Interstate 265 Indiana / Kentucky

Interstate 265 Indiana Interstate 265 Kentucky
History
North End
South End
KY 841 north - Lewis and Clark Bridge

The Lewis and Clark Bridge (KY 841 / SR 265), the day after it opened. Photo by Tom Reaugh (12/19/16).

Within Kentucky, Interstate 265 is known as the Gene Snyder Freeway. I-265 originates at I-65 near Heritage Creek and concludes at I-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 Highway 841. The belt route serves both Louisville commuters and regional traffic for Elizabethtown and points south along I-65 to and Frankfort and points east along I-64.

The I-Move Kentucky project upgrades the cloverleaf interchange joining Interstate 265 with I-64. Designs evaluated included a half turbine with loop ramps along I-265 northbound replaced (Alternate 3A), and a directional cloverleaf with loops in the northwest and southeast quadrants removed (Alternate 1). A public meeting on the project took place on January 10, 2019.

Alternate 3B, a partial turbine interchange with loop ramps along I-265 northbound replaced, was ultimately selected by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) on May 13, 2019. Construction on the I-Move Kentucky project commenced in Spring 2020. An additional lane is being added to I-265 between KY 155 (Taylorsville Road) and Interstate 71. A collector distributor lane is also being built along southbound I-71 at the cloverleaf interchange with I-265/KY 841. Costing $180 million, work runs through late 2023.

Overview

Together with SR 265 and KY 841, Interstate 265 constitutes a beltway encircling the Falls City area of southeast Indiana and the city of Louisville in Kentucky. The beltway provides a bypass for long distance and freight traffic from I-64 at New Albany, Indiana to both I-71 and I-64 along the east side of Louisville. The I-265 designation ends at I-65, while the remainder of the freeway east to the Lewis and Clark Bridge (East End Bridge) is a state road. The cable stayed bridge and approaches were to be added to the Interstate Highway System following approval of an application sent to the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) and after approval from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).

AASHTO approved the application to extend I-265 on May 21, 2019. Signs for SR 265 and KY 841 for the Lewis and Clark Bridge and approaches remain unchanged as of October 8, 2020.

History

I-265 in Indiana

The short section of Interstate 265 between I-64/U.S. 150 and I-65 opened in 1977. The State Road 265 extension east from I-65 was completed in 1995.1

Gene Snyder Freeway

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

East End Bridge

Route Information

  • North End – New Albany, IN

  • South End – Louisville, KY

  • Total Mileage – 31.21

Indiana – 6.73

  • Cities – New Albany, Jeffersonville

  • JunctionsI-64 I-65

Kentucky – 24.48

  • Cities – Louisville, Okolona, Jeffersontown

  • JunctionsI-65 I-64 I-71

Source: December 31, 2018 Interstate Route Log and Finders List

I-265 Annual Average Daily Traffic (AADT)

Source: 2018 AADT Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) Traffic Count Database System
* – 2017 AADT for Exits 1 to 3 and the Lewis and Clark Bridge
2015-17 AADT KYTC Interactive Statewide Traffic Counts Map

Falls Cities Area IN - 1970

1970 Indiana Official Highway Map showing the proposed route of Interstate 265. The east end was a trumpet interchange.

Eastern Jefferson County, KY - 1972

Initial sections of I-265 in Kentucky were signed as KY 841. Known as the Jefferson Freeway, the first section spurred north from I-64 to U.S. 60.

The East End Bridge spanning the Ohio River between Utica, Indiana and Prospect, Kentucky was first envisioned in the mid 1970s. The span was included in the “Louisville-Southern Indiana Ohio River Bridges Project” area improvements for I-64, I-65 and I-265. Reaching over 60% of initial estimates, the cost for two new Ohio River Bridges, and the reconstruction of “Spaghetti Junction” (Kennedy Interchange) joining I-64, I-65 and I-71 at Downtown Louisville, was estimated to be $3.9 billion in December 2006:3

  • 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, I-65 and I-71: Reconstruct the “Spaghetti Junction” interchange – $1.74 billion with completion in 2024.

