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Transportation in Kentucky

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TransportationThe Kentucky Transportation Cabinet is efficiently working to offer a convenient, effective and safe multimodal transportation network and also to provide easy connectivity of people and goods to many destinations and markets across Kentucky and worldwide. The Cabinet manages and maintains numerous lane-miles of roadways, bridges, tunnels, rails and also responsible for air and water quality, communities and roadsides cleanliness.

The Cabinet looks after over 27,000 miles of highways and additionally administers the operation for 230 licensed airports and heliports. The Cabinet overviews driver's licensure and all motor vehicle licensing procedures in the Commonwealth.

Road Transportation in Kentucky

The road transportation in Kentucky comprises of several interstate highways, state routes, bridges and tunnels. The Cabinet is determined to ensure safe, convenient and excellent transportation and also to provide easy connectivity to various cities and states.


The Commonwealth has 6 major interstate highways; 4 bypasses and spurs (I-265, I-264, I-471 and I-275); and 9 parkways.

The 6major interstate highways are-

  • Interstate 24: I-24 links Paducah to Oak Grove

  • Interstate 64: I-64 route links through the major towns and cities of Frankfort, Louisville, Ashland and Lexington

  • Interstate 65: I-65 passes in the state from south of Franklin and links the major cities of Elizabethtown, Bowling Green and Louisville before leaving the state

  • Interstate 69: I-69 forms an overlapping route with I-24 from Calvert City to Eddyville and also overlaps with the Western Kentucky Parkway from Eddyville to the Pennyrile Parkway at Nortonville

  • Interstate 71: The southern terminus of I-71 runs in Louisville, Kentucky at an interchange with I-64 and I-65

  • Interstate 75: I-75 route passes from near Williamsburg to Covington across Lexington.

The 2 main road tunnels are-

The interstate Cumberland Gap Tunnel

The Cumberland Gap Tunnel is among the only 2 mountain vehicular tunnels in the nation that passes through a state line. The tunnel lies beneath Cumberland Gap National Historical Park around the Kentucky, Virginia and Tennessee intersection and the U.S route 25E is carried by the tunnel. The tunnel’s eastern terminus lies in Tennessee and the western end is in Kentucky.

The tunnels are made up of two tubes, each carrying two lanes of traffic. Each portal of the tunnel is provided with an "illumination zone" for drivers to adjust their visions in the tunnels' dimmer lighting. The tunnel's speed limit is set to 45 mph (70 km/h) and prohibits any lane changes. The tunnels prohibit the entry of trucks loaded with Class 1 hazardous cargo.

The rural Nada Tunnel

Nada Tunnel lies in Powell County along Kentucky Route 77. The Nada Tunnel was used as a railway tunnel before but at present, the tunnel is famously referred as the "Gateway to Red River Gorge" because the tunnel offers a shortcut route for motorists to reach the Red River Gorge canyons of the Daniel Boone National Forest. The tunnel is owned by Dana Lumber Company.

Some of the notable programs implemented by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet are-


The Adopt-A-Highway-Program provides a great opportunity for individuals, organizations, schools or businesses to help maintain cleanliness of all roads within the State Highway System and also plant trees or wildflowers, and helps remove graffiti, to make roads more appealing. All volunteers must be at least 12 years old and those above 18 years must be under proper adult supervision. The program is a successful government-public partnership program and various schools, social groups, business entities and religious groups actively adopt and participate in the program. The program helps to keeps the state clean by effectively reminding people not to litter, and also assist in saving taxpayers’ money.

Contact Details:
Adopt-a-Highway Program
Kentucky Transportation Cabinet
200 Mero Street
Frankfort, KY 40622
Phone: (502) 564-3419


Bike Walk

The Bike Walk program is focused to elevate bicycling in the state as it is an energy-efficient, healthy and non-polluting transportation alternative.

Program Contact Details:
Lynn J. Soporowski, P.E.
Branch Manager
Division of Planning
Phone: 502-782-5083
E-mail: Lynn.Soporowski@ky.gov

Kentucky Engineering Exposure Network

The Kentucky Engineering Exposure Network (KEEN) is a program initiated and implemented by Kentucky Transportation Cabinet Program to educate the kids of the state about engineering. KEEN offers a platform for the local schools and Cabinet to join hands and allowing the expert engineers to teach and interact with students in their regions.

Contact Details:
Kentucky Transportation Cabinet
200 Mero Street
Frankfort, KY 40601
Phone: (502) 564-4890

Scenic Byways and Highways

A route is designated a scenic byway or highway as the route's roadsides and view sheds offer scenic views, archaeological, natural, historical, cultural, or recreational values while passing through it.

