Together with Indiana 265 and Kentucky 841, Interstate 265 provides part of a beltway encircling the Falls City area of southeast Indiana and Louisville, Kentucky. The route provides a through route bypass between Interstate 64 to the west and Interstates 64 and 71 to the east of Louisville. The I-265 designation currently ends at I-65, while the remainder of the freeway east to the Lewis and Clark Bridge (East End Bridge) remains a state road. The link across the Ohio River and the adjoining KY 841 freeway will be renumbered as a seamless I-265 once an application is sent to AASHTO and pending FHWA approval.
The short section of Interstate 265 between I-64 & U.S. 150 and I-65 opened in 1977. The Indiana 265 extension east from I-65 was completed in 1995.1
Collectively known as "The Ohio River Bridges Project of Kentucky and Indiana," the Louisiville area improvements for Interstates 64, 65 and 265 were projected to cost $3.9 billion in December 2006. Reaching over 60% of initial estimates, the cost for two new Ohio River Bridges, and the reconstruction of the downtown "Spaghetti Junction" (Kennedy Interchange) between Interstates 64, 65, and 71, was estimated to be $3.9 billion. Design of the overall Ohio River Bridges Project of Kentucky and Indiana project was scheduled for completion by mid-2014.
Design and right of way work for the East End Bridge commenced in 2005 and 2006 respectively. The March 2012 Cost and Schedule from Financial Plan Update revised the Ohio River Bridges Project costs to $2.583 billion overall:2
Interstate 265 Connector/East End Bridge - $1.276 billion with completion in 2017.
Interstate 65 Downtown Louisville Bridge Replacement - $1.307 billion (figure included the Kennedy Interchange and approaches) with completion in 2018.
Interstate 64, 65, and 71: Reconstruct Kennedy Interchange - $659.8 million with completion by 2024.
The new freeway approaches to the East End Bridge, including a tunnel on the Kentucky side of the river, represented the bulk of costs.3
Funding issues for the overall project prompted officials to propose tolls for the existing Kennedy Bridge, the new parallel span to it (Abraham Lincoln Bridge), and the East End Bridge. Kentucky and Indiana were both granted approval from the U.S. government on the implementation of tolls by August 1, 2012. Proposed rates were $2 for passenger vehicles, $1 for frequent commuters and $10 for tractor trailers, all collected electronically.4 The actual figures adopted on September 11, 2013 by a joint Tolling Body from both states revised those figures to $4 for passenger vehicles and $12 for trucks. The group also adopted a measure that called for an increase in tolls at a rate of 2.5 percent annually or and increase based upon the national inflation rate, whichever is greater.5
Construction finally broke ground on the East End Bridge project on August 30, 2012 for work on a 3,000 foot extension of Old Salem Road (the first exit on the Indiana side of the Ohio River).6
The East End Bridge was a controversial project, but its importance was stressed during the September 9, 2011 to February 17, 2012 emergency shutdown of the Sherman Minton Bridge. Spanning the Ohio River as part of I-64, the Sherman Minton Bridge was closed due to steel support beam damage discovered during routine inspections.
Cost estimates for completion of both the East End Bridge and Downtown Crossing were again revised as contained in the 2013 Financial Plan Annual Updated submitted by the FHWA, KYC and INDOT. Overall costs were lowered to $2.34 billion, due to efficiencies in design and construction and inflation savings. Additionally the lead contractor for the Downtown Crossing advanced the proposed completion date by 19 months to December 2016. Similarly the East End Bridge contractor forwarded the completion to October 2016, eight months ahead of schedule. Savings were derived on both projects:5
Accelerated completion of the Downtown Crossing saves approximately $90 million.
Design changes and accelerated completion of the East End cuts $228 million, including $209 million in design changes from shortening the Drumanard Tunnel by 200 feet to 1,800 feet in length.
At a cost of nearly $2.3 billion and 40 years in the making, the cable-stayed East End (Lewis and Clark) Bridge formally opened to traffic December 18, 2016.7
This two-mile advance warning sign for the western end of Interstate 265 appears along with the guide sign for Exit 1, State Street (former U.S. 150). Photo taken by Steve Hanudel (08/19/05).
Westbound Interstate 265 approaches Exit 1, State Street, followed by Exit 0, Junction Interstate 64 east to Louisville and Interstate 64 & Indiana 62 west to Evansville and St. Louis. Photo taken by Steve Hanudel (08/19/05).
Beyond the State Street interchange, westbound Interstate 265 prepares to split. The left lane connects with Interstate 64 east to New Albany and the Sherman Minton Bridge across the Ohio River to Louisville, while the right lane continues west onto Interstate 64 & Indiana 62 west to Lanesville, Evansville and St. Louis. Photo taken by Steve Hanudel (08/19/05).
A directional interchange handles the movements between the ending Interstate 265 and Interstate 64. U.S. 150, not signed at Exit 0, coincides with Interstate 64 west to the next exit and east into Louisville. Photo taken by Steve Hanudel (08/19/05).
