Interstate 390 joins the city of Rochester with the Southern Tier of New York. The freeway vastly replaced U.S. 15 as the main route from Avoca northward to the Rochester Outer Loop. I-390 south of Henrietta and the southern Rochester suburbs traverses rural and increasingly hilly terrain. The Outer Loop section serves Greater Rochester International Airport (ROC) as a commuter route, connecting with I-490 (Western Expressway) for Downtown and New York 390 north to Lake Ontario State Parkway.
With the signing of Interstate 99 along U.S. 15 between the Pennsylvania state line and Interstate 86 at Painted Post, it is possible that Interstate 390 may become a part of an extended I-99 in the future. This is more speculation than certainty.
The southwest portion of the Rochester Outer Loop was originally designated as New York 47. The oldest section of I-390 south of Rochester was a short bypass of Dansville in Livingston County. The link between New York 21 and New York 36 was designated as New York 245.
As construction progressed along Interstate 390, the separate segments of state route freeway were incorporated into the Interstate system. Interstate 590 replaced New York 47 and New York 245 became part of Interstate 390 (some reference markers around Dansville still referenced NY 245 as of 2005). The remainder of I-390 would see completion slowly over the course of 20 years.
Within Rochester, initial plans for Interstate 390 took the freeway north from the Rochester Outer Loop (Interstate 590) directly to the Rochester Inner Loop (Interstate 490). The proposed alignment of I-390 followed the Genesee River northward through neighborhood areas south of Downtown and across a portion of the University of Rochester campus. While ramps to the Genesee Expressway were added from the Inner Loop at Downtown, growing community opposition halted additional construction.1
Ultimately the Genesee Expressway project was dropped, with I-390 rerouted over the southwest leg of the Outer Loop in place of I-590. AASHTO approved the renumbering of Interstate 590 west on June 25, 1979. The action included designating the Outer Loop north to Lake Ontario State Parkway as part of Interstate 390. Despite that, the freeway north of I-490 remained signed as New York 390.
Southern Terminus - Interstate 86 - Kanona, New York
Perspective from Interstate 390 south
Interstate 390 & New York 15 southbound approaching the merge onto Interstate 86 & New York 17 eastbound near the village of Avoca in northern Steuben County. The four-lane freeway merges with the Southern Tier Expressway one mile south of Exit 1 with Michigan Hollow Road. Photo taken 05/11/05.
Drivers bound for Hornell, Olean, Jamestown, and Erie Pennsylvania depart Interstate 390 & New York 15 southbound first. The mainline defaults onto Interstate 86 & New York 17 east for Corning and Elmira. Jamestown itself lies 114 miles to the west in Chautauqua County. Photo taken 05/11/05.
A shield assembly touts the transition of Interstate 390 & New York 15 south to Interstate 86 and the Southern Tier Expressway before the actual merge. A junction New York 17 shield joins the other shields ahead of the westbound off-ramp to Jamestown. Photo taken 05/11/05.
Interstate 390 concludes at the merge onto Interstate 86 & New York 17 (Southern Tier Expressway) eastbound. New York 15 continues southeast via Interstate 86 & New York 17 23 miles to junction U.S. 15 (Future Interstate 99) at Painted Post. There New York 15 becomes U.S. 15 en route to Presho and Mansfield, Pennsylvania. The next eastbound exit otherwise serves the village of Kanona via New York 53 at Exit 37. Photo taken 05/11/05.
Perspective from Interstate 86/New York 17 west
Interstate 86/New York 17 in effect exit from themselves at the northbound beginning of Interstate 390. This diagram signage, posted three-fourths of a mile south of the split with New York 15, shows that mainline traffic continues northward to Dansville and Rochester. The Southern Tier Expressway interchanges with Interstate 390 near the villages of Kanona and Avoca. Photo taken 07/01/05.
The directional guide sign displayed in the above photograph as it appeared before Interstate 86 was designated in New York state. Interstate 390 is given the second control city of Buffalo as well. The city along Lake Erie can be reached via the New York Thruway, U.S. 20, or U.S. 20 Alternate among other routes from Interstate 390. Vidcap taken 04/94.
