Interstate-Guide Home State by State Interstate list Main Interstate Routes Hidden Interstates Decommissioned Interstates Future Interstates Business Loops & Spurs Interstates Facts & Trivia FWHA Rouge Log Kurumi's 3di Log
 

Interstate 87

 

On the Adirondack Northway, the Thaddeus Kosciuszko Bridge greets motorists on northbound Interstate 87 as the freeway crosses the Mohawk River. Built in 1959, the twin bridges carry northbound and southbound traffic on a through tied arch design. Photo taken by Alex Nitzman (07/20/05).

Routing

Eastern New York's main north-south highway, Interstate 87 facilitates traffic along the U.S. 9 corridor north of New York City. Interstate 87 follows the Major Deegan Expressway from its southern terminus until crossing the New York City limits, and the expressway transitions directly onto the New York Thruway. Interstate 87 follows the Thruway between New York City and Albany (the Capital District), serving Newburgh, New Paltz, Kingston, and Catskill. From Albany north to the International Border, Interstate 87 follows the Adirondack Northway. The Northway serves Adirondack Park, the North Country, and traffic bound for Montreal, Quebec, via Autoroute 15.

All of the exit numbers on Interstate 87 are sequential, not mileage-based. Each of the three sections of Interstate 87 has its own exit numbering system:

  • The Major Deegan Expressway has Exits 1 through 14, until the New York City limits
  • The New York Thruway begins with Exit 1 at the Westchester County Line, and Interstate 87 departs the Thruway at Exit 24
  • The Adirondack Northway begins again at Exit 1 in Albany, and it continues until Exit 43 just prior to the International Border near Champlain

Interstate 87 has several child routes: Interstate 287, 587, and 787. There have been plans at one time or another for an Interstate 487 (which is now part of Interstate 287 east of the Tappan Zee Bridge) and an Interstate 687 (unbuilt route near Albany), but both route numbers are unused. Of the three child routes, Interstate 287 travels further south than its parent, as it offers a bypass of New York City to the west of the metropolitan area. As a result, Interstate 287 enters New Jersey, a state that Interstate 87 avoids.

High Priority Corridor

Interstate 87 in its entirety is part of High Priority Corridor 47: Interstate 87.

Parallel U.S. Routes

Generally, Interstate 87 follows U.S. 9 for its entire length, choosing to remain in New York State for its entire route.

History

The mainline of the New York Thruway was opened to traffic in stages between 1954 and 1957. The section of the Thruway that carries Interstate 87 was opened in order from south to north:2

  • New York City to Yonkers (3 miles) - August 31, 1956
  • Yonkers to Suffern (27 miles) - December 15, 1955
  • Suffern to Hillburn (1 mile) - July 1, 1955
  • Hillburn to Harriman (14 miles) - May 27, 1955
  • Harriman to Newburgh (15 miles) - December 22, 1954
  • Newburgh to Albany (88 miles) - October 26, 1954

For more on the history of the Thruway, visit the official New York Thruway Factbook.

The Adirondack Northway section of Interstate 87, which is the free section from Albany north to the International Border with Quebec, Canada, began construction in 1957. The entire Northway was completed and opened to traffic on August 30, 1967.3

Highway Guides

Scenes such this one on the Adirondack Northway near Exit 31, Junction New York 9N to Elizabetown and Westport, set the stage for some of the sweeping views and gorgeous vistas on the northernmost sections of Interstate 87. Photo taken by Alex Nitzman (07/20/05).

