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Interstate 65

 

Routing

Interstate 65 connects the Deep South with the Midwest, providing a north-south connection from the ports of the Gulf of Mexico to the ports of the Great Lakes. Beginning in Mobile and ending in Gary, Indiana in the greater Chicago area, Interstate 65 serves several major cities along its path, roughly parallel to U.S. 31 throughout. The only exception to this is between Indianapolis and Gary: Interstate 65 parallels U.S. 231 for this distance.

Alabama's main street, Interstate 65 begins in the "Port City" of Mobile while serving the capital of Montgomery and economic hub of the state in Birmingham before entering the Volunteer State. North of Huntsville, Alabama and Interstate 565, Interstate 65 passes through 120 miles of Tennessee with a direct line through Nashville. In 2000, the route of Interstate 65 in that city changed with the relocation over former Interstate 265 to the west of the central business district. From there, Interstate 65 shares a short overlap with Interstate 24 in north Nashville before angling northeast toward the Bluegrass State.

Interstate 65 serves Kentucky's largest city of Louisville before crossing into Indiana en route to Indianapolis. The northern terminus of the highway is in the eastern Chicago metropolitan area within the city of Gary at the Indiana Toll Road (Interstate 90).

Recent and Planned Improvements

Widening of Interstate 65 from four to six lanes between Exits 10 to 13 in Alabama was completed in 2003. A $110-million project underway between 2006 and December 21, 2010 modernized and widened Interstate 65 between Exits 168 and 173 through Montgomery. South of Birmingham in suburban Shelby County, Interstate 65 again widens to six lanes with an expansion project between Exits 242 and 250 completed in December 2011 and future expansion between Exits 238 and 242 scheduled for 2013. Work further north expands the freeway to eight lanes within the vicinity of Future Interstate 22, with construction of a multi-level stack interchange there underway to October 15, 2014.

In the Volunteer State, Interstate 65 underwent reconstruction and expansion north of the central business district of Nashville between early 2001 and late 2004. Constructed in 1968, Interstate 65 was expanded to six lanes from Exits 87 to 90 (Briley Parkway) and eight lanes from Briley Parkway (Tennessee 155) to Vietnam Veterans Boulevard (Exit 95). Work included the installation of sound barriers and the introduction of Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) technologies.3

In Louisville, Kentucky, major improvements and upgrades are planned for the interchange between Interstates 64, 65, and 71 at the "Spaghetti Junction" (Kennedy Interchange) as part of the larger Ohio River Bridge Project. While this project primarily focuses on the construction of a new Interstate 265 bridge ("East End Bridge") and doubling capacity of the Interstate 65 Downtown Bridge by building a parallel span for northbound traffic, the improvements planned for the Interstate 64, 65, and 71 interchange are significant. Improvements cited from the project web page include:4

  • Increased capacity for the ramp system
  • A new interchange design at Mellwood Avenue and Interstate 64
  • A new partial interchange at Interstate 71 and Frankfort Avenue/Ohio Street
  • Realignment of Interstate 64 between Interstate 65 and Interstate 71 to a new alignment south of the existing alignment
  • Extension of Witherspoon Street one mile to Frankfort Avenue/Ohio Street

In December 2006, costs were estimated for the improvements slated for Interstate 64, Interstate 65, and Interstate 265 in Louisville. Reaching over 60% of initial estimates, the cost for two new Ohio River Bridges and the reconstruction of the downtown "Spaghetti Junction" interchange between Interstates 64, 65, and 71 was estimated to be $3.9 billion. The components of this major construction initiative are as follows:5

  • Interstate 265 Connector/East End Bridge Cost: $1.29 billion; Completion: 2013.
  • Interstate 65 Downtown Louisville Bridge Replacement Cost: $868.4 million; Completion: 2019.
  • Interstate 64, 65, and 71: Reconstruct "Spaghetti Junction" Cost: $1.74 billion; completion: 2024.

