Interesting Signs in Kentucky


Kentucky is inconsistent in its use of square and rectangular signs for routes with more than two digits. These signs show the use of 24x30 wide-format signs for three-digit state and US routes, and 24x24 square-format signs for the same routes just a few miles away. The sign on the left is in Magoffin County (Highway District 10) and the one on the right is in adjacent Floyd County (Highway District 12).

These photos show the use of both wide and narrow signs for three- and four-digit routes in Kentucky.


Both wide and square KY 191 signs on these two assemblies Left, the ramp at Exit 60 of the Mountain Parkway (Morgan County); right, the intersection of KY 191 and KY 203 at Hazel Green (Wolfe County.)

Both wide and square signs on the same assembly on KY 1659 (Franklin County).

Both wide and square US 127 and KY 227 signs. Left, KY 355; center and right, US 127 (Owen County).

These US 460 signs are located at the same intersection in Johnson County.


Kentucky is also inconsistent in the typeface it uses for signs.

Two different styles of type for the numbers on these two KY 1659 signs (KY 676 in Franklin County).


Three different fonts on three different KY 1923 signs at its intersection with KY 627 (Clark County).

Two different 9's in this sign. The first one has been pastd over some other number (Pike County).

Shield shapes are also inconsistently used.



Two different styles of shields on KY 189 at US 431 (Muhlenberg County).

Oddly-shaped US 60 sign (Daviess County).

A three-digit state route signed inside a true oval, as opposed to an ellipse. (Muhlenberg County.)

Elongated flat sides on the top and bottom of a wide shield, a sign style occasionally seen on four-digit state routes in District 12 (Letcher County).

Which way are we going? Sometimes it is possible to go both north and south, or east and west, at the same time.


US 127 and US 421 (Franklin County).

US 60, KY 53 and KY 55 (Shelby County).

US 62, US 641 and KY 93. (Lyon County)

US 421, KY 66 and KY 80 (Clay County).

US 68 and KY 36 (Nicholas County).

US 79 and US 431 (Logan County).

KY 7, KY 15 and KY 160 (Letcher County).

US 421 and KY 89 (Jackson County).

"Truck" or "Trucks?" Which should it be?

(Muhlenberg County)

(Hardin County)

Kentucky doesn't usually sign the ends of its highways, the way some other states (West Virginia, for example) do. There are, however, exceptions.

Daviess County.

Here's even a "Begin" sign to go along with an "End" sign. (Shelby County)

Clark County.

Jefferson County (one with the state name and one without).

Washington County, with an "End of State Maintenance" sign (which is actually quite common in Kentucky) thrown in for good measure.

Unusual signage for the end of US 119. (Bell County)

Sometimes, signage from other states will be posted on Kentucky highways.

The US 52 sign is of West Virginia origin, the others are Kentucky signs. (Pike County)

The Truck US 23 sign assembly is of Ohio origin, but Ohio's "North" plate has been replaced with one from Kentucky. (Greenup County)

These signs show the ODOT origin of the US 23 sign. US 52 never technically enters Kentucky, but the photo above shows a Kentucky-manufactured US 52. (Greenup County)

These signs are all of West Virginia origin, but are on Kentucky soil. The identifying marks are from the KY 292 and US 52 signs Those signs replaced those shown below, on which the KY 292 sign was of Kentucky origin but the others were made by West Virginia. (Pike County)

Most US 25E signage uses a full-height letter for the directional suffix. This one uses a half-height letter.


(Bell County)

US 31 enters Kentucky at Louisville, crossing the Ohio River from Indiana, and promptly splits into its east and west branches.

(Jefferson County)

There's redundant signage at the intersection of KY 341 and US 62-421 near Midway, as shown below.

Above are two shots showing a wide view of the intersection. Below are closeups of the sign assemblies which can be seen above.

(Woodford County)

Most guide signs in Kentucky don't use a black background for route shields. The overhead sign on KY 627 at I-64, shown below, is an exception.

(Clark County)

Need proof that Kentucky recycles its signs? The sign below has been a vertical sign, as you can tell by the light stripe down the middle where the post was once attached to it. The green box barely visible above the light strek and below the "N" in the word "Passing" is an old-style kentucky mile marker, which was often attached to the backs of signs.

(Clark County)

This old-style mile marker is on KY 388 in Richmond and is attached to a control box for a traffic signal.

(Madison County)

In some places where contractors install signs, some directional banners are beginning to show up that are as wide as the signs they are placed on top of. In the examples below, a wide "West" sign was accidentally placed atop a KY 40 sign.

(Johnson County)

(Madison County)

This blank sign was erected in anticipation of adding the letters "Left Lane Ends" when a widening project along I-75 was completed.

(Madison County)

This sign contains a brown background, rather than the typical green background, for its destinations. Brown is usually used for recreation or tourist destinations, but Lake Cumberland probably counts as one of those.

(Pulaski County).

Kentucky has the dubious distinction of being the state where the deadliest bus crash ever occurred. A church bus on its way back to Radcliff from Kings Island was struck by a drunk driver traveling north in the southbound lanes of I-71. The bus, an old school bus, caught fire when its gas tank ruptured. A sign on I-71 marks the spot of the accident.

(Carroll County)

Differences in the standard yellow sign color and the new flourescent yellow-green (or chartreuse, if you prefer) signs, which are supposed to be brighter and command more attention.

(Jefferson County)

One of the first chartreuse pedestrian crossing signs intalled in the state.

(Estill County)

Lots of jurisdictions like to erect signs saying "Speed Radar Controlled" when they really mean to say "Patrolled." In Ravenna, the speed limit isn't the only thing controlled by radar, as shown by these signs.

