William H. Natcher Parkway officially changing to I-165

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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) - The process to officially change the designation of William H. Natcher Parkway to an interstate spur, I-165, began Wednesday.

Crews will install new interstate shield signs along 72 miles of roadway from Bowling Green to Owensboro. The crews will change exit numbers and mile markers as well. The entire process is expected to take up to two weeks.

Gov. Matt Bevin and U.S. Rep Brett Guthrie announced the initiative in 2016.

“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 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.”

Drivers should look for new exit numbers at 11 interchanges. A section of the Natcher Parkway from the I-65 interchange to U.S. 231 Scottsville Road will not be a part of the I-165 designation due to federal guidelines. It will remain numbered as KY 9007. The Plano Road interchange will be renumbered to Exit 0.

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.

A project at the interchange with U.S. 31-W and at the interchange at U.S. 68 in Bowling Green will upgrade those areas to meet the federal guidelines for interstate standards by extending the ramp tapers making it safer for drivers to exit on and off the interstate as well as upgrading the bridge walls and bridge decks.