InterestingSigns in Kentucky


Kentucky is inconsistent inits use of square and rectangular signs for routes with more than twodigits. These signs show the use of 24x30 wide-format signs forthree-digit state and US routes, and 24x24 square-format signs forthe same routes just a few miles away. The sign on the left is inMagoffin County (Highway District 10) and the one on the right is inadjacent Floyd County (Highway District 12).

These photos show the use ofboth wide and narrow signs for three- and four-digit routes inKentucky.


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

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

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

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


Kentucky is also inconsistentin the typeface it uses for signs.

Two different styles of typefor the numbers on these two KY 1659 signs (KY 676 in FranklinCounty).


Three different fonts onthree different KY 1923 signs at its intersection with KY 627 (ClarkCounty).

Two different 9's in thissign. The first one has been pastd over some other number (PikeCounty).

Shield shapes are alsoinconsistently used.



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

Oddly-shaped US 60 sign(Daviess County).

A three-digit state routesigned inside a true oval, as opposed to an ellipse. (MuhlenbergCounty.)

Elongated flat sides on thetop and bottom of a wide shield, a sign style occasionally seen onfour-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 andwest, at the same time.


US 127 and US 421 (FranklinCounty).

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 (ClayCounty).

US 68 and KY 36 (NicholasCounty).

US 79 and US 431 (LoganCounty).

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

US 421 and KY 89 (JacksonCounty).

"Truck" or "Trucks?" Whichshould it be?


(Hardin County)

Kentucky doesn't usually signthe 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 togo along with an "End" sign. (Shelby County)

Clark County.

Jefferson County (one withthe state name and one without).

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

Unusual signage for the endof US 119. (Bell County)

Sometimes, signage from otherstates will be posted on Kentucky highways.

The US 52 sign is of WestVirginia origin, the others are Kentucky signs. (PikeCounty)

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

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

These signs are all of WestVirginia origin, but are on Kentucky soil. The identifying marks arefrom the KY 292 and US 52 signs Those signs replaced those shownbelow, on which the KY 292 sign was of Kentucky origin but the otherswere made by West Virginia. (Pike County)

Most US 25E signage uses afull-height letter for the directional suffix. This one uses ahalf-height letter.


(Bell County)

US 31 enters Kentucky atLouisville, crossing the Ohio River from Indiana, and promptly splitsinto its east and west branches.

(Jefferson County)

There's redundant signage atthe intersection of KY 341 and US 62-421 near Midway, as shownbelow.

Above are two shots showing awide view of the intersection. Below are closeups of the signassemblies which can be seen above.

(Woodford County)

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

(Clark County)

Need proof that Kentuckyrecycles its signs? The sign below has been a vertical sign, as youcan tell by the light stripe down the middle where the post was onceattached to it. The green box barely visible above the light strekand below the "N" in the word "Passing" is an old-style kentucky milemarker, which was often attached to the backs of signs.

(Clark County)

This old-style mile marker ison KY 388 in Richmond and is attached to a control box for a trafficsignal.

(Madison County)

In some places wherecontractors install signs, some directional banners are beginning toshow up that are as wide as the signs they are placed on top of. Inthe examples below, a wide "West" sign was accidentally placed atop aKY 40 sign.

(Johnson County)

(Madison County)

This blank sign was erectedin anticipation of adding the letters "Left Lane Ends" when awidening project along I-75 was completed.

(Madison County)

This sign contains a brownbackground, rather than the typical green background, for itsdestinations. Brown is usually used for recreation or touristdestinations, but Lake Cumberland probably counts as one ofthose.

(Pulaski County).

Kentucky has the dubiousdistinction of being the state where the deadliest bus crash everoccurred. A church bus on its way back to Radcliff from Kings Islandwas struck by a drunk driver traveling north in the southbound lanesof I-71. The bus, an old school bus, caught fire when its gas tankruptured. A sign on I-71 marks the spot of the accident.

