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Long Island Expressway

 

Long Island Expressway

Interstate 495
Map of New York with I-495 highlighted in red
;">Route information
Maintained by NYSDOT, NYCDOT, Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority and PANYNJ
Length:
Existed: 1958[1] – present
;">Major junctions
West end: Queens–Midtown Tunnel portal in Manhattan
  Template:Jct/extra I-278 in Queens
Template:Jct/extra I-678 / Grand Central Parkway in Queens
Template:Jct/extra I-295 in Queens
Template:Jct/extra Cross Island Parkway in Queens
Template:Jct/extra Northern State Parkway in Nassau
Template:Jct/extra Sagtikos Parkway in Suffolk
East end: Template:Jct/extra CR 58 in Riverhead
Length:
Length:
Length:
Length:
;">
;">Highway system
NY 495

Interstate 495 (I-495) is an auxiliary Interstate Highway on Long Island in New York in the United States. The route extends for 71 miles (114 km) from the western portal of the Queens–Midtown Tunnel in the New York City borough of Manhattan to County Route 58 (CR 58) in Riverhead, Suffolk County. I-495 does not intersect its parent route, I-95. However, it does connect to I-95 through I-295, which it meets in Queens. The portion of I-495 in Nassau and Suffolk counties is known as the Long Island Expressway (LIE), a name commonly applied to the entirety of I-495. The section of the route west of the Nassau–Queens county line is also named the Queens–Midtown Expressway west of Queens Boulevard and the Horace Harding Expressway east of Queens Boulevard, though both names are not often used in common parlance and most signage refers only to the Long Island Expressway.

Route description

New York City

The expressway begins at the western portal of the Queens–Midtown Tunnel in the Murray Hill section of Manhattan. The route heads eastward, passing under FDR Drive and the East River as it proceeds through the Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority-maintained tunnel to Queens. Once on Long Island, the highway passes through a toll booth and becomes known as the Queens–Midtown Expressway as it travels through the western portion of the borough. A mile after entering Queens, I-495 meets I-278 (the Brooklyn–Queens Expressway) at exit 17. It continues on a generally easterly path to the Rego Park neighborhood, where it connects to New York State Route 25 (NY 25, named Queens Boulevard) and becomes the Horace Harding Expressway. I-495 heads northeast through Corona to Flushing Meadows–Corona Park, intersecting both the Grand Central Parkway and the Van Wyck Expressway (I-678) within the park limits. Because the two interchanges are close together, the highway employs a collector/distributor road through this area.


The expressway continues east, veering to the southeast to bypass Kissena Park before curving back to the northeast to meet the Clearview Expressway (I-295) at the northern edge of Cunningham Park. Past I-295, I-495 passes by the "Queens Giant", the oldest and tallest tree in the New York metropolitan area. The tree, located just north of I-495 in Alley Pond Park, is visible from the highway's westbound lanes. To the east, the freeway connects to the Cross Island Parkway at exit 31 in the park prior to crossing into Nassau County and becoming the Long Island Expressway (LIE). Although the name officially begins here, almost all locals and most signage use "the Long Island Expressway" or "the LIE" to refer the entire length of I-495.[3]

The service roads of I-495 are called the Queens–Midtown Expressway between the Brooklyn–Queens Expressway and Queens Boulevard and the Horace Harding Expressway between Queens Boulevard and the Nassau County line, and are generally signed as such like any other city streets. It is common to refer to the service roads by these names—particularly Horace Harding—in local usage, for instance when referring to the location of a building along the road. The names may have been intended to refer to sections of the expressway proper, but current guide signs (and Queens residents) simply refer to it as the Long Island Expressway.

The Horace Harding Expressway section follows the path of Horace Harding Boulevard, which was named for Horace J. Harding (1863–1929), a finance magnate who directed the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad and the New York Municipal Railways System. Harding used his influence to promote the development of Long Island's roadways, lending strong support to Robert Moses's "great parkway plan". Harding also urged construction of a highway from Queens Boulevard to the Nassau County Line, in order to provide better access to Oakland Country Club, where he was a member. After his death, the boulevard he helped build was named for him. Horace Harding was not related to the former President Warren G. Harding.

