Interstate 71

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Interstate 71 marker
Interstate 71
I-71 highlighted in red
Route information
Maintained by KYTC and ODOT
Length343.78 mi[1][2] (553.26 km)
RestrictionsNo hazmats or explosives allowed in the Lytle Tunnel or on the Brent Spence Bridge
Major junctions
South end I-64 / I-65 in Louisville, KY
Major intersections
North end I-90 / I-490 in Cleveland, OH
CountryUnited States
StatesKentucky, Ohio
CountiesKY: Jefferson, Oldham, Henry, Trimble, Carroll, Gallatin, Boone, Kenton
OH: Hamilton, Warren, Clinton, Greene, Fayette, Madison, Pickaway, Franklin, Delaware, Morrow, Richland, Ashland, Wayne, Medina, Cuyahoga
Highway system
  • Kentucky State Highway System
  • Ohio State Highway System
KY 70KY KY 72
SR 70OH SR 71

Interstate 71 (I-71) is a north–south Interstate Highway in the Great Lakes/Midwestern and Southeastern region of the United States. Its southern terminus is at an interchange with I-64 and I-65 (the Kennedy Interchange) in Louisville, Kentucky, and its northern terminus at an interchange with I-90 in Cleveland, Ohio. I-71 runs concurrently with I-75 from a point about 20 miles (32 km) south of Cincinnati, Ohio, into Downtown Cincinnati. While most odd numbered Interstates are north–south, I-71 however is designated more of a northeast–southwest highway, with some east–west sections, and is mainly a regional route, serving Kentucky and Ohio. It links I-80 and I-90 to I-70, and ultimately (via I-65) links to I-40. Major metropolitan areas served by I-71 include Louisville, Cincinnati, Columbus, and Cleveland.

Approximately three quarters of the route lie east of I-75, leaving I-71 out of place in the Interstate grid.

Route description[edit]

  mi[3] km
KY 97.42 156.78
OH 248.15 399.36
Total 345.57 556.14


I-71 in the hills of Kentucky
Southern end of I-71 in Downtown Louisville
I-71 (and I-75) heading northbound into Cincinnati from Kentucky

In Kentucky, I-71 begins east of Downtown Louisville at the Kennedy Interchange, where it meets I-64 and I-65. This interchange is sometimes called the "Spaghetti Junction". From Louisville, it roughly follows the Ohio River in a diagonal path toward Northern Kentucky. Between Louisville and Cincinnati, I-71 is largely a four-lane highway, except for the approach to Kentucky Speedway in Sparta in which it runs three lanes each way for about two miles (3.2 km).

Near the town of Carrollton, there are signs marking the location of a tragic accident that occurred on May 14, 1988, when a drunk driver was driving north in the southbound lanes and struck a church bus full of children and teenagers, causing the bus's fuel tank to ignite into flames and killing 27 people on board. It is one of the worst bus accidents in state and national history.

After having run 77 miles (124 km) from Louisville, I-71 merges with I-75 near Walton after which it intersects I-275, the Cincinnati beltway. After passing through Covington, the freeway crosses the Ohio River via the lower level of the Brent Spence Bridge (while the southbound direction uses the upper level) and continues into Cincinnati.


