The path of the Northway was debated. Among other proposals, discussion included whether to route it east or west of Saratoga Springs, and whether to shift it east away from Adirondack Park toward the Vermont state line. Three possibilities made it into final consideration:5
- Routing I-87 northeastward from Albany to Whitehall and Ticonderoga and westward to the current Northway within the Town of Elizabethtown near New Russia. This alignment would have completely avoided Adirondack Park.
- Routing I-87 northward through the Schroon River Valley and along the west side of Schroon Lake.
- Routing I-87 north from Saratoga Springs to Lake George via the Town of Queensbury and then shifting slightly west to the west side of Schroon Lake.
The options through Adirondack Park spurned opposition and the formation of a citizens group, Citizens’ Northway Committee, in 1958, which advocated redirecting the Northway around the park. They supported an eastern route through the Champlain Valley, with I-87 staying east of its current route from Ticonderoga to Crown Point, Port Henry and Westport to Keeseville. Ultimately the path of I-87 was decided with public input and a state constitutional amendment passed in 1959.5
Interstate 87 did not follow the entire New York Thruway mainline, including the Tappan Zee Bridge, from Elmsford to Newburgh until 1969. The 1968 Highway Act included legislation that shifted I-87 west onto the New York Thruway. The Interstate was previously routed along the Cross Westchester Expressway (I-287) between Elmsford and White Plains, the present alignment of I-684 northward from White Plains to Brewster, and an overlap with I-84 west from Brewster to Newburgh. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) approved this relocation on September 11, 1969, followed by the American Association of State Highway Officials (AASHO) on October 26, 1969. Actions at the same AASHO meeting included the establishment of Interstate 684.
A $19.8 million project started in April 2014 replaced the U.S. 11 overpass at Exit 42 and reconstructed a nearly two mile section of Interstate 87 at Champlain in Clinton County. Construction also reconfigured the exchange into a dumbbell interchange. Work ran through late Fall 2015.10
Until 2017, I-87/287 crossed the Hudson River on the Governor Malcolm Wilson Tappan Zee Bridge. The cantilevered bridge between South Nyack and Tarrytown opened to traffic on December 15, 1955 as part of the New York Thruway mainline between Rockland and Westchester Counties. The crossing accommodated six overall lanes until the mid 1980s, when a narrow asphalt median was removed to allow for a seventh travel lane.6
Looking east at the Tappan Zee Bridge from the northward curve of I-287 ahead of South Nyack. Construction commenced on the bridge in 1952 and the span cost $60 million to build.6 06/13/05