Interstate 878 - Nassau Expwy / Route 878 - Rockaway Blvd

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New York Route 878 follows the Nassau Expressway between Howard Beach and John F. Kennedy International Airport in south Queens. NY 878 constitutes a freeway from Cross Bay and Conduit Boulevards eastward to Hangar Boulevard near Rockaway Boulevard. Rockaway Boulevard continues the state route southeast as a six-lane surface arterial along the airport boundary to Cedarhurst and Nassau County. Interstate 878 overlays Nassau Expressway for 0.70 miles between the interchange with I-678 (Van Wyck Expressway) and the freeway end at Hanger Boulevard. The designation is unsigned, although New York State Reference Markers identify the stretch as "878I", indicating its status as an Interstate highway.1

Constructed in the mid and late 1960s, the first segment of the Nassau Expressway opened to traffic in 1971. Built were the eastbound lanes between Cross Bay Boulevard and Interstate 678 (Van Wyck Expressway). Signs initially referenced the road as part of Interstate 78.1

Nassau Expwy - Queens, NY - 1968

The Nassau Expressway through Inwood and Lawrence was constructed as an at-grade arterial with an interchange at Seagirt Boulevard. The Nassau Expressway north from CR 104 to Farmers Boulevard on this 1968 map was not built.

As originally envisioned, the Nassau Expressway was part of the overall alignment proposed for Interstate 78 through Brooklyn and Queens, New York. Planning began in 1947 and by 1955, the route of the Nassau Expressway took I-78 east from the proposed Bushwick Expressway, at the interchange with Cross Bay Boulevard, to the planned south end of the Clearview Expressway. The Nassau Expressway eastward exter to Atlantic, Long and Lido Beaches was included as an unnumbered route.1

Nassau Expwy - Queens, NY - 1973

Proposed alignments for the Nassau Expressway and Interstate 878 in 1973.

Cancellation of the Nassau Expressway commenced in 1967, as community opposition resulted in the removal of the Long Beach extension. The Bushwick Expressway was similarly dropped in 1967, leaving the Nassau Expressway disconnected from Interstate 78. During that time, I-878 arose as a potential number for the Nassau Expressway. Construction continued on the roadway through 1981, but as an at-grade boulevard instead of a full freeway east of JFK Expressway. The remaining segments of the planned Nassau Expressway, from Rockaway Boulevard east to the Nassau County line, were never built due to high costs of grading within the Jamaica Bay watershed. The designations switched in 1989 to I-878 for the Nassau Expressway segment in Queens and NY 878 for the portion in Nassau County.1

