Interstate 165 is the proposed designation for 70 miles of the 72-mile the William H. Natcher Green River Parkway between Bowling Green and Owensboro. The parkway will officially become I-165 once remaining portions and interchanges are upgraded to Interstate standards.
Originally proposed as the Bowling Green-Owensboro Parkway, the William H. Natcher (Green River) Parkway fully opened December 1972 as a toll facility connecting Bowling Green with Owenboro.2 A counterpart to U.S. 231, the Natcher Parkway spokes northwest from U.S. 231 and Interstate 65 south of Bowling Green, to its end at the U.S. 60 & 231 bypass freeway around Owensboro. The parkway provides connections at or near Morgantown, Cromwell, Beaver Dam (via the Wendell H. Ford Western Kentucky Parkway), Hartford, and Owensboro. Though only signed with the standard name trailblazer as seen along other parkways in Kentucky, the Natcher (Green River) Parkway carries the designation of KY (WN) 9007.
In 1997, the Green River Parkway was renamed to honor Congressman William H. Natcher, who was a staunch supporter of various highway projects within Kentucky and elsewhere in the country.3
Source: December 31, 2018 Interstate Route Log and Finders List
Future Interstate 65 Spur signs posted along the Natcher Parkway north of I-65 at Bowling Green. Photo taken 06/11/17.
The William H. Natcher Green River Parkway was one of the last limited-access corridors in Kentucky to have its tolls removed when they ceased in November 2006.
A two-mile extension of the parkway at its south end was added by 2012 when it was pushed further east from I-65 to end at an at-grade intersection with U.S. 231.
Long on the books as becoming an Interstate spur, first with the once proposed I-66 corridor, a new designation was introduced when the Kentucky six-year highway recommendation plans came out in January 2016. Projects listed to Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 established the Natcher Parkway as the “I-565” spur route between Bowling Green and Owensboro.1 Several upgrades at interchanges, and along the parkway itself, would have to take place in order for it to meet current Interstate standards. $66 million has already been allocated along the Natcher Parkway for some of these upgrades, with them being split between Butler, Daviess, Ohio and Warren counties over a six year period.4
However, as of the September 24, 2017 AASHTO Special Committee on U.S. Route Numbering meeting held in Phoenix, Arizona, the William H. Natcher Parkway was formally approved as I-165 as opposed to I-565.5 The new designation will follow the Natcher Parkway from I-65 to its northern terminus near Owensboro.
North End / Wendell Ford Expressway – Owensboro, Kentucky
Trumpet interchange (Exit 72) with U.S. 60 & 231 (Wendell Ford Expressway) southeast of Downtown Owensboro.
South End / Natcher Parkway – Bowling Green, Kentucky
Perspective from William H. Natcher Parkway north
The William H. Natcher Parkway arcs west from U.S. 231 to a SPUI with KY 622 and a full cloverleaf interchange (Exit 2B) with Interstate 65. I-165 will begin at this exchange. Photo taken 06/11/17.
Interstate 65 angles southwest along the east side of Bowling Green as it connects Elizabethtown with Nashville, Tennessee. The Natcher Parkway travels northwest around the city to meet U.S. 231 again at Exit 9. Photo taken 06/11/17.
Perspective from Interstate 65 north
Collector distributor roadways separate movements from the Interstate 65 mainline to the William H. Natcher Parkway at Exit 22. Photo taken 06/11/17.