This is a list of current and possible future Interstate highways that vandalize the great state of Kentucky. Read 'em and weep...
Begin KY maint: IL state line (Ohio River), 2 mi NE of High Point
End KY maint: TN state line, 2 mi S of Barkers Mill
93.373 mi in KY:
• McCracken 17.32
• Marshall 12.032
• Livingston 4.528
• Lyon 20.962
• Caldwell 2.547
• Trigg 12.441
• Christian 23.543
Cities: Paducah, Calvert City, Kuttawa, Eddyville, Oak Gr
• Ohio River, McCracken Co
• Luther Draffen Br (Tennessee River, Marshall Co-Livingston Co)
• Cumberland River, Livingston Co-Lyon Co
Companion surface roads: US 45, US 62, KY 91, US 68, US 41A
I-24 is haphazardly cocked to one corner of Kentucky - running northwest to I-57 in Pulleys Mill, IL, and southeast to Nashville and to I-75 in Chattanooga, TN. By the late 1990s, Kentucky received its only Interstate business loop - Biz I-24, which uses surface streets into Paducah - but this doesn't show up on official logs or state-printed maps and appears to be posted by the county or city.
2007 - East on I-24 approaching the Luther Draffen Bridge.
Begin KY maint: IN state line (Ohio River), Portland (Louisville)
End KY maint: WV state line (Big Sandy River), 2 mi S of Catlettsburg
mi in KY:
• Jefferson 23.974
Uses: I-75 (Lexington)
Cities: Louisville, St Matthews, Jeffersontown
• Riverside Exp (begin-I 71, Louisville)
• Daniel Boone Exp (I 71, Louisville-I 75, Lexington)
• Sherman Minton Br (Ohio River, Louisville)
Tunnels: Cochran Hill Tnl (Louisville)
Companion surface roads:
• none at Ohio River
• KY 3082 (E)
• KY 3064, KY 3217 (W)
• US 150
• US 60
• US 421
• US 60
Of great importance to Kentuckians, I-64 continues west from Louisville through St. Louis and to I-70 in suburban Wentzville, MO. On the east, I-64 continues to Charleston, WV, and Richmond and Norfolk, VA, to its end at I-664 in Chesapeake, VA. It's handy, ain't it? (However, I-64 does not appear to enter Frankfort city limits.)
I-64 makes its entry into Kentucky via the beautiful Sherman Minton Bridge from New Albany, IN. This double-decker span features the eastbound lanes on the bottom and the westbound lanes on the top.
2004 - An elevated section of I-64 in Louisville. Some want this section demolished to reclaim the riverfront, and I-64 rerouted onto the north loop of I-265, which is slated for completion in 2016.
Begin KY maint: TN state line, .6 mi NW of Black Jack
End KY maint: past IN state line (Ohio River), Jeffersonville IN
mi in KY:
• Jefferson+ 14.138
• Abraham Lincoln Exp (begin-Bullitt/Jefferson co line)
• Dr Martin Luther King Jr Exp (Louisville)
• Abraham Lincoln Br (Ohio River, Louisville)
• John F Kennedy Mem Br (Ohio River, Louisville)
Companion surface roads: US 31W, KY 61, none at KY 61, KY 61, US 31E, US 31
A major force in Interstatedom, I-65 from Elizabethtown to Louisville was the Kentucky Turnpike - a toll road like the state parkways - from its 1954 opening to 1975. (It opened before the Interstate system was established.) I-65 continues north from Louisville to Indianapolis and to I-90 in Gary, IN. On the south it runs to Nashville, Birmingham, Montgomery, and to I-10 in Mobile, AL.
2004 - I-65 near downtown Louisville.
2004 - Continuing north on I-65 on the John F. Kennedy Memorial Bridge, which opened in 1963. In 2015, northbound traffic was moved to the new Abraham Lincoln Bridge, while southbound still uses this bridge. Each bridge has 6 lanes.
2004 - A twilight view of I-65's Kennedy Bridge.
I-66 doesn't exist in Kentucky but an official map marked it as a future route. A proposal in the 1980s would have run I-66 from Paducah to Lexington, mostly on existing parkways, then along I-64 - eventually connecting to the existing I-66 in Virginia. A later proposal demanded running I-66 on a new freeway from Wickliffe to Paducah, then on I-24, the Western Kentucky and Natcher parkways, I-65, the Louie B. Nunn Parkway, and a new freeway paralleling KY 80 and the Hal Rogers Parkway and running to the state line near Phelps. It is doubtful that I-66 will be established in Kentucky in my lifetime, as the idea was finally canned in 2015 - though some news articles still won't give up the ghost.
