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Interstate 278 marker

Interstate 278

Map of New York City with I-278 highlighted in red
Route information
Auxiliary route of I-78
Length35.62 mi [1] [2] (57.32 km)
NHSEntire route
RestrictionsNo drivers with learner's permits on Verrazzano & Triborough Bridges
Major junctions
West end US 1-9 in Linden, NJ
Major intersections
East end I-95 / I-295 / I-678 / Hutchinson River Parkway in Throggs Neck, NY
Country United States
States New Jersey, New York
CountiesNJ: Union
NY: Richmond, Kings, Queens, New York, Bronx
Highway system
Route 208NJ I-280
NY 277NY NY 278

Interstate 278 (I-278) is an auxiliary Interstate Highway in New Jersey and New York in the United States. The road runs 35.62 miles (57.32 km) from US Route 1/9 (US 1/9) in Linden, New Jersey, northeast to the Bruckner Interchange in the New York City borough of the Bronx. The majority of I-278 is in New York City, where it serves as a partial beltway and passes through all five of the city's boroughs. [a] I-278 follows several freeways, including the Union Freeway in Union County, New Jersey; the Staten Island Expressway (SIE) across Staten Island; the Gowanus Expressway in southern Brooklyn; the Brooklyn–Queens Expressway (BQE) across northern Brooklyn and Queens; a small part of the Grand Central Parkway in Queens; and a part of the Bruckner Expressway in the Bronx. I-278 also crosses multiple bridges, including the Goethals, Verrazzano-Narrows, Kosciuszko, and Robert F. Kennedy bridges.

I-278 was opened in pieces from the 1930s through the 1960s. Some of its completed segments predated the Interstate Highway System and are thus not up to standards, and portions of I-278 have been upgraded over the years. In New York, the various parts of I-278 were planned by Robert Moses, an urban planner in New York City. The segments proposed tore through many New York City neighborhoods, causing controversy. Despite its number, I-278 does not connect to I-78. There were once plans to extend I-278 west to I-78 east of the Route 24 interchange in Springfield, New Jersey. This was canceled because of opposition from the communities along the route. The segment that does exist in New Jersey was opened in 1969. There were also plans to extend I-78 east across Manhattan and into Brooklyn via the Williamsburg Bridge; this would have been a second interchange between I-278 and its parent highway, but these plans were also thwarted. I-78 was also planned to extend east beyond I-278 to John F. Kennedy International Airport, and then curve northward on the Clearview Expressway, ending at the Bruckner Interchange in the Bronx. If these plans were fully completed, I-78 and I-278 would have met at three interchanges.

Two segments of I-278 have had different route number designations formerly planned or designated for it. I-87 was once planned to follow the segment of I-278 between the Williamsburg Bridge and the Major Deegan Expressway, but this ultimately became a part of I-278. Additionally, the Bruckner Expressway portion of I-278 had been designated with different route numbers. At first, it was to be I-895 between I-87 and the Sheridan Expressway and I-678 past there. Later, I-278 was planned to follow the Bruckner Expressway and the Sheridan Expressway to I-95 (with no route number for the Bruckner Expressway past there) before the current numbering took place by 1970, with I-895 designated onto the Sheridan Expressway (which was subsequently downgraded to a state highway in 2017).

Route description

  mi [1] [2] km
NJ 2.00 3.22
NY 33.62 54.11
Total 35.62 57.32

New Jersey

View west along I-278 between the New Jersey Turnpike and US 1/9 in Elizabeth. The wide median provided room for an intended expansion and extension of the road which never occurred.

The New Jersey segment of I-278 begins in Linden, Union County, at the junction with US 1 and US 9 ( US 1/9), where it merges into the southbound direction of that road. The freeway heads east and carries two lanes in each direction, with the eastbound direction widening to three lanes. [1] I-278 runs between urban residential areas to the north and the Bayway Refinery to the south as it continues into Elizabeth. [1] [3] In this area, the road meets Route 439 and the New Jersey Turnpike ( I-95) at the only intermediate interchange that I-278 has in New Jersey. [1] This short length is sometimes called the Union Freeway. After this interchange, I-278 turns southeast and crosses the New Jersey Turnpike, Conrail Shared Assets Operations' (CSAO) Chemical Coast Secondary line, a Staten Island Railway freight line that is used by CSAO, industrial areas, CSAO's Bayway Industrial Track line, and finally Arthur Kill on the six-lane Goethals Bridge to Staten Island, a borough of New York City. This bridge is maintained by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ). [1] [3]

