Interstate 265 Indiana

Routing

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.

History

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

Highway Guides

Western Terminus - Interstate 64, U.S. 150 and Indiana 62 - New Albany, Indiana
Perspective from Interstate 265 west
Interstate 265 west meets State Street (former U.S. 150) and Paoli Pike ahead of I-64 at New Albany. Photo taken by Steve Hanudel (08/19/05).
Indiana 62 accompanies Interstate 64 west from Exit 0 along a 3.6 mile overlap toward Lanesville. Photo taken by Steve Hanudel (08/19/05).
Continuing from the folded diamond interchange (Exit 1) with State Street / Paoli Pike, Interstate 265 partitions into ramps for I-64 east to Louisville, Kentucky and I-64 west to Evansville and St. Louis, Missouri. Photo taken by Steve Hanudel (08/19/05).
Entering the three wye interchange (Exit 0) with Interstate 64. U.S. 150 runs concurrent with I-64 west to the succeeding exit and east across the Sherman Minton Bridge into Kentucky. 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).
Traffic departs from the left side of I-65 east for Interstate 265 & Indiana 62 eastbound. Three interchanges join I-265 with the city of New Albany ahead of I-65 at Clarksville. Photo taken by Thomas Decker (06/18/11).
Indiana 62 separates with Interstate 64 & U.S. 150 eastbound at Exit 121 and follows all of I-265 to SR 265 at Watson. Photo taken by Thomas Decker (06/18/11).
Historic Perspective from Interstate 64 & U.S. 150 east
I-64/U.S. 150 east at I-265 prior to the realignment of SR 62 out of Downtown New Albany. SR 62 previously followed Spring Street to the southeast. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (05/26/03).
Perspective from Interstate 64 & U.S. 150 west
Continuing northwest from Downtown Albany, I-64 & U.S. 150 advance toward the three wye interchange (Exit 121) with I-265 & Indiana 62 east. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (05/26/03).
Westbound I-64 at I-265 & SR 62 east to Clarksville and Jeffersonville. U.S. 150 parts ways with I-64 at the ensuing interchange. SR 62 follows I-64 west to Exit 118. Photo taken by Thomas Decker (06/07/12).
Eastern Terminus - Interstate 65 and Indiana 62/265 - Jeffersonville, Indiana
Perspective from Interstate 265 & Indiana 62 east
Interstate 265 & Indiana 62 travel one mile east to meet Interstate 65 at a directional cloverleaf interchange (Exit 7). 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 by Thomas Decker (06/07/12).
Perspective from Interstate 65 south
Interstate 65 heads south out of Sellersburg and meets SR 60 (Exit 7) ahead of SR 62, SR 265 east and I-265 west (Exit 6). Photo taken 11/12/04.
I-265 comprises a northern bypass of Clarksville and New Albany for points west along Interstate 64 to Evansville and St. Louis. Photo taken 11/12/04.
Historic Perspective from Interstate 65 south
A ground level button copy sign preceding I-265 (Exit 6) along Interstate 65 south. This panel was replaced with a sign bridge during 1999-2003 reconstruction of I-65. Photo taken by Jeff Royston (03/17/01).
Perspective from Interstate 65 north
Interstate 65 north through Clarksville was rebuilt in 2003. Exits 6A/B for I-265 west, SR 265 east and SR 62 departs in one mile. Photo taken by Chris and Amber Lokken (04/07/08).
A lane drop occurs along Interstate 65 northbound at Exit 6A for SR 62/265 east to the Port of Indiana Jeffersonville beyond the Progress Way overpass. Photo taken by Chris and Amber Lokken (04/07/08).
Northbound Interstate 65 reaches Exit 6A to SR 62 east to Charlestown and SR 265 east to Utica and the Lewis and Clark Bridge into Kentucky. Photo taken by Chris and Amber Lokken (04/07/08).
I-65 north at the westbound on-ramp to I-265 & Indiana 62 to New Albany and Interstate 64. Photo taken by Chris and Amber Lokken (04/07/08).
Historic Perspective from Interstate 65 north
An older ground level sign posted for Interstate 265 west before "Revive 65" expansion project was completed in 2003. Photo taken by Jeffrey Napier (07/02).
Perspective from Indiana 62 & 265 west
SR 62 combines with SR 265 west from East 10th Street, 2.5 miles ahead of Interstate 65 (Exit 7). Photo taken 06/05/08.
Exit 7A departs from SR 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 I-265 west. I-65 leads through Clarksville to the Kennedy Bridge and Downtown Louisville, Kentucky. Photo taken 06/05/08.

Sources:

  1. Cozart, Justin.
  2. Bridge plan cost soars to $3.9 billion: New plan: Build eastern span first, by Marcus Green, Louisville Courier-Journal, December 5, 2006.
  3. Kentucky-Indiana Bridges. http://www.kyinbridges.com project web site.
  4. "Federal government approves tolls on Kennedy, new bridges." The Courier-Journal, August 1, 2012.
  5. "Ohio River bridges price tag slashed by $240 million." The Courier-Journal, January 25, 2014.
  6. "Ohio River Bridges Project Breaks Ground." http://updates.kyinbridges.com/ohio-river-bridges-project-breaks-ground/ The Ohio River Bridges Project web site, August 30, 2012.
  7. "Lewis and Clark Bridge, East End Crossing Open to Traffic." www.eastendcrossing.com, December 18, 2016.

Page Updated January 3, 2017.