William H. Natcher Parkway

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Natcher Parkway

Natcher Parkway highlighted in red
Route information
Maintained by KYTC
Length72.263 mi[1][2] (116.296 km)
  • Completed in 1972
  • Re-designated as I-165 in from I-65 to US-60/US-231 in 2019; section from I-65 to US-231 designated as KY-9007
Major junctions
South end US 231 south of Bowling Green
Major intersections
North end US 60 / US 231 in Owensboro
CountryUnited States
CountiesWarren, Butler, Ohio, Daviess
Highway system

The William H. Natcher Green River Parkway was the designation for a 72.3-mile-long (116.4 km) freeway that ran from Bowling Green to Owensboro in the US commonwealth of Kentucky. The Natcher Parkway was one of nine highways that were a part of Kentucky's parkway system. The portion north of Interstate 65 (I-65) was signed as I-165, and the portion south of I-65 as Kentucky Route 9007 (KY 9007) on March 6, 2019.

Route description

The parkway began at an interchange with US Route 231 (US 231) south of I-65 (exit 20) near Bowling Green. It traveled along the west side of the city in a northwesterly direction, through rolling farmlands and near coal mines, for 72.3 miles (116.4 km) before meeting its northern terminus at an interchange with US 60 in Owensboro. At exit 43, the parkway intersected with the Wendell H. Ford Western Kentucky Parkway. The Natcher Parkway bypassed the cities of Morgantown, Beaver Dam and Hartford.[3] The parkway carried the unsigned designation of Kentucky Route 9007 (WN 9007).


I-65 at the William H. Natcher Parkway south of Bowling Green in 2007
The Natcher Parkway previously used a shield featuring the Kentucky State Capitol from its 1994 renaming until 2007.

Conceived as the "Owensboro–Bowling Green Parkway." it was instead named the Green River Parkway when it opened on December 15, 1972.[4] It was renamed William H. Natcher Parkway in 1994[5] following the death of William H. Natcher, a United States Congressman who represented the Second District of Kentucky for three decades.[6] Natcher is best known for his record-setting string of 18,401 roll call votes, even being wheeled in on a hospital gurney to vote shortly before his death.

Glen Lily overpass

In 1973, the Glen Lily Road (KY 2665) overpass over the parkway was awarded the title of "Most Beautiful Bridge" by the American Institute of Steel Construction in the Highway Grade Separation category.[7]

Additional interchange and name combinations

The first added interchange built for the Natcher Parkway was the KY 70 interchange (exit 27, later exit 29) near Morgantown. Constructed in the 1996-97 fiscal year, it was built to provide access to the city's industrial district. It was completed no later than the 1997-98 fiscal [8][9]

In 2006, the old and new names were combined into the current name, in order to be consistent with most of the state's other parkways, all of which (except for the Audubon Parkway) had their original names changed in the same manner to honor various Kentucky politicians. However, the newly designed marker signs that were installed on the Natcher Parkway in mid-2006 did not bear the words "Green River".

Toll removal

On November 21, 2006, toll plazas on the Natcher were removed. State law requires that toll collection cease when enough tolls are collected to pay off the parkway's construction bonds. The Natcher and the nearby Audubon Parkway, were the last two roads in the Kentucky parkway system to have their tolls removed.

Prior to the removal of the tolls, toll plazas were located at exit 7 (later exit 9) in Bowling Green, exit 34 (later exit 36) in Cromwell–Morgantown, and exit 48 (later exit 50) in Hartford. Motorists traveling between the I-65 exit and exit 7/9 in the Bowling Green area were not charged a toll.[10]

Natcher Parkway Extension

In November 2011, the Natcher was extended by an additional 2.1 miles (3.4 km) from I-65 southward to US 231 (Scottsville Road) on the south side of Bowling Green. This was done to provide some relief for traffic on Scottsville Road as that roadway is the busiest thoroughfare in the city.[11] The project also included a new interchange for KY 622 near Plano, at milepost one.