Interstate 86/New York 17 widen to three westbound lanes in anticipation of the northbound split of Interstate 390 and New York 15. Only one of the three is allocated for traffic continuing westbound however as the majority of drivers continue northwest to the cities of Rochester and Buffalo. Photo taken 05/07/05.
Auxiliary signage for Interstate 86 and New York 17 westbound with the closer control points of Hornell and Olean. Jamestown itself is still another 114 miles to the west of this interchange. Hornell lies at the Southern Tier Expressway junction with New York 21 & 36 17 miles to the west. Olean lies 66 miles to the west at the New York 17 merge with New York 417 (New York 17's original alignment). Photo taken 05/07/05.
Interstate 390 & New York 15 northbound depart the Southern Tier Expressway for Dansville, Geneseo, Avon, Henrietta, and Rochester. The four-lane freeway straddles hillsides and farm country on the 67 mile drive to the city of Rochester. The Livingston County town of Dansville resides 22 miles to the northwest at Exits 4 and 5. Photo taken 07/01/05.
Perspective from Interstate 390/New York 15 north
The first northbound reassurance marker posted for Interstate 390 northbound. Visible to the right is the Interstate 86/New York 17 westbound mainline ramp that passes over Interstate 390 ahead. A loop ramp carries eastbound drivers from the Southern Tier Expressway onto Interstate 390 & New York 15 north overhead. 63 miles separate Interstate 390 from its parent and another five added gives the tally to Interstate 590 and the Rochester Outer Loop. Photo taken 07/01/05.
Perspective from Interstate 86/New York 17 east
Approaching the southern terminus of Interstate 390/Exit 36 on Interstate 86/New York 17 eastbound. The very rural character of the Southern Tier of New York State allows for longer stretches between interchanges. The distance between Exit 35 at Howard to Interstate 390 is seven miles. Photo taken by Douglas Kerr (03/16/03).
Now within the southern terminus interchange of Interstate 390, a second guide sign points toward the Exit 36 ramp returning traffic to the northwest. This interchange is unusual in that the return ramp consists of a u-turn ramp that loops traffic onto Interstate 86/New York 17 westbound just before the split with Interstate 390/New York 15 north. Photo taken by Douglas Kerr (03/16/03).
The Exit 36 u-turn ramp departs Interstate 86/New York 17 eastbound. Mainline traffic is defaulted onto one lane briefly, as Interstate 390/New York 15 southbound traffic merges onto the freeway. New York 15 will accompany the Southern Tier Expressway southeastward to Painted Post (Exit 44). Photo taken by Douglas Kerr (03/16/03).
Northern Terminus - Interstate 490 - Gates, New York
Perspective from Interstate 390 north
Interstate 390 northbound draws near its terminus at the tri-level stack interchange with Interstate 490 & New York 390 at Gates Center. Attached to a railroad overpass are the first set of Exit 20 overheads for the ramps to Interstate 490 east and west. Photo taken 05/10/05.
Exit 20A departs Interstate 390 northbound for Interstate 490 east into the City of Rochester. Interstate 490 reaches the central business district three miles to the east at the Inner Loop Freeway. Photo taken 05/10/05.
A left-hand off-ramp carries drivers onto Interstate 490 westbound for Brockport, Spencerpoint, and the New York Thruway to Buffalo. Interstate 390 meanwhile transitions into New York 390, a freeway continuation northward to the Lake Ontario State Parkway near Crescent Beach. Other New York Interstates that end as a state highway with the same number include: Interstate 481, Interstate 590, Interstate 690, Interstate 890 (Continues away from the New York Thruway terminus), and at one time, Interstate 495. Photo taken 05/10/05.
