Interstate 878 - Nassau Expwy / State Route 878 - Rockaway Blvd

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New York 878 follows the Nassau Expressway between Howard Beach and John F. Kennedy International Airport in south Queens. The expressway constitutes a freeway between 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 officially entails the 0.70-mile segment of Nassau Expressway between the interchange with Interstate 678 (Van Wyck Expressway) and Hanger Boulevard (the freeway end). 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. This stretch entailed the eastbound lanes of the freeway between Cross Bay Boulevard and Interstate 678 (Van Wyck Expressway). Signs initially touted the road as part of Interstate 78. 1

The Nassau Expressway, as originally envisioned, was included in the overall Interstate 78 projected path through Brooklyn and Queens, New York. Planning began in 1947 and by 1955, the proposed routing of the Nassau Expressway took Interstate 78 east from the proposed Bushwick Expressway, at its Cross Bay Boulevard interchange, to the proposed south end of the Clearview Expressway. The Nassau Expressway eastward projection to Atlantic, Long and Lido Beaches was included as an unnumbered route.1

Cancellation of the Nassau Expressway commenced in 1967, as community opposition resulted in the removal of the Long Beach extension of the highway from the dockets. The Bushwick Expressway section of Interstate 78 suffered a similar fate in 1967, orphaning the Nassau Expressway from its planned numbered route. During that time, Interstate 878 first arose as a potential number for the shortened highway. Construction continued on the highway through 1981, but an at-grade facility was built in lieu of a full freeway east of the 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 the Jamaica Bay watershed. The designations for the highway switched to Interstate 878 for the Nassau Expressway segment in Queens and New York 878 for the portion in Nassau County in 1989.1 Interstate 878 later was removed and applied secretly to the 0.70-mile segment of the Expressway from Interstate 678 east.