Heading northbound into Columbus
Northern terminus at I-90 in Downtown Cleveland

In Cincinnati, I-71 splits immediately from I-75 and heads due east onto Fort Washington Way, where it continues through Downtown Cincinnati concurrently with U.S. Route 50 (US 50) for less than one mile (1.6 km). Just east of downtown, US 50 splits from I-71 and continues east; I-71 bends north and receives I-471, a spur from southeast of the city. I-71 then heads in a general northeast direction through urban Cincinnati and into its surrounding suburbs. After another interchange with the I-275 beltway, the freeway leaves the metropolitan area and heads toward Columbus. It continues northeast until it reaches South Lebanon, where it begins cutting east across the flat plains of southwest Ohio. The freeway crosses the Little Miami River on the Jeremiah Morrow Bridge, which is a continuous truss bridge and the tallest bridge in Ohio, at 239 feet (73 m) above the river. I-71 heads toward Columbus then intersects with the bypass I-270 before heading north into urban Columbus, where it junctions I-70. About a mile (1.6 km) north of the I-70 junction, it intersects with I-670. After another interchange with the I-270 bypass, the highway exits Columbus and continues north until near Delaware, where it again turns northeast. Beginning its path to Cleveland, I-71 enters the rolling farm country on the edges of the Allegheny Plateau. It continues in this fashion to Lodi/Westfield Center and its junction with I-76, which provides access to Akron and points east. Heading north to Medina, it meets the terminus of I-271. The highway then continues north into urban Cuyahoga County and Cleveland's suburbs, intersecting the Ohio Turnpike/I-80. Passing Cleveland Hopkins International Airport, I-71 meets I-480 and enters Cleveland's west side, continuing on to downtown. It junctions with State Route 176 (SR 176) and terminates at I-90 on the Innerbelt.


Interstate 71 in Kentucky marker
Interstate 71 in Ohio marker
1957 versions of the Interstate highway marker for Kentucky and Ohio


The first section of I-71 in Louisville opened in December 1966 between its terminus at Spaghetti Junction and Zorn Avenue, its first exit. Its junction with I-264 opened in July 1968, and the complete Kentucky portion of the Interstate was opened to the public in July 1969. At that point, it replaced US 42 as the primary link between Cincinnati and Louisville.[4]


Much of I-71 in Ohio was intended to be SR 1. SR 1 was originally planned in the 1950s as a second Ohio Turnpike extending southwest to northeast across the state. It was planned to run from Cincinnati to Conneaut and connect with an extension built across the panhandle of Pennsylvania to the New York State Thruway. As the highway was being planned, the Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956 was enacted, and the project was converted from a toll road to a freeway. It was designated as SR 1, since the Interstate Highway numbering system had not yet been implemented. Portions of the freeway began to be completed and opened in 1959 with the new Interstate Highway funding, and they were marked as SR 1 as well as with their new Interstate Highway number. Since large gaps existed along the corridor where no freeway had yet been completed, existing two-lane or four-lane highways were also designated as SR 1 in order to complete the route. The SR 1 signage was removed in 1966 as the Interstate Highway numbers adequately marked the route by then and the state highway numbering was superfluous.

Columbus-area highway marker designating I-71 and SR 1 (1965)

In Columbus, the portion of I-71 that bounds Worthington's eastern edge was originally called the North Freeway. Costing $13.8 million (equivalent to $92.2 million in 2020[5]), it was constructed south from SR 161, arriving at 11th Avenue by August 1961. It took another year to construct the portion between 11th Avenue and 5th Avenue, mainly due to the need to construct a massive underpass under the Pennsylvania Railroad's Grogan Yard. Today, only two tracks cross the viaduct, and the rest of the structure supports a large, weedy field. By August 1962, the freeway had reached Fifth Avenue, and it reached downtown in November 1962.

I-71 was originally planned to follow the Innerbelt Freeway northward from its current northern terminus to the Cleveland Memorial Shoreway at Dead Man's Curve when I-90 was planned to continue westward from there along the Shoreway.[6]

Upon its completion, I-71 replaced SR 3 as the primary highway link between Cincinnati, Columbus, and Cleveland.

Between 2004 and 2006, the interchange at milepost 121 in the far northern reaches of Columbus was reconstructed to allow access to the eastern extension of Gemini Place.[7] Before that, it was a simple diamond interchange with SR 750 (Polaris Parkway).

