Interstate 278 New Jersey / New York

Riding on an elevated viaduct, Interstate 278 travels northeast along the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway (BQE) toward the Triborough (RFK) Bridge in Brooklyn. A rare state-named Interstate 278 shield was posted below a sign for Flushing Lane (Exit 30). Note the lack of shoulders on the freeway. Much of this expressway was built in sections between 1939 and 1960 (starting with Kosciuszko Bridge in 1939 and ending with a section near Brooklyn Navy Yard in 1960), thus predating much of the Interstate Highway System. Photo taken 08/09/04.


Interstate 278 begins in an industrial area between Linden and Elizabeth from a partially built interchange with U.S. 1 and 9. The freeway spurs east to the New Jersey Turnpike and Goethals Bridge approach to Staten Island, New York.

Interstate 278 enters all of New York City's boroughs: Staten Island, Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, and Bronx. I-278 connects to Manhattan because Wards Island, on which the Triboro (RFK) Bridge is partially located, is part of the borough of Manhattan. Like Interstates 478, 678, and 878, I-278 does not meet the parent route Interstate 78.

An older, urban freeway, Interstate 278 offers excellent views of the Manhattan skyline. The freeway uses several bridges on its journey, including Goethals Bridge between New Jersey and Staten Island, the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge between Staten Island and Brooklyn, Kosciuszko Bridge between Brooklyn and Queens, and the Robert F. Kennedy (Triboro) Bridge between Queens, Manhattan and the Bronx. Interstate 278 also carries several different names, including the Staten Island Expressway, Gowanus Expressway, Brooklyn-Queens Expressway (BQE) and Bruckner Expressway.

The Verrazano Narrows Bridge, which connects Staten Island with Brooklyn, opened to traffic on November 21, 1964; a second six-lane deck below the original deck was opened on June 28, 1969.1 Photo taken by Cesar Centano (08/22/08).

Unlike most Interstates, I-278 carries a truck prohibition for a portion of its route; specifically, trucks must use the frontage roads parallel to the Grand Central Parkway section through Astoria, Queens. The massive Bruckner interchange concludes I-278 at Interstates 95, 295, and 678 as well as Hutchinson River Parkway.

Goethals Bridge

A narrow steel truss bridge with just four lanes and no shoulders, the Goethals Bridge connects Elizabeth, New Jersey with Staten Island, New York as part of Interstate 278. The bridge opened to traffic on June 29, 1928 after three years of construction. A $1.5 billion project to replace the aging span got underway officially on May 7, 2014. The public-private partnership constructs a new cable-stayed bridge featuring V-shaped towers supported by 144 stay cables.

Rendering of the new Goethals Bridge. See more here.

Installation of the stay cables got underway on July 12, 2016. The cables tie directly into the support towers, which top out at 272 feet, to support the bridge deck. Following the installation of all 72 stay cables for the future eastbound span, workers will begin building the roadway. The new eastbound span will open first and accommodate two-way traffic with four 11-foot travel lanes. When traffic shifts to that bridge, the old Goethals Bridge will be closed as crews continue work on the new westbound span. Upon completion in late 2018, three 12-foot travel lanes will operate in each direction.2,3 The new bridge will have in and outside shoulders, a 10-foot bikeway/pedestrian walkway and a future mass transit between the east and westbound roadway decks.< Visit the Goethals Bridge Replacement Project for webcams and updates.

An associated project redesigns the partial interchange between Interstate 278 and U.S. 1 & 9. The $130 million, two-phase project will be managed by the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey and the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT). It will add ramps from I-278 west to U.S. 1 & 9 north and from the US highways south to the freeway east. Planning and preliminary design work started in late 2013. Project updates will be available at the Goethals Bridge Interchange Ramps Project web page.

Kosciuszko Bridge

Predating the Brooklyn Queens Expressway (BQE), the Kosciuszko Bridge opened to traffic in 1939. It carries six lanes of traffic across Newtown Creek, just south of Interstate 495 (LIE), with a steep grade. An $800 million project replaces the aging span with two three-lane cable stayed bridges. The New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) awarded a $555 million contract for final design and construction of Phase 1 in June 2014.4 Construction of the Queens-bound (I-278 east) bridge runs through the end of 2017. Upon completion, traffic will shift to the the future eastbound bridge with two-way traffic. The old bridge will then be demolished and replaced with a new Brooklyn-bound bridge for I-278 west as part of Phase 2. This span will include a bikeway/walkway.5 Phase 2 is scheduled for completion in 2020. More details are available at the Kosciuszko Bridge Project web site.


Interstate 278 was originally planned to run north along the Sheridan Expressway through the north Bronx to the New England Thruway (Interstate 95). The portion north of the Cross Bronx Expressway was never built, and on June 23, 1969 the route was deleted by AASHTO along the Sheridan Expressway and reassigned over the Bruckner Expressway (then I-878) east to I-95 and I-295 at the Bruckner Interchange. For a detailed history of Interstate 278, visit Steve Anderson's pages on

Originally, Interstate 278 was proposed to continue west from U.S. 1 & 9 at Linden to join Interstate 78 and New Jersey 24 at Springfield Township. That extension was canceled when mileage for it was reallotted for construction of Interstate 195 between Trenton and Belmar.