(Carroll County)

Differences in the standardyellow sign color and the new flourescent yellow-green (orchartreuse, if you prefer) signs, which are supposed to be brighterand command more attention.

(Jefferson County)

One of the first chartreusepedestrian crossing signs intalled in the state.

(Estill County)

Lots of jurisdictions like toerect signs saying "Speed Radar Controlled" when they really mean tosay "Patrolled." In Ravenna, the speed limit isn't the only thingcontrolled by radar, as shown by these signs.

(Estill County)


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

Kentucky has one businessinterstate loop, for I-24 in Paducah. The rout e is now mostly signedwith standard "Business Loop" markers, but originally the route wascalled "Downtown Loop" as this sign shows (McCrackenCounty).

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

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

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

Some interstate exits inKentucky bear the same exit number as the route they areintersecting.

I-75 in WhitleyCounty.

I-64 eastbound in FayetteCounty.

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


There are two communities inWolfe County called Flat and Mary. The road is known as Flat-MaryRoad. The county street sign omits the hyphen and the statedestination signs along KY 15 point to the communities. OK,we knowwhere Flat Mary is, so where's Busty Mary?

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

(Fleming County)

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

(Morgan County)

The Green River Parkway wasrenamed in honor of William Natcher, a congressman who had a longperiod of years in which he never missed a House of Representativesvote.

(Warren County)

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

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

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

After many years of not usingthe state name in interstate shields, Kentucky is returning to thepractice. There are some assemblies containing signs of bothtypes.

(Franklin County)

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


(Bullitt County)

Some of the older signs inDistrict 11 have stencil marks through some of the numbers. This isbest illustrated in the KY 1209 and KY 587 signs shownbelow.



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


(Bell County)

(Jackson County)

(Bell County)

(Knox County)

(Harlan County)

Unusual sign showing theconfiguration of an intersection on US 27.


(Bourbon County)

This sign, since removed,shows how the letters "BG" were painted over the letters "KB" on aBlue Grass Parkway sign on US 421 at KY 4 in Lexington. This providesevidence of what native Kentuckian Joe Reda once told me -- that theBlue Grass Parkway, when first opened, was called the KentuckyBluegrass Parkway and the signs were changed shortly after itopened.

(Fayette County)

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

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

(Monroe County)

(Bell County)

(Meade County)


(Barren County)

A four-digit route withconsecutive numbers.

(Marshall County)

Kentucky's highest-numberedsigned route?

(Lyon County)

Most individual routes on onepiece of pavement? Five numbered highways (US 23, US 119, US 460, KY80 and KY 1426) share the road near Pikeville.

(Pike County)

Dyslexics might go crazy onUS 127 south of Albany, when they encounter signs for theseintersecting routes.


(Clinton County)

Most single-mile milepostsonly have one digit, but these have a leading "0" along KY461.

(Pulaski County)


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

(Christian County)

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

(McCracken County)


Kentucky uses two types ofsigns to announce a lowered speed limit.

(Henry County)

This sign was temporarilyerected on I-64 to give directions to the Southern Association ofState Highway Transportation Officials conference in Lexington in1998. The day after the convention was over, the sign (and otherslike it) was taken down.

(Fayette County)

Will there only be oneslow-moving truck on this hill?


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

(Estill County)

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

(Estill County)

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



(Logan County)

Unusual mounting of adirectional arrow under the KY 595 sign to accurately reflect theconfiguration of the intersection.

(Madison County)

Kentucky still has sometext-based exit signs on its interstates.

I-64 (ShelbyCounty)


I-75 (GrantCounty)

Mountain Parkway (WolfeCounty)

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

Mountain Parkway (PowellCounty)

US 31W-US 60 (JeffersonCounty)

To see some interesting signsat Static, a town on the Kentucky-Tennessee border along US 127,clickhere.

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Copyright© 1998-2002, H.B. Elkins