Design of the overall Ohio River Bridges 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.2

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 closed due to steel support beam damage discovered during routine inspections.

The March 2012 Cost and Schedule from Financial Plan Update revised the Ohio River Bridges Project time table and cost to $2.583 billion overall:2

  • I-265 Connector/East End Bridge – $1.276 billion with completion in 2017.
  • I-65 Downtown Louisville Bridge Replacement – $1.307 billion (including the Kennedy Interchange and approaches) with completion in 2018.
  • I-64, I-65 and I-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 (Abraham Lincoln Bridge) to it, and the East End Bridge. The U.S. government granted both Kentucky and Indiana approval for 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

Tolls adopted on September 11, 2013 by a joint Tolling Body from both states revised the proposed rates 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 an increase based upon the national inflation rate, whichever is greater.5

Cost savings made in the 2013 Financial Plan Annual Updated submitted by the FHWA, KYTC and the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT), accelerated the time table for work on all three elements of The Ohio River Bridges Project. 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 saved approximately $90 million.
  • Design changes and accelerated completion of the East End cut $228 million, including $209 million in design changes for reducing the Drumanard Tunnel by 200 feet in length.

Construction finally broke ground August 30, 2012 on the East End Bridge project to build a 3,000 foot extension of Old Salem Road, the first exit on the Indiana side of the Ohio River.6 Work on the Kentucky side followed with construction on the 1.4-mile approach to the bridge, including a 1,700 foot tunnel under U.S. 42 and the historic Dumanard Estate.

KY 841 north at US 42

A partially uncovered sign along KY 841 north ahead of the wye interchange (Exit 37) that now joins the Gene Snyder Freeway with U.S. 42 to Prospect. Photo by Tom Reaugh (03/17/16).

With a final cost of over $2.3 billion, the cable-stayed Lewis and Clark (East End) Bridge formally opened to traffic on December 18, 2016.7 Electronic toll collection commenced for the span on December 30, 2016.

Indiana West End I-64 US 150 Indiana 62 – New Albany

I-265 SR 62 West at I-64 US 150

I-265/SR 62 west at I-64/US 150 - New Albany, IN

Interstate 265 west meets State Street (former U.S. 150) and Paoli Pike ahead of I-64 at New Albany. 09/08/20

I-265/SR 62 west at I-64/US 150 - New Albany, IN

Indiana State Road 62 accompanies Interstate 64 west from Exit 0 along a 3.6 mile overlap toward Lanesville. 09/08/20

I-265/SR 62 west at I-64/US 150 - New Albany, IN

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. 09/08/20

I-265/SR 62 west at I-64/US 150 - New Albany, IN

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. 09/08/20

I-64 US 150 SR 62 East at I-265

I-64/US 150/SR 62 east at I-265 - New Albany, IN

Interstate 64 lowers from the Knobstone Escarpment to meet the west end of I-265 at Exit 121. State Road 62 splits with the freeway for the bypass of New Albany and Clarksville. 09/08/20

I-64/US 150/SR 62 east at I-265 - New Albany, IN

Traffic departs from the left side of Interstate 65 east for I-265/SR 62 eastbound. Three interchanges join I-265 with the city of New Albany ahead of I-65 at Clarksville. 09/08/20

I-64/US 150/SR 62 east at I-265 - New Albany, IN

SR 62 separates with I-64/U.S. 150 eastbound at Left Exit 121 and follows I-265 to Watson. 09/08/20

I-64/US 150/SR 62 east at I-265 - 2003

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 by Chris Patriarca (05/26/03).

I-64 US 150 West at I-265 SR 62

I-64/US 150 west at I-265 - New Albany, IN

Continuing northwest from Downtown Albany, I-64/U.S. 150 advance toward the three wye interchange (Exit 121) with I-265/SR 62 east. 09/08/20

I-64/US 150 west at I-265/SR 62 - 2003

Former button copy overhead for I-265 east. Photo by Chris Patriarca (05/26/03).

