SIU 4 includes a new bridge over the Ohio River between Henderson and Evansville, Indiana. The proposed funding formula calls for Kentucky to finance two-thirds of the projected $1.4 billion bridge, while Indiana would pay for the remaining third.

Route description[edit]


On May 15, 2006, Kentucky governor Ernie Fletcher announced that I-69 will encompass 130 miles (210 km) of existing parkways and a 17-mile-long (27 km) segment of I-24.[1] To reflect this decision by state and federal officials, crews began erecting Future Interstate 69 signs along the following highway segments:

  • Western Kentucky Parkway between I-24 and Pennyrile Parkway, 38 miles (61 km)
  • Pennyrile Parkway between Western Kentucky Parkway and US 41, 41 miles (66 km)

Federal legislation[edit]

On May 2, 2008, the United States House of Representatives passed HR-1195 (SAFETEA-LU Technical Corrections Act of 2008) which designates the Pennyrile Parkway from Henderson to Nortonville, and the Western Kentucky Parkway from Nortonville to I-24 at Eddyville as Future 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 and Future I-69 signs began appearing on the parkways during the summer of 2008.[2][3][4][5] This legislation applied the Future I-69 designation to the following roadways:

  • Pennyrile Parkway from just south of the Audubon Parkway (possible future I-369) in Henderson to the Western Kentucky Parkway in Nortonville
  • Western Kentucky Parkway from the Pennyrile Parkway to I-24 in Eddyville
  • I-24 from Eddyville to the Purchase Parkway in Calvert City
  • Purchase Parkway from I-24 to the US 51 interchange at the Tennessee state line

Signs on the Western Kentucky Parkway now read "I-69" and "Former Wendell H. Ford Western Kentucky Parkway" from the Pennyrile Parkway to the interchange with the Western Kentucky Parkway at I-24 (as the photo of I-69 at Dawson Springs shows).[6]

I-69 concurrent with Western Kentucky Parkway near Dawson Springs

Signage and mile marker posts were changed in mid-December 2012.[7]

SIU 5[edit]

A 2007 engineering study for SIU 5 identified then-current conditions along the Pennyrile and Western Kentucky Parkways. The report identified seven overpasses that fell short of the 16-foot minimum vertical clearance necessary for Interstate Highways. An additional 28 mainline bridges were identified for not meeting the minimum horizontal clearance of 38 feet (12 m). Most – if not all – of the aforementioned bridges were built during construction of the parkways in the 1960s and are nearing the end of their serviceable lifespans and are due to be replaced. The main issues concerning the 16 interchanges in SIU 5 were short acceleration/deceleration lanes (the average is 615 feet (187 m) while Interstate standards mandate 1,200 feet (370 m)), and tight curve radii at interchanges with loop ramps.[8] A particular challenge was reconfiguring the cloverleaf interchange between the Pennyrile and Western Kentucky Parkways in Nortonville to accommodate the future movement of traffic primarily between points north and points west.

According to the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet 2006 Six-Year Transportation Plan Executive Summary, the KYTC "recently completed a study of the parkway upgrade needs from Interstate 24 to Henderson" (SIU 5). The summary further stated that "Continuing work on Interstate 69 in Kentucky will depend upon the financial support that can be garnered for the project through federal reauthorization and appropriations processes." The Transportation Plan estimated that the cost of upgrading the parkways would be about $700 million.

Nonetheless, the required improvements may be performed on individual segments of the parkways when the existing road surfaces reach the end of their life-spans, in what are known as "Pavement Preservation Projects." During a pavement preservation project, the existing pavement is removed, repairs are made to the highway's sub-base, and the road is then resurfaced. During such a project bridges and overpasses may be rehabilitated or replaced, drainage systems are upgraded, and other modifications are made to improve safety on the road without completely reconstructing it, allowing it to remain at least partially open during construction.

Two projects on the Pennyrile Parkway and the Western Kentucky Parkway in Hopkins County were evidence that Kentucky is taking this approach. In 2007, work began on a $14.9 million project to replace 7 miles (11 km) of pavement on the Pennyrile Parkway segment slated for the I-69 designation. A similar $23 million project in 2005 replaced and upgraded 11 miles (18 km) of pavement on the Western Kentucky Parkway west of the interchange with the Pennyrile Parkway, which is also slated to become part of I-69.