Interstate 66

The East–West Trans America Highway was proposed in the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 and was narrowed down to the I-66 Southern Kentucky Corridor in the National Highway System Designation Act of 1995:

In 1995, the National Highway System Designation Act amended Section 1105 (c) (3) of ISTEA and in Kentucky listed I-66 as centered on the cities of Pikeville, Jenkins, Hazard, London, Somerset, Columbia, Bowling Green, Hopkinsville, Benton and Paducah. The Southern Kentucky Corridor (I-66) would connect with the proposed King Coal Highway (also called I-73 / 74 North-South Corridor) in West Virginia as listed in Section 1105 (c) (5) in ISTEA (1991).

The preferred I-66 route followed US 68 between Bowling Green and Hopkinsville, however the I-66 spur along the Natcher Parkway eventually entered the highway plans. The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) finished its feasibility study of the I-66 project in 2005 and concluded that I-66 was not cost beneficial for the foreseeable future to justify its construction or any further study, thereby cancelling the state of Kentucky's participation in the I-66 project. The only remaining study of I-66 was conducted by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) under the 66 Corridor Study, a Tier 1 Environmental Impact Study. This study was cancelled August 6, 2015, by IDOT and subsequently the FHWA announced the cancellation of the Tier 1 Environmental Impact Study in the Federal Register, ending the last I-66 project and therefore officially cancelling the I-66 Trans America Highway.


The William H. Natcher Parkway designation was decommissioned in favor of a new Interstate Highway number along most of its length. I-165 is the designation north of I-65, while Kentucky Route 9007 (KY 9007) is the designation of the parkway south of it. In early 2016, funding was set aside to rebuild and restore sections of the parkway to Interstate Highway standards.[12] From July to August 2017, construction consisting of shoulder work, draining and repaving was completed. Additional work took place along the entirety of the parkway. In July 2018, major modernization upgrades began in the Warren County section, consisting of ramp extensions, guardrail replacement, LED lighting upgrades and bridge wall replacement. Traffic flow was restricted to one lane, wide loads were prohibited, and the speed limit set to 55 miles per hour (89 km/h). This work continued through the end of 2018. The US 231 interchange (exit 9) will be partially or completely revamped, and several interchange designs are being considered, including a dual-roundabout system. A new interchange will likely be constructed between the mile markers 3.4 and 4, allowing access to Elrod Road in Bowling Green.[13]

The presumed number for the parkway was I-565,[14] but on September 24, 2017, the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials' Special Committee on U.S. Route Numbering approved the Natcher Parkway as I-165 instead.[15]

On September 5, 2018, it was announced that the entire parkway would be signed with I-165 shields by the end of 2019, even before completion of the parkway's upgrades, thus officially bringing it to Interstate status.[16][17][18] After crews began posting the updated signage, the highway was officially designated I-165 on March 6, 2019.[16][19] In 2018, Representative Suzanne Miles of Owensboro introduced a bill that would have given the highway an honorary designation of "William H. Natcher Expressway", but the bill did not make it out of committee.[20]

Exit list

US 231 (Scottsville Road) to I-65 – Bowling Green, Scottsville
Southern terminus; at-grade intersection.
1.2712.0451 KY 622 – Bowling Green, PlanoSingle-point urban interchange.
Bowling Green2.0793.3462 I-65 – Louisville, Nashville (TN)I-65 exits 20A-B; signed as exits 2A (north) and 2B (south); cloverleaf interchange.
5.6519.0946 US 31W – Bowling Green, FranklinTo Western Kentucky University
7.04811.3437 US 68 / KY 80 – Bowling Green, Russellville
9.50115.2909 US 231 – Bowling Green, Morgantown

US 231 Truck / KY 79 Truck begin / US 231 / KY 79 – Morgantown
Southern end of US 231 Truck/KY 79 Truck concurrency