Southern Terminus - Interstate 278 - Bronx, New York City, New York
Perspective from Interstate 87 south
Interstate 87 curves to the east at its final run, meeting Interstate 278 north of the Triboro Bridge. This diagram guide sign shows the lane allocation for the pending junction, with the two left lanes defaulted eastward onto Interstate 278/Bruckner Expressway. There are three exits between here and the Interstate 278 split. The right two lanes transition onto southwestbound Interstate 278/Triboro Bridge. Of course, the billboard is larger than the guide sign ... a common occurrence within New York City. Photo taken by AARoads (08/29/05).
Southbound Interstate 87/Major Deegan Expressway reaches Exit 3, East 138th Street and Madison Avenue Bridge. The next exit is Exit 2, Willis Avenue and Third Avenue Bridge. Photo taken by AARoads (08/29/05).
With the lift bridge in the background, traffic for Exit 3 diverts from southbound Interstate 87/Major Deegan Expressway. The Major Deegan Expressway, with its urban characteristics, has varied exit and entrance ramps with narrow medians and next to no shoulders, such as here. Photo taken by AARoads (08/29/05).
Passing under East 138th Street, Interstate 87/Major Deegan Expressway has a sharp turn to the southeast before meeting Interstate 278. The final two local interchanges serve Exit 2, Willis Avenue/Third Avenue Bridge and Exit 1, Brook Avenue. Photo taken by AARoads (08/29/05).
Immediately after Exit 3, East 138th Street/Madison Avenue Bridge, is the final Interstate 87 reassurance shield. Photo taken by AARoads (08/29/05).
The next exit along southbound Interstate 87/Major Deegan Expressway is Exit 2, Willis Avenue/Third Avenue Bridge. Use Exit 1, Brook Avenue to the Hunts Point Market. Photo taken by AARoads (08/29/05).
Passing over Lincoln Avenue, the final three exits on southbound Interstate 87 are: Exit 2, Willis Avenue/Third Avenue Bridge; Exit 1, Brook Avenue; Junction Interstate 278/Bruckner Expressway east, and Junction Interstate 278/Triboro Bridge southwest. Photo taken by AARoads (08/29/05).
Southbound Interstate 87/Major Deegan Expressway reaches Exit 2, Willis Avenue/Third Avenue Bridge, followed by Exit 1, Brook Avenue. Photo taken by AARoads (08/29/05).
Immediately thereafter, southbound Interstate 87/Major Deegan Expressway reaches Exit 1, Brook Avenue. From here, southbound motorists will have a choice of either Interstate 278/Bruckner Expressway east or Junction Interstate 278/TriBoro Bridge southwest Photo taken by AARoads (08/29/05).
Southbound Interstate 87/Major Deegan Expressway ends as the freeway divides into Interstate 278 east and west. This interchange also represents the western end of the Bruckner Expressway portion of Interstate 278. Photo taken by AARoads (08/29/05).
There is no END sign or shield assembly for Interstate 87/Major Deegan Expressway south. The left two lanes depart to Interstate 278/Bruckner Expressway east, while the right two lanes connect to the toll Interstate 278 Triboro Bridge connection to Manhattan, the Grand Central Parkway, and the continuation of Interstate 278 via the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway (BQE). Photo taken by AARoads (08/29/05).
Perspective from Interstate 278 west
Skewing above the housetops in southern Bronx, three lanes of Interstate 278 press westward towards the split with Interstate 87/Major Deegan Expressway north. Exit 47/Interstate 87, is the last exit before Interstate 278 turns southward across the tolled Triboro Bridge system. Photo taken by AARoads (08/29/05).
Prior to meeting Interstate 87/Major Deegan Expressway at Exit 44, the intervening offramp connects Interstate 278/Bruckner Expressway with Exit 45, East 138th Street. Photo taken by AARoads (08/29/05).
This set of guide signs for Interstate 278 westbound Exit 47 features the alternative control point of "Upstate" for Interstate 87 and also displays the Interstate 278 connections with FDR Drive and Grand Central Parkway to the south. As an unwritten rule, anything north of New York City metro and Long Island is designated "Upstate". Photo taken by AARoads (08/29/05).
Interstate 87 northbound splits at the Major Deegan Expressway while Interstate 278 turns southward to cross the tolled Triboro Bridge system into Queens, thus ending the Bruckner Expressway. The bridge system itself is designated the "Triboro" Bridge because it features a connection to East River Drive into northern Manhattan, thus connecting three of the five New York City boroughs. Photo taken by AARoads (08/29/05).
Interstate 278/Bruckner Expressway west and Interstate 87/Major Deegan Expressway north split at Exit 47. Interstate 278 continues southwest via the Triboro Bridge to connect to the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway (BQE). A four-mile stretch of Interstate 87 separates Interstate 278/Bruckner Expressway from Interstate 95/Cross-Bronx Expressway. Traffic staying with Interstate 278 westbound will enter Queens in the vicinity of La Guardia Airport. The airport is named after a former mayor of New York City that was known for his fiery attitude. The same mayor was also institutional in Robert Moses's rise to power in the city. Photo taken by AARoads (08/29/05).