Staten Island Expressway

Time-lapse video of a westbound trip on I-278

Upon coming onto Staten Island, I-278 becomes the SIE. [3] After the Goethals Bridge, the highway passes under the Travis Branch railroad line that is owned by the Staten Island Railway and operated by CSAO and has a toll plaza serving the bridge. At this point, the freeway becomes eight lanes and maintained by the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT), coming to an exit for Western and Forest avenues before reaching a directional interchange with New York State Route 440 (NY 440, named the West Shore Expressway). NY 440 forms a concurrency with I-278, and the road heads into residential neighborhoods. The road carries four lanes eastbound and three lanes westbound as it comes to the exit serving Richmond Avenue. Immediately after, NY 440 splits from the SIE at a large interchange, heading north on the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Expressway. [2] [3] This interchange also provides access to Victory Boulevard. [2] East of this point, the expressway gains a bus lane in each direction. The six-lane I-278 turns to the east past this point, with Gannon Avenue serving as a frontage road, and reaches the Bradley Avenue exit. [2] [3]

The next interchange the SIE is with Todt Hill Road and Slosson Avenue. [2] This exchange was the original terminal of the bus lane in each direction that also serves as a high-occupancy vehicle lane (HOV lane) that was built in 2005. [4] After Todt Hill Road, I-278 runs through a wooded area where it comes to an incomplete interchange that was to be the northern terminus of the Richmond Parkway. [3] [5] The road continues back into residential areas and comes to an interchange serving Clove Road and Richmond Road. [2] [3] Past this, I-278 passes over the Staten Island Railway rapid transit line. The next interchange the freeway has is with Hylan Boulevard. [2] A short distance later, the SIE comes to a large interchange that serves Lily Pond Road and Bay Street. Immediately after, I-278 reaches the former toll plaza for the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge, [2] [3] where electronic toll collection is in effect. [6] Following the toll plaza area, I-278 goes onto the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge linking to Brooklyn over the Narrows. This bridge, which is maintained by the Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority (TBTA), has six lanes on the lower level and seven lanes on the upper level which includes one HOV lane. [3] [7] In addition to local traffic on Staten Island, the expressway provides the most direct route from Brooklyn and Long Island to New Jersey. It is widely known throughout the New York City area as one of the most congested roads in the city. [8]

I-278 (Staten Island Expressway) westbound at Clove Road

Gowanus Expressway

After the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge, I-278 continues into Brooklyn on the Gowanus Expressway. Immediately after the bridge, the freeway comes to an eastbound exit and westbound entrance for the Belt Parkway. After this, a full interchange serves 92nd Street at which point I-278 becomes a single-level six-lane freeway. Soon after, one of the eastbound lanes becomes an HOV lane, continuing east to the Hugh L. Carey Tunnel. [9] restricted to buses, carpools, and vehicles with three or more occupants. [10] [11] On weekdays, this HOV lane carries eastbound traffic in the morning and westbound traffic in the afternoon. The lane is closed at other times, including certain New York City government holidays. [10] [11]

The Gowanus Expressway continues northeast into urban residential neighborhoods and reaches an eastbound interchange at Fort Hamilton Parkway and a westbound interchange at 86th Street. Turning more to the north, I-278 comes to a partial interchange at 65th Street, with an exit eastbound and entrance eastbound. The road curves northwest at this point and comes to a directional interchange providing access to 3rd Avenue and the Belt Parkway. [2] [3] The Gowanus Expressway turns northeast again at the interchange with Belt Parkway, and it continues along an elevated alignment above Third Avenue, running through urban residential and commercial areas. [3] Along this viaduct, I-278 has interchanges with 38th Street/39th Street and the western terminus of NY 27 ( Prospect Expressway). [2] [3]

An elevated freeway in a city with bicyclists riding on it
The Gowanus Expressway during the 2008 Five Boro Bike Tour

After the NY 27 interchange, the freeway widens to eight lanes and heads north, coming to an interchange with the Brooklyn–Battery Tunnel approach (officially the Hugh L. Carey Tunnel, I-478), with the exit ramps splitting from the median of I-278. Westbound access to the tunnel is provided by the Hamilton Avenue exit. [2] [3] In this area, the freeway passes over the Gowanus Canal, an extremely polluted canal that was once used for shipping. [12] The site has been designated a Superfund site by the Environmental Protection Agency. [13] [14]

Brooklyn–Queens Expressway

After the exit for the Brooklyn–Battery Tunnel, I-278 heads north onto the six-lane BQE, passing through urban neighborhoods near Downtown Brooklyn on a depressed alignment. The next interchange the highway reaches serves Atlantic Avenue. [2] After Atlantic Avenue, the road runs along the East River harbor in Downtown Brooklyn/ Brooklyn Heights and is partially covered to create the Brooklyn Heights Promenade. [3] As of October 2021, the roadway has been reduced to two lanes in each direction between Atlantic Avenue and the Brooklyn Bridge as part of efforts to extend the life of the roadway [3] and meet modern safety standards for lane width and shoulders. [15]I-278, at this point maintained by the New York City Department of Transportation (NYCDOT), makes a sharp turn to the east away from the East River and comes to an interchange serving the Brooklyn Bridge and Cadman Plaza. [2] [3] [16] The freeway continues on an elevated alignment and makes a turn southeast as it comes to ramps accessing the Manhattan Bridge. [2] [3] As of 2022, the city portion is planned to be rebuilt. [15]