Several public meetings were held in towns along the parkways in late November and early December 2007 where Kentucky officials provided detailed information on upgrading the Parkways including changes to the projected cost for the upgrades. The adjusted cost of upgrading the parkways in SIUs 5 and 6 was pegged at around $300 million, significantly lower than initial estimates of $700 million. Of that $300 million price tag, high-priority projects accounted for about half ($145 million) of the total cost. Kentucky transportation officials also raised the idea of applying for a waiver that would allow the parkways to immediately be signed as I-69, making the parkways eligible for federal Interstate Highway funds to complete the upgrades. Without the I-69 designation, the parkway sections slated to become I-69 would not be eligible for Interstate Highway funds for upgrades.[9] Kentucky officials announced that no funding for I-69 was included in the 2008–2014 Transportation Improvement Plan, and many legislators believed that tolls would be required to finance upgrades to the parkways.[10]

In January 2010, Governor Steve Beshear released the next draft Six-Year Plan for consideration by the Kentucky Legislature. The proposed plan included the reconstruction of several interchanges on the Pennyrile and Western Kentucky Parkways. The proposed work would upgrade the interchanges to Interstate standards as required to get the parkways signed as I-69. Pending approval and funding, the interchange work would begin in 2012 and be finished by 2015.

In 2014, work began on the required upgrades to the Pennyrile Parkway in anticipation of the I-69 designation. The cloverleaf interchange with I-69/Western Kentucky Parkway was modified to allow high-speed movements between points north and points west. During the same time frame, several interchanges along the Pennyrile were also reconstructed, and cable barriers were installed in the median. In April 2015, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet awarded a $3 million contract to install I-69 and US 41 signs on the Pennyrile Parkway. The work was completed on November 16, 2015.

SIU 6[edit]

From Eddyville, I-69 will follow I-24 for 17 miles (27 km), then turn southwest on the Purchase Parkway. I-69's designation along the Purchase Parkway from I-24 to the Tennessee state line at South Fulton, Tennessee was written into law with the fiscal year 2002 Transportation Appropriations Bill.[11] However, many of the same issues that are being addressed in SIU 5 arise in SIU 6 as well, and the Commonwealth of Kentucky is upgrading the Purchase Parkway in a similar fashion. The massive interchange with US 45 and US 51 at the Tennessee state line in South Fulton is the main challenge for completing SIU 6, and has been broken out as a separate project from SIUs 6 and 7.

Kentucky is the only state that will be routing almost its entire portion of I-69 over existing freeways, allowing the state to avoid years of costly environmental studies, thereby enabling the KTC to upgrade the parkways to I-69 as soon as funding becomes available. Technically, the Commonwealth of Kentucky could request a waiver from the AASHTO that would allow the state to apply the I-69 designation to its parkways before upgrades are completed. This would only be done if adjoining segments in Tennessee or Indiana are completed first.[citation needed]

The Purchase Parkway has been designated as future I-69, but the route cannot be signed as I-69 until several interchanges, including the interchange with I-24, are upgraded to Interstate standards. As of December 2015, construction was ongoing on the northern portion of the parkway between Mayvield and I-24, including the reconfiguration of the KY 348 interchange at Benton from a toll-booth design (with opposing loop ramps) to a diamond interchange, the installation of cable barriers in the narrow parkway median, and resurfacing of the mainline to increase bridge clearances and lengthen merge lanes at other interchanges along this section. A $37 million contract to reconstruct the I-24/Purchase Parkway interchange was awarded to Jim Smith Contracting Company on November 20, 2015. Construction on the I-24/Purchase Parkway interchange is scheduled to begin in early 2016, with completion planned for July 2018.[12] A similar contract to reconstruct the parkway interchanges at the south end of the Mayfield Bypass (exit 21) and KY 80 was let in February 2016. The last remaining "tollbooth" style interchange requiring reconfiguration, located at KY 339 in Wingo (exit 14), is currently in planning and is scheduled for construction in 2021 according to the 2016 Enacted Six Year Road Plan.

