Interstate 275 - Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio

Routing

Interstate 275 follows the Circle Freeway around the Cincinnati, Ohio metropolitan area. The beltway includes a concurrency with Interstate 74 and two high level bridges across the Ohio River. This is the only three-digit Interstate highway that enters three states, including one state (Indiana) that its parent does not enter.

The Circle Freeway mostly acts as a commuter route for the various suburbs of Cincinnati, Covington and Newport, Kentucky. The route also provides a bypass from southeast Indiana to northern Kentucky and part of an alternate route around the Brent Spence Bridge of I-71 & 75 across the Ohio River.

History

With some portions of Interstate 275 in Ohio already opened by 1961, certification of the route occurred in 1962. The beltway was fully completed in the Buckeye State by 1980.1 It was formally named the Donald H. Rolf Circle Freeway in 1982.5 The short stint of I-275 through Indiana, including the Carol C. Cropper Bridge over the Ohio River, was finished in 1979.2

The course of I-275 through Boone County, Kentucky was chosen from a desire to include Indiana in the planning for a Greater Cincinnati circle freeway. The idea for a new bridge spanning the Ohio River from Boone County dated back to the early 1950s with support of Boone County Judge Carroll Cropper and U.S. Representative Earl Wilson of Indiana. A bill was introduced by Rep. Wilson in April 1956 for the establishment of the Lawrenceburg Bridge Company. It involved financing construction of a new span with a bond issue and paying bonds off with tolls. The bill passed, but with 1958 cost estimates of $10 million for the bridge, progress crawled.4

Planning was underway during the late 1950s for the Circumferential Highway through the Cincinnati suburbs east from U.S. 50 in Cleves to U.S. 25 in Clermont County. Those plans were eventually combined with the Boone County bridge concept in November 1961 as part of the Greater Cincinnati Metropolitan Area Bypass.4

Renamed the Circle Freeway, the Federal Bureau of Public Lands approved the alignment for I-275 across Northern Kentucky in March 1963. The 24-mile route was estimated to cost $50 million and land acquisition was underway by 1967.3

The Ohio River crossing at Boone County was selected for Petersburg instead of a location closer to Lawrenceburg, Indiana. Bids for construction on the new bridge were taken by the state in March 1968, with on the four main piers in the Ohio River underway by June 1968.4

Pier construction extended to summer 1972, when work started on the steel floor beams of the bridge. The bridge project culminated in Kentucky in May 1974, leaving just the deck to be completed. However on the Indiana side of the river, contracts for I-275 paving were just being awarded. As such, the bridge was relegated to sit idle for several years.4

A dedication ceremony was scheduled for December 6, 1977, but a major snowstorm forced the event to take place indoors and delayed the bridge opening. Bridge proponent Carroll Cropper did not live to see the span completed, but he was honored as the bridge's namesake by Governor Julian Carroll.4

The Kenton County portion of Interstate 275 was finished on November 10, 1977 with the opening between U.S. 25 (Dixie Highway) and Kentucky 16 (Taylor Mill Road).5 The remainder of I-275 across Kentucky was completed in December 1979,4 with the dedication of the Combs-Heel Bridge in Campbell County on December 19. The cantilever bridge is named for Governor Bert Combs and Campbell County Judge-Executive Lambert Hehl.5