Perspective from Interstate 278 east
Now traveling northeast on Interstate 278/Triboro Bridge, the first exit is for the connection to Manhattan. Shortly thereafter is the connection to Interstate 87 north through the Bronx to Upstate New York. Photo taken by Alex Nitzman (08/09/04).
Passing under the second suspension tower of the Triboro Bridge, eastbound Interstate 278 approaches the split between the Triboro Bridge spur to Manhattan and the continuation of Interstate 278 east to Interstate 87 north and the Bronx. Photo taken by Alex Nitzman (08/09/04).
All traffic on eastbound Interstate 278/Triboro Bridge must pay a toll; use the left lanes to connect to Interstate 87 north. Photo taken by Alex Nitzman (08/09/04).
After the suspension portion of the Triboro Bridge, eastbound Interstate 278 approaches the connection to Manhattan and Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) Drive. This sign is also the first appearance of Interstate 87 north signage. Photo taken by Alex Nitzman (08/09/04).
Interstate 278 eastbound as it crosses the Triboro Bridge to the south of Interstate 87. One of the control points for the western bridge into Manhattan is "Randalls Island". This island is to some significance to fans of the Robert Moses roads and bridges area of New York City. The island was home to one of his toll facility headquarters, leaving the building itself in the shadow of the Triboro Bridge above. Photo taken by Alex Nitzman (08/09/04).
The Triboro bridge system is composed of three bridges that span waterways between the boroughs of Bronx, Manhattan, and Queens, all connected by ramps, one of which is the official Triboro. The official Triboro connects Wards island to Queens. Wards island is within the borough of Manhattan (New York County).1 Interstate 87 basically launches north from the northern approach of the bridge. Photo taken by Alex Nitzman (08/09/04).
A pair of state name shields are posted on the overhead guide sign for Interstate 87 north and Interstate 278 east to the Bronx. The right lanes depart here for the connection to Manhattan. Ahead, all lanes stop to pay toll. Photo taken by Alex Nitzman (08/09/04).
After the Triboro bridge toll plaza, an older sign points to the Major Deegan Expressway (Interstate 87) north to Interstate 95/George Washington Bridge west to New Jersey and the New York Thruway, which begins at the north end of the Major Deegan Expressway where Interstate 87 leaves New York City and enters Yonkers. Photo taken by Alex Nitzman (08/09/04).
Use the left lanes to Interstate 87/Major Deegan Expressway north to Upstate New York. The right lanes carry Interstate 278/Bruckner Expressway northeast to Interstate 95/New England Thruway en route to New Haven and Providence. Photo taken by Alex Nitzman (08/09/04).
Interstate 278 east and Interstate 87 split at Exit 47, Junction Interstate 87/Major Deegan Expressway north. Note the long-distance control points of Albany for Interstate 87 and New Haven for Interstate 278 (via Interstate 95). Interstate 278 begins its Bruckner Expressway designation, carrying the name through the Bronx to Interstate 95 where Interstate 278 ends. The designation Bruckner Expressway however, continues northward to the Westchester County line via Interstate 95. Nearly lost in the mix of the freeway to freeway connection is the Exit 48 off-ramp to East 138th Street. Photo taken by Alex Nitzman (08/09/04).
Perspective from Interstate 87 north
Transitioning from Interstate 278/Bruckner Expressway west to Interstate 87/Major Deegan Expressway north, the first exit is Exit 2, Willis Avenue and Third Avenue Bridge in the Bronx. Photo taken by Alex Nitzman (08/09/04).
This is the first reassurance shield for Interstate 87 north. Interstate 87 will follow the Major Deegan Expressway north through the Bronx, then shift onto the New York Thruway for the ride north to Albany. At Albany, Interstate 87 departs the thruway and follows the Adirondack Northway from there north to the Canadian border. Photo taken by Alex Nitzman (08/09/04).
Some distance north, Interstate 87 prepares to leave New York City and enter Yonkers. At this point, Interstate 87 departs the Major Deegan Expressway at Exit 14 (McLean Avenue) and shifts onto the New York Thruway, the first exit of which is Exit 1, Hall Place. Photo taken by Alex Nitzman (08/09/04).
The Major Deegan Expressway ends and the nascent New York State Thruway begins as Interstate 87 north passes through this concrete canyon. Photo taken by Alex Nitzman (08/09/04).
Reaching Exit 1 (Hall Place), northbound Interstate 87 transitions directly from the Major Deegan Expressway to the New York State Thruway. A small sign after Exit 1 reads, "Governor Thomas E. Dewey Thruway." Interstate 87 leaves the Bronx (New York City) and enters Yonkers. Photo taken by Alex Nitzman (08/09/04).
Northern Terminus - Canadian International Border - Champlain, New York
Perspective from Interstate 87 north
The last overhead pull-through sign for Interstate 87 north is this one at Exits 38S-N, Junction New York 22 and New York 374 near Plattsburgh about 18 miles south of Champlain and Rouses Point. Photo taken by Alex Nitzman (07/20/05).