(Estill County)


There's some redundancy on this temporary detour signage (Wayne County).

Kentucky has one business interstate loop, for I-24 in Paducah. The rout e is now mostly signed with standard "Business Loop" markers, but originally the route was called "Downtown Loop" as this sign shows (McCracken County).

Some of Kentucky's green guide signs show some interesting shield shapes.

US routes signed as white-on-black Interstate shields (Muhlenberg County).

A "flat" elliptical Kentucky state route shield on I-64 (Franklin County).

Some interstate exits in Kentucky bear the same exit number as the route they are intersecting.

I-75 in Whitley County.

I-64 eastbound in Fayette County.

This series of photos depicts the self-destruction of a guide sign on westbound I-64 near Frankfort in the late winter and early spring of 2000.


There are two communities in Wolfe County called Flat and Mary. The road is known as Flat-Mary Road. The county street sign omits the hyphen and the state destination signs along KY 15 point to the communities. OK,we know where Flat Mary is, so where's Busty Mary?

Most business routes show that designation in the form of an auxiliary directional plate above the route marker. On these signs in Flemingsburg, though, the "Business" designation is inside the route marker shield, below the route number.

(Fleming County)

Kentucky, when signing old numbered highways, uses "Formerly" plates intead of "Old" markers. The green guide sign calls it "Old KY 172, though).

(Morgan County)

The Green River Parkway was renamed in honor of William Natcher, a congressman who had a long period of years in which he never missed a House of Representatives vote.

(Warren County)

What's up with these mileage signs on westbound I-64? How can you get only one mile closer to Grayson, but nine miles closer to Lexington?

Left, Boyd County, just west of the US 60 exit; right, Carter County, just west of the new KY 67 Industrial Parkway exit.

A few exit signs along I-265 in Jefferson County have the distances marked in kilometers as well as in miles.

After many years of not using the state name in interstate shields, Kentucky is returning to the practice. There are some assemblies containing signs of both types.

(Franklin County)

For inventory purposes, Kentucky places an "x" suffix on its business and bypass routes. For some reason, however, the "x" designation made it onto signs for Business US 31E at Mt. Washington, resulting in these odd US 31EX signs.


(Bullitt County)

Some of the older signs in District 11 have stencil marks through some of the numbers. This is best illustrated in the KY 1209 and KY 587 signs shown below.



(Actually in Lee County, but erected by District 11 personnel, which includes Jackson County; these signs are just a few hundred feet from the county line.)


(Bell County)

(Jackson County)

(Bell County)

(Knox County)

(Harlan County)

Unusual sign showing the configuration of an intersection on US 27.


(Bourbon County)

This sign, since removed, shows how the letters "BG" were painted over the letters "KB" on a Blue Grass Parkway sign on US 421 at KY 4 in Lexington. This provides evidence of what native Kentuckian Joe Reda once told me -- that the Blue Grass Parkway, when first opened, was called the Kentucky Bluegrass Parkway and the signs were changed shortly after it opened.

(Fayette County)

In some places, Kentucky uses a 24x30 sign where a 24x24 sign should be used.

This sign, at the westbound exit ramp from the Mountain Parkway at Exit 22, has the KY 213 sign inside a circle, which should fit on a 24x24 sign, but the circle is on a 24x30 blank, which is usually reserved for the ovals or ellipses used for three- or four-digit signs.

(Monroe County)

(Bell County)

(Meade County)

(Breckinridge County)

(Barren County)

A four-digit route with consecutive numbers.

(Marshall County)

Kentucky's highest-numbered signed route?

(Lyon County)

Most individual routes on one piece of pavement? Five numbered highways (US 23, US 119, US 460, KY 80 and KY 1426) share the road near Pikeville.

(Pike County)

Dyslexics might go crazy on US 127 south of Albany, when they encounter signs for these intersecting routes.


(Clinton County)

Most single-mile mileposts only have one digit, but these have a leading "0" along KY 461.

(Pulaski County)


Westbound Interstate 24's control city used to be St. Louis until it was changed to Paducah. However, at the highway's first exit in Kentucky after entering from Tennessee, St. Louis is still on the signs.

(Christian County)

With the exception of the signs above, St. Louis isn't used as a control city until the interstate gets to Paducah.

(McCracken County)


Kentucky uses two types of signs to announce a lowered speed limit.

(Henry County)

This sign was temporarily erected on I-64 to give directions to the Southern Association of State Highway Transportation Officials conference in Lexington in 1998. The day after the convention was over, the sign (and others like it) was taken down.

(Fayette County)

Will there only be one slow-moving truck on this hill?

(Rockcastle County)

Ever see an "Open" banner? Here's one on some temporary construction signage in Irvine.

(Estill County)

Notice something about this sign? It's off-center. The circle isn't placed squarely in the center of the square sign.

(Estill County)

This sign shows both US 79 and KY 79 on the same assembly.



(Logan County)

Unusual mounting of a directional arrow under the KY 595 sign to accurately reflect the configuration of the intersection.

(Madison County)

Kentucky still has some text-based exit signs on its interstates.

I-64 (Shelby County)


I-75 (Grant County)

Mountain Parkway (Wolfe County)

When is the water possibly in the roadway? Only when it rains?

Mountain Parkway (Powell County)

US 31W-US 60 (Jefferson County)

To see some interesting signs at Static, a town on the Kentucky-Tennessee border along US 127, click here.

Go back to the Interesting Signs page
Go back to the Millennium Highway home page

Copyright © 1998-2002, H.B. Elkins