Highway Guides

Zero Milepost/Southern Parent Junction - Interstate 75 and Interstate 71 - Florence, Kentucky
Perspective from Interstate 75-71 north
Interstate 75 and Interstate 71 are merged between Walton, Kentucky, and Cincinnati, Ohio. Near Florence, they meet Interstate 275, the Cincinnati Beltway. Northbound Interstate 75-71 reaches Exit 182, Junction Kentucky 1017/Turfway Road. The next exit is Kentucky 236, followed by Interstate 275. Photo taken 11/13/04.
Northbound Interstate 75-71 reaches Exit 184, Junction Kentucky 236. The next exit is Exit 185, Junction Interstate 275/Beltway. Photo taken 11/13/04.
The right lane of Interstate 75-71 exits only to Interstate 275. Use Interstate 275 east to reach Interstate 471 to Newport. Photo taken 11/13/04.
Northbound Interstate 75-71 approaches Exit 185, Junction Interstate 275/Cincinnati Beltway. Photo taken 11/13/04.
Northbound Interstate 75-71 reaches its junction with Interstate 275. Use Interstate 275 west to the international airport and east to the eastern suburbs of Cincinnati, including Cherry Grove and Mount Carmel. Photo taken 11/13/04.
View of the stack interchange with Interstate 275 as seen from Interstate 75-71. Photo taken 11/13/04.
The next exit along northbound after Interstate 275 is Kentucky 371, Buttermilk Pike (which is not a proposed Interstate 371). Photo taken 11/13/04.
Perspective from Interstate 75-71 south
Interstate 75 and Interstate 71 are merged together from the Ohio State Line south to near Walton. Interstate 71 roughly parallels U.S. 42, while Interstate 75 parallels U.S. 25 through this area. After Exit 186/Buttermilk Pike (Kentucky 371), Interstate 75-71 next approaches Exit 185, Junction Interstate 275/Circle Freeway. Photo taken 11/13/04.
Southbound Interstate 75 and Interstate 71 approaches Exit 185, Junction Interstate 275/Circle Freeway, one mile. Interstate 275 is a beltway around the city of Cincinnati, and it provides a bypass to the urban downtown areas via three states: Ohio, Indiana, and Kentucky. Photo taken 11/13/04.
Southbound Interstate 75 and Interstate 71 approaches Exit 185, Junction Interstate 275/Circle Freeway, one-half mile. Photo taken 11/13/04.
The right lane of southbound Interstate 75 and Interstate 71 transitions direct onto Interstate 275/Circle Freeway east and west. The interchange is visible in the background. Photo taken 11/13/04.
Southbound Interstate 75 and Interstate 71 reaches Exit 185, Junction Interstate 275/Circle Freeway. Use Interstate 275 west to reach the Greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport. Photo taken 11/13/04.
Perspective from Interstate 275 west
Westbound Interstate 275/Inner Loop approaches Exit 84, Junction Interstate 75 and Interstate 71 (one mile). This is the last exit before Interstate 275 resets for its zero milepost. Photo taken 11/13/04.
Interstate 275 continues straight ahead after Interstate 75/71 to reach the Northern Cincinnati/North Kentucky International Airport. Use Interstate 75-71 north to reach downtown Cincinnati and Interstate 75-71 south to Lexington and Louisville. To Interstate 74 west, continue west on Interstate 275. Photo taken 11/13/04.
View of the transition ramp from westbound Interstate 275 (inner loop) to Interstate 75-71 north and south. Photo taken 11/13/04.
Northern Parent Junction - Interstate 75 - Springdale, Ohio
Perspective from Interstate 275 west
Westbound Interstate 275 three-fourths of a mile from Interstate 75/Exits 43A/B at Mosteller Road (Exit 44). Photo taken by Don Hargraves (12/02).
Button copy guide signs for Exit 43A/43B as Interstate 275 nears the Interstate 75 interchange. The northbound control city is that of Dayton, a municipality 42 miles to the north. Photo taken by Don Hargraves (12/02).
Interstate 275 westbound maintains three through lanes as it travels through the Exit 43 interchange with Interstate 75. Photo taken by Don Hargraves (12/02).
Exit 43A of Interstate 75 departs via a cloverleaf ramp from Interstate 275 westbound. The next interchange serves Ohio 747/Princeton Road and the Glendale and Springdale suburbs of north Cincinnati. Photo taken by Don Hargraves (12/02).
Perspective from Interstate 275 east
1.25 mile guide sign of the impending junction with Interstate 75. Exit 42 to Ohio 742 departs at the right. The state highway ends two miles to the south at Ohio 4, a state highway that intersects the Cincinnati Beltway at Exit 41. Photo taken by Don Hargraves (12/02).
Interstate 275 eastbound approaching Exit 43A/Interstate 75 south for Cincinnati and the northern suburbs of Arlington Heights, Rensselaer Park, and Saint Bernard. Photo taken by Don Hargraves (12/02).
Two lanes are allotted for the Exit 43A/Interstate 75 southbound ramp. Interstate 75 southbound will reach Interstate 74 in 12 miles and downtown in 15 miles. Photo taken by Don Hargraves (12/02).
Continuing eastward on Interstate 275 to the Exit 43B cloverleaf ramp to Interstate 75 northbound. Interstate 75 will reach Interstate 70 in 45 miles while Interstate 275 meets Interstate 71 in six miles. Photo taken by Don Hargraves (12/02).
Perspective from Interstate 75 north
Three northbound lanes pass by Exit 15/Sharon Road between the suburbs of Glendale and Sharonville on Interstate 75. Posted on this sign bridge is the 1.25 mile advance guide sign for Exit 16, the Cincinnati Beltway. Photo taken by Don Hargraves (12/02).
Interstate 275 signage features trailblazers for Interstate 74 to the west and Interstate 71 to the east. Thus the control cities of Interstate 275 reflect the connection to Indianapolis via Interstate 74 and Columbus via Interstate 71. Photo taken by Don Hargraves (12/02).
Northbound Interstate 75 as it enters the Exit 16 interchange with Interstate 275. The northern arc of the Cincinnati Beltway serves the communities of Northbrook, Forest Park, Springdale, Sharonville, and Loveland. Photo taken by Don Hargraves (12/02).
Exit 16 traffic bound for the Cincinnati Beltway depart from Interstate 75. Interstate 275 reaches Interstate 74 in 15 miles to the west, sharing a four mile overlap before sinking southward into Indiana. Eastward Interstate 275 sees another 30 miles of the Buckeye State before crossing the Ohio River into Kentucky. Photo taken by Don Hargraves (12/02).
Western Ohio River Crossing (Kentucky/Indiana)
Perspective from Interstate 275 West
Westbound Interstate 275 crosses the Ohio River between Kentucky and Indiana on this bridge, which is notable for its lack of shoulders and superstructure carrying the travel lanes over the river. Photo taken 11/13/04.
Indiana/Ohio State Line Boundary
Perspective from Interstate 275 North (Inner)
Interstate 275 enters Ohio near Milepost 18 after departing Indiana, which it visits briefly after crossing the Ohio River from Kentucky. Note the sign indicating that Interstate 275 is the Circle Freeway. Photo taken 11/13/04.

