Kennedy Interchange, Louisville-Southern Indiana Ohio River Bridges

The Kennedy Interchange is an urban system-to-system interchange with intertwined local access, squeezed between the development of downtown Louisville and the Ohio River. It is the most complex and congested interchange system in Kentucky. Located at the confluence of I-64, I-71, and I-65, it serves over 250,000 vehicles each day.

Our firm was responsible for 25% of the design on the Downtown Crossing, Section 1 known as “Spaghetti Junction”. It is one of six sections associated with the ORB Design-Build project and consisted of a maze of structures and roadways that form the interchange for three interstates
(I-71, I-64, and I-65). Our obligation included the design, plan development, shop drawing review, and final plan submittal according to KYTC’s and the contractor’s (Walsh Construction) specifications and schedules.

Project involved:

  • Reconfiguring I-64, I-65, and I-71 movements to provide additional lanes for the new I-65 northbound Ohio River Bridge and reconfigured existing JFK Bridge.
  • Eliminating current traffic weaving movements from I-64 westbound and I-71 southbound to I-65 northbound and southbound.
  • Eliminating current traffic weaving movements from I-65 northbound and southbound to I-64 eastbound and I-71 northbound.
  • Introducing collector-distributor systems on I-65 between I-64 and the Liberty Street interchange.
  • Reconstructing bridges in the interchange.
  • Eliminating the weave with I-64 westbound traffic and Story Avenue entrance ramp movements to I-65.

Conceptual plans for the Kennedy Interchange included 41 permanent bridges consisting of permanent widening and new construction. Additionally, we recommended several temporary bridge widenings and one temporary bridge for maintenance of traffic. Reconstruction also required constructing approximately 1.2 miles of retaining walls.

Here is a short video that outlines the risks and challenges of the original design of the Kennedy Interchange




Local and State Governments


Jefferson County, Kentucky