Interstate 65 in Kentucky

By | October 14, 2022


Get started Franklin
End Louisville
Length 137 mi
Length 221 km

  • 2 Franklin
  • 6 East Franklin
  • 20 Natcher Parkway
  • 22 Bowling Green
  • 26 Bowling Green
  • 28 East Bowling Green
  • 36 Oakland
  • 38 Smiths Grove
  • 43 Cumberland Parkway
  • 48 Park City
  • 53 Cave City
  • 58 Horse Cave
  • 65 Munfordville
  • 71 Bonnieville
  • 76 Upton
  • 81 Sonora
  • 86 Glendale
  • 91 Western Kentucky Parkway
  • 93 Blue Grass Parkway
  • 94 Elizabethtown
  • 102 Fort Knox
  • 105 Lebanon Junction
  • 112 Clermont
  • 116 Cedar Grove Road
  • 117 Shepherdsville
  • 121 Brooks
  • 125
  • 127 Outer Loop
  • 128 Fern Valley Road
  • 130 Preston Highway
  • 131
  • 132 Crittenden Drive
  • 133 University
  • 134 Jackson Street
  • 135 Oak Street
  • 136 Broadway
  • 137
  • John F. Kennedy Memorial Bridge


Interstate 65 or I -65 is an Interstate Highway in the U.S. state of Kentucky. The highway forms a north-south connection through the center of the state. The highway runs in a north-northeast direction through the state, ending in the city of Louisville, Kentucky’s largest city, where the highway crosses the Ohio River into Indiana. I-65 is in Kentucky is 221 kilometers long.

  • WATCHTUTORIALS.ORG: Features why Kentucky has the nickname as Bluegrass State and its economy, history and geography.

Travel directions

I-65 in Southern Kentucky.

I-65 on the John F. Kennedy Memorial Bridge in Louisville.

At Franklin, Interstate 65 crosses the border into Kentucky in Tennessee. I-65 here is a 2×3 lane highway and heads north through an area of ​​mostly meadows. US 31W runs parallel to I-65. At Bowling Green it follows an interchange with the Natcher Parkway. I-65 passes through the outskirts of the town of Bowling Green and then turns east. The Cumberland Parkway branches off east of Bowling Green.

Then, I-65 gradually curves north again. The highway has 2×3 lanes through the rural areas, the area becomes more wooded here. US 31W also runs parallel to I-65 here. A cloverleaf cloverleaf trail joins the Western Kentucky Parkway at the town of Elizabethtown. A few miles further on, the Bluegrass Parkway splits off. I-65 then returns through a 2×3 lane wooded area well east of Fort Knox. Then you reach the agglomeration of Louisville.

In the south of the Louisville metropolitan region, a clover turbine follows Interstate 265, forming Louisville’s outer beltway. I-65 then reaches its greatest width and has 12 to 14 lanes, partly with a parallel structure. I-65 runs past the Louisville airport here. This is followed by a junction with Interstate 264. I-65 then has 2×3 lanes and passes through the older neighborhoods of Louisville. I-65 runs directly along the east side of Downtown Louisville, and through the large Kennedy Interchange, it intersects with Interstate 64 and Interstate 71. I-65 then splits into two 6-lane bridges, the John F. Kennedy Memorial Bridgeheading south and the Abraham Lincoln Bridge heading north. One crosses the Ohio River here, which forms the border with the state of Indiana. Interstate 65 in Indiana then continues to Indianapolis.

  • Provides state overview of Kentucky and its alternative name as The Bluegrass State


Kentucky Turnpike

The route between Elizabethtown and Louisville predates the Interstate Highway system. This was the Kentucky Turnpike, a toll road that opened for 40 miles on August 1, 1956. The highway became toll-free in 1975 and part of I-65. In Kentucky, it is common for toll roads to become toll-free after they are paid off. This has happened to all toll roads in Kentucky, the Kentucky Turnpike went toll-free 19 years ahead of schedule. During the 1980s, the Kentucky Turnpike was heavily modernized, and little of the old turnpike remains.

Interstate Highway

In the early 1960s, the highway was extended both north and south, and in 1962 the highway was completed into downtown Louisville, and an additional 14 miles between Upton and Elizabethtown. On December 6, 1963, the John F. Kennedy Memorial Bridge over the Ohio River in Louisville opened to traffic, on the border with Indiana. At the same time, the northernmost 3 miles through Louisville was also opened up. By 1966 two more sections were completed, the route being opened from the Tennessee borderopened to the south side of Bowling Green for 35 miles, and the north section was opened from Upton south to Munfordville. A year later, the southern section had been extended to Oakland, with the remaining link under construction to Munfordville. I-65 was probably completed in 1968 or 1969.


I-65 has been gradually widened to 2×3 lanes on its entire stretch outside the Louisville area. In the 1980s, the original Kentucky Turnpike between Elizabethtown and Louisville was modernized and widened to 2×3 lanes. In the period 2003-2018, the entire I-65 was widened integrally to 2×3 lanes between the border with Tennessee and Elizabethtown. One of the first stretches to be widened in southern Kentucky was between Bowling Green and the Cumberland Parkway, in 2003. In 2006-2009, the portion of I-65 between the Tennessee border and Bowling Green was widened to 2×3 lanes. In 2010-2011, the section further north from the Cumberland Parkway to Cave City was widened to six lanes. Between 2014 and 2017, 27 kilometers between Munfordville and Sonora was widened to 2×3 lanes. This project was completed on August 3, 2017. In October 2015, the widening of the final section in Kentucky was awarded, a 10-mile section between Sonora and the Western Kentucky Parkway at Elizabethtown. This was ready in November 2018.

Louisville bridges

See also John F. Kennedy Memorial Bridge and Abraham Lincoln Bridge.

Between 2013 and 2015, a new bridge was built over the Ohio River in Louisville, on the border with Indiana. The “spaghetti interchange” with the I-64, I-65 and I-71 has also been reconstructed. The new bridge was built east of the existing John F. Kennedy Memorial Bridge and has 6 lanes of traffic. The existing bridge remained in use, doubling capacity over the Ohio River from 2×3 to 2×6 lanes. The new bridge was opened on December 6, 2015.


The two bridges over the Ohio River on the Indiana border have been subject to tolls since December 30, 2016. The toll is fully electronic and introduced to fund the construction of the Abraham Lincoln Bridge. The toll is fully electronic with ETC.

Traffic intensities

Every day, 43,000 vehicles cross the Tennessee border, increasing to 58,000 vehicles at Bowling Green and then falling to 35,000 to 38,000 vehicles as far as Elizabethtown. This rises to 59,000 vehicles in Elizabethtown and 89,000 vehicles on the outskirts of the Louisville metropolitan area. Traffic volumes are growing to 102,000 vehicles per day for the I-265 interchange and 150,000 to 163,000 vehicles between I-265 and I-264. Then 125,000 vehicles drive to Downtown Louisville and 121,000 vehicles over the Ohio River bridge on the Indiana border.

Lane Configuration

I-65 at Bowling Green.

From Unpleasant Lanes Comments
exit 0 Exit 125 2×3
Exit 125 Exit 126 2×5 Louisville
Exit 126 exit 128 3+4+4+3 Louisville
exit 128 Exit 131 2×5 Louisville
Exit 131 Exit 137 2×3 Louisville

Interstate 65 in Kentucky