US 231 Truck / KY 79 Truck north / KY 70 (Veterans Way) – Morgantown, Rochester
Northern end of US 231 Truck/KY 79 Truck concurrency
35.92457.81436 US 231 – Cromwell, Morgantown
Ohio43.34969.76343 Western Kentucky Parkway – Elizabethtown, PaducahSigned as exits 43A (east) and 43B (west)
Hartford49.87580.26650 KY 69 – Beaver Dam, Hartford
US 60 (Wendell H. Ford Expressway) / US 231 to Audubon Parkway – Hawesville, Henderson, Owensboro
Northern terminus; US 60 exit 17; signed as exits 72A (east/north) and 72B (west/south); northbound only; to Ben Hawes Golf Course and Park; trumpet interchange.
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

See also


  1. ^ a b Division of Planning. "Official Milepoint Route Log Extract". Highway Information System. Kentucky Transportation Cabinet. Archived from the original on April 30, 2007. Retrieved April 8, 2007.
  2. ^ a b Division of Planning (n.d.). "Official Milepoint Route Log Extract (Warren County)". Highway Information System. Kentucky Transportation Cabinet. Retrieved May 7, 2020.
  3. ^ Rand McNally (2016). "Kentucky" (Map). The Road Atlas (2016 Walmart ed.). c. 1:1,900,800. Chicago: Rand McNally. p. 42. ISBN 0-528-00626-6.
  4. ^ "Fletcher visit may end of parkway toll booths". Ohio County Times-News. September 28, 2006. pp. 1A, 2A – via Google Books.
  5. ^ "Green River Parkway Undergoes Name Change". Grayson County News Gazette. July 9, 1994. p. 1 – via Google Books.
  6. ^ "Lost parkway could confuse some motorists". Park City Daily News. July 12, 1994. p. A1.
  7. ^ KentuckyRoads.com -- Glen Lily Overpass
  8. ^ Wilkerson, Brian (November 9, 1996). "Building a better Butler". Park City Daily News. p. 1 – via Google Books.
  9. ^ Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (1999). Kentucky Official Highway Map (PDF) (Map). Scale not given. Frankfort: Kentucky Transportation Cabinet. Parkways and Toll Rates table.
  10. ^ Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (1998). Kentucky Official Highway Map (PDF) (Map). Scale not given. Frankfort: Kentucky Transportation Cabinet. Parkways and Toll Rates table.
  11. ^ Jaggers, Kiersten (December 21, 2011). "Travel: Work at Scottsville Road Interchange at Interstate 65". Columbia Magazine. Retrieved February 24, 2017.
  12. ^ http://transportation.ky.gov/Program-Management/Documents/2016RecommendedProjectListing.pdf All articles with bare URLs for citations[bare URL PDF]
  13. ^ "Natcher Parkway Interchange at Elrod Road". Kentucky Transportation Cabinet. Retrieved November 10, 2017.
  14. ^ Kentucky's FY 2016 – FY 2022 Highway Plan 'Connections to the Future' June 2016 (PDF). Kentucky Transportation Cabinet. June 17, 2016. Retrieved March 13, 2019.
  15. ^ Special Committee on U.S. Route Numbering (September 24, 2017). "Special Committee on U.S. Route Numbering" (PDF) (Report). Washington, DC: American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials. Archived from the original (PDF) on June 3, 2019. Retrieved March 13, 2019.
  16. ^ a b Eggers, Caroline (February 19, 2019). "Federal restrictions avoided in Natcher's transition to I-165". Bowling Green Daily News. February 19, 2019.
  17. ^ Embry, John (September 6, 2018). "Deal reached on I-165 designation". Beech Tree News. Retrieved September 10, 2018.
  18. ^ Mason, Charles A. (June 26, 2016). "State Freight Plan puts Natcher interstate upgrade in pipeline". Bowling Green Daily News.
  19. ^ "William H. Natcher Parkway officially changing to I-165". WBKO. March 6, 2019. Retrieved March 8, 2019.
  20. ^ "18RS House Joint Resolution 146". Kentucky General Assembly. Kentucky Legislative Research Commission. 2018.

External links