New York

Three new Interstate sections are in the works, planned, or coming to fruition. Discussion on the AARoads Forum highlighted three recent additions:

Interstate 781 is the number proposed for a new freeway spur from Interstate 81 to Fort Drum in Upstate New York. This route would enhance access to growing Fort Drum and bypass a current at-grade connection. A page for I-781 resides on the Interstate Guide as well.

Interstate 264 was mentioned as the planned number for the old section of Interstate 70 leading south to the Poplar Street Bridge from the new alignment on its envisioned Mississippi River Bridge at St. Louis.

Lastly, a short section of new Interstate 69 freeway opened between Interstates 64/164 and Indiana 68 as both Indiana 57 and I-69. This is the third section of Interstate 69, tallying just 1.77 miles, now in existance. Construction is underway to extend the road northward to Indiana 64.

That is the cry of the Onondaga Citizens League about Interstate 81 in downtown Syracuse. Built in the 1960s, the aging viaduct is nearing the end of its lifespan, begging the question, do we repair it for $100 million or tear it down and build something else? Supporters of the demolition plan cite Milwaukee’s 2002 removal of the Park Freeway spur leading east from Interstate 43. That freeway, constructed in 1969 as a viaduct, was removed at a cost of $45 million and replaced with a new surface boulevard. Following the work, some development replaced adjacent parking lots and industrial lots as land values increased by some 180 percent.

Interstate 81 northbound along the viaduct over Harrison Street.

The Park Freeway removal galvanizes other freeway-removal proponents, such as the ‘8664’ supporters of Interstate 64 along the Ohio River in Louisville. What that group and the Onondage Citizens League suggest is that through traffic interests can be supported on the various bypass routes that are also in place. In Syracuse, all through traffic would shift to Interstate 481, in Louisville through traffic would shift onto the future joined-Interstate 265. Studies indicate that 40% of the 100,000 vehicles per day (vpd) that travel Interstate 81 are just passing through.


The Park Freeway before demolition (2000).

So what about the other 60,000 vpd? Alternatives studied include replacing the viaduct with a new viaduct, replacing the viaduct with a depressed freeway, replacing the freeway with a tunnel, or replacing the freeway with a surface boulevard. These options are also being touted for the hated Alaskan Way viaduct in Seattle as well. However with a surface boulevard as an option, how does it go about addressing the need of traffic congestion?

Post-demoliton of the Park Freeway.

A surface boulevard can enhance a neighborhood or city district, but does it address commuter needs the way a controlled-access route does? The Park Freeway example cites the new McKinley Avenue as its replacement. What news articles neglect to indicate when mentioning the Park Freeway project, is that it was an incomplete freeway spur, like the Embarcadero, that did not connect to any other high-speed route. What is different for Interstate 64 in Louisville and Interstate 81 in Syracuse, is that both routes play pivotal roles in long distance travel, not only joining the cities in question with surrounding areas, but also adjoining states and regions. Shoving all of the traffic to a bypass route is not necessarily the answer either, when a good portion of the daily traffic originates or ends within these cities.

Interstate 81 elevates over the street grid from the brief its partition with Interstate 690 southward.

Onondaga Citizens League will release the findings of its study in February 2009. It is unclear presently what government and transportation officials favor for these projects. In Seattle, the state Governor states that the Alaskan Way viaduct will come down in 2012 whether an alternative is decided upon or not, because of its age and damage sustained from earthquakes. Syracuse’s 1.4-mile viaduct will need to be similarly addressed before age and deteoration deplete funds and increase safety risks.


Day 9,Since our friends decided to leave early, we followed suit and made a day out of it on the way back south.

Decided on Interstate 89 south to check out the Barre Connectors first, both of which appear as freeways on maps sometimes, but really are expressway-like roads with no private driveways. Vermont 62 spurs east from Exit 7 into northern Barre, complete with a connector leading to U.S. 302. The connector splits with Vermont 62 via a partial interchange north of the signalized intersection with Fisher and Airport Roads. The road otherwise ends at a traffic light with the U.S. 302 junction at Vermont 14.

Vermont 14 follows Maple Avenue through Barre to junction U.S. 302 (Main Street) and the Barre Connector (Vermont 62). Sign bridges are posted in all four directions leading into the intersection. Vermont 14 south joins U.S. 302 east briefly before turning southwest to South Barre. Vermont 62 begins and ascends westward toward Edward J. Knapp State Airport and junction Interstate 89.

Further south, Vermont 63 spurs east from the Exit 6 trumpet interchange to Vermont 14 at South Barre. This connector carries less traffic and has only two at-grade intersections. Both connectors see end shields on the southbound Interstate 89 on-ramps.

