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Kentucky is served by five major (two-digit) interstate routes: Interstate 24, Interstate 64, Interstate 65, Interstate 71, and Interstate 75. Kentucky’s interstate mileage also includes four supplementary (three-digits) routes: Interstate 264, Interstate 265, Interstate 275, and Interstate 471. There are 762.388 miles of interstate highway in Kentucky.

These routes connect most of Kentucky’s major cities and also connect to Kentucky to the nation. I-75 and I-65 are the state’s busiest highways: they connect Kentucky to the Great Lakes region and to the Deep South. I-64 connects Kentucky to points east and points west. I-71 connects Kentucky to the northeast, and I-24 connects far western Kentucky to the St. Louis area to the northwest and Nashville to the southeast.

There are areas left out of the interstate system; for instance, Kentucky’s third largest city, Owensboro, is not directly served by the interstate system. It is, however, connected to the interstate system by two parkways. Indeed, Kentucky’s system of toll roads known as parkways was built to help connect regions of the state that would not be served by interstates.

The oldest part of the interstate system in Kentucky is the Watterson Expressway. Construction on the Watterson began in 1948 as part of a US 60 By-pass around Louisville. When the interstate system was created in 1956, the Watterson Expressway was incorporated into the system as Interstate 264.

The first major interstate to be completed in Kentucky was Interstate 71; the last major route to be completed was Interstate 24. Kentucky’s interstate system was considered complete upon the completion of the Gene Snyder Freeway (Interstate 265) in the late 1980s.

Today there are proposals to add two more interstates to Kentucky. Interstate 66 would connect Kentucky across the southern flank of the state from Pike County to Ballard County. Interstate 69 would connect Henderson and Fulton as part of the proposed “NAFTA corridor” connecting Port Huron, Michigan to south Texas.

Additionally, Bowling Green has plans for an interstate-style beltline highway. Such a route, if built, would likely be assigned a three-digit interstate route number.

Future plans for the existing interstate in Kentucky include widening most of them. I-75 and I-65 are slated to be widened to at least six lanes through the entire state. The widening of the entire length of I-71 and I-64 between Louisville and Lexington are also included in long range plans.

Interstate 175 Interstate 24 Interstate 264 Interstate 265 Interstate 275
Interstate 471 Interstate 64 Interstate 65 Interstate 66 Interstate 69
Interstate 71 Interstate 74 Interstate 75

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Related news topics: [Parkways] [State Routes] [US Routes]

Interstates News Items

Median Cable Barriers Installation Underway
Posted: 1-Apr-2009 7:02AM CDT

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet recently began installing cable barriers in the medians of some stretches of interstate. These barriers are intended to stop errant traffic from crossing the median.

From the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet Office of Public Affairs:

Median cable barrier installation to begin Monday along I-65 in Hardin
Motorists urged to use extra caution in the work zone
FRANKFORT, Ky. (March 13, 2009) — Median cable barrier installation along Interstate 65, from mile marker 91 to mile marker 100, in Hardin County, is scheduled to begin Monday, March 16.
The northbound inside shoulder will be closed throughout the project, which is expected to take six to eight weeks. The northbound express lane will be closed intermittently on week days.
Installation of a second section, from mile marker 80 to mile marker 88, will begin as work on the northern section nears completion. That work will also require shoulder and intermittent lane closures. The barrier in both sections will be placed off-center on the northbound side of the median.
The speed limit will be reduced to 55 mph in the work zone and motorists are urged to use extra caution.
The $1.9 million contract, for installation of both sections, was awarded to George B. Stone Company, LLC, of Sharpsburg, Ky.
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[Commonwealth of Kentucky]
New Welcome Signs are Up
Posted: 30-Apr-2005 5:52AM CDT

New welcome signs have been installed on interstates across the state. The Cincinnati Enquirer has a photograph of sign installation on the Combs-Hehl Bridge: Cincinnati Enquirer: New welcome signs going up; Crews install them at 11 expressway gateways (April 6, 2005) [Outside Link]

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Winter Storm Aftermath Continues
Posted: 24-Dec-2004 3:20PM CST