I-278 southbound approaching Downtown Brooklyn

North of the bridges, the highway becomes state-maintained again and reaches at an exit serving Tillary Street and Flushing Avenue. [2] [16] At this point, the BQE continues east through residential areas and turns northeast upon coming to the Wythe Avenue/Kent Avenue exit. The road passes through the Williamsburg neighborhood on a depressed alignment, reaching an interchange that serves the Williamsburg Bridge, with an exit at Metropolitan Avenue a short distance later. I-278 becomes elevated again as it passes through more neighborhoods and comes to the interchange with Humboldt Street/ McGuinness Boulevard. The BQE enters more industrial areas as it comes to Meeker Avenue/Morgan Avenue. [2] [3]

I-278 crosses the Newtown Creek into Queens on the Kosciuszko Bridge. Upon entering Queens, the BQE runs north between residential neighborhoods to the east and Calvary Cemetery to the west before coming to an interchange with I-495. [2] [3] After I-495, the freeway makes a turn to the east, passing over homes before crossing over New Calvary Cemetery. [3] The road turns northeast through more urban neighborhoods and reaches an interchange at NY 25 ( Queens Boulevard). [2] [3] At this point, I-278 becomes city-maintained again and passes under the Long Island Rail Road's Main Line as it continues into a depressed alignment. [3] [16] The BQE turns north as it approaches the exit for Broadway and Roosevelt Avenue. I-278 heads back onto a viaduct and comes to a single-point urban interchange (SPUI) at NY 25A. A short distance past NY 25A, the freeway splits into east and west segments with four lanes each that respectively merge into the Grand Central Parkway east- and westbound. Astoria Boulevard is accessible from either leg. [2] [3] Both legs receive Interstate funding, though only the western leg is signed as part of I-278. [17]

A congested elevated freeway passing through an area of urban high rise buildings
The expressway rising to its elevated section in Brooklyn

Grand Central Parkway and Robert F. Kennedy Bridge

I-278 turns west to run along the eight-lane state-maintained Grand Central Parkway, with Astoria Boulevard (and Hoyt Avenue later on) serving as a frontage road. [3] [16] The road runs along a depressed alignment, passing under Amtrak's Northeast Corridor, then the New York City Subway's BMT Astoria Line at 31st Street. [3] The Grand Central Parkway overlap ends at the 31st Street interchange, and I-278 continues northwest along the tolled, eight-lane Robert F. Kennedy Bridge, which passes over Astoria. [2] [3] Eastbound tolls are collected electronically at this point. [18] [6]

Approach to the Robert F. Kennedy (Triborough) Bridge in Astoria, with Hoyt Avenue on either side

I-278 crosses the East River on the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge, which maintained by the TBTA. It then enters Wards Island, which is a part of the borough of Manhattan. [3] [7] On Wards Island, the highway heads north through Wards Island Park and passes to the east of Manhattan Psychiatric Center as it passes over the border onto Randalls Island, which is connected to Wards Island by land. [3] I-278 passes through the bridge's former toll plaza before an interchange that provides access to FDR Drive by way of another segment of the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge over the Harlem River. After this interchange, the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge carries the route over the Bronx Kill into the Bronx, [2] [3] where westbound tolls are collected electronically. [18] [6]

Bruckner Expressway

In the Bronx, I-278 becomes the Bruckner Expressway and reaches an interchange with the southern terminus of I-87 ( Major Deegan Expressway). [2] At this point, the Bruckner Expressway heads northeast on a six-lane elevated alignment through industrial areas with some residences, paralleling the Northeast Corridor. [3] Along this section, there is a westbound exit and eastbound entrance for 138th Street. [2] NY 895 splits from the eastbound direction of I-278 as the Bruckner Expressway makes a turn to the east into residential and commercial neighborhoods on a surface alignment, crossing the Bronx River on a drawbridge. [2] [3] The road has an interchange at Hunts Point Avenue before coming to the Bronx River Parkway. Continuing east, the road has an exit serving White Plains Road and Castle Hill Avenue. [2]

Eastbound I-278 in the Bronx, at the exit for I-895 (now NY 895)

I-278's eastern terminus is at the Bruckner Interchange further to the east. Here, the Bruckner Expressway becomes I-95 and continues toward the New England Thruway. At this interchange, I-278 also has access to I-295, I-678, and the Hutchinson River Parkway. [2] [3] Legally, the New York section of I-278 is defined as part of Interstate Route Connector 512 and all of Interstate Route Connector 518 in New York Highway Law § 340-a. [19]