About 14 miles north, these signs advise that northbound Interstate 87 will connect to Canada via the customs station. At that point, Interstate 87 ends and Quebec Autoroute 15 begins. Photo taken by Alex Nitzman (07/20/05).
The final three exits along northbound Interstate 87/Adirondack Northway are: Exit (Sortie) 42, Junction U.S. 11 to Champlain and Rouses Point; Exit (Sortie) 43, Junction U.S. 9 to Champlain; and Junction Quebec Autoroute 15, Customs/International Border Crossing to Canada. Photo taken by Alex Nitzman (07/20/05).
To Champlain, use either Exit 42, Junction U.S. 11 to Champlain and Rouses Point or Exit 43, Junction U.S. 9 to Champlain. To Vermont via U.S. 2, use Exit 43. Photo taken by Alex Nitzman (07/20/05).
Northbound Interstate 87/Adirondack Northway reaches Exit 42, Junction U.S. 11 to Champlain and Rouses Point. Services are available at this interchange, and signs for Autoroute 15 are posted alongside Interstate 87 along U.S. 11. The next (and final) exit along northbound is Exit 43, Junction U.S. 9 to Champlain. Photo taken by Alex Nitzman (07/20/05).
U.S. 9 ends at Exit 43 on the eastern frontage road of Interstate 87. It does not cross the international border into Canada, but U.S. 11 does (north of Rouses Point). END U.S. 9 signage can be seen on the frontage road north of Exit 43 near the point where the freeway approaches the customs station. Photo taken by Alex Nitzman (07/20/05).
Exit 43, which serves U.S. 9 to Champlain, is the final U.S. exit along northbound Interstate 87. Note the use of bilingual signage. Photo taken by Alex Nitzman (07/20/05).
Interstate 87 northbound at Exit 43/U.S. 9. This ramp takes traffic to the adjacent U.S. 9 (Main Street) towards the village of Champlain. U.S. 9 itself once was the connection into Canada for Montreal bound travelers. Now the highway unceremoniously concludes at a cul-de-sac adjacent to the customs station of Interstate 87. The last one-half mile of U.S. 9 (Main Street) northbound constitutes the frontage road on the eastern side of Interstate 87. Photo taken by Alex Nitzman (07/20/05).
Continuing northward on Interstate 87 is this sign bridge for U.S. export control and the upcoming customs checkpoint. Many area signs in the north country feature bilingual signs in both English and French. Vidcap taken by Alex Nitzman (05/95).
The customs booths in view, Interstate 87 ends and Quebec Autoroute 15 begins ahead. Although once a tolled facility, Autoroute 15 provides direct access into downtown Montreal via the Champlain Bridge crossing of the Saint Lawrence River. The drive northward into the city is approximately 60 kilometers from the U.S./Canada Border. Vidcap taken by Alex Nitzman (05/95).
Perspective from Interstate 87 south
Southbound Interstate 87 travelers see this sign bridge for Exits 43 and 42 just south of the U.S. port of entry. U.S. 9 (Main Street) parallels Interstate 87 closely from Champlain southward to Plattsburgh. U.S. 11 meanwhile crosses Interstate 87 in an east-west fashion between Rouses Point and Mooers. Photo taken by Alex Nitzman (07/95).
Peering at the Exit 43 sign bridge from U.S. 9 (Main Street) across the northbound carriageway of Interstate 87. Drivers using the Exit 43 off-ramp utilize the West Service Road south 0.4 miles to Main Street. Photo taken by Alex Nitzman (07/20/05).
After the U.S. 9 interchange/northern terminus (Exit 43), the next exit is Exit 42, Junction U.S. 11 to U.S. 2 east to Vermont. Photo taken by Alex Nitzman (07/20/05).
A speed limit conversion sign for the difference between Metric and English units for 65 miles per hour (105 kilometers per hour) is provided shortly before the junction with U.S. 11. Photo taken by Alex Nitzman (07/20/05).
Southbound Interstate 87/Adirondack Northway reaches Exit 42, Junction U.S. 11 to Champlain and Rouses Point as well as U.S. 2 east to Vermont. From here, Interstate 87 travels south to Plattsburgh, passes through scenic Adirondack Park, and continues south to Albany and New York City. Photo taken by Alex Nitzman (07/20/05).
Perspective from West Service Road
A look at the southbound Interstate 87 on-ramp from West Service Road at Exit 43. U.S. 9 motorists emanating from Main Street must travel underneath Interstate 87 to this ramp. Otherwise U.S. 9 traffic can utilize the Exit 42 diamond interchange with U.S. 11 to the south. Photo taken by Alex Nitzman (07/20/05).
West Service Road southbound at the first U.S. entrance point to Interstate 87 southbound. West Service Road carries U.S. 9 trailblazers, but is not officially part of U.S. 9. The road ends at a cul-de-sac to the west of the Interstate 87 customs house at an industrial park. Photo taken by Alex Nitzman (07/20/05).
Perspective from U.S. 11 north
Traveling north on U.S. 11, a left turn (at the traffic signal ahead) connects the two-lane highway with the Interstate 87/Autoroute 15 freeway north to Montreal. Interstate 87 is signed as To Autoroute 15 on this particular shield assembly on northbound U.S. 11. Photo taken by Alex Nitzman (07/20/05).
At the traffic signal, U.S. 11 meets Interstate 87 north to Autoroute 15 to Montreal. U.S. 11 continues north to Rouses Point, connects to U.S. 2 east, and ends at the international border crossing north of Rouses Point. Photo taken by Alex Nitzman (07/20/05).