New York Route 27 New York Route 878 East - Nassau Expressway
NY 878 begins east at the grade separation of NY 27 (Nassau Expressway) and Cross Bay Boulevard at Ozone Park. NY 27/878 overlap 0.40 miles along Nassau Expressway to Lefferts Bouland the continuation of S Conduit Avenue. Photo taken 12/17/17.
NY 27 shifts back onto S Conduit Avenue along an off-ramp from NY 878 (Nassau Expressway) at Aqueduct Road. The exit also connects with Lefferts Boulevard to South Ozone Park. Photo taken 12/17/17.
New York Route 878 East - Nassau Expressway
Nassau Expressway elevates above the ramp for S Conduit Avenue (NY 27) and below Belt Parkway off-ramp (Exit 19) to Lefferts Boulevard and NY 878. Both overpasses were refurbished by 2011. Photo taken 12/17/17.
NY 878 (Nassau Expressway) advances one mile east from Lefferts Boulevard to a directional cloverleaf interchange (Exits 1S/N) with Interstate 678 (Van Wyck Expressway). Photo taken 12/17/17.
John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) lies at the south ends of both Interstate 678 (Van Wyck Expressway) and JFK Expressway. Photo taken 12/17/17.
Interstate 678 (Van Wyck Expressway) enters JFK International Airport south from NY 878 (Exit 1S). The freeway defaults onto the terminal access road in 1.75 miles. Photo taken 12/17/17.
A fourth lane opens along NY 878 (Nassau Expressway) eastbound from the 130th Place/155th Avenue entrance ramp. Photo taken 12/17/17.
Exit 1S leaves NY 878 (Nassau Expressway) east for Interstate 678 south to John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK). Photo taken 12/17/17.
Unmarked Interstate 878 begins at Exit 1N for I-678 (Van Wyck Expressway) northbound. Photo taken 12/17/17.
NY 878 provides the connection from Belt Parkway east to I-678 (Van Wyck Expressway) north for Grand Central Parkway and the Bronx Whitestone Bridge. Photo taken 12/17/17.
Interstate 878 proceeds east to a trumpet interchange (Exits 2S/N) with JFK Expressway. Photo taken 12/17/17.
Ramps from I-678 (Van Wyck Expressway) north and south combine before merging onto I-878 (Nassau Expressway) east ahead of JFK Expressway south into the airport. Photo taken 06/26/05.
JFK Expressway serves the cargo areas of JFK Airport with two interchanges south of Interstate 878. Photo taken 12/17/17.
JFK Expressway constitutes a controlled access highway south from Belt Parkway / NY 27 (N Conduit Avenue) west and Nassau Expressway (Exit 2S) east to the passenger terminal at JFK International Airport (JFK). Photo taken 12/17/17.
JFK Expressway winds south into JFK Airport with ramps for 150th Avenue and cargo areas, Terminals 8 and 4, and Van Wyck Expressway northbound. Photo taken 12/17/17.
JFK Expressway concludes north of Exit 2N along a collector distributor roadway for Belt Parkway and NY 27 (S Conduit Avenue) eastbound. NY 27 runs along the Belt Parkway service road system east to Sunrise Highway at Laurelton. Photo taken 08/29/05.
Interstate 878 (Nassau Expressway) continues a half mile east to the jughandle intersection (Exit 3) with Hangar Road. Photo taken 06/26/05.
Hangar Road stems south from I-878/NY 878 (Nassau Expressway) to Boundary Road at JFK International Airport (JFK). Photo taken 06/26/05.
2 photos
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Nassau Expressway transitions into an at-grade arterial east at Hanger Road. Unsigned I-878 ends here. Photos taken 06/26/05.
New York Route 878 East - Rockaway Boulevard
Rockaway Boulevard angles southeast from the Springfield Gardens neighborhood and overtakes NY 878 (Nassau Expressway) east ahead of Farmers Boulevard. Photo taken 06/26/05.
Farmers Boulevard converges with NY 878 (Rockaway Boulevard) at a jughandle intersection between N Boundary Road and 175th Street. Photo taken 06/26/05.
Continuing southeast, N Boundary Road ties into NY 878 (Rockaway Boulevard) across from Guy R. Brewer Boulevard north. Photo taken 06/26/05.
New York Route 878 West - Rockaway Boulevard
NY 878 (Rockaway Boulevard) westbound at 175th Street, midway between signalized intersections with N Boundary Road and Farmers Boulevard. Photo taken 06/26/05.
Rockaway Boulevard branches northwest from NY 878 at the jughandle intersection with Farmers Boulevard. NY 878 shifts west onto Nassau Expressway to John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK). Photo taken 06/26/05.
Farmers Boulevard angles northeast from adjacent N Boundary Road to Belt Parkway and the St. Albans community. Photo taken 06/26/05.
Rockaway Boulevard continues northwest to NY 27 (Conduit Avenue) / Belt Parkway, Springfield Gardens and South Ozone Park. Photo taken 06/26/05.
Nassau Expressway west at Rockaway Boulevard east. Photo taken 06/26/05.
N Hanger Road connects with NY 878 (Nassau Expressway) at a a jughandle intersection adjacent to N Boundary Road and John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK). Photo taken 06/26/05.
NY 878 (Nassau Expressway) transitions into unsigned Interstate 878 beyond the traffic lights with N Hanger Road. Photo taken 06/26/05.
New York Route 878 West - Nassau Expressway
Westbound Interstate 878 (Nassau Expressway) connects with Belt Parkway and NY 27 (N Conduit Avenue) west ahead of the directional cloverleaf interchange with I-678 (Van Wyck Expressway). Photo taken 06/26/05.
Traffic partitions from the west end of Nassau Expressway for separate ramps to Belt Parkway and NY 27 (N Conduit Avenue) west to Brooklyn. Photo taken 06/26/05.
A distributor roadway for I-678 north and 133rd Avenue forms where traffic converges with NY 878 (Nassau Expressway) west from NY 27 (N Conduit Avenue) and Belt Parkway at Exit 19. Photo taken 12/17/17.
The distributor roadway separates with a ramp to the Van Wyck Expressway service road north to 133rd Avenue at South Ozone Park. Photo taken 12/17/17.
Two lanes join Interstate 678 (Van Wyck Expressway) north to Kew Gardens, Flushing Meadows Corona Park and the Bronx Whitestone Bridge to Schuylerville. Photo taken 12/17/17.
New York Route 878 scenes
Hangar Road northbound at NY 878 (Nassau Expressway). Traffic partitions into turns for Nassau Expressway west to Belt Parkway west, North Conduit Avenue (NY 27 west), and Van Wyck Expressway north (I-678) and NY 878 east to Rockaway Boulevard and Farmers Boulevard. Photo taken 06/26/05.

Sources:
  1. Nassau Expressway (NY 878). NYCRoads.com.


Photo Credits:

  • 06/26/05 by AARoads and Carter Buchanan.
  • 08/29/05 by AARoads.
  • 12/17/17 by AARoads.

Connect with:
Interstate 678
Route 27
Belt Parkway

Page Updated 03-17-2020.