Interstate 264 (Kentucky)

Interstate 264 (Kentucky)

Infobox road

year_established=1956 (finished 1974)
terminus_a=Jct|state=KY|I|64|US|150 in Louisville
junction=Jct|state=KY|I|65 in Louisville
Jct|state=KY|I|64 in Louisville
terminus_b=Jct|state=KY|I|71 in Louisville
The Henry Watterson Expressway, known as the Shawnee Expressway west of US 31W, is one of two Interstate Highways in the United States designated as Interstate 264 (abbreviated I-264). It is 22.93 miles (36.90 km) in length, [cite web |url= |title=Auxiliary Routes of the Dwight D. Eisenhower National System Of Interstate and Defense Highways as of October 31, 2002 |date=2002-10-31 |accessdate=2006-11-07 |author=U.S. Department of Transportation: Federal Highway Administration] and runs an open circle around central Louisville, Kentucky. The highway begins four miles west of downtown at I-64 just east of the Sherman Minton Bridge which links Southern Indiana with Kentucky as it crosses the Ohio River. The interstate ends approximately six miles northeast of Louisville, where it connects to I-71.

Louisville is one of few U.S. cities with two interstate highways serving as inner and outer beltways. I-264 is Louisville's inner beltway and the later constructed I-265, the Gene Snyder Freeway, is Louisville's outer beltway. I-264 is used as the primary detour route when Interstate 64 is closed through Downtown Louisville.

In discussions about the city, Interstate 264 is often used as a rough line dividing the older areas of Louisville from its suburbs.


In 1948, a bypass was built between Shelbyville Road and Dixie Highway in Louisville, as a relocation of US 60. It was incorporated into the Interstate Highway System in 1956. The highway was completed in 1974, and in 1952 the road from Dixie Highway east to I-71 was named after the journalist and editor Henry Watterson. The designation US 60 was dropped in 1984.

The western segment from Dixie Highway to I-64 northwest of downtown Louisville was opened in segments from 1970 to August 1974 and is often referred to as the Shawnee Expressway.

Watterson Expressway Reconstruction (1985-1995)

The Watterson Expressway underwent a major reconstruction effort that began in 1985. The vintage freeway had outlived its useful purpose and had numerous characteristics that defined it as a blight on Louisville: deteriorating overpasses, buckling pavement, deficient and too closely spaced interchanges, and rampant congestion. Dozens of bridges were reconstructed and widened, and the majority of the interchanges were redesigned and rebuilt from the ground up from Dixie Highway east to Shelbyville Road. The entire highway reconstruction project was completed in 1995.

A typical deficient interchange along I-264 was the I-65, Kentucky Exposition Center and Louisville International Airport exit. Before the reconstruction, two cloverleafs with no collector and distributor lanes existed and posed serious weaving issues. The interchange today has been rebuilt and features numerous flyovers and collector and distributor lanes.

hawnee Expressway Reconstruction (2003-2004)

The segment of I-264 from Dixie Highway to the northwest I-64 interchange opened in segments from 1970 to August 1974 and received no more than emergency or spot patching. After several years of planning, in early 2003, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet began a rehabilitation project on this segment of interstate highway stretching from the Dixie Highway interchange northwest to just east of Bank Street.

A concrete surface several inches thick was constructed on the mainline and access ramps, a new median barrier was formed, new lighting fixtures were installed, 37 bridges were rehabilitated, and 380 new roadway signage was posted and all guardrails were replaced as part of the 7.6 mile project. In addition, the segment from River Park Drive to I-64, which was only two lanes, was widened to three lanes. No major ramp or interchange modifications were needed. The highway reconstruction project cost approximately $66 million and required 18 months of labor.

About 70,000 vehicles a day use the portion of Interstate 264 near Dixie Highway and about 40,000 daily use the segment near its western terminus with I-64.

Exit list

The entire route is in Louisville, Jefferson County.


Further reading

*cite book
first = John E., et al. (editor)
last = Kleber
year = 2000
title = The Encyclopedia of Louisville
publisher = University Press of Kentucky
id = ISBN 0-8131-2100-0

External links

* [ YouTube video of the Watterson Expressway]
* [ - Interstate 264 (KY) page]

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