New York 878 Guides

New York Route 878 East - Nassau Expressway
Nassau Expressway begins at the New York 27 under crossing of Cross Bay Boulevard near Exit 17W of Belt Parkway. From there only the eastbound side of the freeway continues across Belt Parkway to Interstate 678. New York 27 east splits from the expressway at the New York 878 eastbound beginning for South Conduit Avenue. Photo taken 08/29/05.
Nassau Expressway elevates above South Conduit Avenue and below the Exit 19 off-ramp to Lefferts Boulevard next. Both overpasses were refurbished by 2011. Photo taken 08/29/05.
The Lefferts Boulevard exit from Belt Parkway eastbound includes a connection onto New York 878 (Nassau Expressway). Photo taken 08/29/05.
Passing over Lefferts Boulevard, one mile west of the directional cloverleaf interchange between New York 878, Belt Parkway, South Conduit Avenue, and Interstate 678. Nassau Expressway handles all of the movements from the Belt Parkway to the Van Wyck Expressway. Photo taken 08/29/05.
New York 878 sees two interchanges for JFK International Airport. Drivers may access the airport via Interstate 678 south (Exit 1S) or JFK Expressway south from Exit 2S. Photo taken 08/29/05.
Eastbound at the one-quarter mile sign bridge for Exit 1S (Interstate 678 south). Interstate 678 (Van Wyck Expressway) enters JFK International Airport south of New York 878. The freeway defaults onto the terminal access road in 1.75 miles. Photo taken 08/29/05.
A long on-ramp joins New York 878 from Lefferts Boulevard ahead of the Exit 1S ramp departure to Interstate 678 south and JFK International Airport. Photo taken 08/29/05.
New York 878 eastbound expands to four lanes in anticipation of the Exit 1S loop ramp to Interstate 678 (Van Wyck Expressway) northbound. A new sign bridge replaced all signs in this photo by 2011. Photo taken 08/29/05.
Interstate 878 silently begins at the Exit 1N ramp departure to Interstate 678 (Van Wyck Expressway) northbound. New York 878 provides the connection from the Belt Parkway east to Interstate 678 north for the Bronx Whitestone Bridge and Grand Central Parkway. Photo taken 08/29/05.
New York Route 878 West - Nassau Expressway
Approaching the Exit 2S/N junction with JFK Expressway on Interstate 878 eastbound. The overpass pictured here carries Interstate 678 motorists onto the Belt Parkway eastbound. Photo taken 08/29/05.
Traffic emanating from Interstate 678 (Van Wyck Expressway) merges onto Interstate 878 (Nassau Expressway) ahead of its interchange with the John F. Kennedy Expressway. JFK Expressway constitutes a controlled-access link between the JFK International Airport terminal, Interstate 678, and the Nassau Expressway. Visible to the right is 147th Street and its intersection with Cargo Plaza. Photo taken 06/26/05.
2 photos
2 photos
Interstate 878 eastbound approaches the JFK Expressway southbound off-ramp. A pair of signs advise motorists of the JFK International Airport facilities served by the Exit 2SW off-ramp. Photos taken 06/26/05.
Eastbound at the directional cloverleaf interchange that joins Interstate 878 with John F. Kennedy Expressway (Exit 2). JFK Expressway includes ramps with 148th Street, S. Cargo Road, JFK Airport Terminals 8 and 4, and the Van Wyck Expressway loop. Photo taken 06/26/05.
Attached to the 148th Street overpass are guide signs for the JFK Expressway connections to 150th Avenue/Cargo Areas and the JFK Int'l Airport Terminals. A folded diamond interchange joins the north-south highway with 150th Avenue via 148th Street & Boundary Roads one quarter mile to the south. Photo taken 06/26/05.
2 photos
2 photos
Exit 2N comprises a northbound loop ramp onto JFK Expressway for its connections to Belt Parkway eastbound and New York 27 (South Conduit Avenue) eastbound. New York 27 continues the frontage roads of the limited-access Belt Parkway east to Sunrise Highway at Laurelton. Photo taken 06/26/05. Second photo taken 08/29/05.
The JFK Expressway northbound ramp to Interstate 878 west passes overhead one half mile west of the Nassau Expressway intersection with Hangar Road (Exit 3). Hangar Road stems south from New York 878 to Boundary Road and JFK International Airport. Photo taken 06/26/05.
Drivers merging onto Interstate 878 (Nassau Expressway) from JFK Expressway northbound form the exit-only lane for Exit 3 (Hangar Road). A jughandle intersection facilitates the movements between Hangar Road and New York 878. Photo taken 06/26/05.
An Expressway ends overhead advises motorists of the downgrade of Interstate 878 to New York 878 as the Nassau Expressway transitions into an at-grade facility. Photo taken 06/26/05.
The right turn lane for Exit 3 leaves New York 878 (Nassau Expressway) for Hangar Road south. Hangar Road intersects North Boundary Road just beyond Nassau Expressway and otherwise continues into the Airport. The traffic light exists with the jughandle intersection for the New York 878 westbound movement to Hangar Road south. Photo taken 06/26/05.
New York Route 878 East - Rockaway Boulevard
Rockaway Boulevard enters the scene from the Locust Manor neighborhood to the northwest. The surface boulevard overtakes New York 878 from the Nassau Expressway ahead of the Farmers Boulevard signalized intersection. Photo taken 06/26/05.