Design of the new bridges and confirmation of this schedule of construction was to be completed by early 2007. Funding was a major concern, and lack of funding has pushed back the construction phase. The high cost of reconstructing the downtown interchange also piqued the interest in some residents to remove Interstate 64 from downtown Louisville (called "86" 64 or Remove 64), since one of the tenants of this plan would include elimination of the freeway west of Interstate 65 along the waterfront, thus negating the much of the required "Spaghetti Junction."6

History

Interstate 65 in Alabama opened in segments between December 10, 1959 and December 19, 1985. The first stretch to open was an eight-mile segment north of Birmingham that replaced U.S. 31 near Warrior. Rounding out work was the 14-mile portion between Lewisburg and Warrior.

The first section of Interstate 65 to open in Tennessee was located at the Tennessee-Alabama line, and it opened to traffic on November 15, 1958. The 1.8-mile stretch cost $1.3 million to construct over an 18-month period (starting in May 1957).

Interstate 65 between Elizabethtown and Louisville opened on August 1, 1956 as the tolled Kentucky Turnpike. Tolls were levied along the 39-mile road until June 30, 1975, when bonds that financed its construction were paid off.

Within the Hoosier State, Interstate 65 was fully completed when the stretch in downtown Indianapolis opened to traffic in 1976.

Parallel/Historic U.S. Routes

Interstate 65 parallels U.S. 31 for much of its route, with the exception of the stretch northwest of Indianapolis, where it parallels U.S. 52 (Indianapolis to Lafayette) and U.S. 231 (old U.S. 152 from Lafayette to Crown Point) and Mobile County, Alabama where it aligns west of U.S. 43 from Satsuma to Mobile.