New Jersey

The start of I-278 in New Jersey

The New Jersey portion of freeway was planned in 1955 as the Union Freeway and designated as I-278 in 1958. It was to connect the Goethals Bridge west to I-78 at the tripoint of Springfield, Union Township, and Millburn. [20] [21] The western part of this planned freeway faced strong opposition. [22] Even though it was to run along an abandoned railroad right-of-way, it would traverse through dense development in Roselle Park, Kenilworth, and Union Township, [23] thereby making the project further disliked. [22] By 1967, state officials decided not to pursue the continuation of I-278 and used the funds for I-278 to build I-195 across Central Jersey instead. [24] The only section of I-278 in New Jersey was built between US 1/9 in Linden and the Goethals Bridge, opening to traffic in 1969 at a cost of $11.5 million (equivalent to $73.3 million in 2023 [25]). [26]

I-278 westbound entering New Jersey

The Union Freeway Extension was revived in the late 1960s and was to start at US 1/9 but end at I-287 in Hanover Township, following the Route 24 freeway between I-78 and I-287. However, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) rejected the proposal in 1970, thus ending the I-278 project. [27]

The original four-lane Goethals Bridge, which predated the I-278 designation, was replaced with two new three-lane cable-stayed bridges, each carrying traffic in one direction. The new eastbound bridge opened to both directions of traffic in June 2017, [28] and westbound traffic was shifted to the new westbound bridge in May 2018. [29]

Staten Island Expressway

The SIE was first planned in 1941 as the Cross-Richmond Express Highway, a freeway connecting the Goethals and Verrazzano-Narrows bridges that was a part of a comprehensive system of freeways and parkways for the borough of Staten Island. [30] In 1945, Robert Moses took over planning for the freeway and called it the Clove Lakes Expressway. [31] The plan received approval in stages through the mid-1950s, and construction on the expressway began in 1959. [22] [32] By this time, the SIE had received the I-278 designation. [20]

The new exit 15 on the SIE eastbound, opened on July 9, 2012

The construction of the SIE was particularly noted for the massive movement of earth required to build the section of the highway between Clove Road and Price Street (now Narrows Road North, a service road of the expressway) between Grymes Hill and Emerson Hill. The earth removed from the cut in the hill was placed in a remote section of central Staten Island adjacent to Sea View Hospital and has since been nicknamed "Moses Mountain". [33] Originally, Moses intended for a spur of the expressway, the Richmond Parkway, to follow the central ridge of the island, connecting with the Outerbridge Crossing in the southwestern part of the island. However, there was massive local opposition to this spur, and, unlike previous projects by Moses, the northern half of the spur was canceled when Mayor John Lindsay took office in 1966. The southern half of this proposed spur was built, however. [5] The aborted section, from the expressway to Richmond Avenue, has become a part of the Staten Island Greenbelt, one of New York City's public parks. [5] A ramp stub of an interchange on the expressway, cut into the hills of Todt Hill, still exists. Part of the trail system of the greenbelt was using the abandoned overpass bridge as pedestrian crossing of the expressway up until 2013, when it was dismantled for lane widening improvements. [3] [34]

The first link of the SIE opened in January 1964, from the Goethals Bridge to Victory Boulevard. The remainder opened later that year. The freeway had a total cost of $47 million (equivalent to $353 million in 2023 [25]). [35] In 1998, bus lanes were created on the eastern part of the SIE near the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge; they were extended west to Todt Hill Road/Slosson Avenue in 2005. [36] [37] In 2008, the bus lanes were opened to high-occupancy vehicles during rush hours. [4]

In July 2008, officials announced a $50-million (equivalent to $69.5 million in 2023 [25]) project to improve the severe traffic conditions on a 1.8-mile (2.9 km) stretch of the expressway. Included in the project is the construction of six new on- and offramps, improvements to and relocations of existing on- and offramps, and other improvements to surrounding roads. This followed numerous minor alterations to alleviate traffic, such as time/distance displays and the designated bus lanes. [34] Construction started in November 2010, with the project then expected to cost $75 million (equivalent to $102 million in 2023 [25]). [38] A new exit 15, which served Lily Pond Avenue and Bay Street on the eastern end of Staten Island, opened to traffic on July 9, 2012, replacing a former exit further to the east. Signage was also changed to display Fingerboard Road and Lily Pond Avenue as the outlet for the new exit, rather than Lily Pond and Bay Street. [39] [40] On January 17, 2013, westbound exit 13 was permanently closed in favor of a new interchange setup, which involved two new ramps: exit 13B for Richmond Road and Targee Street and exit 13A for Clove Road. [41]

Gowanus Expressway

An elevated four lane freeway in an urban area as it appeared in 1954
The original Gowanus Expressway in 1954, before widening. This part was built on the BMT Third Avenue Elevated