Vermont 63 travels a less busy route between Vermont 14 (South Barre Road) and Interstate 89 (Exit 6). Unlike Vermont 62 to the north, Vermont 63 sees no traffic signals (just a set of flashers at Miller Road). This shield assembly and Interstate 89 trailblazer lies west of that intersection.


The beginning of a week plus trip that took us northward from Delaware/Philadelphia to Boston for several days and from there to Lake Champlain in Vermont for a 5-day vacation…

We started our journey just south of the Pennsylvania state line, beginning first with a visit to the Pennsylvania Welcome Center to obtain the latest copy of the Pennsylvania State Highway Map. Construction is present along all of Interstate 95 in Delaware County between the state line and junction Interstate 476. PennDOT is in the process of again resurfacing the highway with asphalt. At the time, the previous coat of asphalt was milled down to the original concrete roadway. This project would hamper us a over a week later with a 30-minute back-up at 11 pm on a Saturday night…

Continuing east into New Jersey, we entered the New Jersey Turnpike by way of New Jersey 168, the only connection between the toll road and parallel Interstate 295 close enough to act as the junction between the Turnpike and Interstate 76/New Jersey 42 (North South Freeway). New Jersey 168 offers two lanes laden with traffic lights on the short drive between the respective interchanges. There are no plans to provide a direct connection between the two pivotal roads in South Jersey…

Northward, Turnpike travelers heading southbound this day (Friday July 27) were greeted with what seemed to be a 15-20 mile back-up between the Pennsylvania Turnpike Extension and New Brunswick. It was unclear as to what caused the congestion, but the Turnpike does reduce from a four-carriageway configuration into a six-lane freeway on this stretch.

Garden State Parkway northbound at the Metrowest trumpet interchange (Exit 131B) near Iselin. The Parkway is untolled between the New Jersey Turnpike and a point just south of junction Interstate 78. Several button copy signs remain in use along this stretch of freeway.

Eastward, we opted for the Holland Tunnel into Lower Manhattan and Canal Street southeast to the Manhattan Bridge. The Manhattan Bridge is historical in nature as far as Interstates are concerned as it was one time planned to be a part of Interstate 478 between the unconstructed Lower Manhattan Expressway (Interstate 78) and Interstate 278 (Brooklyn-Queens Expressway). As it exists, the Manhattan Bridge carries seven lanes of traffic and four Metro tracks; vehicles partition between separate two lane upper carriageways on the outside of the suspension bridge span and a three-lane lower carriageway on the inside of the bridge. Since Interstate 78 was never built east of the Holland Tunnel, Interstate 478 was removed from the Manhattan Bridge and reapplied on the nearby Brooklyn Battery Tunnel in an unsigned fashion. The Manhattan Bridge along with the Brooklyn and Queensboro Bridges are the only three untolled spans across the East River between Manhattan and Brooklyn/Queens.

Southbound on the upper carriageway or the Manhattan Bridge. Like other Manhattan area bridges, no shoulders or break-down lanes are provided. The span ends at Tillary Street in Brooklyn on the south side with connections provided to Interstate 278 (Brooklyn-Queens Expressway) via surface streets (Jay Street north / Sand Street east).


I had an IM with my friend Jack earlier this evening and he asked when the next New York update would come to the site. I mentioned the I-490 and i-590 updates from last month, but that I had nothing on the imediate agenda with my continued work on the Florida Keys and a brief focus on Washington/Oregon with updates from Matt Strieby. Anyway, I still have a lot of New York material for inclusion on the website. Here’s a preview of some of it:


My mind wanders a lot, especially about roads, and tonight ever so randomly I was thinking of bridges, and bridges in New York City and its metro in particular. So with that stated I thought I would share some images of bridges not covered on AARoads or new coverage not yet added. These images will eventually be added to North East Roads @ AARoads, but for now here’s a few to comtemplate.


I decided to take a break from my updates to U.S. 1 and the creation of Florida Keys guides on to do a spot update on Upstate New York. So I created new guides for Interstate 590, the eastern half of the Outer Loop freeway at Rochester, New York, on North East Roads @ AARoads. Last year I had the opportunity to visit western New York on two occasions to visit family in the area. Both trips involved some “roading” to Rochester to document the freeways in town. I also documented portions of Interstate 86, U.S. 20, New York 15, and other roads in the Finger Lakes area. Until now, the only material from those trips online is found on and the Interstate 90 guides on As time permits, I hope to drastically improve the guides for Interstates 390 and 490 as time goes on.