Begin KY maint: I-24, Eddyville
End KY maint: US 41, 1 mi NE of Rankin
80.006 mi in KY:
• Lyon 5.61
• Caldwell 16.154
• Hopkins 36.991
• Webster 10.302
• Henderson 10.949
Cities: Eddyville, Princeton, Mortons Gap, Madisonville, Hanson, Sebree, Robards
Companion surface roads: US 62, US 41
Probably starting in the 2000s, I-69 only existed in Kentucky as a future Interstate marked on an official map. A new I-69 from Brownsville, TX, to the existing I-69 in Indianapolis (which runs to Port Huron, MI) was esteemed by talking heads of the press - as if the country wasn't already paved over enough. But the Kentucky portion was to require relatively little new construction, as I-69 was proposed along the Julian M. Carroll Parkway, I-24, the Western Kentucky and Breathitt parkways, and the near-freeway US 41. A new bridge was planned near Henderson, however.
In 2011, I-69 was officially established in Kentucky along the Western Kentucky Parkway between I-24 and the Breathitt. In 2016, I-69 was established along the northern half of the Breathitt.
Begin: I-64, Cliftons (Louisville)
End KY maint: I-75, .8 mi E of Walton (leaves KY using I-75)
mi in KY:
• Jefferson 11.315
• Trimble .722
• Carroll 14.625
• Gallatin 16.457
• Boone 7.834
Cities: Louisville, Indian Hills, Northfield, Glenview Hills, Sparta, Glencoe
Names: Riverside Exp (Jefferson Co)
Major bridges: Kentucky River, Carroll Co
Companion surface roads: US 42, KY 338
I-71 runs from Louisville to Cleveland and piggybacks on I-75 from Walton, KY, to Cincinnati - where it splits from I-75 and forms Fort Washington Way, a freeway on the south side of downtown. Fort Washington Way was long criticized by the media and business sector because it was supposedly too unattractive to encourage commerce downtown. Boo hoo! They even proposed routing I-71 east on I-275 and north on I-471, putting additional strain on roads that already carried more traffic than they were built to handle. We in Campbell County despised the proposal, but we were at the mercy of Corporate America. A costly reconstruction of Fort Washington Way that took years to complete was launched instead, and this downtown freeway is now known for those odd spires that were added to 2 overpasses. One feasible but expensive proposal calls for building a park on a new level of land over Fort Washington Way - which would make that part of I-71 a cut-and-cover tunnel. I-71 continues from Cincinnati to Columbus and ends at I-90 in Cleveland.
2007 - The Louisville end of I-71 is actually at a split - with one side going to I-64 and the other to I-65. This is a traffic jam on the dogleg from I-71 to I-65.
Begin KY maint: TN state line, .7 mi SE of Fairview
End KY maint: past OH state line (Ohio River), Cincinnati OH
mi in KY:
• Fayette 23.089
• Kenton 3.176
• Boone 13.873
• Kenton+ 8.465
Cities: Lexington, Walton, Florence, Erlanger, Crestview Hills, Crescent Sprs, Ft Mitchell, Ft Wright, Park Hills, Covington
• Kentucky River, Lexington
• Brent Spence Br (Ohio River, Covington)
Companion surface roads: US 25W, US 25, KY 2328, US 25
Though not pictured here, a highlight of I-75 is the Brent Spence Bridge from Covington to Cincinnati, noted for the fact that it has 2 stories, with the southbound lanes on top. This bridge is over capacity and must soon be painfully replaced. The American Jobs Act would have paid for its replacement without a toll, but we all know how that ended.
