Interstate 65 in Kentucky
I-65 highlighted in red
|Maintained by KYTC|
|Length||137.32 mi (221.00 km)|
|South end||I-65 at Tennessee state line|
| I-165 / KY 9007 in Bowling Green|
US 231 in Bowling Green
US 68 in Oakland
Bluegrass Parkway in Elizabethtown
US 62 in Elizabethtown
I-265 in Louisville
I-264 in Louisville
US 60 in Louisville
US 150 in Louisville
I-64 / I-71 in Louisville
|North end||I-65 at Indiana state line|
|Counties||Simpson, Warren, Edmonson, Barren, Hart, LaRue, Hardin, Bullitt, Jefferson|
Along its 137.32-mile (221.00 km) length in the Bluegrass State, 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 three of the state's parkways. The first of these is with the Louie B. Nunn Cumberland Parkway north of Bowling Green 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-165 (formerly the William H. Natcher Parkway) near Bowling Green, 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.
The highway crosses between the Central and Eastern time zones on the border of Hart and LaRue counties, respectively and then re-enters the Central Time Zone on the border of Jasper and White counties in the state of Indiana.
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. 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.
From July 25, 1954 until June 30, 1975, the portion of I-65 from I-264 in Louisville to the WK Parkway in 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. 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 ||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)|
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.
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).
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.  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.
|Simpson||||0.00||0.00||I-65 south – Nashville||Continuation into Tennessee|
|||1.980||3.187||2||US 31W (Main Street) – Franklin|
|||5.979||9.622||6||KY 100 (Scottsville Road) – Scottsville, Franklin|
|Warren||||20.568||33.101||20||I-165 north / KY 9007 south – Owensboro, Bowling Green||I-165 exit 1; signed as exits 20A (south) & 20B (north); southern terminus of I-165; northern terminus of KY 9007|
|Bowling Green||22.388||36.030||22||US 231 (Scottsville Road) – Scottsville, Bowling Green|
|||25.732||41.412||26||KY 234 (Cemetery Road) – Bowling Green|
|Bowling Green||28.066||45.168||28||KY 446 to US 31W – Bowling Green||Serves National Corvette Museum|
|||30||KY 3145 to US 68 – Bowling Green||Serves Kentucky Transpark; exit opened July 6, 2017|
|Oakland||35.631||57.343||36||US 68 (Glasgow Road) / KY 80 – Oakland||Northbound exit and southbound entrance|
|Smiths Grove||37.578||60.476||38||KY 101 (Main Street) to US 68 – Smiths Grove, Scottsville||Also serves Nolin River Reservoir|
|Barren||||43.135||69.419||43||Cumberland Parkway – Somerset, Glasgow||Cumberland Parkway exit 0|
|Park City||47.371||76.236||48||KY 255 (Mammoth Cave Parkway) to US 31W – Park City, Brownsville||Serves Mammoth Cave National Park|
|Cave City||52.423||84.367||53||KY 70 (Mammoth Cave Road) / KY 90 – Cave City, Glasgow||Serves Mammoth Cave National Park|
|Hart||||57.627||92.742||58||KY 218 (Flint Ridge Road) to KY 335 – Horse Cave|
|Munfordville||64.200||103.320||65||US 31W (Main Street) – Munfordville|
|||70.407||113.309||71||KY 728 (Bacon Creek Road) – Bonnieville|
|LaRue||Upton||75.896||122.143||76||KY 224 (Upton Talley Road) – Upton|
|Hardin||Sonora||80.457||129.483||81||KY 84 (Western Avenue) to US 31W – Sonora|
|||85.686||137.898||86||KY 222 (Glendale Hodgenville Road) to US 31W – Glendale|
|Elizabethtown||91.086||146.589||91||US 31W / KY 61 / Western Kentucky Parkway – Hodgenville, Paducah, Elizabethtown||Southbound exit to Dixie Avenue, Serves Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historical Park; WKP exit 137|
|93.345||150.224||93||Bluegrass Parkway – Lexington, Bardstown||Bluegrass Parkway exits 0A-B westbound; trumpet interchange.|
|94.154||151.526||94||US 62 (Mulberry Street) / KY 61 – Elizabethtown|
|||102.533||165.011||102||KY 313 (Joe Prather Highway) – Radcliff, Vine Grove|
|Bullitt||Lebanon Junction||104.698||168.495||105||KY 61 (Preston Highway) – Boston, Lebanon Junction|
|||111.773||179.881||112||KY 245 (Clermont Road) – Bardstown, Clermont|
|Shepherdsville||115.574||185.998||116||KY 480 (Cedar Grove Road) to KY 61|
|116.639||187.712||117||KY 44 (4th Street) – Mt. Washington, Shepherdsville|
|||121.722||195.893||121||KY 1526 (John Harper Highway)|
|Jefferson||||125.143||201.398||125||I-265 east (Gene Snyder Freeway) / KY 841||I-265 exit 10; signed as exits 125A (east) & 125B (west) northbound.|
|||126.746||203.978||127||KY 1065 (Outer Loop) – Okolona, Fairdale||Southbound split exit (east) and (west)|
|Louisville||128.328||206.524||128||KY 1747 (Fern Valley Road)|
|129.802||208.896||130||KY 61 (Preston Highway) / Grade Lane|
|130.710||210.357||131A||I-264 (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||KY 1631 (Crittenden Drive) – Kentucky Exposition Center||No access back to I-65 Northbound (must use exit 133 from Warnock Street)|
US 60 Alt. (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||KY 61 south (Arthur Street)||South end of KY 61 overlap; no northbound exit to Preston Street|
|133.978||215.617||134A||KY 61 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||I-64 / I-71 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)
|I-65 north – Indianapolis||Continuation into Indiana|
|1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi|
- I-165: A spur running from I-65 in Bowling Green to Owensboro. Formerly the William H. Natcher Parkway.
- I-265: 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.
- 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 March 31, 2016.
- "The Ohio River Bridges". Ohio River Bridges Project. March 31, 2016. Retrieved March 31, 2016.
- Mitchell, Kyle (December 29, 2016). "Last-minute rush hits RiverLink offices hours before tolling begins". Louisville, KY: WDRB. Retrieved January 2, 2017.
- 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.
- 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.
- West, Gary P. (March 8, 2015). "Turnpike's glass house restaurants a memory". Bowling Green Daily News. Retrieved February 28, 2019.
- "Interstate 65". Travel Mammoth Cave National Park: Guide and Map. MobileReference. 2010. ISBN 1-6050-1034-0.
- Gerth, Joseph (February 13, 2007). "Senate OKs renaming I-65 for King". The Courier-Journal. Louisville, KY.
- Shafer, Sheldon S. (July 25, 2007). "Mayor, Democrats back I-65 King plan". The Courier-Journal. Louisville, KY. Retrieved July 30, 2007.
- "Governor Fletcher Signs Speed Limit Bill" (Press release). Commonwealth of Kentucky. March 21, 2007. Archived from the original on October 30, 2007. Retrieved March 22, 2007.
- Sergent, Don (July 5, 2017). "New I-65 exit improves access to Transpark". Bowling Green Daily News. Retrieved July 6, 2017.
- Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (December 22, 2007). "HIS Expanded Milepoint Route Log Extract". Archived from the original on November 9, 2007.
- [dead link]
- Doyle, Darren (July 6, 2017). "Grand Opening of New I-65 Exit 30 Held Today At Ky Transpark". EdmonsonVoice.com. Retrieved July 6, 2017.
- Media related to Interstate 65 in Kentucky at Wikimedia Commons