Interstate 265 Kentucky

Routing

Known as the Gene Snyder Freeway, Interstate 265 in Kentucky provides a partial beltway around Louisville between Interstate 65 near Heritage Creek and Interstate 71 near Green Spring. Extensions of the freeway west to U.S. 31W near Orell and north to the Lewis and Clark Bridge across the Ohio River are designated as Kentucky 841. The belt route serves both commuter traffic and as a bypass route for interests south along I-65 to Elizabethtown and east along I-64 to Frankfort.

Interstate 265 will eventually connect with Interstate 265 in Indiana via the Lewis and Clark (East End) Bridge from its northeastern end. Currently the bridge and approaches are designated as KY 841 and IN 265 respectively, pending a formal request to AASHTO for inclusion within the Interstate system.

History

Prior to the completion of the Gene Snyder Freeway, the route was designated in its entirety as Kentucky 841. AASHTO approved the establishment of Interstate 265 on June 29, 1978, from I-65 and South Park Road northeast to Interstate 71. The Interstate opened fully to traffic in 1987.

The East End Bridge spanning the Ohio River between Utica, Indiana and Prospect, Kentucky was first envisioned in the mid 1970s. The span was incorporated into "The Ohio River Bridges Project". Cost estimates for the mega project in December 2006 were estimated at $3.9 billion:1

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

Cost savings made in the 2013 Financial Plan Annual Updated accelerated the time table for work on all three aspects of The Ohio River Bridges projects. For Interstate 265, work broke ground for the East End Bridge on August 30, 2012 in Indiana. Construction on the Kentucky side followed with work on the 1.4-mile approach to the bridge, including a 1,700 foot tunnel under U.S. 42 and the historic Dumanard Estate.

A partially uncovered sign along Kentucky 841 north approaching the wye interchange (Exit 37) that now joins the Gene Snyder Freeway north with U.S. 42 to Prospect. Photo taken by Tom Reaugh on March 17, 2016.

With a final cost of over $2.3 billion, the East End (Lewis and Clark) Bridge opened to traffic on December 18, 2016.2 Electronic toll collection commenced for the span on December 30, 2016.

The Lewis and Clark Bridge (KY 841 / IN 265), the day after it opened. Photo taken by Tom Reaugh (December 19, 2016).

Highway Guides

Western Terminus - Interstate 65 and Kentucky 841 - Louisville, Kentucky
Perspective from Interstate 65 north
Interstate 65 approaches Interstate 265 (Gene Snyder Freeway) east and Kentucky 841 (Gene Snyder Freeway) west in two miles. The freeway expands to four lanes at the upcoming exchange. Photo taken by Chris and Amber Lokken (04/07/08).
Hutcherson Drive spans I-65 (Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Expressway) 1.25 miles south of the half turbine interchange (Exit 125) with Gene Snyder Freeway. Photo taken by Chris and Amber Lokken (04/07/08).
Interstate 265 & KY 841 encircle Louisville northeast 15 miles to I-64. The beltway takes a 35 mile long course and returns to I-65 at Clarksville, Indiana. Photo taken by Chris and Amber Lokken (04/07/08).
Exit 125A leaves Interstate 65 north for I-265 to Frankfort and Lexington via I-64 and Cincinnati via I-71 north. The succeeding ramp connects with KY 841 west to U.S. 31W and U.S. 60 near Fort Knox. Photo taken by Chris and Amber Lokken (04/07/08).
Perspective from Interstate 65 south
Interstate 65 travels south between industrial areas at Heritage Creek and the Okolona between the exchange with KY 1065 (Outer Loop) and I-265 (Gene Snyder Freeway). Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (05/26/03).
One mile north of the half turbine interchange (Exit 125) with Interstate 265 east and Kentucky 841 west. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (05/26/03).
Two additional lanes open along Interstate 65 southbound for the Gene Snyder Freeway west to U.S. 31W/60 for Fort Knox Military Reservation and east to Ashville, Hopewell and other neighborhoods on the south side of Louisville. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (05/26/03).
Exit 125 separates from I-65 south for I-265 east and KY 841. Interstate 65 follows the original Kentucky Turnpike from this point southward 34 miles to Elizabethtown. I-65 continues from there to Bowling Green at Exit 28 and the Tennessee capital city. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (05/26/03).
Exit 125 partitions for I-265/KY 841 east and KY 841 west. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (05/26/03).
Eastern Terminus - Interstate 71 and Kentucky 841 - northeast of Louisville, Kentucky
Perspective from Interstate 265 & Kentucky 841 (Gene Snyder Freeway) north
Interstate 265 northbound meets Kentucky 22 (Brownsboro Road) 0.75 miles ahead of I-71 (Exits 35A/B). Photo taken by Carter Buchanan (11/13/04).
Interstate 265 ends at a cloverleaf interchange (Exit 35) with I-71 on the east side of Louisville. Kentucky 841 extends the Gene Snyder Freeway northward to the Lewis and Clark Bridge. Photo taken Carter Buchanan (11/13/04).
Historic perspective from Kentucky 841 (Gene Snyder Freeway) south
Prior to the East End Bridge project, KY 841 comprised a two lane expressway linking U.S. 42 with I-71 and I-265. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (05/26/03).
Entering the exchange (Exit 37) with Interstate 71, KY 841 expanded into a four lane freeway (I-265). Cardinal directions along I-265 switch from north/south to east/west at Interstate 64 (Exit 25). Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (05/26/03).
KY 841 accompanies I-265 (Gene Snyder Freeway) southwest toward Middletown, Jeffersontown, and other south Louisville communities. Exit 35B departed here for I-71 south toward Downtown Louisville. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (05/26/03).
Perspective from Interstate 71 north
Interstate 71 weaves between the suburban neighborhoods of Hill and Dales, Spring Valley and Brownsboro Farm leading toward the Gene Snyder Freeway (I-265/KY 841). Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (05/26/03).
The four lane freeway advances east one mile to Exit 9. Guide signs for I-265 omit destinations at both end points. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (05/26/03).
Exit 9A leaves Interstate 71 north for I-265 & Kentucky 841 (Gene Snyder Freeway) south. I-71 travels 88 miles northeast to Cincinnati, Ohio. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (05/26/03).
Perspective from Interstate 71 south
Two miles ahead of I-265 and KY 841 on I-71 south. Interstate 71 concludes ten miles beyond the Gene Snyder Freeway at the Abraham Lincoln Bridge (I-65) north to Jeffersonville, Indiana. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (05/26/03).
The Gene Snyder Freeway angles northwest across I-71 en route to the city of Prospect and the Lewis and Clark Bridge to Utica township, Indiana. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (05/26/03).
Downtown Louisville lies 12 miles to the west of the cloverleaf interchange (Exit 9) joining Interstate 71 south with I-265/KY 841. KY 841, SR 265 and I-265 arc 15 miles west to New Albany, Indiana. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (05/26/03).

Sources:

  1. "Bridge plan cost soars to $3.9 billion: New plan: Build eastern span first." Louisville Courier-Journal, December 5, 2006.
  2. "Lewis and Clark Bridge, East End Crossing Open to Traffic." www.eastendcrossing.com, December 18, 2016.

Page Updated January 3, 2017.