Western Kentucky Parkway

Western Kentucky Parkway marker

Western Kentucky Parkway
Route information
Length: 136.796 mi[1] (220.152 km)
  • I-69 from Pennyrile Parkway to I-24
Major junctions
West end: I-24 / I-69 south near Eddyville
East end: US 31W / KY 61 in Elizabethtown
Counties: Lyon, Caldwell, Hopkins, Muhlenberg, Ohio, Butler, Grayson, Hardin
Highway system

The 136.796-mile (220.152 km) Wendell H. Ford Western Kentucky Parkway is a controlled-access highway running from Elizabethtown, Kentucky to near Eddyville, Kentucky. It intersects with Interstate 65 at its eastern terminus, and Interstate 24 at its western terminus. It is one of nine highways that are part of the Kentucky parkway system. The road was renamed for Wendell H. Ford, a former Kentucky governor and United States Senator, in 1998. Previously, it was simply the Western Kentucky Parkway, and often called the "WK Parkway" because of the abbreviation once used on its signs. The Western Kentucky Parkway carries the unsigned designation of Kentucky Route 9001 (WK 9001) for its entire length. The portion from I-24 to the Pennyrile Parkway also carries the signed designation of Interstate 69. The section signed as I-69, the parkway is signed as former.[2]

Route description

The parkway passes the cities of Clarkson, Leitchfield, Caneyville, Beaver Dam, Central City, Madisonville, Dawson Springs, Princeton, and Eddyville. At exit 77 near Beaver Dam, the parkway intersects with the William H. Natcher Parkway, which goes from Bowling Green to Owensboro. At exit 38 near Madisonville, the parkway intersects with the Edward T. Breathitt Pennyrile Parkway, which runs from Hopkinsville to Henderson.

The toll plazas were, from west to east:

A service area featuring a gas station and an Arby's restaurant is located in the median, just west of the interchange with the Natcher Parkway. It is the only such service area in the entire Kentucky parkway system. (Two other service areas were once located on the old Kentucky Turnpike, a toll road from Louisville to Elizabethtown that predated the parkway system and later became part of I-65; they were closed when toll collection ended and the turnpike was officially absorbed into the Interstate Highway system.)


The Western Kentucky Parkway's previous shield

The original segment of the parkway was envisioned as a 127-mile (204 km) toll road extending from Elizabethtown to Princeton. The bonds were issued in 1961 and construction wrapped up on the original 127.19 miles (204.69 km) in December 1963 at a cost of $108,548,062. In 1968, construction wrapped up on a 6.60-mile (10.62 km) extension of the Western Kentucky Parkway from Princeton to Interstate 24 in Eddyville coming in at a cost of $5,554,468. The extension was originally proposed to be 10.30 miles (16.58 km) but only 6.60 miles (10.62 km) were constructed, possibly due to a design realignment of Interstate 24 near Eddyville.[3]

The parkway was originally a toll road, as were all Kentucky parkways. State law requires that toll collection ceases when enough tolls are collected to pay off the parkway's construction bonds; that occurred in 1987. It is constructed similar to the Interstate Highway system, though sections do not measure up to current Interstate standards. [4]

Interstate 69

On May 15, 2006, the section between the Breathitt (Pennyrile) Parkway at Madisonville and Interstate 24 became part of future Interstate 69; crews installed "Future I-69 Corridor" signs along this segment during the last week of May 2006.

From the Pennyrile Parkway in Madisonville to Interstate 24, the Western Kentucky Parkway officially became part of Interstate 69 with the signing of federal highway legislation (see below) on June 6, 2008. To reflect this decision, Kentucky transportation officials have erected "Future I-69" signs between I-24 and the Pennyrile Parkway. Because Kentucky is using an existing expressway for I-69, highway officials avoided years of costly environmental studies required by other states because the upgrades are being performed within the footprint of the existing highway.

On May 2, 2008 the House of Representatives passed HR 1195 (SAFETEA-LU Technical Corrections Act of 2008) which designates the Pennyrile Parkway from Henderson to Madisonville, and the Western Kentucky Parkway from Madisonville to I-24 at Eddyville as I-69. It further designates the Audubon Parkway as a future spur (I-X69) of I-69 once necessary upgrades are completed. President George W. Bush signed the bill on June 6, 2008.[5][6][7][8]

In September 2011, Governor Steve Beshear announced an agreement with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), officially designating this section as I-69, effective September 30, 2011. The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet unveiled I-69 signs along the route on October 25, 2011.[9]

Western Kentucky Parkway co-signed with I-69 near Dawson Springs, KY

Signage and mile markers were replaced on the 38-mile (61 km) stretch of the Western Kentucky Parkway in mid-December 2012.[10]

In a project that began in 2014 and ended in late 2015, the interchange between the Western Kentucky Parkway and the Pennyrile Parkway was extensively modified. The project involved building a new curve in the northwest quadrant (for the eastbound-to-northbound and southbound-to-westbound maneuvers) to satisfy I-69's transfer between the Western Kentucky and the Pennyrile Parkways. Previously, I-69 through traffic had to exit through a tight, substandard cloverleaf interchange.