The Triborough Bridge, named because it connected the Bronx, Manhattan and Queens, was formally renamed to honor Robert F. Kennedy at a ceremony held in Astoria, Queens on November 19, 2008. Kennedy was a Senator and United States attorney general who was assassinated in 1968 while running for the Democratic nomination for President. Efforts to rename the span were spearheaded by New York Governor Eliot Spitzer. $4 million in funds were spent to manufacture new signs for the span.6

Highway Guides

Western Terminus - U.S. 1/9 - Linden, New Jersey
Perspective from Interstate 278 west
Interstate 278 west lowers from the Goethals Bridge directly into an interchange with Interstate 95 (New Jersey Turnpike). Through traffic on I-278 is relegated to a single westbound lane to Linden as two lanes depart for the NJ Turnpike north to Newark and south to New Brunswick. Photo taken 08/29/05.
The short section of Interstate 278 (part of the planned Union Freeway) between the New Jersey Turnpike and U.S. 1-9 is a relic, with a 50 mile per hour speed limit, wide grassy median, and older design standards. Photo taken 08/29/05.
The carriageways of I-278 separate ahead of U.S. 1 & 9. The wide grassy median is leftover from the canceled extension of Interstate 278 northwest to I-78 at Springfield.
Planned construction here will add the missing ramps to U.S. 1 & 9 north and from U.S. 1 & 9 south to I-278. Photo taken 08/29/05.
Presently Interstate 278 west defaults onto U.S. 1 & 9 south into Linden. An end sign for I-278 appears ahead of the left-hand merge with U.S. 1 & 9. It includes an erroneous NJ 1-9 shield which remains unchanged as of 2015. Photo taken 08/29/05.
The two lanes from I-278 west combine with the three southbound lanes of U.S. 1 & 9 beyond a railroad overpass. Photo taken 08/29/05.
Ramps depart from both I-278 west and U.S. 1 & 9 south for left-hand turn for the Phillips 66 Linden Terminal plant entrance. The two carriageways combine beyond the ensuing traffic light. Photo taken 08/29/05.
A zero milepost stands ahead of the gore point for the plant entrance. This marks the end of Interstate 278 west. Photo taken 08/29/05.
Perspective from U.S. 1 & 9 north
Northbound U.S. 1-9 prepare to split with Interstate 278. The nascent freeway begins its eastward trek to the New Jersey Turnpike and the Goethals Bridge into Staten Island, New York. Photo taken 08/29/05.
U.S. 1-9 continue north to Elizabeth as Interstate 278 splits east for Staten Island. The wye interchange here will be expanded as part of a $130 million project to improve truck access to Elizabeth from I-278. Photo taken 08/29/05.
Historical Perspective from U.S. 1 & 9 north
Replaced button copy sign for Interstate 278 east on U.S. 1 & 9 north. A set of brackets to the left would have supported a sign for I-278 west to Springfield had the freeway been realized. Photo taken 04/10/00.
Eastern Terminus - Interstate 95 - Bronx, New York City, New York
Perspective from Interstate 278 east
Replaced button copy signs posted along Interstate 278 eastbound at the White Plains Road off-ramp (Exit 53). The upcoming Bruckner Interchange represents the transfer of the Cross-Bronx Expressway from I-95 north to I-295 south, and the transfer of the Bruckner Expressway designation from I-278 east to I-95 north. Photo taken 08/09/04.
Interstate 278 east defaults onto the continuation of the Bruckner Expressway along Interstate 95 north. Exit 54 departs next for Interstate 295 south to the Throgs Neck Bridge, Interstate 678 south to Whitestone Bridge and Hutchinson River Parkway north to Mt. Vernon. Photo taken 08/09/04.
Interstate 278 separates with three lanes joining I-95 north to New Rochelle and New Haven, Connecticut. Departing traffic to the right encounters three ramp splits for I-295, I-678, Hutchinson River Parkway and local access to Unionport and Schuylerville. Photo taken 08/09/04.
A high speed ramp takes drivers east directly onto a collector distributor roadway for Interstates 295 and 678 south to Queens. A slip ramp otherwise connects with adjacent Bruckner Boulevard for Zerega Avenue and the Hutch northbound. Photo taken 08/09/04.
Continuing east on the ramp to the Cross Bronx Expressway c/d roadway, drivers bound for I-678 south are directed to use the ensuing I-295 southbound ramp for the Whitestone Bridge. Photo taken 08/09/04.
The c/d roadway separates with two lanes joining the Interstate 295 (Cross Bronx Expressway) mainline south to Locust Point and two lanes joining the I-678 (Hutchinson River Parkway) south to Ferry Point Park. Photo taken 08/09/04.
Perspective from Interstate 95 (Bruckner Expressway) south
Interstate 95 angles southwest onto the Bruckner Expressway with three southbound lanes though to the Bruckner Interchange (Exits 6B/A). The Bruckner Expressway transitions onto Interstate 278 from the left as I-95 overtakes the Cross Bronx Expressway from the ending I-295 north. Photo taken by Ian Ligget (04/21/11).
Perspective from Interstate 295 (Cross Bronx Expressway Extension) north
Beyond the Randall Avenue off-ramp (Exit 11), Interstate 295 north continues a half mile into the Bruckner Interchange. Exit 12 departs next for Interstate 278 west while the I-295 mainline defaults onto I-95 south. Photo taken 08/29/05.
The four lanes of Interstate 295 north cross over Lafayette Avenue ahead of the split for I-95 south to the George Washington Bridge and I-278 west to the RFK (Triboro) Bridge. Photo taken 08/29/05.
The Cross Bronx Expressway transitions from I-278 west to I-95 south while I-278 shifts onto the Bruckner Expressway. Interstate 95 trudges west to Parkchester, Mt. Hope and Hudson Heights while I-278 passes through Unionport and Soundview ahead of the Bronx River to Hunts Point. Photo taken 08/29/05.
Perspective from Interstate 678 (Hutchinson River Parkway) north
Exiting the Whitestone Bridge main line toll plaza, drivers along Interstate 678 north advance to Lafayette Avenue (Exit 18) and the Bruckner Interchange. There is no connection to Interstate 295 south (Cross Bronx Expressway Extension east) from northbound I-678. Photo taken 08/29/05.
Interstate 678 north concludes as the Hutchinson River Parkway begins. As noted with the exit signage for Interstates 95 and 278, all trucks must depart the freeway, as they cannot legally use the parkway system. Numerous signs are posted throughout the New York City area that trucks are banned on all parkways. Photo taken 08/29/05.
Northbound Interstate 678 ends as the right lane connects to I-95 (Bruckner Expressway) north to the New England Thruway, while the middle two lanes connect to I-95 (Cross Bronx Expressway) south and I-278 (Bruckner Expressway) west. Photo taken 08/29/05.
Removed by 2011, this sign bridge partitioned traffic into the respective ramps for Interstate 95 (Exits 19S-W). Photo taken 08/29/05.
This button copy sign for the I-278 west and the Bruckner Expressway (Exit 19W) was replaced when the Triboro Bridge was renamed to the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge in 2008. Photo taken 08/29/05.
Perspective from Hutchinson River Parkway south
Hutchinson River Parkway south directly transitions to I-678 below the Bruckner Interchange ramps linking Interstates 95, 278 and 295. Exit 1 connects the Hutch with both I-278 (Bruckner Expressway) and I-95 (Cross Bronx Expressway) via Bruckner Boulevard. Photo taken 08/29/05.
Exit 1 joins Bruckner Boulevard west ahead of Westchester Creek and local ramps to Interstates 95 south and 278 west. There is no access to I-95 (Bruckner Expressway) north from this direction. Photo taken 08/29/05.
Hutchinson River Parkway shifts to expressway standards after passing through the Bruckner Interchange. Traffic continuing south reaches the Whitestone Bridge toll plaza in one mile and Cross Island Parkway in Queens in 2.9 miles. Photo taken 08/29/05.