I-75 continues from Cincinnati north to Dayton, Toledo, Detroit, and Flint, and to its ending at the Canadian border in Sault Ste. Marie, MI. South of Kentucky, I-75 goes to Knoxville, Chattanooga, Atlanta, Macon, around Tampa, and to FL 826 & 924 in Hialeah, FL, outside Miami. War on Drugs exploiters like to blame I-75 for drug trafficking, earning it the unappealing sobriquet of Cocaine Lane. I-75 in northern Kentucky is known for being perpetually under construction: The so-called Death Hill stretch in Covington was completely rebuilt, and in the suburbs I-75 was r00ined by having its cloverleaf exits reduced to diamond-shaped ones - not to mention the knocking down of all those houses to eliminate a measly curve in Fort Mitchell. Except for the creation of the original roadway, the reconstruction of Death Hill and the Fort Mitchell curve was the most expensive road project ever in northern Kentucky. Despite this, both the Death Hill and Fort Mitchell phases of this project were soon followed by sharp increases in the number of wrecks. (Cincinnati Enquirer 11/12/2000) Later, truck accidents nearly doubled between 2003 and 2006. (Cincinnati Post 1/11/2007)
A couple of isolated surface streets in Covington were signed as Alt I-75 in the 2000s, but this doesn't appear to be the state's designation.
2004 - From US 25, this is I-75 in Fort Mitchell where the curve was eliminated in the awful 1990s.
Rand Paul has proposed designating the remainder of the Breathitt Parkway - the part that did not become I-69 - as I-169. I suspect the real reason is that Paul just doesn't like Ned Breathitt's politics and wants his name removed from the road.
Never existed in Kentucky. I-175 was an extremely costly road proposed by the George W. Bush regime to run from Chattanooga, TN, to Lexington - duplicating what I-75 already did.
Begin: I-64, Portland (Louisville)
End: I-71, Louisville/Northfield city line
22.927 mi, all Jefferson
Cities: Louisville, Shively, St Matthews, Beechwood Village, Windy Hills, Graymoor-Devondale, Northfield
• Georgia Davis Powers Exp (begin-US 31W, Shively)
• Henry Watterson Exp (US 31W, Shively-end)
Companion surface roads: bypasses Louisville
What is now I-264 from US 31W on the southwest to US 60 on the east was built around 1948 as a US 60 bypass around Louisville - Kentucky's first freeway. It was originally KY 738, however. On occasion, this has been labeled on maps as US 60 - although US 60 actually goes downtown. The rest of I-264 opened in phases between 1970 and 1974.
I-264 from the beginning to US 31W was known as the Shawnee Expressway until 2010, when it was renamed the Georgia Davis Powers Expressway.
Begin: I-65, Heritage Cr (Louisville) (bec KY 841)
End KY maint: I-71, Langdon Place (Louisville) (bec KY 841)
24.477 mi, all Jefferson
Cities: Louisville, Middletown
Names: Gene Snyder Frwy
Companion surface roads: bypasses Louisville
Named for an ultraconservative congressman, the Gene Snyder Freeway was completed to its current length around 1987 as an outer bypass around Louisville. It runs for 37 miles from US 31W in the southwest to US 42 in the northeast - but only the 24-mile section between I-65 and I-71 is numbered I-265, as the remainder of the freeway is KY 841. (The entire route was just KY 841 before I-265 was formally designated in late 1987.) A 5-mile gap exists in I-265 from its northeast end to north of Jeffersonville, IN - where I-265 continues west to I-64. A bridge over the Ohio River linking Kentucky and Indiana is scheduled for completion in 2016!
The Gene Snyder Freeway was originally known as the Jefferson Freeway. A parody of Snyder's goofy campaign song went, "Don't vote for Gene Snyder...He's a right-wing congressman...You know just where he stands...Let's throw him in the garbage can!"
Forms complete loop around Cincinnati OH, with mileposts beginning at I-75 in Erlanger and continuing clockwise back to beginning
Begin: I-75, Erlanger
End KY maint: past IN state line (Ohio River), 3 mi NW of Idlewild
Resume KY maint: past OH state line (Ohio River), 2 mi SE of Ft Thomas
End: beginning point
24.577 mi in KY:
• Kenton 1.582
• Boone+ 12.276
• Campbell+ 4.518
• Kenton 6.201
Cities: Ft Thomas, Highland Hts, Wilder, Taylor Mill, Covington, Ft Wright, Edgewood, Crestview Hills, Erlanger
• Carroll Cropper Br (Ohio River, Boone Co)
• Combs-Hehl Br (Ohio River, Ft Thomas)
• Alvin C Poweleit MD Mem Br (Licking River, Wilder-Taylor Mill)
Companion surface roads: bypasses Cincinnati OH
Am I the only person who thinks I-275 is shaped like Snoopy's head?
