Interstate 990 New York


Interstate 990, the highest-numbered Interstate highway, is metropolitan Buffalo's Lockport Expressway. The purpose of the freeway is to serve the greater Buffalo area with access to the State University of Buffalo and the city of Lockport. The northern terminus was to have been further northeast as evident by a remaining stub ramp.


AASHTO approved the designation of Interstate 990 on November 14, 1980. An extension from New York 299 (North French Road) northeast to New York 263 (Millersport Highway) was later approved by AASHTO on April 17, 1993.

Earliest plans for the Lockport Expressway took the freeway east to the Lake Ontario State Parkway or Rochester. Later plans changed the planned end point to New York 31 east of Lockport. Those were not enacted upon, nor was another plan to have I-990 overtake NY 263 (Millersport Highway) northeast from the current end to New York 78.1

A 1960s/70s plan also involved construction of a Niagara Falls to Rochester freeway. Interstate 990 may have been planned to tie into this route or act as its westernmost segment. New York 531 (Spencerport Expressway) from Gates westward to Brockport was a result of this initial idea.

Southern Terminus - Interstate 290 - Amhurst, New York
Perspective from Interstate 990 south
This diagrammatic sign on Interstate 990 south is the first signage for the pending conclusion of the short freeway spur. This sign shows the lane allocation for the connection to Interstate 290/Power Line Expressway. Stay left for Interstate 290 east and right for Interstate 290 west. Photo taken by Jeff Morrison (07/01/07).
Interstate 990 south comes to an end as the freeway splits at the junction with Interstate 290. Interstate 290 serves the northern suburbs of North Tonawanda and Tonawanda to the west and Amherst to the south. The New York Thruway (Interstate 90) is four miles to the east of the southern terminus of Interstate 990. Photo taken by Jeff Morrison (07/01/07).
Perspective from Interstate 290 west
Westbound Interstate 290/Powerline Expressway approaches Exit 4, Junction Interstate 990 north to Lockport and the University of Buffalo North Campus, one-half mile. The left three lanes continue west on Interstate 290 to Interstate 190. Photos taken by Chris Elbert (07/06) and Jeff Morrison (07/01/07).
Passing under Maple Street, this advance sign points to the pending exit for Interstate 990 north. Photo taken by Jeff Morrison (07/01/07).
Interstate 990 northbound splits from Interstate 290 west at Exit 4 (right two lanes exit only). The next interchange of the Youngmann Expressway is for U.S. 62, Niagara Falls Boulevard. Photo taken by Chris Elbert (07/06).
Perspective from Interstate 290 east
First of many guide signs for Interstate 990/Exit 4 on Interstate 290 eastbound. Interstate 990 was the last 3-digit of Interstate 90 within the Empire State to be signed. Therefore the Interstate is out of order in the west to east flow of Interstate numbering (Interstate 190 and 290 in Buffalo, Interstate 890 in Schenectady). Photo taken by Douglas Kerr (11/10/01).
Interstate 290 eastbound entering the Exit 3A/B cloverleaf interchange for U.S. 62/Niagara Falls Boulevard. The U.S. highway receives a significant amount of traffic as it traverses residential areas and shopping malls of north Buffalo. Photo taken by Douglas Kerr (05/06/02).
Exit 3B for U.S. 62 north departs as yet another guide sign for Exit 4/Interstate 990 north is posted. The beginning of the highest 3-digit Interstate in the U.S. is only one-quarter mile to the east. Photo taken by Douglas Kerr (10/20/02).
Interstate 290 expands to five lanes in anticipation of the split with Interstate 990 north. The State University at Buffalo (known as UB to New Yorkers) has an enrollment of over 25,000 students, thus generating a sizeable amount of traffic. Photo taken 05/27/00.
The fifth and final guide sign for Interstate 990 north/Exit 4 on Interstate 290 east. The control point of Lockport is approximately 15 miles to the north via New York 263 and New York 78, beyond the northern terminus of Interstate 990. Photo taken 05/27/00.
Northern Terminus - New York 263 - Millersport, New York
Perspective from Interstate 990 north
The final interchange on Interstate 990 north is Exit 5, Junction New York 263/Millersport Highway. A final northbound reassurance shield is visible in the background of this photo. Photo taken by Jeff Morrison (07/01/07).
A roadside sign advises that all traffic must exit at Exit 5, Junction New York 263. The freeway comes to an end. Photo taken by Jeff Morrison (07/01/07).
This photo shows the last exit from Northbound Interstate 990 and the associated stub end of the freeway, which is visible to the left of the barriers. A concrete stub shows the planned and aborted plans to extend Interstate 990 north from Millersport Highway. Freeway proposals saw Interstate 990 extend closer to Lockport. However those plans appear to be cancelled now. Photo taken by Jeff Morrison (07/01/07).
Interstate 990 ends at a traffic signal with New York 263/Millersport Highway. New York 263 continues three miles beyond Interstate 990 to a terminus with New York 78 at Millersport. Downtown Lockport, the county seat of Niagara County, is nine miles to the north via New York 263 and New York 78. Photo taken by Jeff Morrison (07/01/07).
Perspective from Interstate 990 south
The first reassurance shield for Interstate 990 south is posted shortly after the intersection with New York 263/Millersport Highway. Originally, many of these shields were state name shields, but they are now neutered. Photo taken by Jeff Morrison (07/01/07).


  1. "Re: Was I-990 originally supposed to run east of NY 263?" online posting by cl94, AARoads Forum, August 9, 2014.

Page Updated August 21, 2014.

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