Nassau and Suffolk counties

Heading into Nassau County, the expressway sports a High-Occupancy Vehicle Lane (HOV), which begins at exit 33 and runs to central Suffolk County. In its run through Nassau, it is the only major east–west highway that does not interchange with the Meadowbrook or Wantagh state parkways, both of which end to the south at the adjacent Northern State Parkway, which parallels the LIE through the county. The two highways meet three times, although it actually crosses only once at exit 46 near the county line. I-495 does, however, interchange with the Seaford–Oyster Bay Expressway (NY 135) as the east–west parkways do, and often has heavy traffic. In Suffolk County, the LIE continues its eight-lane configuration with the HOV lane to exit 64 (NY 112). At this point, the HOV lane ends and the highway narrows to six lanes; additionally, the concrete Jersey barrier gives way to a wide, grassy median, the asphalt road surface is replaced by a concrete surface, and the expressway is no longer lit by streetlights, reflecting the road's location in a more spread out area of Long Island.


From NY 112 east, the expressway runs through more rural, woodland areas on its trek towards Riverhead. Exit 68 (William Floyd Parkway) marks the terminus of the service roads, which are fragmented by this point. Exit 70 (CR 111) in Manorville is the last full interchange, as it is the last interchange that allows eastbound traffic on, and the first to allow westbound off. After exit 71 (NY 24 / Nugent Drive), the expressway begins to narrow as it approaches its eastern terminus. Until 2008, just before exit 72 (NY 25), the three eastbound lanes narrowed to two, which in turn narrowed almost immediately to a single lane at exit 73, which lies 800 feet (240 m) east of exit 72. As of 2008, of the two lanes, one lane is designated for exit 72 and the other is for exit 73, which ends the squeeze into a single lane that formerly existed at exit 73. At exit 73, all traffic along the expressway is diverted onto a ramp leading to eastbound CR 58, marking the east end of the route.

History

Construction

The Long Island Expressway was constructed in stages over the course of three decades. The first piece, the Queens–Midtown Tunnel linking Manhattan and Queens, was opened to traffic on November 15, 1940.[4] A highway connecting the tunnel to Laurel Hill Boulevard was built around the same time and named the "Midtown Highway".[5][6] The tunnel, the Midtown Highway, and the segment of Laurel Hill Boulevard between the highway and Queens Boulevard all became part of a realigned NY 24 in the mid-1940s.[6][7] In the early 1950s, work began on an eastward extension of the Midtown Highway. The road was completed to 61st Street by 1954, at which point it became known as the "Queens–Midtown Expressway".[8][9] By 1956, the road was renamed the "Long Island Expressway" and extended east to the junction of Queens (NY 24 and NY 25) and Horace Harding (NY 25D) Boulevards. NY 24 initially remained routed on Laurel Hill Boulevard (by this point upgraded into the Brooklyn–Queens Expressway) and Queens Boulevard, however.[10]


In eastern Queens and western Nassau County, the LIE was built over much of Horace Harding Boulevard and Power House Road, designated as NY 25D. The section of the highway in the vicinity of Alley Pond Park was completed by 1958.[11] Within two years time, the expressway was open from Manhattan to Roslyn Heights and entirely designated as NY 24. The old surface alignment of NY 24 south of the expressway became NY 24A.[12] However, the section of the freeway west of the Clearview Expressway was also designated as I-495 in October 1958.[1] The LIE was extended east to NY 25 in Jericho c. 1961[12][13] and to NY 110 in Melville c. 1962. Around the same time, NY 24 was removed from the LIE and reassigned to its former surface alignment to the south while the portion of the freeway east of the Clearview Expressway became NY 495.[13][14]

