An intrastate route in Upstate New York, Interstate 88 angles northeast from Binghamton to the Capital District along a scenic and rural route. Smaller cities and towns along the route include Sidney, Oneonta and Cobleskill. East from Harpursville, I-88 travels along side the Susquehanna River through a valley to the Town of Milford by South Hill.
Not incorporated in the original 1956 Interstate Highway plans, the eastern Interstate 88 was established in 1967.1 The New York Legislature authorized the highway in 1968, with major construction underway between 1974 and 1980 at a cost of $500 million.2 The freeway replaced New York 7 between the Southern Tier and Schenectady.
The last portion built was the 1.5-mile segment between Interstate 81 and Chenango Bridge. Included on this section is the 2,650-foot long bridge across the Chenango River. Work on the $20.3-million link ran from 1987 to January 1, 1989.1 The freeway was named the Warren M. Anderson Expressway in 1989, after the former state Senate majority leader and proponent of the I-88 corridor.3
An eastern extension between Schenectady to Albany was approved by AASHTO on June 23, 1969, but never signed. A second plan to lengthen I-88 arose in 1999 when the Thruway Authority, NYSDOT and the FHWA proposed renumbering the free portion of I-90 between the Thruway Mainline and the Berkshire Spur as I-88 while shifting Interstate 90 entirely on the toll road system. This was also never implemented.4
Two miles from the conclusion of Interstate 88, Exit 2 departs for New York 12A. The state highway crosses the Chenango River between Interstate 88 and the village of Chenango Village. Interstate 88 parallels the waterway for the next two miles. This interchange represents the eastern terminus of New York 12A. Photo taken 05/11/05.
Interstate 88 replaced New York 7 in the role of the primary route between Binghamton and Schenectady. The state highway intertwines with Interstate 88 throughout its routing, even sharing pavement between Exits 1 and 4. This photograph looks at Interstate 88 southbound at its split with New York 7, the final mainline exit of the freeway before ending at Interstate 81. New York 7 departs southward to Port Dickinson before intersecting Interstate 81 and New York 17 near downtown Binghamton. Photo taken 05/11/05.
Interstate 88 draws to a close at Interstate 81 as it crosses the Chenango River. Precedence is given to the Interstate 81 southbound ramp, with an emphasis on the nearby connection with New York 17/Future Interstate 86. Downtown Binghamton is just two exits southward via Interstate 81. Northbound travelers face a 70 mile drive to Syracuse via Interstate 81. Photo taken 05/11/05.
The gore point for the Interstate 88 split into Interstate 81 north and southbound ramps. The roadway is elevated throughout this stretch as the interchange is set along the western banks of the Chenango River. Photo taken 05/11/05.
An Interstate 88 end shield is posted at both termini. This looks at the westbound version posted on the southbound on-ramp to Interstate 81. Photo taken 05/11/05.
Perspective from Interstate 81 south
Trucks Use Exit 5 to Interstate 88 sign on Interstate 81 southbound. This advisory is posted due to the fact that there is no direct access from Interstate 81 southbound to Interstate 88 eastbound. Passenger vehicles may take Exit 6, utilizing local streets via Exit 6 to Interstate 88 (via U.S. 11, New York 12 and New York 12A). Traffic using Exit 5 can turn-around and cross Interstate 81 to access the northbound lanes of Interstate 81 for direct access to Interstate 88 eastbound. Photo taken 05/11/05.
Interstate 81 southbound at the Exit 6 half-diamond interchange with U.S. 11 (Castle Creek Road) at Nimmonsburg. Interstate 88-bound travelers can follow Castle Creek Road to New York 12 (Upper Front Street) to New York 12A (Chenango Bridge Road) to Interstate 88 Exit 2 at Chenango Bridge. Photo taken 05/11/05.
Interstate 81 southbound expands to three lanes as it nears Binghamton. This sign bridge is posted for Exit 5/U.S. 11/Front Street. As mentioned above, there is no direct access between Interstate 81 south and Interstate 88 west due to the angle in which Interstate 88 ends and the nearby Chenango River. Therefore Exit 5 is also signed for Interstate 88 east. Photo taken 05/11/05.
Interstate 81 southbound at Exit 5/U.S. 11/Front Street. Traffic wishing to access Interstate 88 departs, turns left, crosses Interstate 81, and turns left onto northbound. The Interstate 81 northbound split with Interstate 88 east is located within one mile. Otherwise Interstate 81 southbound travelers merge with Future Interstate 86/New York 17 for a short downtown overlap in the next mile. Photo taken 05/11/05.