View the list of Kentucky's Scenic Byways and Highways

Contact Details:
Office of Local Programs
Scenic Byways
200 Mero Street, 6th Floor East
Frankfort, KY 40622
Phone: (502) 564-2060
Fax: (502) 564-6615

Greyhound bus service is the main bus service provider in Kentucky that provides connectivity to all major cities in the state.

Learn more: Greyhound

Greyhound Lines, Inc.
P.O. Box 660691, MS 470
Dallas, TX 75266-0691

Customer Assistance: 214-849-8966
7:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m., Central time zone, Monday through Friday

Fare and schedule information
01-800-710-8819 (Mexico)

Rail Transportation in Kentucky

The rail transportation is also one of the main transportation modes in Kentucky that serves people from all walks of life and also important for cargo transfer. The Commonwealth encompasses many miles of railways and more than half of these are operated by CSX Transportation, which is a Class I railroad in the U.S. The main passenger rail service in the state is provided by Amtrak.


The stations served by Amtrak in Kentucky are-

  • Ashland, KY (AKY)
  • Fulton, KY (FTN)
  • Maysville, KY (MAY)
  • South Shore, KY - South Portmouth (SPM)

The trains that offer Amtrak services in Kentucky are -

  • The Cardinal: It provides Amtrak services to Ashland, Maysville, South Shore, South Portsmouth and Northern Kentucky.

  • The City of New Orleans: It provides services to Fulton.

Get complete information on Amtrak’s fare, schedule and routes

The Kentucky Railway Museum is a not-for-profit railroad museum which is opened to the public to educate the people about the history and heritage of the state's railroads and also to learn more about those people who had worked hard to build them. The museum is located in New Haven.

Contact Kentucky Railway Museum
136 S. MAIN ST.
P.O. BOX 240
Website: http://www.kyrail.org/

Air Transportation in Kentucky

Air transport is an essential gateway of Kentucky that serves the locals and tourists from all over the world. It is the major mode that offers all round efficient and easy connectivity. The Federal Aviation Administration authorizes and oversees all flight operations in Kentucky.


Kentucky’s Commercial Primary Airports –

  • Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport
  • Blue Grass Airport
  • Louisville International Airport (Standiford Field)
  • Owensboro-Daviess County Regional Airport
  • Barkley Regional Airport
  • Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport

Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport

Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG) is a public international airport that offer its services to the Greater Cincinnati metropolitan area. The airport is owned and operated by Kenton County Airport Board.

The top domestic destinations CVG serve are-

  • Atlanta, GA by Delta, Frontier
  • Chicago, IL (ORD) by American, Delta, United
  • Charlotte, NC by Delta, US Airways
  • Dallas/Fort Worth, TX by American, Delta, Frontier
  • Denver, CO by Delta, Frontier, United
  • Philadelphia, PA by Delta, US Airways
  • Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN by Delta
  • Orlando, FL by Delta, Frontier
  • Washington, DC by Delta, US Airways
  • Detroit, MI by Delta

The major international routes from CVG include-

  • Paris, France by Delta
  • Toronto, Canada by Air Canada, Delta
  • Cancun, Mexico by Delta, Frontier, Vacation Express
  • Punta Cana, Dominican Republic by Delta, Frontier, Vacation Express

Contact Details:
2939 Terminal Drive
Hebron, KY 41048
Website: http://www.cvgairport.com/

Louisville International Airport

Louisville International Airport (SDF) is used for both public and military purposes. SDF handles several international cargo flights, but at present does not offer any regularly-scheduled international passenger flights.

The airlines that offer scheduled passenger services to and from SDF are-

  • American Airlines connects to Dallas/Fort Worth
  • American Eagle connects to Chicago-O'Hare, Dallas/Fort Worth, Miami, New York-LaGuardia (ends March 28, 2015)
  • Delta Air Lines connects to Atlanta
  • Delta Connection connects to Atlanta, Detroit, Minneapolis/St. Paul, New York-LaGuardia
  • Seasonal: Orlando
  • Southwest Airlines connects to Baltimore, Chicago-Midway, Denver, Las Vegas, Orlando, Phoenix, Tampa
  • United Express connects to Chicago-O'Hare, Denver, Houston-Intercontinental, Newark, Washington-Dulles
  • US Airways Express connects to Charlotte, Philadelphia, Washington-National

Contact Details: airports
Louisville Regional Airport Authority
700 Administration Drive
Louisville, KY 40209
Phone: (502) 368-6524
Fax: (502) 367-0199
Website: http://www.flylouisville.com/

Blue Grass Airport

Blue Grass Airport (LEX) is an airport of public use and is owned and operated by Public Lexington-Fayette Urban County Airport Board.