A jughandle intersection facilitates the movements between Farmers Boulevard and New York 878 (Rockaway Boulevard). Farmers Boulevard links Rockaway Boulevard with Boundary Road nearby and ends at 175th Street a short distance to the northeast. Photo taken 06/26/05.
Rockaway Boulevard continues southeastward along the JFK Int'l Airport boundary to a signalized intersection with Boundary Road. Boundary Road ends at New York 878, opposite of 150th Road and Guy R. Brewer Boulevard. New York 878 continues eastward as a six-lane divided boulevard to the city line. Photo taken 06/26/05.
New York Route 878 West - Rockaway Boulevard
New York 878 (Rockaway Boulevard) westbound at 175th Street, midway between the signalized intersections with Boundary Road and Farmers Boulevard. Rockaway Boulevard carries six lanes to the split with the Nassau Expressway. Photo taken 06/26/05.
Approaching the intersection with Farmers Boulevard and split with Rockaway Boulevard west on New York 878. Traffic interests to Belt Parkway should take Rockaway Boulevard west for points east and Nassau Expressway for points west. Nassau Expressway carries New York 878 west to Interstate 878 for JFK Int'l Airport and Interstate 678 (Van Wyck Expressway). Photo taken 06/26/05.
Mast-arm supported traffic signals govern the intersection of Farmers Boulevard and New York 878 (Rockaway Boulevard). Farmers Boulevard crosses New York 878 between Boundary Road and 175th Street. Rockaway Boulevard and Nassau Expressway split just beyond the signalized intersection. Photo taken 06/26/05.
Rockaway Boulevard west continues northwest to meet New York 27 (Conduit Avenue) and Belt Parkway. New York 878 upgrades to the Nassau Expressway en route to JFK International Airport and the Hamilton Beach section of Brooklyn. Use Rockaway Boulevard west for Locust Manor, Baisley Pond Park, and South Ozone Park. Photo taken 06/26/05.
Nassau Expressway encounters the first of two signals before the New York 878 silent transition into Interstate 878. The first traffic light exists at the Rockaway Boulevard eastbound crossover of New York 878 west. Photo taken 06/26/05.
New York 878 (Nassau Expressway) westbound at the Hangar Road jughandle for Kennedy Airport and North Boundary Road. This intersection is signed as "Exit 3" in the eastbound direction. Nassau Expressway motorists otherwise are shown the connections to Interstate 678 north, New York 27 (Conduit Boulevard) west, and Belt Parkway west via unsigned Interstate 878. Photo taken 06/26/05.
Westbound on Nassau Expressway at the Hangar Road traffic light. Hangar Road meets North Boundary Road just south of New York 878 on the grounds of Kennedy Airport. New York 878 transitions into Interstate 878 beyond the intersection. Photo taken 06/26/05.
New York Route 878 West - Nassau Expressway
JFK International Airport bound motorists should move into the left lane for the New York 27 (North Conduit Boulevard) connection to Interstate 678 (Van Wyck Expressway) southbound for the terminals and cargo areas. Photo taken 06/26/05.
Interstate 878 westbound passes over Belt Parkway ahead of its ramp split for Interstate 678 (Van Wyck Expressway) north, New York 27 (North Conduit Boulevard) west, and Belt Parkway west. The right lane defaults onto the Belt Parkway westbound off-ramp to Interstate 678 north. Photo taken 06/26/05.
Westbound at the ramp split to Interstate 678 north and New York 27 & Belt Parkway west. JFK International Airport traffic should remain on North Conduit Boulevard west for its loop ramp onto Van Wyck Expressway south for the airport terminals. Photo taken 06/26/05.
Motorists following the Interstate 678 (Van Wyck Expressway) northbound ramp merge with traffic emanating from Belt Parkway west and North Conduit and 150th Avenues. Beyond the gore point, drivers pass over New York 27 (No. Conduit Avenue) west ahead of a ramp partition between 133rd Avenue and Van Wyck Expressway northbound. Photo taken 06/26/05.
The right lane defaults onto the 133rd Avenue off-ramp ahead of the Interstate 878 connection to Interstate 678 north. The 133rd Avenue ramp ends at the 135th Avenue intersection with the Van Wyck Expressway northbound frontage street. Use 133rd Avenue west for the South Ozone Park community. Photo taken 06/26/05.
The 133rd Avenue off-ramp departs the Interstate 678 northbound ramp. The Van Wyck Expressway frontage street system carries drivers northward to Rockaway Boulevard as Interstate 878 ends. Photo taken 06/26/05.
Traffic merges onto a collector distributor roadway of Interstate 678 north. Airtrain travels above the median of the Van Wyck Expressway. Otherwise a diamond interchange joins Interstate 678 (Van Wyck Expressway) with Rockaway Boulevard via the frontage street system, 0.25 miles north of Interstate 878 (Nassau Expressway), Belt Parkway, and New York 27 (Conduit Boulevard). Photo taken 06/26/05.
New York Route 878 scenes
Hangar Road northbound at the "Exit 3 interchange" with New York 878 (Nassau Expressway). Traffic partitions into turns for Nassau Expressway west to Belt Parkway west, North Conduit Avenue (New York 27 west), and Van Wyck Expressway north (Interstate 678) and New York 878 east to Rockaway Boulevard and Farmers Boulevard. Photo taken 06/26/05.

  1. Nassau Expressway (NY 878),

Photo Credits:

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

Connect with:
Interstate 678 / Van Wyck Expressway

Page Updated 02-16-2012.