Interstate 264 (Kentucky)

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Interstate 264 marker

Interstate 264
Watterson/Shawnee Expressway
Route information
Auxiliary route of I-64
Maintained by KYTC
Length 22.93 mi (36.90 km)
Existed 1956 – present
History Construction completed in 1974
Major junctions
West end I-64 / US 150 in Shawnee
Northeast end I-71 in Glenview Manor
Highway system
KY 259 I-265

Interstate 264 is a loop around the south side of the city of Louisville, Kentucky. A child route of I-64, it is signed as the Georgia Davis Powers Expressway for its first eight miles from its western terminus at I-64/US-150 to US-31W/US-60; and as the Henry Watterson Expressway for the remainder of its length from US-31W/US-60 to its northeastern terminus at I-71. It is 22.93 miles (36.90 km) in length,[1] and runs an open circle around central Louisville, Kentucky. The highway begins four miles (6 km) 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 downtown Louisville, where it connects to I-71.

I-264 is Louisville's inner beltway (in conjunction with I-64 and I-71) and the later constructed I-265, the Gene Snyder Freeway, is Louisville's outer beltway. I-264 is currently used as the primary detour route when Interstate 64 is closed through Downtown Louisville. This may change for through traffic in late 2016 with the completion of the East End Bridge, which will connect the currently separate segments of I-265 in Kentucky and Indiana.

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


East-bound I-264 on the approach to I-64 and Shelbyville Road exits

In 1948, a bypass was built between Shelbyville Road and U.S. Route 31W (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 when the original surface roads through Louisville were restored to their original US 60 designation.

The western segment from Dixie Highway to I-64 northwest of downtown Louisville was opened in segments from 1970 to August 1974. This stretch of I-264 was originally named, and is still often referred to as, the Shawnee Expressway. On April 1, 2010, the Kentucky General Assembly designated this portion to be renamed as the Georgia Davis Powers Expressway[2]

Watterson Expressway Reconstruction (1985–1995)[edit]

Junction of U.S. Route 31E and Interstate 264

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, making it safer, though not necessarily easier to navigate.

Shawnee Expressway Reconstruction (2003–2004)[edit]

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 (12.2 km) 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.

Westport Road interchange (2008-2010)[edit]

Although the Kentucky General Assembly considered plans for an interchange with Westport Road (Kentucky Route 1447) as early as 1992, work did not begin until October 2008 and was completed in May 2010.[3][4][5][6][7]

Exit list[edit]

The entire route is in Louisville, Jefferson County.

mi km Exit Destinations Notes
0.0 0.0 0 I-64 / US 150 – Louisville, Lexington, New Albany, St. Louis Western terminus; Westbound exit/eastbound entrance and signed as exits 0A (east) and 0B (west); I-64 exit 1
0.2 0.32 1 Bank Street, Northwestern Parkway Eastbound exit and westbound entrance
1.0 1.6 2 Muhammad Ali Boulevard, River Park Drive
2.3 3.7 3 Virginia Avenue, Dumesnil Street
3.5 5.6 4 KY 2054 (Algonquin Parkway) / KY 2056 (Bells Lane) Southbound exit not signed for KY 2054/Algonquin Parkway
5 KY 1934 (Cane Run Road) / Ralph Avenue Signed as exits 5A (Ralph Avenue, Cane Run Road north) and 5B (Cane Run Road south) eastbound
6.9 11.1 8 US 31W / US 60 – Fort Knox, Shively Signed as exits 8A (south/west) and 8B (north/east)
West of this exit, I-264 is the Georgia Davis Powers Expressway; east of this exit it is the Watterson Expressway.
8.6 13.8 9 KY 1865 (Taylor Boulevard)
9.6 15.4 10 KY 1020 (Southern Parkway) / 3rd Street
10.5 16.9 11 Crittenden Drive – Kentucky Exposition Center
10.8 17.4 11 Louisville International Airport
10.8 17.4 12 Kentucky Exposition Center (Freedom Way) Westbound exit is part of exit 11
10.9 17.5 12 I-65 / KY 61 – Nashville, Indianapolis I-65 north exit 131A, south exits 131A-B.
12.9 20.8 14 KY 864 (Poplar Level Road)
14.1 22.7 15 KY 1703 (Newburg Road) Signed as exits 15A (north) and 15B (south) westbound
15.1 24.3 16 US 31E (Bardstown Road) / US 150
16.4 26.4 17 KY 155 (Taylorsville Road) Signed as exits 17A (south) and 17B (north)
17.2 27.7 18 KY 1932 (Breckenridge Lane) Signed as exits 18A (south) and 18B (north)
18.4 29.6 19 I-64 – Lexington, Louisville I-64 west exit 12, east exits 12A-B; signed as exits 19A (east) and 19B (west).
18.8 30.3 20 US 60 (Shelbyville Road) – Middletown, St. Matthews Signed as exits 20A (east) and 20B (west)
20.4 32.8 21 KY 1447 (Westport Road)
21.6 34.8 22 US 42 (Brownsboro Road) / KY 22
22.4 36.0 23 I-71 – Cincinnati, Louisville Eastern terminus; Eastbound exit and westbound entrance; signed as exits 23A (north) and 23B (south); I-71 exit 5
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

See also[edit]


  1. ^ U.S. Department of Transportation: Federal Highway Administration (2002-10-31). "Auxiliary Routes of the Dwight D. Eisenhower National System Of Interstate and Defense Highways as of October 31, 2002". Retrieved 2006-11-07. 
  2. ^ "House Joint Resolution 67" (PDF). Retrieved 2011-02-01. 
  3. ^ Courier-Journal article dated 10/1/08[dead link]
  4. ^ Alcock, Andy (2010-04-29). "New I-264 Interchange Opens At Westport Road - Louisville News Story - WLKY Louisville". Archived from the original on 2011-09-28. Retrieved 2011-02-01. 
  5. ^ "Interstate 264 at Westport Road" (PDF). Retrieved 2011-02-01. [permanent dead link]
  6. ^ "KY 1447". 2010-03-31. Retrieved 2011-02-01. 
  7. ^ Business First (2008-09-22). "State to spend $47 million on I-264 at Westport Road interchange | Business First". Retrieved 2011-02-01. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Kleber, John E., et al. (editor) (2000). The Encyclopedia of Louisville. University Press of Kentucky. ISBN 0-8131-2100-0. 

External links[edit]

Route map: Google

KML is from Wikidata