The Gowanus Expressway was initially the Gowanus Parkway, first planned in the 1930s. [42] Construction of the road, overseen by Robert Moses, started in 1939, with the parkway being built on top of the BMT Third Avenue Line. The parkway was completed in 1941 and became part of a Belt Parkway that received the NY 27A designation. [43] The Gowanus Parkway was to be reconstructed into the Gowanus Expressway in the 1950s to connect the Verrazzano Narrows Bridge to the Brooklyn–Battery Tunnel. The first segment of the Gowanus Expressway, from the Brooklyn–Battery Tunnel to the Prospect Expressway ( NY 27), was opened in May 1950. [44] The freeway was initially planned to be twelve lanes, with two three-lane roadways in each direction, but it was ultimately reduced to a six-lane highway to reduce disruption to the Bay Ridge neighborhood. [31] The Gowanus Expressway was incorporated into the Interstate Highway System and became a component of I-278. [20] The conversion of Gowanus Expressway to a six-lane freeway configuration was completed in 1964 at a cost of $100 million (equivalent to $751 million in 2023 [25]). [35] The NY 27A designation was removed from the Gowanus Expressway by 1970. [45] [46]

By 2000, an HOV lane was added to the eastbound Gowanus Expressway to serve traffic heading toward Manhattan. [9] Over the years, the viaduct structure of the Gowanus Expressway has deteriorated. [47] In 1998, a $16-million (equivalent to $27.9 million in 2023 [25]) feasibility study for a tunnel for the Gowanus Expressway was awarded. [48] NYSDOT was considering putting the road in a tunnel, [49] but, in November 2011, the FHWA canceled the project. [50] The viaduct's vertical steel supports show material missing due to rust, [51] but the federal government has stated that it is not in danger of collapse. [52] In 2019, the New York City Department of Transportation (NYCDOT) took over maintenance of the Gowanus Expressway from the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT). [11]

Brooklyn–Queens Expressway and Grand Central Parkway

The BQE traverses a deep cut between Red Hook and Brooklyn Heights

The BQE was initially planned in 1936 as the Brooklyn–Queens Connecting Highway, a link between the Gowanus Parkway and the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge. [53] The brief portion of I-278 on the Grand Central Parkway, connecting the BQE and the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge, had opened in the 1930s. [54] A part of the Brooklyn–Queens Connecting Highway, namely the Kosciuszko Bridge and the viaducts leading to the bridge, opened in 1939 between Meeker Avenue and Queens Boulevard (NY 25). [55]

In 1940, Moses proposed an expressway between Queens and Brooklyn to relieve local streets of congestion from the Manhattan and Williamsburg bridges. [56] The section between the Kosciuszko and Williamsburg bridges opened on May 25, 1950. [57] A further extension between the Brooklyn–Battery Tunnel and the Brooklyn Bridge, which included the Brooklyn Heights Promenade, was opened on June 23, 1954, connecting to the Gowanus Expressway. [58] This was followed by a mile-long (1.6 km) section between the Williamsburg Bridge and Flushing Avenue on September 1, 1958. [59] Two sections of the expressway opened on August 26, 1959: a segment between the Brooklyn Bridge and Tillary Street in Brooklyn and between the Grand Central Parkway and Roosevelt Avenue in Queens. [60] The expressway between Tillary Street and Flushing Avenue, around the Brooklyn Navy Yard, was opened shortly thereafter on January 6, 1960. [61] The road in its entirety was completed on December 23, 1964 at a cost of $137 million (equivalent to $1.03 billion in 2023 [25]), with the opening of a mile-long (1.6 km) underpass connecting Queens Boulevard with Roosevelt Avenue. [62] The major interchange with the Long Island Expressway was rebuilt in 1966 for $32.7 million (equivalent to $235 million in 2023 [25]). [63]

The westbound BQE through downtown Brooklyn

The construction of the BQE, overseen by Moses, tore through many residential neighborhoods in Brooklyn and Queens instead of following the East River. [33] [64] One portion of the expressway, the two-tiered promenade section in Brooklyn Heights that was designed by Moses, was originally planned to go straight through Hicks Street, then connect to the Brooklyn Bridge at Adams Street. Another route that was proposed by Moses would have continued up Hicks Street past Atlantic Avenue, removing all the buildings on one side of Court Street, then curving east into Tillary Street (at Cadman Plaza). The Brooklyn Heights Association was able to fight these proposed routes, which created the two-tiered section above Furman Street with the promenade over it. [65] Several tunnels were later proposed to replace the promenade, [66] but none of the tunnel proposals were supported or funded. [67]

In 1958, existing segments of the expressway were eligible for Interstate Highway funding. For a short time, the segment of highway between the Robert F. Kennedy and Williamsburg bridges was to be designated I-87 and continue north as the Major Deegan Expressway. By 1959, the I-278 designation was given to the entire length of the highway. [20] Since the roadway was constructed prior to modern expressway standards, the road needed to be upgraded to meet these standards. By the 1990s, a major multiyear project beginning in the 1980s brought upgrades to the BQE. [68]

The BQE passing through a depressed section in Woodside, Queens

In the early 2000s, the expressway underwent another upgrade project that replaced the viaduct within Downtown Brooklyn and Fort Greene. [69] Simultaneously, the Queens section of the BQE between Queens Boulevard and 25th Avenue was also renovated. [70] The Koscisuzko Bridge was replaced from 2014 to 2017 with a new eastbound span that temporarily served both directions of traffic. [71] A second span of the Kosciuszko Bridge opened in 2019 for westbound traffic, adding more lanes to the BQE across the bridge. [72]