Highway Guides

Traffic Cameras

Southern Terminus - Interstate 10 - Mobile, Alabama
Perspective from Interstate 65 south
A two-mile guide sign precedes the Exit 1 six-ramp partial-cloverleaf interchange with U.S. 90 (Government Boulevard) along Interstate 65 south for Interstate 10. ALDOT typically posts two-mile advance signs for Interstate to Interstate junctions. Photo taken 06/05/06.
Interstate 65 southbound gains a fourth lane from the U.S. 90 eastbound on-ramp through to Interstate 10. A diagrammatic overhead outlines the configuration to I-10 where three lanes default onto westbound to Biloxi, Mississippi and two onto eastbound for Pensacola. Photo taken 07/17/07.
The final southbound reassurance shield of Interstate 65 resides between U.S. 90 and the Halls Mill Road overpass. Photo taken 10/28/03.
Florida and Mississippi are used for the control points of Interstate 10 east and west at the south end of Interstate 65. Regular control cities for Interstate 10 are Pensacola for eastbound and Pascagoula for westbound. Photo taken 07/17/07.
Ramps for Interstate 65 to Interstate 10 are assigned Exit number zero, but only at the directional interchange itself. Interstate 10 continues east six miles to downtown Mobile and the George Wallace Tunnel and west 20 miles to the Mississippi state line. Photo taken 07/12/05.
For additional photos see the Interstate 65 Southbound - Mobile County highway guide.
Perspective from Interstate 65 north
The first northbound shield of Interstate 65 resides just beyond the merge of ramps from Interstate 10. Photo taken 03/18/12.
Additional photos from this perspective found at the Interstate 65 Northbound - Mobile County highway guide.
Perspective from Interstate 10 east
A short distance east of the collector/distributor return from Alabama 193 (Exit 17) is the two-mile guide sign for Interstate 65 north (Exit 20) on Interstate 10 east. Photo taken 10/30/03.
Attached to the Riviere Du Chien Road overpass is the first of two diagrammatic overheads for the Interstate 65 northbound beginning (Exit 20). The forthcoming directional interchange includes left-hand movements to and from Interstate 10 east. Photo taken 04/20/12.
A two-lane ramp carries motorists onto Interstate 65 north toward Montgomery, Birmingham and Atlanta via Interstate 85 north. Photo taken 04/20/12.
Exit 20 departs Interstate 10 east for Interstate 65 north. Ramps from Interstate 10 combine with four overall lanes through to U.S. 90 (Government Boulevard). I-65 remains with six lanes through to Saraland as it doubles as a commuter route through the Mobile area. Photo taken 04/20/12.
Additional photos from this perspective posted at the Interstate 10 Eastbound (Mobile County) highway guide.
Next Three Interstate Junctions for Interstate 10 East
Interstate 110 58 miles at Pensacola, FL
Interstate 75 342 miles near FL
Interstate 295 402 Miles at Jacksonville, FL
Perspective from Interstate 10 west
Two miles east of the directional interchange with Interstate 65 north on Interstate 10 west. Photo taken 04/15/12.
Interstate 10 eastbound maintains three overall lanes through the Exit 20 split with Interstate 65 north. Photo taken 01/23/09.
Two lanes prepare to depart Interstate 10 west for Interstate 65 north. Beyond U.S. 43 (Exit 19), the freeway turns northeastward across the Mobile and Tensaw Rivers on a rural drive 171 miles north to Montgomery. Photo taken 06/01/10.
Westbound Interstate 10 at Exit 20 and I-65 north. The bulk of traffic utilizing this ramp is local. The northbound freeway travels through the Mobile area accompanied by commercialized frontage roads. Photo taken 01/23/09.
More photos from this perspective found at the Interstate 10 Westbound (Mobile County) highway guide.
Historical Perspective from Interstate 10 westbound
The original sign and lane configuration of Interstate 10 west at Interstate 65 north (Exit 20). The control city of Montgomery is posted on a greenout, likely added after the Interstate 65 bridges over the Mobile River Delta were completed in 1980. Photo taken by Michael Summa (1989).
Button copy signs for Interstate 10 west at Interstate 65 remained in service until 1996. By 1993, the westbound mainline of I-10 was expanded to three lanes at I-65. Vidcap taken 07/23/93.
Next Three Interstate Junctions for Interstate 10 West
Interstate 110 51 miles at Biloxi, MS
Interstate 12/
Interstate 59
104 miles at Slidell, LA
Interstate 510 125 miles at New Orleans, LA
Northern Terminus - Interstate 90/U.S. 12-20 - Gary, Indiana
Perspective from Interstate 65 Northbound
Interstate 65 parts ways with Exit 259B for Interstates 80-94 & U.S. 6 east to their split at Lake Station. Interstate 80 joins Interstate 90 to South Bend and Toledo, Ohio while Interstate 94 curves northward to St. Joseph, Michigan. I-65 concludes in two miles at Interstate 90 (Indiana Toll Road). Photo taken 11/05/09.
Traveling a viaduct above a Norfolk Southern Railroad line and parallel Central Avenue, Interstate 65 motorists are advised of the final two exits: Exit 261 to 15th Avenue in Gary and Exit 262 for Interstate 90 (Indiana Toll Road). Photo taken 11/05/09.
The first of two end signs posted for Interstate 65. The freeway concludes one half mile north of the Exit 261 partial-cloverleaf interchange with 15th Avenue. Photo taken 11/05/09.
Exit 261 leaves Interstate 65 north, leaving motorists with two final options. Forthcoming Exit 262 provides direct access to Interstate 90 west to Hammond and Chicago and east to South Bend and Toledo, Ohio. Traffic otherwise ends at U.S. 12 & 20 (Dunes Highway) opposite Taylor Road. Photo taken 11/05/09.
Interstate 65 ends sign posted at the Exit 262 off-ramp. Exit 262 constitutes a partial "Y" interchange linking Interstate 65 with the toll plaza and access road from adjacent Dunes Highway to the Indiana Toll Road. This interchange, constructed between 2003 and 2004, replaced an at-grade intersection. Photo taken 11/05/09.
Beyond the ramp to Interstate 90, Interstate 65 concludes at a traffic light with U.S. 12 & 20 (Dunes Highway) and Taylor Road. Downtown Gary lies to the west and Aetna in east Gary to the east. Taylor Road ties in from an industrial site to the north. Photo taken 11/05/09.
