Signs being installed to convert Natcher Parkway into I-165
By Wes Watt


Posted on March 6, 2019 1:55 PM



 

A project to officially change the designation of the William H. Natcher Parkway to an interstate spur begins today. Crews will install new interstate shield signs along 72 miles of the William H. Natcher Parkway to now read as Interstate 165.

Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin and U.S. Rep Brett Guthrie announced the initiative to designate the Natcher Parkway as an interstate spur at an event in Owensboro in August 2016. Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) Secretary Greg Thomas announced in September 2018 an agreement with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to officially designate the Natcher Parkway as I-165.

“The official designation and signing of the I-165 corridor is an exciting milestone for western Kentucky and the entire Commonwealth,” said Gov.  Bevin. “With direct interstate connectivity, communities all along this corridor are well positioned for economic development opportunities and sustained growth. In addition to being economically transformational for the region, the physical upgrades to the roadway will enhance the safety and overall commute for those traveling along I-165.”

The $1.5 million contract for the signing project was awarded to the George B Stone Company, LLC on Nov. 30, 2018. The contractor has been installing sign bases along the corridor for several weeks but the placing of the I-165 shield signs will begin today.

The signing changes are expected to begin in the northbound direction at the I-65 interchange in Bowling Green. Crews will head north along the route changing signs, exit numbers and mile markers from Bowling Green to Owensboro. Once the northbound direction is complete, crews will switch to the southbound side making the sign changes from Owensboro to Bowling Green. The entire process is expected to take up to two weeks, depending on the weather.

Motorists are advised to look for new exit numbers at 11 interchanges. A section of the Natcher Parkway will not be a part of the I-165 designation due to federal guidelines. This section runs from the I-65 interchange to U.S. 231 Scottsville Road in Bowling Green, and it will remain numbered as KY 9007. The Plano Road interchange will be renumbered to Exit 0.

“The Cabinet’s investment in the roadway upgrades and designation as an interstate will pay economic dividends for the region,” said Joe Plunk, Chief District Engineer for KYTC District 3. “Interstate 165 will add an essential link to Kentucky’s interstate system.”

While the designation of the Natcher Parkway to I-165 is in progress, there are outstanding upgrades to convert the Natcher Parkway. Completing the I-165 corridor requires reconstructing three cloverleaf interchanges designed to accommodate drivers who were slowing and stopping at toll plazas – as opposed to merging with or exiting from 70 mph interstate traffic. These projects include the interchange with KY 69 in Ohio County, the U.S. 231 interchange near Cromwell in Butler County, and the U.S. 231 interchange in Warren County.

There is a current project at the interchange with U.S. 31-W and at the interchange at U.S. 68 in Bowling Green to upgrade those areas to meet the federal guidelines for interstate standards. The work at those two interchanges extends the ramp tapers making it safer for motorists to exit on and off the interstate as well as upgrading the bridge walls and bridge decks.

In 1997, the Green River Parkway was renamed to honor Congressman William H. Natcher of Bowling Green, who was a staunch supporter of various highway projects within Kentucky and elsewhere in the country.

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.

 




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