Formerly, the frontage road of the Grand Central between BQE and the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge served as a truck route, since large trucks are not permitted on the parkway. Exemptions are provided for smaller trucks that conform with strict regulations, but only on the section of the Grand Central that overlaps with I-278. [73] In December 2017, the state concluded a $2.5-million (equivalent to $3.06 million in 2023 [25]) project that lowered the roadbed of the section of the parkway that is concurrent with I-278. This section of I-278 now has a 14-foot (4.3 m) vertical clearance, which allows most trucks to stay on I-278. [74]

Proposed reconstruction in Brooklyn Heights

In 1999, the think tank Reason Foundation proposed placing the BQE within Brooklyn Heights in a tunnel. [75] However, NYCDOT did not seriously consider this suggestion until 2016 when it studied six possible tunnel configurations. NYCDOT found that only the tunnel option starting at 21st Street on Third Avenue and ending near Kent Avenue in Williamsburg would be feasible. This option would have served as a bypass, with vehicles heading to Downtown Brooklyn, or the Manhattan and Williamsburg bridges using the triple cantilever structure, which would be tolled. [76] At the same time, the Brooklyn Heights Promenade was deteriorating significantly and was set to undergo renovations starting 2020. [77] The structure is supported by steel rods inside rebar, which is corroding due to the seeping of road salt into widening cracks. If nothing was done on the roadway by 2026, weight restrictions would have to be implemented, with trucks diverted to local roads, and, by 2036, the city would have to shut down this section of the BQE. [78] [79]

In late 2018, NYSDOT proposed rebuilding the double-decker, 1.5-mile (2.4 km) section of I-278 running under the Brooklyn Heights Promenade, which had deteriorated severely over the years. Two options were proposed. [78] [79] The cheaper option, which would cost $3.3 billion to $3.6 billion (equivalent to $3.94 billion to $4.3 billion in 2023 [25]) and take six years, entailed building a temporary six-lane highway in the location of the promenade while they repaired the underlying structure. [80] [78] [79] Under this option, lanes would be widened, and shoulders would have been added. In conjunction with the project, NYCDOT hoped to unify Van Voorhees Park, improve safety at the interchange with Atlantic Avenue, and possibly build a pedestrian bridge from Brooklyn Bridge Park to the promenade. [81] The other, more expensive option, which would cost $3.4 billion to $4 billion (equivalent to $4.06 billion to $4.78 billion in 2023 [25]) and take over eight years, was to repair the existing six-lane highway one lane at a time. [79] [78] The promenade walkway would be closed for up to six years under the first option and for two years under the second option, with periodic closures for construction use. The NYCDOT commissioner, Polly Trottenberg, called the project "the most challenging project not only in New York City, but arguably in the United States right now". [82] For the project, $1.7 billion in city funding was allocated, with the remainder to be footed from the state and federal governments. [79]

Because of sizable opposition to demolishing the promenade, mayor Bill de Blasio later stated that his administration was open to considering other ideas, including routing the expressway over Brooklyn Bridge Park. [83] Hundreds of people, including Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and City Comptroller Scott Stringer, rallied on the promenade, calling for more public review. Local residents are strongly opposed to the construction of the temporary six-lane highway as it would run right up against their homes. In response, the Brooklyn Heights Association came up with an alternate plan, which called for the construction of a temporary bilevel roadway running besides the promenade on land including a parking lot. [84]

Support for reducing the size of or tearing down the BQE increased, with articles in New York and The Wall Street Journal calling for the removal of the highway. They noted how the removal of highways in other cities improved local neighborhoods and led to economic development. [85] [86] Commissioner Trottenberg had dismissed calls to tear down the highway saying that the city got most of its freight by truck and that "For better or for worse, these Moses-built highways [...] now the city has grown around them and it's not an option to just say we can't deal with that traffic." [81] City Council Speaker Corey Johnson called for the city to study alternatives, including the removal of the BQE in its entirety, in his State of the City address. [87] On March 13, 2019, Stringer issued a plan calling for converting the triple cantilever structure and the open cut in Cobble Hill into a truck-only highway between Hamilton Avenue in Carroll Gardens and the Brooklyn Bridge. Under the plan, only the bottom level would be rebuilt and then be decked over by a linear park and boulevard. The report expected passenger vehicles to be diverted into the underused Brooklyn–Battery Tunnel, whose tolls might be lowered when congestion pricing in New York City was implemented. [88] [89] In early April, de Blasio announced that he would create a panel to formally evaluate each alternative and that the panel's evaluations would end by mid-2019. [90] [91] In February 2020, officials proposed a three-mile (4.8 km) tunnel from the Gowanus Expressway to Flushing Avenue. The proposal was expected to cost $11 billion, to be paid by tolls. [92]