More photos from this perspective posted at the Interstate 65 North - Lake County highway guide.
Historical Perspective from Interstate 65 Northbound
This photo shows the prior configuration of Interstate 65 north at 15th Avenue, back when a traffic signal governed the transition from Interstate 90 to Interstate 65 south. Photo taken by Jeff Royston (11/01).
Combination of the exit gore for the Interstate 90/Indiana Toll Road exit and the former traffic signal in the middle of the Interstate 90 to Interstate 65 interchange. This traffic signal was removed in 2003-2004 and replaced with an interchange. Photo taken by Brian Dowd (06/15/02).
Perspective from Interstate 65 Southbound
The first southbound shield of Interstate 65 immediately follows the highway commencing south of U.S. 12 & 20 (Dunes Highway). A right-hand turn lane however departs next for a business before the official freeway beginning. Photo taken 11/05/09.
Additional content for the perspective southbound at the Interstate 65 South - Lake County highway guide.
Historical Perspective from Interstate 65 Southbound
Southbound view of Interstate 65 at the former stoplight that governed the movements between the freeway end and Indiana Toll Road (Interstate 90). This signal was removed in 2003-04 and replaced with an interchange. Photo taken by Brian Dowd (06/15/02).
Here is an even closer view at the former intersection. In the background visible is the guide sign for Interstates 80/94 and U.S. 6. In Lake County, Interstate 65 is designated the Casimir Pulaski Memorial Highway. Photo taken by Brian Dowd (06/15/02).
Skewed in the above photograph, this guide sign was situated behind the No Left Turn sign, facing traffic departing from Interstate 90 to Interstate 65 south. Photo taken by Brian Dowd (06/15/02).
Perspectives from U.S. 12/20 east
U.S. 12 & 20 exit downtown Gary and combine from the one-way street couplet of 4th & 5th Avenues to form the Dunes Highway eastward. Industrial frontage lines the highway tandem east to the signalized intersection with Taylor Road north and Interstate 65 south. Photo taken 09/03/05.
See the U.S. Highway 12 East - Lake County highway guide for additional photos from this perspective.
Perspectives from U.S. 12/20 west
U.S. 12 & 20 (Dunes Highway) westbound pass under Interstate 90 as a left-hand turn lane commences for the southbound beginning of Interstate 65. Photo taken by Don Hargraves (09/23/02).
An overhead now directs motorists along Dunes Highway westbound to Interstate 65 south. Interstate 65 meets 15th Avenue just south of its beginning. Photo taken 11/05/09.
Additional photos from this perspective found at U.S. Highway 12 West - Lake County highway guide.
Historical Perspective from Interstate 90 eastbound
U.S. 12 & 20 (Dunes Highway) westbound leaves the Aetna community of east Gary and approaches the trumpet interchange for Interstate 90 (Indiana Toll Road). The sign bridge displaying advance overheads for Interstate 65 south and the toll road was removed. Photo taken by Brian Dowd (12/26/02).
Perspectives from Interstate 90/Indiana Toll Road west
One mile east of the Exit 17 interchange complex with Interstate 65 south and U.S. 12 & 20 (Dunes Highway) near the 15th Avenue overpass in Gary. The capital city of Indianapolis can be found 139 miles to the southeast. Photo taken 09/02/05.
Interstate 90 (Indiana Toll Road) curves northwesterly on the half mile approach to Exit 17. Exit 17 serves both Interstate 65 south to Lafayette and U.S. 12 & 20 through Gary. Photo taken 09/02/05.
15th Avenue passes over Interstate 65 at the Exit 17 trumpet interchange. Originally the movement to Interstate 65 south included a left-hand turn onto the beginning freeway. Interstate 65 continues two miles to Interstates 80-94 & U.S. 6. Photo taken 05/09/10.
See the Interstate 90 Westbound (Lake Station to Chicago Skyway) highway guide for photos from this perspective.
Perspective from Interstate 90/Indiana Toll Road east
There are three interchanges along the Indiana Toll Road that serve the city of Gary. This upcoming exits sign features all three, of which include the northern terminal interchange of Interstate 65 in 4.50 miles. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (05/26/03).
One mile west of the Exit 17 trumpet interchange for Interstate 65 south and U.S. 12 & 20 (Dunes Highways). An access road joins Interstate 90 with Dunes Highway. Photo taken 11/04/11.
Turning southward on the half mile approach to Exit 17 for Interstate 65 south along Interstate 90 (Indiana Toll Road) east. U.S. 12 & 20 combine along Dunes Highway from Downtown Gary east to Aetna through the Interstates 65 and 90 confluence. East of Exit 17, the two highways part ways with U.S. 12 taking a northerly route through East Chicago, Gary, Portage, Burns Harbor as U.S. 20 parallels a short distance to the south. Photo taken 11/04/11.
Exit 17 departs Interstate 90 east to a toll plaza and the ramp split for Interstate 65 south to Indianapolis and U.S. 12 & 20 in Gary. Photo taken 11/04/11.
After departing from the Indiana Toll Road, traffic is offered the choice of continuing straight to U.S. 12 & 20 or exiting to the right for Interstate 65 southbound. Traffic for Interstate 65 will loop underneath I-90 and join I-65 southbound at 15th Avenue. A trumpet interchange otherwise facilitates movements to U.S. 12 & 20 (Dunes Highway) ahead. Photo taken by Don Hargraves (09/23/02).
Following the ramp from the Indiana Toll Road to Interstate 65, motorists split into ramps for the freeway mainline south to Lafayette and the 15th Avenue off-ramp to Gary. Photo taken by Dave Sudhoff (05/21/05).
Additional photos from this perspective found at Interstate 90 Eastbound (Chicago Skyway to Lake Station) highway guide.
Historical Perspective from Interstate 90 eastbound
The older ground level sign posted one half mile west of Exit 17 along Interstate 90 east. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (05/26/03).