The major airlines that operate to and from LEX and the destinations they serve -

  • Allegiant Air serving Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers/Punta Gorda, Orlando/Sanford, St. Petersburg/Clearwater
  • Seasonal: Myrtle Beach
  • American Eagle serving Chicago-O'Hare, Dallas/Fort Worth
  • Delta Air Lines serving Atlanta
  • Seasonal Detroit
  • Delta Connection serving Atlanta, Detroit, New York-LaGuardia, Washington-National
  • Seasonal: Minneapolis/St. Paul
  • United Express serving Chicago-O'Hare, Houston-Intercontinental
  • US Airways Express serving Charlotte, Philadelphia

Owensboro–Daviess County Airport

Owensboro–Daviess County Airport (OWB) is a public airport owned by Owensboro City & Daviess County.

The 2 major airline that operate to and from OWB and the main destinations they serve are-

  • Allegiant air serving Orlando/Sanford
  • Cape Air serving St. Louis

Contact Details:
2200 Airport Road
Owensboro, KY 42301
(270) 685-4179
Website: http://owb.net/

Barkley Regional Airport

Barkley Regional Airport (PAH) is a general aviation airport that is located in McCracken County. The Barkley Regional Airport Authority owns the airport. The airline, United Express operates to and from PAH and connects to Chicago-O'Hare.

Contact Details:
Barkley Regional Airport
2901 Fisher Road, West Paducah, KY 42086
Phone: (270) 744-0521
Website: http://www.barkleyregional.com/

Water Transportation in Kentucky

Water Transportation in Kentucky has always been a major transportation system that plays a very vital role in the state’s economy. It serves the people as an enjoyable mode of transportation with many scenic sites to explore along the way. Additionally, Kentucky’s water transportation is a major mode for freight movement to various cities, states and worldwide through the numerous seaports of the state.
Some of the major seaports in and around Kentucky are-

  • Port of Huntington-Tristate (including Ashland, KY)
  • Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky
  • Louisville-Southern Indiana

Kentucky Association of Riverports

The Kentucky Association of Riverports (KAR) operates to overview the entire water transportation system and waterborne transportation industry. The association handles freight needs and movement across the state and beyond. At present KAR encompasses 7 public operating ports.

Learn more: Kentucky Association of Riverports

Operational Ports under Kentucky Association of Riverports:

Hickman-Fulton County Riverport Authority

P.O. Box 6
625 Catlett Street
Hickman, KY 42050
Phone (270) 236-2563
Fax (270) 236-2222
Greg Curlin - Port Director

Paducah - McCracken County Riverport Authority

P.O. Box 2302
2000 Wayne Sullivan Drive
Paducah, KY 42002
Phone (270) 442-9326
Fax (270) 442-0598
Ken Canter - Port Director

Henderson County Riverport Authority

6200 Riverport Road
Henderson, KY 42420
Phone (270) 826-1636
Fax (270) 827-4523
Greg Pritchett - Port Director

Owensboro Riverport

P.O. Box 21955
1771 River Road
Owensboro, KY 42304-1955
Phone (270) 926-4238 ext. 201
Direct (270) 663-4034
Fax (270) 683-3711
Brian Wright – President/CEO

Louisville-Jefferson Riverport International

P.O. Box 58010
6900 Riverport Drive
Louisville, KY 40258
Phone (502) 935-6024
Fax (502) 935-6050
Larry McFall – President

Marshall County-Calvert City Riverport Authority

Benton, KY 42025
Phone (270) 493-1958
Josh Tubbs - Marshall County Economic Development
Eddyville Riverport and Industrial Development Authority

978 Port Authority Road
Eddyville, KY 42038
Phone (270) 388-9671
Jay Hunt - Port Director
Developing Ports:

Maysville-Mason County Port Authority

119 Sutton Street
Maysville, KY 41056
Phone (606) 564-6706
James "Buddy" Gallenstein - Judge/Executive
Judy Birt - Buffalo Trace ADD
Phone (606) 564-6894
Fax (606) 564-0955

Meade County Riverport

c/o Don Bewley
4350 New Salem Church Road
Vine Grove, KY 40175
Phone (502) 261-9398
Fax (502) 261-9374
Don Bewley - Board Chairman

Northern Kentucky Port Authority

300 Buttermilk Pike
Suite 332
Ft. Mitchell, KY 41017
Roger Peterman - Board Chairman
(859) 344-0040

Wickliffe - Ballard County Port Authority

437 Ohio Street
P.O, Box 276
Wickliffe, KY 42087
Vickie Viniard
Phone (270) 335-5176
Herb Vance
Phone (270) 335-3557

Greenup-Boyd County Riverport Authority

2800 Louisa Street
P.O. Box 423
Catlettsburg, KY 41129
Nickie Smith - Boyd County Fiscal Court
Phone (606) 739-0010
Fax (606) 739-5446
Doug Collins - Greenup County Fiscal Court
Phone (606) 473-6440

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