In late 2021, the section between Atlantic Avenue and Brooklyn Bridge was reduced from three to two lanes per direction, a move that city officials said could prolong the viaduct's life by 20 years. The city also planned to ticket overweight vehicles. [93] [94] There was still no long-term plan for the viaduct by mid-2022, [95] but three preliminary plans for the highway's reconstruction were announced in December 2022. [96] [97] NYCDOT formally presented the three plans to the public in February 2023, [98] [99] and city officials began issuing summonses to overweight vehicles in August of that year. [100] [101] In February 2024, the Federal Highway Administration rejected the city's request for $800 million to redesign and rebuild the cantilever. [102] By the next month, no design had been finalized, [103] and the start date for the triple cantilever's reconstruction had been postponed to 2028. [104] [105]

Bruckner Expressway

The eastern end of I-278, at the Bruckner Interchange

The Bruckner Expressway was originally the Bruckner Boulevard, designated as part of NY 1A. [106] [107] [108] In the 1930s, a freeway was planned on the Bruckner Boulevard alignment in order to provide a connection between the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge and a freeway leading north into Westchester County. [30] [53] Moses took over planning for the road in 1951 and called for an elevated freeway between the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge and the Bronx River and a depressed freeway east of there. [109] Construction on the elevated segment of the Bruckner Expressway began in 1957 and on the depressed segment in 1959. The depressed portion was opened in 1961 while the elevated portion of the Bruckner Expressway was opened in 1962. [110] In 1972, the large Bruckner Interchange was finished, completing the route. [111]

Over the years, the I-278 portion of the Bruckner Expressway has had different designations. When the Interstate Highway System was first created, the road was to be part of I-895 from I-87 to the Sheridan Expressway and I-678 from there to I-95. [20] Later, I-278 was planned to follow the Bruckner Expressway from I-87 to the Sheridan Expressway, where it would continue on that freeway to I-95, while the Bruckner Expressway was not designated an Interstate north of there. [45] By 1970, I-278 was routed onto its current alignment, with I-895 (now NY 895) created along the Sheridan Expressway. [46]

Public transportation

Multiple express buses operated by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority operate along I-278:

The S79 SBS, S53 and S93 local routes operate over the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. [112] In addition, the B24 local bus operates on the Kosciuszko Bridge; the Q70 SBS operates over a small section of the Brooklyn–Queens Expressway; and the M60 SBS operates on the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge. [115]

Exit list

StateCountyLocation mi
[1] [2] [116] [117]
kmOld exitNew exitDestinationsNotes
New Jersey Union Linden0.000.00
US 1-9 south
Proposed link approved by Port Authority would allow direct access to US 1-9 north [118]
Elizabeth0.871.40Brunswick Avenue ( CR 616) – Elizabeth, LindenEastbound exit and westbound entrance; last eastbound exit before toll
3A I-95 / N.J. TurnpikeExit 13 on I-95 / Turnpike; exit number not signed eastbound

