Interstate 65 in Kentucky
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Interstate 65 in Kentucky

Interstate 65 marker

Interstate 65
Route information
Maintained by KYTC
Length 137.32 mi[1] (221.00 km)
Existed 1956 - present
Major junctions
South end at Tennessee state line
  in Bowling Green
in Oakland
in Elizabethtown
in Elizabethtown
in Louisville
in Louisville
in Louisville
in Louisville
/ in Louisville
North end at Indiana state line
Highway system

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

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 at the border of Hart and LaRue counties, respectively.

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]


Kentucky Turnpike

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.[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

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

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

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.[]

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

County Location mi[11] km Exit Destinations Notes
Simpson 0.00 0.00 south - Nashville Continuation into Tennessee
1.980 3.187 2 (Main Street) - Franklin
5.979 9.622 6 (Scottsville Road) - Scottsville, Franklin
Warren 20.568 33.101 20  - Owensboro, Bowling Green Natcher Parkway exits 2A-B; signed 20A (south) & 20B (north).
Bowling Green 22.388 36.030 22 (Scottsville Road) - Scottsville, Bowling Green
25.732 41.412 26 (Cemetery Road) - Bowling Green
Bowling Green 28.066 45.168 28 to  - Bowling Green Serves National Corvette Museum
30 to  - Bowling Green Serves Kentucky Transpark; exit opened July 6, 2017[12][13]
Oakland 35.631 57.343 36 (Glasgow Road) /  - Oakland Northbound exit and southbound entrance
Smiths Grove 37.578 60.476 38 (Main Street) to  - Smiths Grove, Scottsville Also serves Nolin River Reservoir
Barren 43.135 69.419 43  - Somerset, Glasgow Cumberland Parkway exit 0
Park City 47.371 76.236 48 (Mammoth Cave Parkway) to  - Park City, Brownsville Serves Mammoth Cave National Park
Cave City 52.423 84.367 53 (Mammoth Cave Road) /  - Cave City, Glasgow Serves Mammoth Cave National Park
Hart 57.627 92.742 58 (Flint Ridge Road) to  - Horse Cave
Munfordville 64.200 103.320 65 (Main Street) - Munfordville
70.407 113.309 71 (Bacon Creek Road) - Bonnieville
LaRue Upton 75.896 122.143 76 (Upton Talley Road) - Upton
Hardin Sonora 80.457 129.483 81 (Western Avenue) to  - Sonora
85.686 137.898 86 (Glendale Hodgenville Road) to  - Glendale
Elizabethtown 91.086 146.589 91 / /  - Hodgenville, Paducah, Elizabethtown Southbound exit to Dixie Avenue, Serves Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historical Park; WKP exit 137
93.345 150.224 93  - Lexington, Bardstown
94.154 151.526 94 (Mulberry Street) /  - Elizabethtown
102.533 165.011 102 (Joe Prather Highway) - Radcliff, Vine Grove
Bullitt Lebanon Junction 104.698 168.495 105 (Preston Highway) - Boston, Lebanon Junction
111.773 179.881 112 (Clermont Road) - Bardstown, Clermont
Shepherdsville 115.574 185.998 116 (Cedar Grove Road) to
116.639 187.712 117 (4th Street) - Mt. Washington, Shepherdsville
121.722 195.893 121 (John Harper Highway)
Jefferson 125.143 201.398 125 east (Gene Snyder Freeway) / I-265 exit 10; signed as exits 125A (east) & 125B (west) northbound.
126.746 203.978 127 (Outer Loop) - Okolona, Fairdale Southbound split exit (east) and (west)
Louisville 128.328 206.524 128 (Fern Valley Road)
129.802 208.896 130 (Preston Highway) / Grade Lane
130.710 210.357 131A (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 (Crittenden Drive) - Kentucky Exposition Center No access back to I-65 Northbound (must use exit 133 from Warnock Street)
132.955 213.970 133
(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)
133.767 215.277 134 south (Arthur Street) South end of KY 61 overlap; no northbound exit to Preston Street
133.978 215.617 134A north (Preston 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 Muhammad Ali Boulevard, Jefferson Street - Downtown Louisville Signed northbound as exit 136C
136.421 219.548 137 / north - Lexington, St. Louis, Cincinnati I-64 exit 5; I-71 exit 1
Ohio River 137.318 220.992 John F. Kennedy Memorial Bridge (southbound)
Abraham Lincoln Bridge (northbound)
continues north into Indiana
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

Auxiliary routes

  • : 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


  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 2016. 
  2. ^ "The Ohio River Bridges". Ohio River Bridges Project. March 31, 2016. Retrieved 2016. 
  3. ^ Mitchell, Kyle (December 29, 2016). "Last-minute rush hits RiverLink offices hours before tolling begins". Louisville, KY: WDRB. Retrieved 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 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 2007. 
  10. ^ Sergent, Don (July 5, 2017). "New I-65 exit improves access to Transpark". Bowling Green Daily News. Retrieved 2017. 
  11. ^ Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (December 22, 2007). "HIS Expanded Milepoint Route Log Extract". Archived from the original on November 9, 2007. 
  12. ^
  13. ^ Doyle, Darren (July 6, 2017). "Grand Opening of New I-65 Exit 30 Held Today At Ky Transpark". Retrieved July 6, 2017.

External links

Route map: Google

KML is from Wikidata

Interstate 65
Previous state:
Kentucky Next state:

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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