SIU 7[edit]

The interchange between the Purchase Parkway, US 45 and US 51 straddles the Tennessee state line between the cities of Fulton, Kentucky, and South Fulton, Tennessee. Officially part of SIU 7, the interchange was broken out from the environmental impact statement prepared by the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) for SIU 7 at a time when Tennessee was moving forward with planning for the remainder of SIU 7 (all of which, except for a 1.5-mile (2.4 km) section of the Purchase Parkway approaching the Fulton–South Fulton interchange, lies within Tennessee). It was agreed upon by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC), and TDOT to prepare a separate environmental essessment (EA)/EIS for the Fulton–South Fulton interchange when both states were ready to perform its reconfiguration to accommodate I-69. As Tennessee continues to make progress toward completing the unbuilt portion of SIU 7 to the south and Kentucky's upgrades to the Purchase Parkway from the north, both states indicated their intention to start work on reconfiguring the Fulton–South Fulton interchange. A joint EA/EIS will be prepared by KTC and TDOT and submitted to the FHWA for a record of decision (ROD) prior to right-of-way acquisition and construction. The 2016 Kentucky Six Year Road Plan includes $7.8 million in fiscal years 2019 through 2022 to complete environmental studies, ROW acquisition and utility relocation in anticipation of reconstructing the interchange thereafter.[citation needed]

SIU 4[edit]

SIU 4 is still in the planning stages, but Kentucky and Indiana had planned to finance a new bridge across the Ohio River with tolls.[13] The preferred alternative for SIU 4 was to leave the Pennyrile Parkway near its north end and cross the Ohio River to the former I-164 near Evansville, Indiana, and then use the former I-164 to I-64; most of I-164 was redesignated as I-69 in 2014.[14] But the Ohio River bridge plan had stalled in the late 2000s and early 2010s, due to lack of funding from both states.[15] However, with the completion of SIU 5 in Kentucky, and with I-69 connected to Indianapolis via Indiana State Road 37 in Indiana, both states have made completing the Ohio River Bridge a top priority. On June 30, 2016, Indiana governor Mike Pence and Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin announced an agreement to resume environmental studies and develop a funding strategy to complete the Ohio River Bridge and its approaches. Indiana will contribute $17 million to restart and lead the environmental studies that will culminate in an approved environmental impact statement (EIS) and record of decision (ROD) that will allow construction to begin. Environmental studies are expected to take about three years to complete, with right-of-way acquisition and construction expected to begin thereafter. Kentucky has committed over $43 million in its 2016 Six-Year Highway Plan for design and right-of-way acquisition for the bridge.[16][17]


The Pennyrile Parkway, Western Kentucky Parkway, and Purchase Parkway were all originally built as toll roads when they opened in the 1960s. As the parkways' construction bonds were paid off, the tolls were removed; the Western Kentucky Parkway became a freeway in 1987, and the other two roads became free in 1992. To fund over $700 million to upgrade substandard segments of the parkways and fund a new $800 million Ohio River crossing for I-69, Kentucky transportation officials had previously considered reinstating tolls on the parkway segments over which I-69 is routed, but ultimately opted to keep I-69 toll-free.[citation needed]

Exit list[edit]

The exit list includes exits from the Purchase Parkway, which has not yet been officially signed as I-69.

County Location mi[18] km Old exit New exit Destinations Notes
Fulton Fulton 0.000 0.000 I-69 south / US 51 south – Union City, Martin Continuation into Tennessee
0.300 0.483 0 KY 116 / KY 166 – Fulton, Hickman
1.424 2.292 1 US 51 north – Clinton, Fulton Northern end of US 51 concurrency
2.442 3.930 2 KY 307 – Fulton
No major junctions
Graves Wingo 13.653 21.972 14 KY 339 – Wingo, Clinton
Mayfield 21.285–
US 45 Byp. south
Southern end of US 45 Bypass concurrency; signed as exit 21B northbound
22.267 35.835 22 KY 80 – Fancy Farm, Mayfield
23.701 38.143 24 KY 121 – Wickliffe, Mayfield
24.713 39.772 25
US 45 / US 45 Byp. ends – Paducah, Mayfield
Northern end of US 45 Bypass concurrency
27.461 44.194 27 KY 131 – Airport
Marshall Benton 40.809 65.676 41
US 641 Spur south – Hardin, Murray
42.555 68.486 43 KY 348 – Benton, Symsonia
Draffenville 46.942 75.546 47 US 68 – Kenlake State Park, Kentucky Lake Recreation Area
Calvert City 51.398 82.717 52
I-24 west / Purchase Parkway north to US 62 – Paducah, Fulton, Calvert City Signed as exits 52A (east) and 52B (west); I-24 exits signed as exits 25A (south) and 25B (north)
53.002 85.298 27 US 62 – Kentucky Dam
Livingston 57.166 92.000 31 KY 453 – Smithland, Grand Rivers Serves Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area
Lyon 65.938 106.117 40 US 62 / US 641 – Eddyville, Kuttawa
Eddyville 68.084 109.571 0 42
I-24 east – Nashville Eastern end of I-24 concurrency; I-69 exits signed as exits 68A (east) and 68B (west)
71.784 115.525 4 71 US 62 – Eddyville Serves Mineral Mound State Park
Caldwell Princeton 79.771 128.379 12 79 KY 91 / KY 139 – Marion, Princeton Serves Lake Barkley State Resort Park
81.189 130.661 13 81 KY 293 – Providence, Princeton
Hopkins Dawson Springs 92.506 148.874 24 92 KY 109 – Dawson Springs, Providence Serves Pennyrile Forest State Resort Park
Nortonville 105.707–
106 I-169 south / Western Kentucky Parkway east – Hopkinsville, Elizabethtown I-169 exits 34A-B-C; signed as exits 106A (south I-169) & 106B (east WKP); stack interchange.
Mortons Gap 108.886 175.235 37 108 KY 813 – Mortons Gap
Earlington 111.604 179.609 40 111 KY 2171 – Earlington, Madisonville
Madisonville 114.254 183.874 42 114 KY 70 – Madisonville, Central City
116.164 186.948 44 116
US 41 Alt. / KY 281 – Madisonville, Providence
117.042 188.361 45 117 US 41 north – Madisonville Northbound exit and southbound entrance only
Hanson 120.818 194.438 49 120 KY 260 – Hanson
Slaughters 125.906 202.626 54 125 KY 138 – Dixon, Calhoun
Webster Sebree 134.461 216.394 63 134 KY 56 – Sebree, Owensboro
Henderson Robards 140.195 225.622 68 140 KY 416 – Niagara, Robards
Henderson 148.090 238.328 76 US 41 to US 60 – Morganfield Signed as exit 148 A/B northbound, and as Exit 10 A/B southbound
Temporary northern terminus of I-69 at US 41. Follows US 41 north to I-69 in Indiana
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

