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 - south of Louisville, Kentucky
Perspective from Interstate 65 (Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Expressway) 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 Exits 125A/B. Photo taken by Chris and Amber Lokken (04/07/08).
Interstate 265/Kentucky 841 - Gene Snyder Freeway overhead on Interstate 65 northbound, 1.25 miles south of the terminus. Although the 1.25-mile advance sign remains the same between 2002 and 2008, a new Clearview pull-through sign for Interstate 65 is posted with the designation Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Expressway. Photo taken by Chris and Amber Lokken (04/07/08).
About to enter the interchange with Interstate 265/Kentucky 841/Gene Snyder Freeway on Interstate 65 north, the first ramp of the interchange connects to Exit 125A, Junction Interstate 265 east. Use Interstate 265 east to Interstate 64 east to Frankfort and Lexington and Interstate 71 north to Cincinnati. A bypass of Interstate 65 is currently not possible since the Ohio River bridge connection to Indiana has not yet been built. Photo taken by Chris and Amber Lokken (04/07/08).
Northbound Interstate 65 reaches Exit 125A, Junction Interstate 265/Kentucky 841 - Gene Snyder Freeway. The second ramp in this cloverleaf interchange connects to Kentucky 841 west. Photo taken by Chris Amber Lokken (04/07/08).
Immediately thereafter is Exit 125B, Junction Kentucky 841/Gene Snyder Freeway 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 (Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Expressway) south
1.25 miles north of the Interstate 265 western terminus/transition to Kentucky 841. Four lanes of Interstate 65 south progress through the Exit 127 interchange with Kentucky 1065. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (05/26/03).
Now one mile from Exit 125, Junction Interstate 265 and Kentucky 841 , the formal name Gene Snyder Freeway is used in place of control cities for the outer belt freeway of Louisville. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (05/26/03).
Interstate 65 south expands to six lanes in anticipation of the Exit 125 junction with the western terminus of Interstate 265. To the southwest, Kentucky 841 connects with U.S. 31W/60 to the north of the Fort Knox Military Reservation. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (05/26/03).
Split of Exit 125 traffic to Interstate 265/Kentucky 841 from Interstate 65 south. Interstate 65 follows the original Kentucky Turnpike from this point southward to Elizabethtown, 34 miles to the south. Further south Interstate 65 travels to Bowling Green at Exit 28 before making its way to the Tennessee capital city. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (05/26/03).
Exit 125 ramp split from Interstate 65 south. Guide signs indicate that Kentucky 841 is cosigned with Interstate 265 east. The freeway travels 15 miles to Interstate 64 as it wraps around the southeastern outskirts of Louisville metro. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (05/26/03).
Eastern Terminus - Interstate 71 and Kentucky 841 - northeast of Louisville, Kentucky
Perspective from Interstate 265 (Gene Snyder Freeway) north
Interstate 265 northbound at Kentucky 22/Exit 34, the last exit before the terminus at Interstate 71/Exit 35A/B. Photo taken by Carter Buchanan (11/13/04).
Interstate 265 ends at this interchange with Interstate 71 on the east side of Louisville. Similar to the western terminus, Interstate 265 transitions into Kentucky 841, which continues the Gene Snyder Freeway beyond the scope of Interstate designation. Photo taken Carter Buchanan (11/13/04).
Freeway ends at U.S. 42 - 2 1/2 miles ahead sign for Kentucky 841 north at the Interstate 71/265 interchange. Photograph taken from Interstate 265 north to Interstate 71 northbound ramp. Photo taken by Brian Tabor (04/10/02).
Perspective from Kentucky 841 (Gene Snyder Freeway) south
Kentucky 841 south 1.25 miles from Exit 35, the transition into Interstate 265 south. The freeway of Kentucky 841 between U.S. 42/Exit 37 and Interstates 71/265 is a super two. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (05/26/03).
Overhead proclaiming the southbound beginning of Interstate 265 on Kentucky 841 south. Interstate 265 switches cardinal directions from north-south to east-west at the Interstate 64 interchange (Exit 25). Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (05/26/03).
Exit 35B for Interstate 71 south into downtown Louisville is the first exit of Interstate 265 south. Kentucky 841 is signed with Interstate 265 as they turn southeast then south toward Middletown, Jeffersontown, and other south Louisville communities. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (05/26/03).
Perspective from Interstate 71 north
Interstate 71 northbound two miles southwest of Exits 9A/B for Interstate 265 south and Kentucky 841. Similar to the western terminus, control cities are replaced with the formal designation Gene Snyder Freeway for Interstate 265. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (05/26/03).
One mile west of the southbound beginning of Interstate 265/Exit 9A. Interstate 71 retains just four lanes as it departs Louisville metro en route to Covington and Cincinnati, Ohio. The next interchange beyond Interstate 265 is Exit 14 with Kentucky 329 at Brownsboro. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (05/26/03).
Interstate 71 north at Exit 9A/Interstate 265/Kentucky 841 south. 88 miles separate the Queen City of Cincinnati, Ohio from this junction via Interstate 71 (and 75). Interstate 265 sees its first southbound interchange in one mile with Ballardsville Road (Kentucky 22). Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (05/26/03).
Perspective from Interstate 71 south
Two miles to the east of Interstate 265 south/Kentucky 841 on Interstate 71 south. Until the two Interstate 265's are united, traffic interests to Saint Louis and other points west via Interstate 64 must travel through the heart of Louisville. Interstate 71 concludes in nine miles. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (05/26/03).
The rural landscape of Interstate 71 continues as the freeway draws to within one mile of the northern terminus of Interstate 265. Interstate 265 is of local interest for Interstate 71 motorists due to the southeasterly orientation. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (05/26/03).
To Interstate 65 southbound auxiliary guide sign for Exit 9A/Interstate 265/Kentucky 841 south. A 25 mile jaunt via the Gene Snyder Freeway is required for motorists to access Interstate 65 for Elizabethtown, Nashville, and points south. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (05/26/03).
Entering the Exit 9 interchange of Interstate 265/Kentucky 841 on Interstate 71 south. Louisville is just seven miles to the southwest. New Albany, Indiana is 12 miles to the west. 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.

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