Exit list

According to the 2012 State Highway Map issued by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, exits between I-24 and the Pennyrile Parkway have been renumbered to correspond with the mileage of I-69 through the state.[11]

CountyLocationmi[1]kmOld exitNew exitDestinationsNotes
LyonEddyville0.0000.000068 I-24 / I-69 south to Purchase Parkway Paducah, NashvilleWestbound exit and eastbound entrance; signed as exit 68 (old 0A) (east); no exit number to 24 west (old 0B); west end of I-69 overlap; I-24 exit 42
3.7025.958471 US 62 EddyvilleServes Mineral Mound State Park
CaldwellPrinceton11.70018.8291279 KY 91 / KY 139 Marion, PrincetonServes Lake Barkley State Resort Park
13.11621.1081381 KY 293 Providence, Princeton
HopkinsDawson Springs24.43539.3242492 KY 109 Dawson Springs, ProvidenceServes Pennyrile Forest State Resort Park
Nortonville38.31161.65638106 I-69 north / Pennyrile Parkway Hopkinsville, MadisonvilleSigned as exits 38A (106A) (south) and 38B (106B) (east/north); east end of I-69 overlap
Muhlenberg48.04977.32748 KY 175 (Cemetery Road)
Powderly52.51884.52053 KY 181 Sacramento, GreenvilleServes Lake Malone State Park
Central City57.94793.25758 US 431 / KY 70 Drakesboro, Central CityServes Lake Malone State Park
OhioBeaver Dam74.564119.99975 US 231 Beaver Dam, Morgantown
76.757123.52877 Natcher Parkway Bowling Green, OwensboroSigned as exits 77A (south) and 77B (north)
GraysonCaneyville94.225151.64094 KY 79 Caneyville, MorgantownServes Rough River Dam State Resort Park
Leitchfield106.965172.143107 KY 259 Leitchfield, Brownsville
Clarkson111.875180.045112 KY 224 Clarkson, Millerstown
Hardin123.474198.712124 KY 84 Eastview, White Mills
Elizabethtown133214133 KY 3005 (Ring Road) Elizabethtown, Fort Knox
US 31W Byp. north Fort Knox
West end of US 31W Byp. concurrency
136.545219.748137 I-65 to Bluegrass Parkway Nashville, Lexington, LouisvilleI-65 exit 91; signed as exits 137A (south) and 137B (north).
US 31W / US 31W Byp. south / KY 61 Elizabethtown, Hodgenville
East end of US 31W Byp. concurrency; at-grade intersection
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi


  1. 1 2 Division of Planning. "Highway Information System Official Milepoint Route Log Extract". Kentucky Transportation Cabinet. Retrieved April 8, 2007.
  2. Richardson, Kerri & Sebastian, Terry. "Governor Beshear Announces Approval of Historic I-69 Agreement" (Press release). Office of the Governor. Archived from the original on October 1, 2011. Retrieved September 24, 2011.
  3. Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (1965). Kentucky Official Highway Map (PDF) (Map). Frankfort: Kentucky Transportation Cabinet. Retrieved December 15, 2015.
  4. State-wide Highway Planning Survey (1988). Kentucky Official Highway Map (PDF) (Map). Franfort: Kentucky State Highway Department. Retrieved July 22, 2014.
  5. HR 1195 Text
  6. "KY I-69 Designation Cruises Through Congress" (Press release). Office of Representative Whitfield. May 4, 2008.
  7. Interstate 69 Legislation, Tristate Homepage.com
  8. "President Bush Signs HR 1195" (Press release). The White House. June 6, 2008.
  9. Stinnett, Chuck (October 25, 2011). "Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear Unveils I-69 Signs". Henderson Gleaner. Retrieved October 26, 2011.
  10. Todd, Keith (December 15, 2012). "I-69 is Official with New Signs and Mile Points in Lyon, Hopkins & Trigg Counties". SurfKY News. Retrieved December 30, 2012.
  11. Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (2012). Official Highway Map (Map). Frankfort: Kentucky Transportation Cabinet.

Route map: Bing / Google

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