A folded-diamond interchange joins Interstate 81 with U.S. 11 (Front Street) at the community of Dickinson. Interstate 88 travelers should turn left at the Exit 5 off-ramp onto U.S. 11 southbound over Interstate 81. Old Front Street intersects the Exit 5 ramp across U.S. 11 (Front Street). Photo taken 05/11/05.
U.S. 11 (Front Street) passes over Interstate 88 en route to Otsiningo Park and the city of Binghamton. The US route parallels the Chenango River southward into Binghamton to junction New York 17C (Main Street). The northbound on-ramp joins Interstate 81 ahead of the split with Interstate 88 (Exit 6) east. Photo taken 05/11/05.
Perspective from Interstate 81 north and Interstate 86/New York 17 west
The first appearance of an Interstate 88 shield on northbound Interstate 88 is this overhead sign on the shared alignment with New York 17 (Future Interstate 86) prior to the New York 7 interchange. Photo taken 07/01/05.
After traffic for New York 7 departs to the right, the left lane will connect to Interstate 86/New York 17 west, while the right lane connects to Interstate 81 north and Interstate 88 east. Photo taken 07/01/05.
Gaining a third lane after the New York 7 interchange, the left two lanes connect to Interstate 86/New York 17 west, while the right two lanes connect to Interstate 81 north to Interstate 88 east. Photo taken 07/01/05.
The routes divide, with the left two lanes connecting to Interstate 86/New York 17 west, and the right two lanes connecting to Interstate 81 north and Interstate 88 east. Photo taken 07/01/05.
Shortly thereafter is this Interstate 88 east overhead, about three-fourths of a mile south of Exit 6. The overpass is that of U.S. 11 for Exit 5. Traffic on Interstate 81 southbound is advised to turn around via this interchange to access Interstate 88 east. Photo taken by Douglas Kerr (07/26/02).
Within one-half mile of the Interstate 81 north/88 eastbound split is this sign bridge. Note that Albany is used in lieu of Schenectady as the control point for Interstate 88 east. The state capital of New York is 130 miles to the northeast of this point. Photo taken 05/11/05.
Interstate 88 branches eastward from Interstate 88 across the Chenango River into Chenango Bridge. The Interstate highway follows the river through to Exit 3 (New York 369) en route to Colesville, Bainbridge, and Oneonta. Photo taken 05/11/05.
Perspective from Future Interstate 86/New York 17 east
Now traveling eastbound on New York 17 (Future Interstate 86), the first signage for the junction with Interstate 81 is posted two miles in advance. Interstate 88 is not mentioned at this first sign assembly, but it appears on subsequent signs. Photo taken 07/04/05.
Approach to Interstate 88 is even mentioned from New York 17 eastbound. This diagram sign shows the orientation of Future Interstate 86/New York 17 as it merges onto Interstate 81 at the infamous Kamikaze Curve near downtown Binghamton. Signage also exists on Interstate 81 north/New York 17 westbound for Interstate 88. Photo taken 07/04/05.
The left lane will transition onto northbound Interstate 81 to Interstate 88 east, while the right lanes continue east along Interstate 86/New York 17 and south Interstate 81. Photo taken 07/04/05.
Prior to the Interstate 81 interchange is Exit 72, Junction U.S. 11/Front Street in Binghamton. Photo taken 07/04/05.
Eastbound Future Interstate 86/New York 17 reaches Exit 72, Junction U.S. 11/Front Street. The next interchange is the junction with Interstate 81. The freeway turns sharply north for this interchange, and advance warning signs advise a 50 mile per hour speed through the curve. Known as Kamikaze Curve, it is one reason why this area will have to be reconstructed in order to meet Interstate standards prior to designation of this freeway as Interstate 86. Photo taken 07/04/05.
Continuing through Kamikaze Curve near downtown Binghamton, the left two lanes prepare to exit onto Interstate 81 north to Interstate 88 east. The right two lanes continue east along New York 17 and Interstate 86 by briefing merging onto Interstate 81 south. Interstate 81 south, New York 17 east, and Interstate 86 east remain merged for a little more than five miles before splitting. Photo taken 07/04/05.
To Interstate 88, follow Interstate 81 north. For the continuation of Interstate 86 and New York 17, use Interstate 81 south. Note that the next exit along Interstate 81 southbound (Exits 4N-S, Junction New York 7) is signed immediately. Photo taken 07/04/05.
The last mainline Interstate 88 exit in the eastbound direction is with the same route as that in the westbound, New York 7. Exit 25 also provides the last departure for Interstate 88 traffic to those not wishing to enter the New York Thruway. New York 7 straddles Interstate 88 to the south, entering Rotterdam via Duanesburg Road. Photo taken by Douglas Kerr (04/19/02).
