The Shawnee Expressway is the local name for I-264 west of US 31W. It runs north/south through the west side of the city. The expressway was named because it runs directly through the Shawnee neighborhood of Louisville, and near Shawnee Park. The 8-mile freeway opened in 1970, and for its first 22 years it received no more than emergency repairs or patching. The freeway runs through poorer areas of Louisville with high minority populations. Complaints were leveled at the state which insinuated that the road was not upgraded because it ran through a poorer part of the city, while almost every other expressway in town was rebuilt. In March 2003, a $66 million renovation began which involved adding lanes, rebuilding all of the concrete, and rebuilding or replacing 37 bridges. The rebuild connected with the newly rebuilt portion of the Watterson Expressway east of Dixie Highway, which was completed in 1995. The rebuilt expressway opened in August 2004. Currently, the expressway sees about 110,000 vehicles daily.
The Henry Watterson Expressway is the local name for I-264 from the Dixie Highway on the southwest side of town and around the city to the south and east to I-71 on the northeast side of town. The road was named for Henry Watterson, a journalist and later the editor of the local newspaper. The road is the oldest expressway in the city, and began with a 1941 planning document describing the need for a bypass around the southern end of the city. World War 2 delayed the opening, but in 1948 the expressway opened from the Dixie Highway to the Shelbyville Road on the southeast side of the city. It was advanced for its day, and engineers from cities like Dallas and Seattle came to see the road. Industry soon moved out to meet the road, the GE plant opened in 1953 and Ford Motor moved its local plant out in 1955. Suburbs moved out to meet the Watterson, too, and during the mid 50s over 500 new subdivisions opened along the route.
In 1974, the Watterson Expressway was extended northward to near the river and I-71. By that time, the older portion of the road was already very outdated. Work began in 1984 for a $100 million rebuild of the expressway. The roadwork realigned almost every interchange and widened the road. Reconstruction was complete in 1995.