Over one-third of the LIE across Suffolk County—from Melville to Veterans Memorial Highway (now NY 454) near Islandia—was opened to traffic c. 1963.[14][15] Two more sections—from Islandia to exit 61 in Holbrook and from William Floyd Parkway to exit 71 near Riverhead—were completed in the mid-1960s.[16][17] The gap in the freeway between Holbrook and William Floyd Parkway was filled by 1971[18] while the last 2 miles (3.2 km) of the LIE from exit 71 to CR 58 were opened to traffic on June 28, 1972.[19]

Extensions

Plans for I-495 called for it to extend across Manhattan on the Mid-Manhattan Expressway to the Lincoln Tunnel, where it would follow the tunnel into New Jersey and connect to I-95 in Secaucus. The I-495 designation was assigned to the New Jersey approach to the tunnel in anticipation of the Mid-Manhattan Expressway being completed.[16] However, the project was cancelled and the Mid-Manhattan Expressway was officially removed from I-495 on January 1, 1970.[20] The New Jersey stretch of I-495 later became Route 495. The principal entrance and exit ramps that span from the Manhattan portal of the tunnel to West 30th Street are designated as the unsigned NY 495.

Long Island, meanwhile, lobbied to extend I-495 east over NY 495. The extension took place in the 1980s, at which time the NY 495 signs were taken down and I-495 was extended to the east end of the LIE. The section of I-495 in the vicinity of the Lincoln Tunnel was redesignated as NY 495 at this time. The extension of I-495 to Riverhead makes the highway a spur, which should have an odd first digit according to the Interstate Highway System's numbering scheme. Even first digits are usually assigned to bypasses, connectors, and beltways, as I-495 was prior to the 1980s.[1] A proposed Long Island Crossing would have extended the LIE across Long Island Sound to I-95 in either Guilford, Connecticut, Old Saybrook, Connecticut, or Rhode Island via a series of existing and man-made islands, but a lack of funding as well as public opposition led to the demise of these proposals.[21]

CR 48 in Suffolk County was originally intended to become part of the North Fork extension of the Long Island Expressway.[22][23]

Improvements

From 1994 to 2005, High-occupancy vehicle lanes (HOV) were added to I-495. Beginning with a small section in Western Suffolk County, the lanes were added in subsequent sections until their completion on June 30, 2005. There is one HOV lane in each direction, in the median of the highway. They now run from exit 31 Cross Island Parkway to exit 64 at Medford in central Suffolk County.[1] From 6:00 am to 10:00 am and from 3:00 pm to 8:00 pm Monday through Friday, the HOV lanes are limited to buses, motorcycles, and Clean Pass vehicles without occupancy requirement and passenger vehicles with at least two occupants. Trailers and commercial trucks are always prohibited therein.[24]

I-495 lacked proper lighting along its route in Nassau and Suffolk counties for many years. Because of this, motorists would be driving into complete darkness after crossing the Queens-Nassau border. Despite constant requests from New York local officials, no immediate plans were made. Finally, in 1980, the first streetlights were installed in eastern Nassau county. The final streetlights were installed between exits 39 and 40 in 2002 in Nassau County.[1]

Proposed interchanges and service road configurations

As the Long Island Expressway was being built across Long Island, it was specifically designed to accommodate certain topographical conditions and proposed interchanges. Exit 30 was originally a partial cloverleaf interchange with the Cross Island Parkway. Eastbound exit 30S was for Easthampton Boulevard with a connecting ramp to the southbound Cross Island Parkway. Exit 31 was originally a westbound only interchange for Douglaston Parkway;[25] it was later combined with the exit for the Little Neck Parkway. Exit 39A was intended for the proposed extension of the Wantagh State Parkway near Powell Road in Old Westbury. It was intended to be a full Y interchange with an east-to-southbound-only off-ramp and a north-to-westbound-only on-ramp running beneath Powell Road.[26][27]