End Interstate 88 shields are posted in anticipation of the New York Thruway toll plaza. Although there is a toll plaza in the distance, motorists traveling between Interstate 88 east to either Interstate 890 or Interstate 87 are offered a toll-free ride via the New York Thruway. All other interchanges east or westbound are tolled. Photo taken by Chris Jordan (11/00).
A closer look at one of the twin end Interstate 88 shields Pictured in the above photograph. The first interchange in either direction of Interstate 90/New York Thruway beyond Interstate 88 connects to that of the Schenectady freeway loop/Interstate 890. Photo taken by Chris Jordan (4/00).
This vantage point peers at the median posted end Interstate 88 shield. The backside of the Exit 25 sign bridge can be seen to the left. Photo taken by Douglas Kerr (09/15/02).
Beyond the toll plaza of Interstate 88, traffic sees this sign bridge at the merge onto Interstate 90/New York Thruway. The Interstate 87 interchange and Interstate 90 departure to the New York Thruway (Exit 24) is 11 miles to the east. The New York Thruway preferred control city of Buffalo is 265 miles to the west, while other points of interest Utica, Syracuse, and Rochester are neglected in area signage. Photo taken by Douglas Kerr (04/19/02).
Perspective from Interstate 88 west
After departing from Interstate 90/New York Thruway, traffic must pass through this toll plaza before continuing southwest on Interstate 88 to Oneonta and Binghamton. Photo taken 06/28/05.
Interstate 88 westbound after passes through the New York Thruway toll plaza. The first exit is Exit 25 for New York 7 for traffic wishing to access Rotterdam. Otherwise for mainline traffic, a scenic 119 mile drive to Binghamton lies ahead. Photo taken 06/28/05.
Interstate 88 is designated as the Senator Warren M. Anderson Expressway. Photo taken 06/28/05.
This is the first shield on Interstate 88 west, after the New York 7 interchange. Photo taken 06/28/05.
Perspective from Interstate 90 west
Interstate 87/88/90 shield assembly at the New York Thruway Exit 24 toll plaza (Interstate 87/90 Albany interchange). While Interstate 88 is about ten miles to the west, it is mentioned here because of its importance as a transportation corridor and because one can drive for free on the Thruway between Interstates 87 (Exit 24) and 88 (Exit 25A). Photo taken by Douglas Kerr (04/00).
Interstate 90/New York Thruway westbound, one mile before the Interstate 88 terminus interchange/Exit 25A. Note that New York 7 is also included on the exit guide sign. This interchange is one of three that serve the Schenectady metro area via the Thruway. The next exit panel of the sign reads six miles. Photos taken by Jim Teresco (07/01) and on 06/28/05.
Use Interstate 88 west to Oneonta and Binghamton. To Rotterdam, use New York 7 east to Rotterdam. Photo taken 06/28/05.
Exit 25A guide sign at the Interstate 88 trumpet interchange via Interstate 90 westbound. For motorists that continue westward, Utica will be reached in 80 miles, Syracuse in 128 miles, and Rochester in 221 miles. Photos taken by Chris Jordan (12/27/02) and on 06/28/05.
Perspective from Interstate 90 east
Interstate 88 and New York 7/Exit 25A overhead on Interstate 90 eastbound in Rotterdam. When the original interchanges were laid out for the New York Thruway, they were numbered sequentially. Since Interstate 88 came much later, its exit number caused a conflict with the overall numbering system. The Thruway supplemented this by assigning it exit 25A (Interstate 890 represents Exits 25 and 26). Advocacy for mileage based exit numbers uses this type of numbering issue for the benefits of it over sequential based exit numbering. Photo taken by Douglas Kerr (04/01).
"Albany Firm Bids Low On I-88 Work." The Times Union (Albany, NY), December 24, 1986.
"I-88 May Be Named After Anderson." The Times Union (Albany, NY), March 10, 1989.
"Lawmakers OK Anderson Expressway." The Times Union (Albany, NY), June 29, 1989.
Eastern New York - Excerpt from the 1979 Rand McNally Road Atlas.
Interstate 88 was fully open from NY 7 north of Port Dickinson to Oneonta in 1979. The portion east from Oneonta to U.S. 20 near Duanesburg was completed the following year.
Schenectady, New York - Excerpt from the 1979 Rand McNally Road Atlas.
Earlier proposals for Interstate 88 took the easternmost stretch of the route to the New York Thruway opposite the south end of Interstate 890. The route was ultimately constructed to end at a point midway between the ends of I-890. Motorists entering the Thruway from I-88 may travel the toll road for free to Schenectady.