Rebuilding and widening program[edit]

In 1999, the state of Ohio began a 10-year, $500-million (equivalent to $745 million in 2020[5]) project to improve I-71 between Columbus and Cleveland. The plans did not include widening the 25-mile (40 km) stretch in Delaware and Morrow counties, calling for patching that section instead. At that time, state transportation officials said they did not plan to widen that section for two reasons: Traffic studies didn't support the widening, and there was no money for the project.[8] But Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) officials eventually gave in under pressure from elected officials and business owners to widen the remaining 25-mile (40 km) stretch of I-71 from just north of the US 36/SR 37 interchange in Delaware County to the Morrow–Richland county line.[9] The reconstruction and widening on the last 25-mile (40 km) stretch of I-71 in Delaware and Morrow counties began in spring 2012, and the work was completed in mid-2015 at a cost of $144 million (equivalent to $156 million in 2020[5]).[9]

Exit list[edit]

KentuckyJeffersonLouisville0.0000.000 I-65 south – NashvilleSouthern terminus; I-65 exit 137
136CJefferson Street – DowntownSouthbound exit and northbound entrance; exit number follows I-65
1 I-65 north (Toll Bridge) / I-64 west – Indianapolis, St. LouisSigned as exits 1A (I-64) and 1B (I-65) southbound; no exit numbers northbound; I-64 exit 6; I-65 exit 137
I-64 east – LexingtonNorthbound exit and southbound entrance; I-64 exit 5A
1.7242.7752Zorn Avenue
4.9667.9925 I-264 (Watterson Expressway)I-264 exit 23
I-265 / KY 841 (Gene Snyder Freeway) to US 42
Signed as exits 9A (south) and 9B (north); I-265 exit 35
Oldham14.48823.31614 KY 329 – Crestwood, Pewee Valley
17.47828.12817 KY 146 – Buckner, Crestwood, Pewee Valley
18.50729.78418 KY 393 – Buckner
La Grange21.86935.19522 KY 53 – La Grange, Ballardsville
KY 153 to KY 146 – Sligo, New Castle
Campbellsburg33.50553.92134 US 421 – Campbellsburg, New Castle, Bedford
No major junctions
KY 389 to KY 55 – Prestonville, English
44.31271.31344 KY 227 – Worthville, Carrollton
KY 1039 to KY 465 – Vevay
Serves Kentucky Speedway
56.67391.20657 KY 35 – Sparta, Warsaw
Glencoe61.77499.41662 US 127 – Glencoe, Owenton
Boone72.195116.18772 KY 14 – Verona
77.724125.08577 I-75 south – LexingtonSouthern end of I-75 overlap; exit numbers switch to follow I-75's mileposts, I-75 exit 173
79.556128.033175 KY 338 – Richwood
Florence82.275132.409178 KY 536 (Mt. Zion Road)
84.298135.664180 US 42 / US 127 – Union, Florence
84.694136.302180AMall RoadSouthbound exit and northbound entrance; serves Florence Mall; former KY 3157
85.449137.517181 KY 18 – Florence, Burlington
86.652139.453182 KY 1017 (Turfway Road)
KentonErlanger87.967141.569184 KY 236 – ErlangerSigned as exits 184A (east) and 184B (west) southbound
I-275 to I-471 – Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport
I-275 exit 84
Fort Mitchell90.539145.708186 KY 371 (Buttermilk Pike)
91.913147.920188 US 25 / US 42 / US 127 (Dixie Highway) – Fort Mitchell
Fort Wright92.870149.460189 KY 1072 (Kyles Lane) – Fort Wright, Park Hills
19112th Street (KY 1120), Pike Street (US 25 / US 42 / US 127) – Covington
1925th Street (KY 8) – Covington, Newport
Ohio River97.42
Brent Spence Bridge
KentuckyOhio line
I-75 north / US 50 west – DaytonNorthern end of I-75 overlap; southern end of US 50 overlap
1BSecond Street – Downtown, RiverfrontExit unnumbered until 2018