Two days after a winter storm dumped record amounts of snow and ice on much of western and northern Kentucky, the commonwealth is still recovering. As of the time of this writing, the state highway information system reports that I-24 remains closed between Exit 25 (the Jullian M. Carroll Purchase Parkway in Marshall County) and Exit 65 (US 68/KY 80 in Trigg County). Kentucky’s other interstates and parkways are open; however, many stretches remain ice covered and the shoulders are dotted with abandoned vehicles. WBKO in Bowling Green reports that traffic is moving very slowly on I-65 and that the highway is still covered in ice near Elizabethtown. In many places, secondary roadways remain covered by snow and ice, and many roads are impassible.

Information regarding current conditions on Kentucky’s highways can be obtained by calling 1-800-RDREPORT, by calling 511 from an in-state telephone, or by visiting ww.511.ky.gov [Outside Link].

More information: Courier-Journal: The big chill: Cold expected to hinder cleanup after storm (Dec. 24, 2004) [Outside Link], Courier-Journal: National Guard called to help stranded motorists (Dec. 24, 2004) [Outside Link], Courier-Journal: Road crews, others struggle to clear roads, unclog snarls (Dec. 24, 2004) [Outside Link], Lexington Herald-Leader: Traffic woes, power outages across state are storm's legacy (Dec. 24, 2004) [Outside Link], The (Henderson) Gleaner: Many autos abandoned; even highway crews having tough time (Dec. 24, 2004) [Outside Link], Associated Press: Stranded vehicles block part of I-64 (Dec. 24, 2004) [Outside Link], Cincinnati Enquirer: 'Cut in the hill' unkindest in snow; Interstate 71/75 bottleneck snares traffic for hours (Dec. 24, 2004) [Outside Link], Murray Ledger & Times: Snow causes plenty of headaches (Dec. 23, 2004) [Outside Link], (Hopkinsville) Kentucky New Era: White Christmas; Still slow going on snowy roads (Dec. 24, 2004) [Outside Link], Courier-Journal: Buses go where snowbound drivers fear to tread (Dec. 24, 2004) [Outside Link], The (Henderson) Gleaner: Santa on a tractor: Residents shovel, cope, and help each other (Dec. 24, 2004) [Outside Link]

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“Be Patient”
Posted: 12-Jul-2004 12:12AM CDT

The Herald-Leader reports that Kentucky will see roadwork on its major interstates for years to come: Lexington Herald-Leader: Expect some delays (July 2, 2004) [Outside Link]

The state currently plans on widening all of I-75 and I-65 and a large section of I-64 to more than four lanes. Work to widen I-75 is currently furthest along: 105 miles of I-75’s 192 miles in Kentucky are currently six lanes or wider.

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[Commonwealth of Kentucky]
Former Governor Louie B. Nunn Dies
Posted: 30-Jan-2004 10:05PM CST

Former Governor Louie B. Nunn (1924-2004) died of heart failure yesterday, Thursday, January 29, 2004. He was 79. Gov. Nunn is remembered, among other things, for his contribution to the state's highway system. He proposed building roads connecting the state from east-to-west; during his term as governor from 1967-1971 more toll road bonds were issued to pay for highway construction than during the previous two administrations.

During his term of office, I-65, I-71, and I-75 were completed; a total of 585 miles of interstate highways were opened; and the Audubon Parkway and Daniel Boone Parkways were approved for construction. Additionally, planning work for the Cumberland Parkway and Green River Parkway (now Natcher Parkway) began.

More information: Courier-Journal: Former governor, force in GOP, dies (Jan. 30, 2004) [Outside Link], Associated Press: Highlights of Nunn's Term (Jan. 30, 2004) [Outside Link], Associated Press: Former Gov. Louie B. Nunn dead at 79 (Jan. 30, 2004) [Outside Link], Associated Press: GOP pioneer Nunn dead (Jan. 30, 2004) [Outside Link], Kentucky Post: Nunn legacy remembered here (Jan. 30, 2004) [Outside Link]

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Updated: 1-Apr-2009 7:02AM CDT

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