I-64/US 150 west at I-265 - New Albany, IN

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. 09/08/20

Indiana East End I-65 Indiana 62 Indiana 265 – Jeffersonville

I-265 SR 62 East at I-65 SR 265

I-265/SR 62 east at I-65 - Clarksville, IN

I-265/SR 62 travel one mile east to meet Interstate 65 at a directional cloverleaf interchange (Exit 7). Photo by Carter Buchanan (11/12/04).

I-265/SR 62 east at I-65 - Clarksville, IN

Interstate 265 ended at I-65 between 1977 and 1995, when SR 265 opened to traffic. The freeway extension along SR 265 linked the Interstate system with the Port of Indiana Jeffersonville (formerly known as the Clark Maritime Center). Photo by Thomas Decker (06/07/12).

I-65 South at I-265 SR 265 SR 62

I-65 south at I-265/SR 62 - Clarksville, IN

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 by Carter Buchanan (11/12/04).

I-65 south at I-265 - 2001

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 by Jeff Royston (03/17/01).

I-65 south at I-265/SR 62 - Clarksville, IN

I-265 comprises a northern bypass of Clarksville and New Albany for points west along Interstate 64 to Evansville and St. Louis. Photo by Carter Buchanan (11/12/04).

I-65 North at I-265 SR 265 SR 62

I-65 north at I-265/SR 62 - Clarksville, IN

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 by Chris and Amber Lokken (01/31/10).

I-65 north at I-265/SR 62 - Clarksville, IN

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 by Chris and Amber Lokken (01/31/10).

I-65 north at I-265/SR 62 - 2002

An older ground level sign posted for Interstate 265 west before the “Revive 65” expansion project was completed in 2003. Photo by Jeffrey Napier (07/02).

I-65 north at I-265/SR 62 - Clarksville, IN

Exit 6A departs for SR 62 east to Charlestown and SR 265 east to Utica and the Lewis and Clark Bridge into Kentucky. Photo by Chris and Amber Lokken (01/31/10).

I-65 north at I-265/SR 62 - Clarksville, IN

I-65 north at the westbound exit ramp for I-265/SR 62 to New Albany and Interstate 64. Photo by Chris and Amber Lokken (01/31/10).

SR 62 SR 265 West at I-65 I-265

SR 62/265 west at I-65/265 - Clarksville, IN

SR 62 combines with SR 265 west from E 10th Street, 2.5 miles ahead of Interstate 65 (Exit 7). Photo by Justin Cozart (06/05/08).

SR 62/265 west at I-65/265 - Clarksville, IN

Exit 7A departs from SR 62/265 west at the U.S. 31 underpass for Interstate 65 north to Sellersburg, Seymour and Indianapolis. Photo by Justin Cozart (06/05/08).

SR 62/265 west at I-65/265 - Clarksville, IN

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 by Justin Cozart (06/05/08).

Kentucky West End – I-65 KY 841 – Louisville

I-265 KY 841 West at I-65

I-265/KY 841 west at I-65 - Louisville

KY 61 (Preston Highway) ties into the Gene Snyder Freeway one mile east of the exchange with Interstate 65. 09/08/20

I-265/KY 841 west at I-65 - Louisville

An auxiliary lane opens along I-265/KY 841 westbound from KY 61 to Exit 10A. 09/08/20

I-265/KY 841 west at I-65 - Louisville

Downtown Louisville is 11 miles north of Exit 10A along Interstate 65. 09/08/20

I-265/KY 841 west at I-65 - Louisville

Two lanes accommodate commuters from I-265/KY 841 west onto I-65 north. A loop ramp follows for I-65 south to Elizabethtown, Bowling Green and Nashville, Tennessee. 09/08/20

I-265/KY 841 west at I-65 - Louisville

KY 841 extends the Gene Snyder Freeway 10.2 miles from Exit 10B to U.S. 31W/60 and KY 1934 (Greenbelt Highway) at Valley Station in southwest Louisville. 09/07/20

I-65 North at I-265 KY 841

I-65 north at I-265/KY 841 - Louisville

Two miles south of I-265 (Gene Snyder Freeway) east and KY 841 (Gene Snyder Freeway) west on I-65 northbound. The freeway expands to four lanes at the upcoming exchange. 09/07/20