Route 439 north (Bayway Avenue) to US 1-9 north – Elizabeth
Westbound exit and eastbound left entrance; signed as exits 3B (north) and 3C (east); southern terminus of Route 439
Arthur Kill2.00
Goethals Bridge (eastbound toll; E-ZPass or pay-by-plate)
New York Staten Island Bloomfield1.602.573Western AvenueWestbound exit and eastbound entrance
1.702.744 Forest AvenueEastbound exit and westbound entrance
NY 440 south ( West Shore Expressway) – Outerbridge Crossing
Western terminus of NY 440 concurrency
1.903.066South AvenueWestbound exit only
GranitevilleBulls Head
2.043.287 Richmond Avenue
8 (EB)
10 (WB)
Victory BoulevardFormer NY 439A
NY 440 north ( Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Expressway) – Bayonne Bridge
Eastern terminus of NY 440 concurrency; to Cape Liberty Cruise Port
Castleton CornersWillowbrook
3.445.5411Bradley Avenue
4.787.6912Todt Hill Road / Slosson Avenue
SunnysidePark Hill
5.739.2213Clove Road / Richmond Road / Targee StreetSigned as exits 13A (Clove) and 13B (Richmond/Targee) westbound
7.3411.8114 Hylan Boulevard
ConcordShore Acres
7.5812.2015WNarrows Road west to Fingerboard RoadLower level only; westbound exit and eastbound entrance
15S Lily Pond Avenue to Father Capodanno BoulevardLower level only; signed as exit 15 eastbound; last eastbound exit before toll
15NBay Street – Fort WadsworthLower level only; eastbound exit is via exit 15S
The Narrows8.8814.29 Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge (toll; E-ZPass or pay-by-plate)
Brooklyn Bay Ridge8.6413.9016
Belt Parkway east – JFK Airport
Eastbound left exit and westbound left entrance; exit 3 on Belt Parkway
9.8415.841792nd StreetLast westbound exit before toll
10.4716.8518 Fort Hamilton ParkwayEastbound exit and westbound entrance
10.8917.531986th StreetWestbound exit and eastbound entrance
Sunset Park11.1817.99207th Avenue / 6th Avenue / 65th StreetSigned for 7th Avenue eastbound, 6th Avenue westbound
11.9319.2021 3rd AvenueNo westbound exit
Belt Parkway east – Queens
Westbound left exit and eastbound entrance; western terminus of Belt Parkway
Greenwood Heights13.9222.402338th Street / 39th StreetNo entrance ramps
NY 27 east ( Prospect Expressway)
No westbound entrance; western terminus of NY 27; westbound left exit
Red Hook15.0624.2426A25 Hugh L. Carey Tunnel ( I-478 north) – ManhattanNo westbound exit; southern terminus of unsigned I-478; E-ZPass or pay-by-plate
15.1424.3726B26 Hugh L. Carey Tunnel ( I-478 north) / Hamilton AvenueNo eastbound access to Hugh L. Carey Tunnel
Brooklyn Heights16.1225.9427 Atlantic Avenue
16.7426.9428A Cadman Plaza WestNo eastbound entrance; signed as exit 28 westbound
Downtown Brooklyn17.2027.6828B Brooklyn BridgeEastbound exit only
17.4728.1229A Manhattan Bridge – ManhattanEastbound exit and entrance
18.1029.1329BTillary Street – Brooklyn Civic Center, Manhattan Bridge, Holland TunnelNo westbound entrance; signed as exit 29 westbound
Clinton Hill18.6830.0630 Flushing AvenueEastbound exit and westbound entrance
Williamsburg19.3231.0931Wythe Avenue / Kent AvenueWestbound exit and eastbound entrance
19.8531.9532A Williamsburg Bridge – ManhattanWestbound left exit and eastbound left entrance
20.4132.8532B Metropolitan AvenueNo eastbound entrance; signed as exit 32 eastbound
Greenpoint20.6033.1533Humboldt Street / McGuinness BoulevardEastbound exit and westbound entrance
21.8035.0834Meeker Avenue / Morgan AvenueWestbound exit and eastbound entrance
Newtown Creek22.1035.57 Kosciuszko Bridge
Queens Long Island City21.80–
35 I-495 ( Long Island Expressway) / 48th Street / Greenpoint Avenue – Midtown Tunnel, Eastern Long IslandSigned as exits 35A (west) and 35B (east); exits 17W-E on I-495
Woodside23.3037.503639 NY 25 ( Queens Boulevard) / 65th Place / 58th StreetSigned as exits 39E (east) and 39W (west) westbound
23.8738.423740 Broadway / Roosevelt Avenue
Jackson Heights24.4839.403841 NY 25A ( Northern Boulevard)
East Elmhurst24.6639.693942

To Grand Central Parkway east – LaGuardia Airport
Eastbound exit and westbound entrance
25.3040.72404330th AvenueEastbound exit and westbound entrance
Astoria25.5741.154144 Astoria Boulevard westEastbound exit and westbound entrance
Grand Central Parkway east – LaGuardia Airport
Western end of G.C. Parkway overlap; westbound exit and eastbound entrance; exit number not signed
26.3742.4434531st Street / Astoria Boulevard

Grand Central Parkway ends
No eastbound access to Astoria Boulevard
East River27.1143.63 Triborough Bridge suspension span (eastbound toll)
Manhattan Randall's Island27.5844.3946A Randall's IslandWestbound exit only; access via Hell Gate Circle

To FDR Drive south / Harlem River Drive north – Manhattan, Randall's Island
Access via NY 900G; Harlem River Drive not signed; no westbound access to Randall's Island
Hell Gate28.6046.03 Triborough Bridge truss span (westbound toll)
The Bronx Port Morris28.8946.494447
I-87 north ( Major Deegan Expressway) – Albany
Southern terminus of I-87
29.4947.464548East 138th Street
Hunts Point30.7849.544649
NY 895 north (Sheridan Boulevard) to East 177th Street
Eastbound exit and westbound entrance; former I-895
31.1850.1850Hunts Point Avenue – Hunts Point MarketWestbound exit and eastbound entrance
Soundview31.4850.6651Bronx River AvenueWestbound exit only
Bronx River Parkway north – White Plains
No westbound exit; exits 2E-W on Bronx River Parkway
Unionport32.3552.065253 White Plains Road / Castle Hill Avenue
Throggs Neck33.6254.1154

I-295 south / I-678 south / Hutchinson River Parkway north / Zerega Avenue – Throgs Neck Bridge, Whitestone Bridge
Bruckner Interchange; eastbound exit and westbound entrance

I-95 north ( Bruckner Expressway) – New Haven, CT
Bruckner Interchange; eastern terminus
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

See also


  1. ^ It does not go through the island of Manhattan but does pass through Randalls and Wards Islands, which are technically a part of the borough of Manhattan.


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External links

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