Perspective from Interstate 64 & U.S. 150 east
Interstate 64 lowers from the Knobstone Escarpment to meet the west end of Interstate 265 (Exit 121) in one mile. Indiana 62 splits with the freeway for the bypass of New Albany and Clarksville. Photo taken by Thomas Decker (06/18/11).
Interstate 265 & Indiana 62 eastbound traffic departs from the left of Interstate 64 & U.S. 150 east. Interstate 265 sees three interchange for the city of New Albany before concluding at its parent in Clarksville. Photo taken by Thomas Decker (06/18/11).
Interstate 64 eastbound at the Exit 121 off-ramp to Interstate 265 east. Indiana 62 follows all of I-265 through to SR 265 west of Utica. Photo taken by Thomas Decker (06/18/11).
Historical Perspective from Interstate 64 & U.S. 150 east
A look at Interstate 265 signage without Indiana 62. Interstate 64 sees one final interchange in the Hoosier State at Spring Street (former SR 62) at downtown New Albany before crossing the Sherman Minton Bridge. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (05/26/03).
Perspective from Interstate 64 & U.S. 150 west
Access for Interstate 265 east (Indiana 62 east) is provided for westbound Interstate 64 & U.S. 150 motorists. This photograph looks at the nondescript half mile overhead of Exit 121. Interstate 265 arcs back to the northeast to Interstate 65 for Indianapolis traffic interests. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (05/26/03).
Interstate 64 & U.S. 150 west enter the directional interchange with Interstate 265 & Indiana 62 east (Exit 121). Indiana 62 west joins Interstate 64 westward to Exit 118 where it departs at Edwardsville. Photo taken 11/12/04.
Interstate 265 & Indiana 62 travel one mile east to meet Interstate 65 at a three-quarter cloverleaf interchange. A directional ramp provides the movement to Interstate 65 north to Indianapolis at Exit 6. Photo taken 11/12/04.
Interstate 265 ended at Interstate 65 between 1977 and 1995, when SR 265 opened to traffic. The state road freeway links the Interstate system with the Port of Indiana Jeffersonville (formerly known as the Clark Maritime Center). Photo taken 11/12/04.
All traffic to Interstate 65 leaves Interstate 265 & Indiana 62 east in unison before splitting into separate ramps for southbound to Jeffersonville and downtown Louisville and north to Seymour and Indianapolis. Photo taken 11/12/04.
Heading south out of Sellersburg, Interstate 65 draws to within 1.25 miles of Interstate 265 and Indiana 62-265 at the Indiana 60 (Exit 7) off-ramp. Photo taken 11/12/04.
Exit 6B provides a northern bypass of Clarksville and New Albany for points west along Interstate 64 to Evansville and St. Louis. Photo taken 11/07/11.
Entering the directional-cloverleaf interchange with Interstate 265 & Indiana 62 west and Indiana 62 & 265 east along I-65 south. Interstate 265 sees three interchanges for New Albany. Photo taken 11/07/11.
A ground level button copy sign that was posted ahead of Exit 6 along Interstate 65 south. This sign was replaced with sign bridge based signage during the 1999-2003 reconstruction of I-65. Photo taken by Jeff Royston (03/17/01).
Perspective from Interstate 65 north
Traveling north along Interstate 65 through the 2003-rebuilt stretch of freeway in Clarksville. Exits 6A/B with junction Interstate 265 and Indiana 62-265 follows in one mile. Photo taken by Chris and Amber Lokken (04/07/08).
The right-hand lane of Interstate 65 north defaults onto Indiana 62 & 265 east beyond the Progress Way overpass to Port of Indiana Jeffersonville. Photo taken by Chris and Amber Lokken (04/07/08).
Northbound Interstate 65 reaches Exit 6A to Indiana 62 & Indiana 265 east to the Port and Utica. Indiana 62 travels north from Indiana 265 as a multi-lane facility to Charlestown. Photo taken by Chris and Amber Lokken (04/07/08).
Interstate 65 north at the westbound on-ramp to Interstate 265 & Indiana 62 to New Albany and Interstate 64. Photo taken by Chris and Amber Lokken (04/07/08).
Historical Perspective from Interstate 65 north
An older ground level sign posted for Interstate 265 west before the 1999-2003 "Revive 65" expansion project of I-65 was completed. Photo taken by Jeffrey Napier (07/02).
The original Exit 6A guide sign for the eastbound beginning of Indiana 265 and Indiana 62. Indiana 265 transitions into Port Road at the end of the freeway currently, but will eventually join the East End Bridge. Photo taken by Jeffrey Napier (07/02).
Perspective from Indiana 265 west
Indiana 62 & 165 combine at the East 10th Street interchange and continue west to meet Interstates 65 and 265 west (Exits 7A/B). Photo taken 06/05/08.
Exit 7A departs Indiana 62 & 265 west at the U.S. 31 underpass for Interstate 65 north to Sellersburg, Seymour and Indianapolis. Photo taken 06/05/08.
A wide loop ramp joins Interstate 65 south from the beginning Interstate 265 west through Clarksville to the Kennedy Bridge into downtown Louisville, Kentucky. Photo taken 06/05/08.