At 84 miles, I-275 is the longest complete loop in the U.S. Scuttlebutt has it that it's the only 3-digit Interstate to cover 3 states. Mileposts on I-275 begin at I-75 in Erlanger and increase clockwise around Cincinnati. I-275 briefly enters Indiana and continues the loop through Ohio (where it's known as the Donald H. Rolf Circle Freeway) before returning to Kentucky using the Combs-Hehl Bridge.
Highlights of I-275 from its reentry to Kentucky to the completion of the loop at I-75:
In 2011, Tea Party lawmakers in Kentucky erected signs calling I-275 the Ronald Reagan Highway. Nobody else calls it that, and the move wasn't approved by any other body.
I-275 isn't enough for some. They want a bypass even further away from town. In the mid-1990s, a pipe dream of a 225-mile circumferential Interstate linking the likes of Owenton, KY; Greensburg, IN; Middletown, OH; and Maysville, KY, was announced, but the idea was scrapped because it was about as popular as a canker sore. The Tea Party resurrected part of this plan to even more laughs in the mid-2010s. When the Tea Party insisted that the Brent Spence Bridge replacement on I-75 be built their way or not at all, they instead suggested an outer loop around the east side of town that would have been many times as costly. Initially, however, this plan was partially tucked inside I-275 and would have included a bridge from Fort Thomas to Newtown, OH. Look at a map to see why that's ridiculous.
2006 - I-275 as seen from the US 27 overpass, facing the Combs-Hehl Bridge.
1986 - An aerial of I-275 crossing the Combs-Hehl into Ohio. US 27 runs horizontally across the foreground of the photo.
2002 - Believed to be I-275 east of KY 17, as seen from the end of the exclusive Longmeadow subdivision before it was fully developed.
2007 - The viaduct seen here is roughly the same part of I-275 that is presumably shown in the previous photo. This view is from KY 17 just south of I-275.
I-369 has been proposed as a possible future numbering of the Audubon Parkway - since the freeway starts at I-69 and acts as a spur to Owensboro.
I-464 was proposed long ago as a number for KY 4 - the Lexington loop - even though it did not intersect I-64 or any other Interstate.
Begin: I-275, Highland Hts (bec KY 471)
End KY maint: OH state line (Ohio River), Newport
5.016 mi in KY, all Campbell
Cities: Highland Hts, Wilder, Southgate, Ft Thomas, Woodlawn, Bellevue, Newport
Major bridges: Daniel Carter Beard Br (Ohio River, Newport)
Companion surface roads: US 27
A good example of what's wrong with America today.
Yes, I-471 officially begins at I-275. The continuation to US 27 in Highland Heights is legally KY 471 after being dropped from the Interstate system with no fanfare in 1990 - even though it's still called an Interstate on road signs and in common speech. I-471 was completed in the early 1980s and seems almost synonymous with Campbell County itself. Sure, life was better before I-471 was built, but it's a little too late to do anything about it now. Notice how working-class neighborhoods were razed to build I-471 even though the road bulges to the west to avoid displacing any part of Highland Country Club.
A rare highlight of I-471 as it weaves and wafts in and out of several local cities is the Daniel Carter Beard Bridge - folks call it the Big Mac because of its yellow arches - to Cincinnati and its northern terminus at its parent I-71.
South of I-275, the freeway continues as "secret" KY 471 to its southern terminus at the perilous Malfunction Junction, an at-grade intersection with US 27 in Highland Heights that sports incredibly long traffic lights, poor design, and a reputation as the worst junction in northern Kentucky.
Another unfortunate characteristic of I-471 is its near-destruction of tiny Woodlawn and of the east side of Newport.
Early plans were even worse: They called for I-471 to run from I-75 in Covington, along the riverfront through Newport, to near where the current Big Mac span is. Thankfully, that plan was scrapped in 1967.
2007 - Looking north towards Cincinnati on I-471 from the Highland Avenue overpass in Fort Thomas.
2007 - A ghost ramp that would have run from the end of Nelson Place in Newport to southbound I-471. The plans for this ramp were replaced by a more conventional ramp directly from KY 8.
2006 - A rare glimpse of the I-471 bridge over the Ohio River as seen from the riverbank in Bellevue.
In 2016, unpopular Tea Party Gov. Matt Bevin submitted a plan to designate the Natcher Parkway as I-565 and spend $66 million on construction. So much for those budget cuts! As with I-169, I believe the real reason for renumbering this road is because Bevin doesn't like William Natcher's politics and wants his name removed.
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