William H. Natcher Parkway
|This article needs additional citations for verification. (April 2007)|
|Length:||70.184 mi (112.950 km)|
|South end:||US 231 south of Bowling Green|
|Western Kentucky Parkway near Beaver Dam|
|North end:||US 60 / US 231 in Owensboro|
|Counties:||Warren, Butler, Ohio, Daviess|
The William H. Natcher Green River Parkway is a limited-access freeway from Bowling Green to Owensboro in the US state of Kentucky. The Natcher is one of nine highways that are part of Kentucky's parkway system. Conceived as the "Owensboro–Bowling Green Parkway," it was instead named the Green River Parkway when it opened on December 15, 1972. It received its current name in 1994 following the death of William H. Natcher, a United States Congressman who represented the Second District of Kentucky for three decades. Natcher is best known for his record-setting string of 18,401 roll call votes, even being wheeled in on a hospital gurney to vote shortly before his death.
The Natcher Parkway was a toll road from its opening until November 21, 2006.
In 2006, the old and new names were combined into the current name, in order to be consistent with most of the Commonwealth's other parkways, all of which (except for the Audubon Parkway) had their original names changed in the same manner to honor various Kentucky politicians. However, the newly designed marker signs that were installed on the Natcher Parkway in the summer of 2006 do not bear the words "Green River."
The parkway begins at an interchange with US Route 231 (US 231) south of Interstate 65 (I-65, exit 20) near Bowling Green. It travels along the west side of the city in a northwesterly direction, through rolling farmlands and near coal mines, for 72.184 miles (116.169 km) before meeting its northern terminus at an interchange with U.S. Route 60 in Owensboro. At exit 43, the parkway intersects with the Wendell H. Ford Western Kentucky Parkway, the longest and oldest road in the state's parkway system. The Natcher Parkway bypasses the cities of Morgantown, Beaver Dam and Hartford. The parkway carries the unsigned designation of Kentucky Route 9007 (WN 9007).
On November 21, 2006, toll plazas on the Natcher were removed. Prior to their removal, toll plazas were located at Exit 7 (Current Exit 9)/Bowling Green (through cars 50 cents), Exit 34 (Current Exit 36)/Morgantown (40 cents), and Exit 48 (Current Exit 50)/Hartford (60 cents). Motorists travelling between the I-65 exit and Exit 7 in the Bowling Green area were not charged toll.
The Natcher and the nearby Audubon Parkway, were the last two roads in the Kentucky parkway system to have their tolls removed. Under Kentucky law, toll roads cease toll collection once their construction bonds are paid, either by collected tolls or other sources.
The parkway was designated a part of the "Future Interstate 66 Corridor," a proposed four-lane Interstate utilizing the existing Cumberland and Hal Rogers parkways, among other routes, across the southern tier of Kentucky. It cannot be signed as an Interstate until it has permanent connections to the east and west, both of which have not been determined because the King Coal Highway in West Virginia was demoted to a corridor-standard roadway for US 52.
All or part of the Natcher from the Western Kentucky Parkway interchange southward has been proposed to become part of the controversial proposed extension of I-66 through Kentucky. Exactly how much of the southernmost 41 miles (66 km) of the highway will be used has not yet been decided—various plans call for the route to diverge from the Natcher somewhere north of Bowling Green and head east toward I-65, forming a northern beltline around the city; another plan would have I-66 follow the Natcher route all the way to the current I-65 interchange, then turn north and overlap I-65 to its junction with the Cumberland Parkway.
Natcher Parkway is to become an Interstate spur. Jeff Moore, chief of the division of planning for the state Department of Highways, said in an interview with The Daily News in Bowling Green that Kentucky is studying a new north–south corridor through the state, I-69. While the major portion of the road would be in western Kentucky, a spur for the newly designated roadway could have its terminus in Bowling Green. It would use the William H. Natcher Parkway between Bowling Green and Owensboro.
I-69 is well on its way to becoming another major north–south Interstate in Kentucky as parkway upgrade studies are complete. A 55.3-mile (89.0 km) section was established as I-69 on September 30, 2011, from Madisonville west to Calvert City on I-24. I-69 red, white, and blue Interstate signs were to be installed on the section of freeway in October 2011. As for I-66, "Interest has been lost in the I-66 project," Moore said
The new I-69 corridor would not necessarily funnel traffic away from I-65 and Bowling Green. Moore said it could actually bring traffic here with the Interstate spur designation of the Natcher Parkway from Owensboro to Bowling Green. The parkways that would be added to the Interstate System would be studied and then brought up to Interstate standards where needed. The study will consider widening shoulders, lengthening exit and entrance ramps, ensuring clearance heights under bridges for wide and tall loads and, in some instances, widening the travel lanes.
Preliminary recommendations from the studies will be sometime next year (2012). Improvements, Moore said, will be recommended in "small bites."
|Warren||Bowling Green||0.000||0.000||US 231 – Bowling Green, Scottsville|
|1.5||2.4||1||KY 622 – Bowling Green, Plano|
|2.5||4.0||2||I-65 – Louisville, Nashville (TN)||Signed as exits 2A and 2B|
|5.572||8.967||6||US 31W – Bowling Green, Franklin||To Western Kentucky University|
|6.969||11.216||7||US 68 / KY 80 – Bowling Green, Russellville|
|9.422||15.163||9||US 231 – Bowling Green, Morgantown|
|Butler||Morgantown||28.147||45.298||28||US 231 / KY 79 – Morgantown|
|29.428||47.360||29||KY 70 – Morgantown, Rochester|
|35.845||57.687||36||US 231 – Cromwell, Morgantown|
|Ohio||43.270||69.636||43||Western Kentucky Parkway – Elizabethtown, Paducah||Signed as exits 43A and 43B|
|Hartford||49.796||80.139||50||KY 69 – Beaver Dam, Hartford|
|Daviess||Owensboro||72.184||116.169||72||US 60 / US 231 – Hawesville, Henderson, Owensboro||Signed as exits 72A and 72B; northbound only; to Ben Hawes Golf Course and Park|
|1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi
- "Kentucky Transportation Cabinet — Division of Planning — Highway Information System Official Milepoint Route Log Extract". Retrieved April 8, 2007.
- Minor, Robyn L. (September 27, 2011). "New North–South Corridor Could Have BG Spur". The Daily News (Bowling Green, KY). Retrieved September 18, 2012.
Route map: Bing