A scenic byway is considered to have roadsides or viewsheds with scenic, natural, cultural, historical, archaeological, and/or recreational value worthy of preservation, restoration, protection, and enhancement. Scenic highways are roads which meet the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) guidelines for highways and are state maintained as part of the state Primary Road System. The Office of Local Programs coordinates the designation of roads as state Scenic Byways, or Highways.
When the KYTC places a route on the Kentucky Scenic Byways and Highways network, the Cabinet is only designating the actual roadway and the associated declared right-of-way. Designation as a scenic route will not affect the level of maintenance or the agency responsible for maintenance. The ongoing responsibility and concern shall be to ensure safety and travel service on the road.
Designation of a route as a Scenic Byway or Highway shall in no way be construed as prohibiting the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) from making transportation-Related improvements as deemed appropriate by the Cabinet.
Construction and maintenance procedures for the roads with scenic designation may be developed to reasonably provide for the safety and service of the traveling public. Projects may be accomplished by the KYTC to mitigate safety problems or improve the quality of the road. If designation as a scenic route jeopardizes public safety, the Cabinet can and will deny and/or remove the route from the Scenic Byways and Highways Program.
The Kentucky Scenic Byways and Highways program is governed by KRS 177.571-576
A list of all the National and State Scenic Byways and Highways can be found here
How to Become a Kentucky Scenic Byway
The Scenic Byways and Highways program is a unique opportunity for government, private citizens, and organizations through cooperative efforts to protect the state’s natural scenic resources, promote tourism, foster associated economic development, and maximize the potential of little traveled or bypassed roads. The KYTC accepts state designation applications at any time. Nonprofit organizations, byways groups, tourism departments, etc., must partner with a government sponsor. Only local governments or state agencies may apply,
Interested applicants must complete the Kentucky Scenic Byway Designation Application. Entities interested in extending a previously designated state Scenic Byway or Highway must submit a full application for the new locations.
State Designation Determination Process
The Scenic Byways Advisory Committee (SBAC), which is made up of the State Scenic Byways & Highways Coordinator, a representative from the Office of Local Programs (OLP), the state Bicycle-Pedestrian Coordinator, and a Department of Tourism representative, which will review each application for State Byway designation. The SBAC will make a recommendation to the Transportation Tourism Interagency Committee (TTIC), who also reviews the application. The TTIC will then forward its recommendation to the KYTC Secretary who will make the final decision.
The SBAC and TTIC also advise the Secretary on de-designations of byways and highways that have deteriorated from the condition which they were originally designated.
National Scenic Byways Designation & Funding
Because the National Scenic Byways Program is no longer funded, FHWA is no longer soliciting grant applications. Without funding for the Program, FHWA will not be moving forward with another round of designations of America's Byways® at this time.