US 50 east (Columbia Parkway) to I-471 / US 52
Northeren end of US 50 overlap; northbound exit and southbound entrance
Lytle Tunnel
Sharp turn (40 mph or 64 km/h) in both directions
1.993.201A I-471 south – NewportSouthbound exit and northbound entrance; exit unnumbered until 2018
2 US 42 (Reading Road) / Eden Park Drive / Gilbert Avenue (US 22 / SR 3) / Eighth Street – Ballpark, Stadium/ArenaSplit into exit  2A (US 42) and 2B (Gilbert/8th) southbound; Gilbert Ave./8th St. not signed northbound, Eden Park Dr. not signed southbound
McMillan StreetNorthbound entrance only
3AWilliam Howard Taft RoadSouthbound exit only
3B Martin Luther King Drive – Level I Trauma CenterSigned as exit 3 northbound
5Dana Avenue / Montgomery Road (US 22 / SR 3)
6 SR 561 (Smith Road / Edwards Road)
Cincinnati8.0412.948ARidge Avenue southNorthbound exit and southbound entrance
8B SR 562 – NorwoodSigned as exit 7 southbound
Columbia Township8.5113.708CRidge Avenue northNorthbound exit and southbound entrance
8.7514.088Kennedy Avenue, Ridge AvenueSouthbound exit and northbound entrance
9Red Bank Road – Fairfax
Silverton10.6817.1910Stewart RoadNorthbound exit and southbound entrance
Sycamore Township11.8119.0111Kenwood RoadNorthbound exit and southbound entrance
12.4420.0212 US 22 / SR 3 (Montgomery Road)
Montgomery14.1322.7414 SR 126 (Ronald Reagan Cross County Highway)
15.8025.4315Pfeiffer Road