Exit 40 originally had only same-directional off-ramps under the expressway providing access to realigned sections of NY 25. When exit 41 was originally constructed, it had no south-to-west connecting ramp. Westbound access to the expressway was provided at the nearby exit 40 on-ramp at NY 25.[28] An alternate design for exit 42 called for it to be similar to the one proposed for NY 135 and Bethpage State Parkway,[29] and westbound exit 46 was originally a partial cloverleaf.[30][31] Exit 47 was intended for the extension of the Bethpage State Parkway near Washington Avenue in Plainview. This was to be a partial cloverleaf with southbound-only off-ramps and northbound-only on-ramps in both directions. The west-to-southbound ramp would also have an additional connecting ramp to a two-way frontage road for a development and an industrial area near exit 46.[32] Exit 47 is now intended as a truck inspection site between exits 46 and 48.

The original rights-of-way for the service roads between exits 48 and 49 were intended to weave around the steep Manetto Hills area of the main road, rather than running parallel to the road as it does today. The land between the service road and the main road was reserved for housing developments. The right-of-way for the original westbound service road still weaves through the development on the north side of the road.[22] Exit 49 was originally a cloverleaf interchange with the outer ramps connecting to the service roads at a point closer to NY 110. This was in preparation for NY 110's formerly proposed upgrade into the Broad Hollow Expressway. After the project was canceled in the 1970s, the west-to-northbound on-ramp was moved to nearby CR 3 (Pinelawn Road), and the original ramp was replaced with a park and ride. Other outer ramps were eventually moved further away from NY 110.

Exit 52 (Commack Road/CR 4) was intended to be moved west to an interchange with the formerly proposed Babylon–Northport Expressway (realigned NY 231) in the vicinity of the two parking areas. These ramps would have been accessible from the service roads. The westbound off-ramp and service road at exit 54 (Wicks Road/CR 7) originally terminated at Long Island Motor Parkway, east of Wicks Road. The westbound on-ramp was squeezed between the northwest corner of the Wicks Road bridge and exit 53. Excessive weaving between exits 52, 53, and 54 caused NYSDOT to reconstruct all three interchanges into one, and replace the west-to-southbound off-ramp to Sagtikos State Parkway with a flyover ramp.[33] Exit 55A was meant to be a trumpet interchange for the Hauppauge Spur of NY 347, between Long Island Motor Parkway (exit 55) and NY 111 (exit 56). The service roads were intended to go around the interchange, rather than run parallel to the main road. Ramps on the east side of Motor Parkway and west side of NY 111 would be eliminated as part of the interchange's construction. Between exits 57 and 58, there was a proposed extension of Northern State Parkway.[34][35]

Prior to the construction of the interchange with CR 97 (Nicolls Road), exit 62 was for Morris Avenue and Waverly Avenue eastbound, and Morris Avenue westbound.[36][37] Between exits 63 and 64, the eastbound service road was intended to weave around a recharge basin and replace a local residential street. Residents would have lived on both sides of the service road, similar to the segment between exits 59 and 60.[38] Exit 68 was originally planned to be built as a cloverleaf interchange without collective-distributor roads.[39] Additionally in the 1970s, Suffolk County Department of Public Works proposed an extension of East Main Street in Yaphank (CR 102) that would have terminated at the west end of this interchange.[40]

In the 1960s and 1970s, the Suffolk County Planning Department considered extending CR 55 to the Grumman Calverton Naval Air Base between exits 70 and 71. This would have provided an additional interchange known as exit 70A. Exit 71 itself was intended to be a cloverleaf interchange with CR 94 (Nugent Drive) and the Hamptons Spur of the Long Island Expressway.[41] After the Hamptons Spur proposal was cancelled, the plans for exit 71 were altered to call for a complete diamond interchange.

Exit list

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See also

New York Roads portal

References

External links

Template:Attached KML

  • Interstate 495 at New York Routes
  • Interstate 495 - New York (AARoads.com)
  • I-495 (Greater New York Roads)
  • Long Island's Official Online Community & LIE Relief Site
  • Long Island Expressway @ NYC Road Geek
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