Perspective from New York 390 south
New York 390 continues the Interstate 390 sequential exit numbering system north of Interstate 490. Pictured here is the first set of Exit 20 overheads for the stack interchange with Interstate 490 posted along southbound at Exit 21 (New York 31). New York 31 (Lyell Avenue) provides a main surface route through the city of Rochester to the east. The partial-cloverleaf interchange (Exit 21) lies 0.75 miles north of the New York 390 transition to Interstate 390. Photo taken 05/10/05.
Interstate 390 begins as New York 390 ends. Interstate 490 westbound traffic departs via Exit 20B for the Rochester western suburbs and Buffalo. The next westbound exit of Interstate 490 is with the New York 531 (Spencerport Expressway). New York 531 constitutes a an eight-mile long freeway spur from Rochester west to Spencerport and Brockport. Interstate 490 meanwhile turns southwest toward Chili and Churchville. Photo taken 05/10/05.
Interstate 390 southbound at Exit 20A/Interstate 490 east for downtown Rochester. Southbound Interstate 390 represents the bottom level of the aforementioned tri-level stack interchange at Interstate 490. Continuing southbound, Interstate 390 reaches the Greater Rochester International Airport and Henrietta before crossing the New York Thruway. Photo taken 05/10/05.
Perspective from Interstate 490 west
Construction slows traffic along Interstate 490 westbound at the Exit 10 (Mt. Read Boulevard) partial-cloverleaf interchange. The first guide sign for the Interstate 390 & New York 390 (Exit 9) tri-level stack interchange advises westbound drivers of the forthcoming junction with the Outer Loop Freeway. Interstate 390 serves the Greater Rochester International Airport just south of its beginning. Photo taken 05/10/05.
Exits 9B/A depart Interstate 490 just west of Mt. Read Boulevard. A left-hand off-ramp serves the southbound beginning of Interstate 390 from Interstate 490 west. Interstate 390 travels 76 miles south from Rochester to Henrietta, Rush, Avon, Dansville, and Avoca. The freeway features five interchanges through the Gates Center and southwest Rochester area. Photo taken by Jeff Morrison 07/01/07.
Interstate 490 westbound reduces to two lanes through the Exit 9B/A interchange. Traffic to Interstate 390 departs the freeway just ahead of the New York 390 northbound off-ramp. New York 390 and Interstate 390 encircle the city of Rochester between Lake Ontario and Brighton to the south. The Outer Loop freeway system varies between four and six lanes overall. Photo taken 05/10/05.
Interstate 490 westbound at Exit 9A/New York 390 north. Due to the close proximity to New York 31, traffic for New York 390 northbound is partitioned between the freeway and Lyell Avenue. Otherwise the freeway continues another six miles to the Lake Ontario State Parkway. Photo taken 05/10/05.
Perspective from Interstate 490 east
Interstate 490 eastbound, just beyond the merge of New York 531 (Spencerport Expressway). The eastbound mainline expands to four lanes with the addition of traffic from the Exit 8 interchange with the Spencerport Expressway. Pictured here is the one mile overhead for Exits 9A/B for Interstate 390/New York 390 (Outer Loop Freeway). Photo taken 05/10/05.
Three lanes of Interstate 490 eastbound progress toward the Interstate 390 northern terminus. Two mainline lines of Interstate 490 continue through the junction into the city limits of Rochester. Exit 9A claims the left-hand lane for New York 390 north to North Gates and Greece. Photo taken 05/10/05.
Exit 9A departs Interstate 490 eastbound for New York 390 northbound. New York 390 continues the Interstate 390 Outer Loop northward to junction New York 31 (Lyell Avenue), New York 104 (Ridge Road), and the Lake Ontario Parkway. Photo taken 05/10/05.
Signage of Interstate 490 eastbound at Exit 9B/Interstate 390 southbound. The Greater Rochester Airport is within three miles via Interstate 390 while downtown is four miles to the east. Note the lack of cardinal direction for the Interstate 490 reassurance panel. It is reminiscent of Caltrans signing practices along Interstate 5 through the Los Angeles metropolitan area. Photo taken 05/10/05.
The Genesee Expressway http://home.rochester.rr.com/kreativ/brian/genesee.htm, Brian Campbell.