I-275 to SR 32 / I-75
I-275 exit 49; signed as exits 17A (east) & 17B (west) southbound
county line
township line
19Mason Montgomery Road / Fields Ertel Road
WarrenMason23.5337.8724Western Row Road / Kings Island Drive / Innovation Way – Kings IslandSigned as Western Row Road and Kings Island Drive northbound and Western Row Road and Innovation Way southbound; originally constructed as northbound exit and southbound entrance only but expanded to a full interchange in 2019[10]
25.3040.7225 SR 741 north (Kings Mills Road) – Mason, Kings Mills, Kings Island
LebanonSouth Lebanon
city line
28.3345.5928 SR 48 – South Lebanon, Lebanon
Turtlecreek Township32.5652.4032 SR 123 – Morrow, Lebanon
Washington Township36.7459.1336Wilmington Road
ClintonChester Township45.1172.6045 SR 73 – Waynesville, Wilmington
Liberty Township50.74–
50 US 68 – Xenia, Wilmington
GreeneJefferson Township58.0193.3658 SR 72 – Sabina, Jamestown
FayetteOcta65.33105.1465 US 35 (SR 435) – Xenia, Washington Court House
Jeffersonville69.49111.8369 SR 41 / SR 734 – South Solon, Jeffersonville, Washington Court House
Paint Township75.03120.7575 SR 38 – Bloomingburg, Midway
MadisonPleasant Township84.27135.6284 SR 56 – Mount Sterling, London
No major junctions
FranklinPleasant Township94.15151.5294 US 62 / SR 3 – Grove City, Orient, Harrisburg
Jackson Township97.16156.3697 SR 665 (London-Groveport Road)Interchange fully opened August 17, 2012[11]
Grove City98.85159.0899Hoover Road – Grove CityProposed
100.60161.90100Stringtown Road – Grove City
Jackson Township101.68163.64101 I-270 – Dayton, WheelingSigned as exits 101A (east) & 101B (west) northbound; I-270 exit 55
Columbus103.86167.15104 SR 104 / Frank Road
105.43169.67105Greenlawn Avenue
106.33171.12106A I-70 west – DaytonNorthbound exit and southbound entrance; I-70 exit 99A
106B SR 315 north – WorthingtonNo exit number southbound; I-70 exit 99B
I-70 west – DaytonSouthern end of I-70 overlap; southbound exit and northbound entrance; I-70 exit 99A; exit numbers switch to follow I-70's mileposts
US 23 (Third Street / Fourth Street) / Fulton StreetNew interchange to replace exits 100A-B; to have no southbound exit
100A US 23 south (High Street) / Front StreetNo northbound entrance; southbound exit is via exit 100B
107.41172.86100B US 23 north (Fourth Street) / Livingston Avenue (US 33)
101BParsons AvenueNorthbound exit only
107 I-70 eastNorthern end of I-70 overlap; I-70 exit ; left exit southbound
108.20174.13108AMain StreetNo northbound exit
108.63174.82108B US 40 (Broad Street)Southbound entrance and northbound exit
109.16175.68109A I-670 – Airport, DaytonNorthbound exit and southbound entrance; I-670 exit 5; northbound off-ramp to I-670 east includes direct ramp onto Leonard Avenue
108.93175.31109BSpring Street – DowntownSouthbound exit and northbound entrance
109.61176.40109A I-670 – Airport, DaytonSouthbound exit and northbound entrance; I-670 exit 5
110.16177.29110AFifth AvenueNo northbound exit
110.68178.12110B 11th AvenueAccess to Linden Primary Care Center
111.15178.8811117th AvenueAccess to the Ohio State Fairgrounds & Expo Center and Ohio History Center
112.33180.78112Hudson Street
112.98181.82113Weber Road
113.46182.60114North BroadwayAccess to Riverside Methodist Hospital
114.53184.32115Cooke Road
115.58186.01116Morse Road / Sinclair Road
117.53189.15117 SR 161 (Dublin-Granville Road)
119 I-270 – Dayton, WheelingSigned as exits 119A (east) and 119B (west) southbound; I-270 exit 26
county line
121 SR 750 west (Polaris Parkway) / Gemini Place / Ikea WayEastern terminus of SR 750; access to Polaris Shopping Center
DelawareOrange Township124200Big Walnut RoadFuture interchange[12][13]
Berkshire TownshipSunbury ParkwayFuture interchange[13]
130.64210.24131 US 36 / SR 37 – Delaware, Sunbury
MorrowBennington Township140.15225.55140 SR 61 – Sunbury, Mount Gilead, Galion
township line
151.09243.16151 SR 95 – Fredericktown, Mount Gilead
RichlandWashington TownshipBellville
village line
165.25265.94165 SR 97 – Lexington, Bellville
Washington TownshipMansfield
city line
168.81271.67169 SR 13 – Mansfield, Bellville
Madison Township172.97278.37173 SR 39 – Mansfield, Lucas
Mifflin Township176.91284.71176 US 30 – Mansfield, WoosterIndirect southbound access to eastbound US 30 and from westbound US 30 to northbound I-71 via Crider and Koogle roads
AshlandMontgomery Township186.71300.48186 US 250 – Ashland, Wooster
WayneCongress Township196.31315.93196 SR 301 – West SalemNorthbound exit and southbound entrance
197.92318.52198 SR 539 – West Salem, Congress
MedinaHarrisville Township203.89328.13204 SR 83 – Lodi, Wooster
Westfield Township209.51337.17209 I-76 / US 224 – Lodi, AkronSigned as exits 209A (I-76/US 224 east) and 209B (US 224 west); western terminus of I-76 (Ohio), exit 1
Medina Township218.86352.22218 SR 18 – Akron, Medina
220.71355.20220 I-271 north – ErieNorthbound exit and southbound entrance
222.91358.74222 SR 3 – Hinckley, Medina
Brunswick226.03363.76226 SR 303 – Brunswick, Hinckley
CuyahogaStrongsville231.26372.18231 SR 82 (Royalton Road) – Strongsville, North RoyaltonSigned as exits 231A (east) and 231B (west) southbound
233.06375.07233 I-80 / Ohio Turnpike – Toledo, YoungstownI-80/Ohio Turnpike exit 161
Middleburg Heights234.21376.92234 US 42 – Strongsville, Parma Heights
235.37378.79235Bagley Road – Berea, Middleburg Heights
Brook Park237.53382.27237 Snow Road / Engle Road – AirportSigned as exits 237A (east) and 237B (west, Engle) southbound
Brook ParkCleveland line238.77384.26238 I-480 – Airport, Toledo, YoungstownNorthbound exit and southbound entrance; I-480 exit 11
Cleveland239.26385.05239 SR 237 south – Airport, BereaSouthbound left exit and northbound left entrance
240.57387.16240W. 150th Street
241.85389.22242AW. 130th StreetSigned as exit 242 southbound
ClevelandLinndale line242.41390.12242BBellaire RoadNorthbound exit and southbound entrance
Cleveland244.5393.5244Denison Avenue / W. 65th StreetNorthbound exit and southbound entrance
245 US 42 (SR 3 / Pearl Road / W. 25th Street) / Fulton Road
246.6396.9246 SR 176 south – ParmaSouthbound exit and northbound entrance
247 I-90 west / I-490 east / W. 14th Street / Clark Avenue / Steelyard DriveNorthbound exit and southbound entrance; I-90 exit 170B; I-490 exit 1A
I-90 east – Downtown ClevelandNorthern terminus; I-90 exit 170B
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

