What you need to know about Natcher Parkway becoming Interstate 165

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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) -- The process to officially change William H. Natcher Parkway to Interstate 165 began Wednesday.

Gov. Matt Bevin and Congressman Brett Guthrie announced the initiative in 2016.

"It's a big deal and a big undertaking to change a parkway over to an interstate," said Wes Watt with the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, District 3 in Bowling Green.

"A lot of people don't realize everything that has to be done, as well as the benefits to making that change," he added.

Watt said communities all along the approximately 70 mile stretch like Beaver Dam, Hartford, and Morgantown, are expected to directly reap the benefits, now being able to say they're right off an interstate.

"Economic development folks will tell you that being able to advertise being on an interstate is a big deal when it comes to attracting industry to their areas," he said.

There are also safety upgrades to get the road to interstate standards. Possibly, what's most noticeable to drivers right now, is the changing of signs and getting used to new exit numbers.

"There's going to be new exit numbers all along I-165 and some of those have already changed now," said Watt.

For example, the Morgantown Road exit used to be Exit 9, but it is now Exit 7, and the Russellville Road exit in Bowling Green was exit 7 on Natcher Parkway, but on I-165, it's now Exit 5.

Digital maps and GPS systems are also expected to change soon.

"We are working with Google and Waze and some other mapping software folks to get those changes done as quickly as possible," said Watt.

Transportation officials here on a local level say people have asked them about the name change to I-165, especially because it is so similar to I-65. They said they were not the ones who chose that name, that was done on a federal level.

Watt said all the I-165 shields will be up within the next week or two, depending on weather.

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