  1. Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Eisenhower Interstate Highway System: Previous Interstate Facts of the Day by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).
  2. "Cuomo announces official 'start' of $1.5B Goethals replacement." Staten Island Advance, May 4, 2014.
  3. "New Goethals Bridge: Installation of stay cables begins." Staten Island Advance, July 15, 2016.
  4. Construction of a New Kosciuszko Bridge, June 2014 news letter, New York State Department of Transportation.
  5. "New Kosciuszko Bridge Work Moving Forward." Queens Tribune, October 1, 2015.
  6. "The Triborough Is Officially the R.F.K. Bridge." City Room (NY Times) blog, November 19, 2008.

Page Updated July 21, 2016.


State New Jersey
Mileage 2.00
Cities Elizabeth
Junctions Interstate 95
State New York
Mileage 33.62
Cities New York City (Staten Island, Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx)
Junctions Interstate 478, Interstate 495, Interstate 87, Interstate 895, Interstate 95
TOTAL 35.62
Source: December 31, 2015 Interstate Route Log and Finders List
Interstate 278 Annual Average Daily Traffic

State Location AADT Composite Year
New York Goethals Bridge 85,900 2002
New York Staten Island 148,800 2002
New York Verrazano Narrows Bridge 202,700 2002
New York Brooklyn 128,800 2002
New York Queens 146,900 2002
New York Triborough Bridge 122,900 2002
New York Bronx 101,500 2002
Source: NYSDOT 2002 Traffic Volume Report
Complete Interstate 278 AADT data.
The planned alignment of Interstate 278 leading north from Linden to Springfield in 1961.
The western leg of I-278 was formally dropped in 1967 due to costs.