Sources:

  1. Larry Cody, email: "I-65 Terminus in Mobile Al," August 15, 2003.
  2. Alabama Department of Transportation -- Construction. ALDOT.
  3. Reconstruction of I-65. (http://www.tdot.state.tn.us/information-office/hotprojects/I-65.htm) Tennessee Department of Transportation.
  4. Kentucky-Indiana Bridges
  5. "Bridge plan cost soars to $3.9 billion: New plan: Build eastern span first," by Marcus Green, Louisville Courier-Journal, December 5, 2006.
  6. Welcome to "86" Interstate 64 - site that proposes the removal (i.e., "86") of Interstate 64 from the downtown Louisville waterfront just west of Interstate 65 in front of downtown (by Tyler Allen and J.C. Stites)
  7. Indiana Highway Ends - I-65.

Page Updated August 21, 2012.

 
Mileage

State Alabama
Mileage 367.00
Cities Mobile, Greenville, Montgomery, Clanton, Birmingham, Cullman, Decatur, Athens
Junctions Interstate 10, Interstate 165, Interstate 85, Interstate 459, Interstate 20/59, Future Interstate 22, Interstate 565
State Tennessee
Mileage 121.71*
Cities Nashville
Junctions Interstate 440, Interstate 40, Interstate 40, Interstate 24, Interstate 24
State Kentucky
Mileage 137.32
Cities Bowling Green, Elizabethtown, Louisville
Junctions Future Interstate 66, Interstate 265, Interstate 264, Interstate 64/Interstate 71
State Indiana
Mileage 261.27
Cities New Albany, Seymour, Columbus, Franklin, Indianapolis, Lebanon, Lafayette, Gary
Junctions Interstate 265, Interstate 465, Future Interstate 69, Interstate 70, Interstate 70, Interstate 465, Interstate 865, Interstate 80/94, Interstate 90
TOTAL 887.30
Source: October 31, 2002 Interstate Route Log and Finders List
* - 1.00 miles on I-40
Interstate 65 Annual Average Daily Traffic

State Location AADT Composite Year
Tennessee Ardmore 17,050 2002
Tennessee Nashville 130,640 2002
Indiana Clarksville 101,940 2002
Indiana Indianapolis 144,880 2002
Indiana Lafayette 46,480 2002
Indiana Hobart 76,470 2002
Indiana Gary 14,980 2002
Source: Traffic Flow Maps - Tennessee Roads and Streets 2002 (TDOT)
INDOT 2000 Annual Average Daily Traffic Volumes Map
Complete Interstate 65 AADT data.

 
The Nashville skyline comes into view along the overlap of Interstates 24 east & 65 south at Exit 87. Photo taken 11/07/11.
Prior to 2000, Interstates 24 & 65 continued together through to Interstate 40, where I-24 turned east and I-65 turned west. The relocation of I-65 over I-265 to the west was undertaken in an effort to partition some of the through traffic around downtown Nashville.
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