Sources:

  1. Route 275 - The Unofficial Ohio State Highways Web Site (John Sampson). http://pages.prodigy.net/john.simpson/ highways/275.html
  2. Interstate 275 Cincinnati - Cincinnati-Transit.net (Jake Mecklenborg).
  3. "I-471's birth slow to come - Plans and routes changed many times." The Kentucky Post (Covington, KY), November 30, 1998.
  4. "Pieces of the past - Gold and silver anniversaries." The Kentucky Post, May 24, 1993.
  5. "I-275 Changed Face of Northern Kentucky." Kentucky Post, The (Covington, KY), July 8, 2002.

Page Updated September 27, 2016.



More Info

Mileage

State Kentucky
Mileage 24.58
Cities Covington, Newport
Junctions Interstate 71/75, Interstate 471
State Ohio
Mileage 55.97*
Cities Cincinnati, Sharonville, Springdale
Junctions Interstate 74, Interstate 74, Interstate 75, Interstate 71
State Indiana
Mileage 3.16
Cities None
Junctions None
TOTAL 83.71
Source: December 31, 2015 Interstate Route Log and Finders List
* - 3.45 miles on I-74
Interstate 275 Annual Average Daily Traffic

County From: To: AADT Composite
Dearborn OH state line (northeast) Exit 2/ U.S. 50/ Lawrenceburg 32,270
Dearborn Exit 2/ U.S. 50/ Lawrenceburg OH state line (southeast) 31,410
Source: Indiana Department of Transportation 2000 Annual Average Daily Traffic Volumes Map
Cincinnati, Ohio and Northern Kentucky - 1973
The westbound direction of Interstate 275 was shown as complete between the four-level interchange with I-71 & 75 at Erlanger and Kentucky 212 to then Greater Cincinnati Airport. The remainder of the beltway in Kentucky was under construction or proposed.