Auxiliary routes[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Governor Fletcher Unveils I-69 Corridor Designation". Commonwealth of Kentucky. Archived from the original on September 26, 2006. Retrieved January 17, 2007. 
  2. ^ "HR-1195 Text" (PDF). Retrieved January 27, 2013. 
  3. ^ KY I-69 Designation Cruises Through Congress, Representative Whitfield Official Website, May 4, 2008 Archived April 30, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
  4. ^ Interstate 69 Legislation, Tristate Archived May 14, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
  5. ^ "President Bush Signs HR-1195,, June 6, 2008". Retrieved January 27, 2013. 
  6. ^ "Audubon Parkway will get "future I-69 spur" signs today". Evansville Courier-Press. September 25, 2008. 
  7. ^ Todd, Keith (December 15, 2012). "I-69 is Official with New Signs and Mile Points in Lyon, Hopkins & Trigg Counties". SurfKY News. Retrieved December 30, 2012. 
  8. ^ I-69 Strategic Corridor Planning Study, Kentucky Transportation Cabinet Archived July 4, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
  9. ^ Stinnett, Chuck. "Parkway Upgrades Underway, Evansville Courier-Press, November 23, 2007". Retrieved January 27, 2013. 
  10. ^ "No I-69 funding in State Road Plan, Evansville Courier-Press, February 15, 2008". Retrieved January 27, 2013. 
  11. ^ "High Priority Corridor 18/20". Retrieved January 27, 2013. [self-published source?]
  12. ^ Todd, Keith (April 2015). "I-69 Is Now Designated Along Purchase Parkway". Surf KY News. Retrieved December 10, 2015. 
  13. ^ "Toll Seen for I-69 Bridge". Evansville Courier-Press. January 27, 2008. 
  14. ^ "Preferred Alternative Identified for I-69 Corridor Linking Henderson and Evansville" (Press release). Indiana Department of Transportation. February 11, 2004. Archived from the original on December 8, 2010. 
  15. ^ Tate, Curtis; Gordon, Greg (February 2, 2013). "After millions of dollars, I-66 and I-69 are Kentucky's interstates to nowhere". Lexington Herald-Leader. Retrieved March 2, 2015. 
  16. ^ Evans, Zach (June 30, 2016). "Pence, Bevin sign agreement to ramp up plans for I-69 bridge". Evansville Courier Press. Retrieved July 1, 2016. 
  17. ^ Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (January 26, 2016). "2016 Six-Year Highway Plan" (PDF). Kentucky Transportation Cabinet. Retrieved July 1, 2016. 
  18. ^ "Official DMI Route Log". Kentucky Transportation Cabinet. Retrieved 2015-12-01. 

Route map: Bing / Google

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