Kentucky Route 255

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Kentucky Route 255

KY 255 highlighted in red
Route information
Maintained by KYTC
Length16.977 mi (27.322 km)
Major junctions
South end KY 252 near Rocky Hill
Major intersections US 68 / KY 80 at Bon Ayr
US 31W in Park City
I-65 at Park City
North end KY 70 in Mammoth Cave National Park.
CountryUnited States
CountiesBarren, Edmonson
Highway system
KY 254 KY 256

Kentucky Route 255 (KY 255) is a 16.977-mile-long (27.322 km) south-north state highway located in south central Kentucky. It provides access to Interstate 65 and Mammoth Cave National park to residents of southern Barren County.

Route description

Rocky Hill to Park City

KY 255 begins at a junction with KY 252 in Barren County, near the Rocky Hill community. The route is narrow and considerably curvy until coming to a junction with KY 1297 about 3.3 miles (5.3 km) later. After this junction, the route straightens somewhat, proceeding north for another 3.1 miles (5.0 km) before coming to an intersection with the cojoined US 68/KY 80 in the Bon Ayr community.

KY 255 widens somewhat past this point, continuing on for another mile before bridging the Louie B. Nunn Cumberland Parkway via way of an overpass. The route then proceeds north for 0.8 miles (1.3 km) before coming to an intersection with KY 1339.

KY 255 then continues north for 2.5 miles (4.0 km) before being carried onto a bridge over a CSX railroad track, the Louisville and Nashville Railroad before intersecting U.S. Route 31W. KY 255 previously passed the ruins of Bells Tavern, and then intersected US 31W (Second Street) after a railroad crossing until 2012, when it was re-routed to go over the tracks via a new bridge on the west side of town.[1] KY 255's concurrent run with US 31W lasts 0.16 miles (0.26 km), where KY 255 turns left onto Mammoth Cave Parkway. Its original concurrency with US 31W lasted for 0.2 miles (0.32 km).[2]

Mammoth Cave National Park and northwestern Barren County

Entrance of Mammoth Cave National Park at KY 255's northern terminus near the Sand Cave

After its brief concurrency with US 31W, KY 255 branches north, going 0.4 miles (0.64 km) before intersecting with Interstate 65 at its Exit 48 interchange. After this intersection, KY 255 continues in a northwesterly path and enters Mammoth Cave National Park, which is 0.4 miles (0.64 km) north of the Interstate. It proceeds north for another 0.9 miles, passing Diamond Caverns before entering the far eastern portion of Edmonson County and reaching its first intersection with KY 70 in the southern part of the park.[3] This was KY 255's original northern terminus from the 1930s until sometime in the mid 1970s. At that point KY 255 joins KY 70 by making a right turn eastward to re-enter Barren County. This concurrency lasts for 1.666 miles (2.681 km) before reaching an intersection in Highland Springs, where KY 255 turns left, while KY 70 turns right to head for Cave City. KY 255's current northern terminus is located near the Sand Cave Trail at another entry into the Mammoth Cave National Park. That point marks the end of state maintenance.[2] The road itself, however continues into the park solely as Cave City Road, and ends at another intersection with the Mammoth Cave Parkway just south of the park's visitor center. This road was part of the original KY 70 alignment within the park until it was rerouted to its current in-park alignment in the 1970s.[4][5][6]


The state route was established during the 1930s. it originally ran from Park City, following the Barren-Edmonson County line, and then eastward to end where the current eastern split of KY 255 and KY 70 is located.[4] In the 1950s, KY 255 designation was extended onto formerly locally maintained back roads from Park City southward to Bon Ayr (formerly Bonayer), and further south to KY 252 at Game, Kentucky (now Rocky Hill) just north of the then-impounded Barren River, which formed Barren River Lake sometime later. Ky 255 was also extended onto the old KY 70 alignment from the current KY255/70 split in Barren County to the southeast boundary of the Mammoth Cave park.[5]

Points of interest

The ruins of Bells Tavern are located alongside the original KY 255 alignment near the railroad tracks. Built in 1830, it was a favorite stop of wealthy patrons before it burned in 1860. A roadside marker marks the location of the tavern and details some of its history.[7]

Diamond Caverns, the second oldest cave tour operation in the United States, is located just off of KY 255, just north of its intersection with I-65. A roadside marker gives a history of the site.[8]

Major intersections

BarrenRocky Hill0.0000.000
KY 252 (Finney Road) to US 31E
Southern terminus
3.2985.308 KY 1297 (Old Bowling Green Road)
Bon Ayr6.32010.171 US 68 / KY 80 (Bowling Green Road) – Bowling Green, Glasgow
KY 1339 west (Apple Grove Road) – Rocky Hill, Barren County
Eastern terminus of KY 1339
Park City11.47318.464
US 31W south (Louisville Road) – Bowling Green
Western end of US 31W overlap
US 31W north (Second Street) – Cave City
Eastern end of US 31W overlap; Begin concurrency with the Mammoth Cave Parkway (MCP begins here)
I-65 north – Louisville
Exit 48 off I-65 NB and on-ramp to I-65 NB
I-65 south – Nashville
Exit 48 off I-65 SB and on-ramp to I-65 SB
EdmonsonMammoth Cave14.35223.097
KY 70 west (Mammoth Cave Parkway) – Brownsville, Mammoth Cave Tours/Visitor Center
End concurrency with the Mammoth Cave Parkway; western end of KY 70 overlap

KY 70 east (Mammoth Cave Road) to I-65 / KY 90 – Cave City, Glasgow
Eastern end of KY 70 overlap
Mammoth Cave16.97727.322Mammoth Cave National Park near Park Ridge Road
To Visitor Center
Northern terminus; end of state maintenance;
road continues as Cave City Road/East Entrance Road.
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi


  1. ^ DeLorme (2010). Kentucky Atlas and Gazetter. (Map, 4th Edition), page 65.
  2. ^ a b Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (1996) (PDF). Barren County Highway Map (Map). Retrieved October 7, 2014.
  3. ^ Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (1987) (PDF). Edmonson County Highway Map[permanent dead link]. Retrieved December 13, 2015. Editor's note: Local road list and mileage log included.
  4. ^ a b Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (1937). Barren County Road Map (Map) (PDF). Retrieved December 16, 2014.
  5. ^ a b Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (1955). "Barren County Highway Map" (Map) (PDF). Retrieved December 16, 2014.
  6. ^ Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (1958) (PDF). Edmonson County Highway Map (Map). Retrieved October 7, 2014.
  7. ^ "Bell's Tavern - Kentucky Historical Markers on".
  8. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-08-04. Retrieved 2009-04-22.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  9. ^ "Kentucky Transportation Cabinet - Division of Planning - Highway Information System Official Milepoint Route Log Extract". Retrieved 2015-03-21.

External links