I-65 north at I-265/KY 841 - Louisville

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. 09/07/20

I-65 north at I-265/KY 841 - Louisville

I-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. 09/07/20

I-65 north at I-265/KY 841 - Louisville

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. 09/07/20

I-65 South at I-265 KY 841

I-65 south at I-265/KY 841 - Louisville

Interstate 65 travels south between industrial areas at Heritage Creek and Okolona between the exchange with KY 1065 (Outer Loop) and I-265 (Gene Snyder Freeway). 09/08/20

I-65 south at I-265/KY 841 - Louisville

One mile north of the half turbine interchange (Exit 125) with Interstate 265 east and KY 841 west. 09/08/20

I-65 south at I-265/KY 841 - Louisville

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. 09/08/20

I-65 south at I-265/KY 841 - Louisville

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. 09/08/20

I-65 south at I-265/KY 841 - Louisville

Exit 125 partitions for I-265/KY 841 east and KY 841 (Gene Snyder Freeway) west. 09/08/20

KY 841 East at I-65 I-265

KY 841 east at I-65/265 - Louisville, KY

KY 841 (Gene Snyder Freeway) runs along the south side of Heritage Creek ahead of the half turbine interchange (Exit 10) with I-65/265. 09/07/20

KY 841 east at I-65/265 - Louisville, KY

KY 841 (Gene Snyder Freeway) continues east across Interstate 65 to become a part of I-265. 09/07/20

Kentucky East End – I-71 KY 841 Worthington, Louisville

I-265 KY 841 North at I-71

I-265 north at I-71 - Louisville, KY

I-265/KY 841 northbound meet KY 22 (Brownsboro Road) 0.75 miles ahead of I-71 (Exits 35A/B). 09/08/20

I-265 north at I-71 - Louisville, KY
I-265 north at I-71 - Louisville, KY

Interstate 265 ended at a cloverleaf interchange (Exit 35) with I-71 on the east side of Louisville. KY 841 extended the Gene Snyder Freeway northward to the Lewis and Clark Bridge. 09/08/20

I-265 KY 841 South at I-71

KY 841 south at I-71/265 - Louisville

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 by Chris Patriarca (05/26/03).

KY 841 south at I-71/265 - Louisville

Entering the exchange (Exit 37) with Interstate 71, KY 841 expanded into a four lane freeway (I-265). Photo by Chris Patriarca (05/26/03).

KY 841 south at I-71/265 - Louisville

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 by Chris Patriarca (05/26/03).

I-265/KY 841 south at I-71 - Louisville

Cardinal directions along I-265 switch from north/south to east/west at Interstate 64 (Exit 25). 09/08/20

I-71 North at I-265 KY 841

I-71 north at I-265/KY 841 - Louisville

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). 09/08/20

I-71 north at I-265/KY 841 - Louisville

The four lane freeway advances east one mile to Exit 9. Guide signs for I-265 omit destinations at both end points. Photo by Chris Patriarca (05/26/03).

I-71 north at I-265/KY 841 - Louisville

Exit 9A leaves Interstate 71 north for I-265/KY 841 (Gene Snyder Freeway) south. I-71 travels 88 miles northeast to Cincinnati, Ohio. 09/08/20

I-71 North at I-265 KY 841

I-71 south at I-265/KY 841 - Louisville

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 by Chris Patriarca (05/26/03).

I-71 south at I-265/KY 841 - Louisville

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 by Chris Patriarca (05/26/03).

I-71 south at I-265/KY 841 - Louisville

KY 841, SR 265 and I-265 arc 15 miles west from Interstate 71 to New Albany, Indiana. Photo by Chris Patriarca (05/26/03).

I-71 south at I-265/KY 841 - Louisville

Downtown Louisville lies 12 miles to the west of the cloverleaf interchange (Exit 9) joining Interstate 71 south with I-265/KY 841. 09/08/20

Sources:

  1. Cozart, Justin.
  2. “Bridge plan cost soars to $3.9 billion: New plan: Build eastern span first.” 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 September 15, 2020.