Sources:

  1. Triboro information courtesy Bill Mitchell
  2. New York Thruway Factbook
  3. Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Eisenhower Interstate Highway System: Previous Interstate Facts of the Day by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).

Page Updated April 30, 2007.

 
Mileage

State New York
Mileage 333.49
Cities New York City, Newburgh, Kingston, Albany, Saratoga Springs, Glenn Falls, Plattsburgh
Junctions Interstate 278, Interstate 95, Interstate 287, Interstate 287, Future Interstate 86, Interstate 84, Interstate 587, Berkshire Connector, Interstate 787, Interstate 90
Source: October 31, 2002 Interstate Route Log and Finders List
Interstate 87 Annual Average Daily Traffic

State Location AADT Composite Year
New York Bronx 137,100 2002
New York Yonkers 101,300 2002
New York Tappen Zee Bridge 137,800 2002
New York Suffern 91,400 2002
New York Coxsackle 35,500 2002
New York Albany 121,900 2002
New York Saratoga Springs 59,300 2002
New York Glens Falls 45,900 2002
New York Plattsburgh 19,100 2002
New York Champlain 6,600 2002
Source: NYSDOT 2002 Traffic Volume Report
Complete Interstate 87 AADT data.

| Home | Sitemap | Updates | About | Privacy | Contact | Copyright AARoads