Auxiliary routes[edit]

I-71 has two auxiliary routes both in the Cleveland metropolitan area. I-471 links downtown Cincinnati with I-275. I-271 provides access to Cleveland's eastern suburbs and enables travelers on I-71 to access I-90 east without going through Cleveland proper.

See also[edit]

Sports rivalries involving cities on I-71


  1. ^ a b "HIS Expanded Milepoint Route Log Extract". Kentucky Transportation Cabinet. October 31, 2007. Archived from the original on November 9, 2007. Retrieved April 15, 2022.
  2. ^ a b Office of Technical Services (January 1, 2007). "Straight Line Diagrams". Ohio Department of Transportation. Archived from the original on February 19, 2003. Retrieved April 15, 2022.
  3. ^ "Route Log and Finder List: Table 1 - Interstate System". Federal Highway Administration. Retrieved July 9, 2007.
  4. ^ Kleber, John E., ed. (2001). Encyclopedia of Louisville. p. 418. ISBN 0813128900.
  5. ^ a b c Johnston, Louis; Williamson, Samuel H. (2022). "What Was the U.S. GDP Then?". MeasuringWorth. Retrieved February 12, 2022. United States Gross Domestic Product deflator figures follow the Measuring Worth series.
  6. ^ Ohio Department of Highways. "1957-1958 Biennial Report (excerpt)". Retrieved February 27, 2013.
  7. ^ "Ohio Fuses Two Interchanges in Columbus". Retrieved June 14, 2015.
  8. ^ Ferenchik, Mark. "The Columbus Dispatch - 3rd lane coming to I-71 by 2015". The Columbus Dispatch. Retrieved October 4, 2014.
  9. ^ a b Hill, Todd. "MansfieldNewsJournal - I-71 widening almost finished". Mansfield News Journal. Retrieved June 19, 2015.
  10. ^ Smith, Lisa (February 1, 2019). "Will it soon be easy to get off (and then back on) I-71 at Western Row?". WCPO-TV. Retrieved February 3, 2019.
  11. ^ "Transportation Partners Celebrate Opening of New Southern Gateway" (Press release). Ohio Department of Transportation District 6. August 16, 2012. Retrieved February 27, 2013.
  12. ^ "Big Walnut Interchange at I-71 (2024+)". Delaware County Engineer. Delaware County, Ohio. September 20, 2020. Retrieved January 16, 2022.
  13. ^ a b Budzak, Gary (May 29, 2019). "Officials discuss two interchange projects". Delaware Gazette. Retrieved January 16, 2022.

External links[edit]

Route map:

KML is from Wikidata