Interstate 287 New Jersey / New York
Interstate 287 encircles the New York City metropolitan area along three distinct roads. The North Jersey portion provides both a commuter route and bypass from the New Jersey Turnpike (I-95) at Edison west to Somerville and north to Morristown, Oakland and Mahwah. This section of I-287 ties into the New York Thruway mainline (I-87) just across the New York state line at Suffern.
I-87/287 combine east along the New York Thruway to Nyack and across the Hudson River on the Governor Mario N. Cuomo Bridge. Major construction replaced the aging Tappan Zee Bridge, with the new cable-stayed bridge opened to westbound traffic on August 26, 2017, and two-way traffic on October 6, 2017. The new eastbound span opened to traffic on September 12, 2018.1
For the record, first car on the bridge: 1:36 a.m., Saturday, Aug. 26, 2017. pic.twitter.com/Qm6KZSW56X
— The New NY Bridge (@NewNYBridge) August 26, 2017
Interstate 87 and the Thruway turn south at East Irvington toward Yonkers and The Bronx, New York. Interstate 287 continues east along the often congested Cross Westchester Expressway to Rye and I-95 (New England Thruway) near the Connecticut state line.
Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge
The Tappan Zee Bridge operated for 62 years until 2017. The New York State Thruway Authority managed the $3.98 billion bridge project starting in 2013, when the initial foundational steel piles were driven. Anchored by eight 419-foot high towers, the cable-stayed bridge is the first built across the Hudson River. Tower construction commenced in September 2015, followed by the first road deck panel installation in November 2015. Installation of the 192 stay cables, each orientated at a five degree angle, commenced in July 2016. The final main span tower was completed in December 2016.1
Looking towards Westchester landing. Rare view at water level pic.twitter.com/PYeorZFEEk
— The New NY Bridge (@NewNYBridge) July 5, 2016
A ribbon cutting ceremony took place for the Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge across the Hudson River on August 24, 2017. The span opened initially with four lanes of traffic carrying I-87/287 northbound. Work followed to ready the crossing to accommodate southbound motorists while adjacent construction continued on the companion bridge.2
The original Tappan Zee Bridge, opened in December 1955, was demolished starting first with the approaches. The 3.1 mile long replacement accommodates eight general travel lanes with full shoulders including space for a future transit line or busway. The span also includes a bicycle/walking path.2
High Priority Corridor
Interstate 287 in New Jersey is part of High Priority Corridor 63: Liberty Corridor.
New Jersey – 67.54
New York – 31.18*
Source: December 31, 2021 Interstate Route Log and Finders List
* – 19.20 miles on I-87
I-287 Annual Average Daily Traffic (AADT)
Source: 2013-15 AADT – New Jersey Annual Average Daily Traffic – NJDOTGIS Web Map
2016 AADT – NYS Traffic Data Viewer
Interstate 87 was proposed separate from the New York Thruway, from the Cross Westchester Expressway north to Brewster, until 1969. An earlier alignment showed the route staying closer to the Hudson River north from Tarrytown.
The Cross Westchester Expressway opened to traffic in December 1960 at a cost of $50 million. Part of the urban Interstate numerology submitted to the American Association of State Highway Officials (AASHO) on August 22, 1958, the State of New York Department of Public Works numbered the Cross Westchester Expressway as Interstate 187 and the New York Thruway west from I-87 at White Plains as Interstate 387. AASHO responded on August 29, 1958 with a spate of recommendations regarding the statewide proposed numbering.
North of NYC your 387 should change to 287 to match N.J. and it should be even numbered since it is a loop. Likewise your 187 should than be 487 since it constitutes a loop connecting with Interstate route at both ends.
Interstate 487 was subsequently redesignated as part of an extended I-287 east from the New York Thruway in 1961.3
An eastern extension of Interstate 287 was proposed by Robert Moses to complete the beltway around New York via the Oyster Bay-Rye Bridge. A 6.1 mile long cabled-stayed suspension bridge across Long Island Sound was envisioned to link the east end of I-287 at Rye with an extension of NY 135 (Seaford-Oyster Bay Expressway). A study for the crossing was released by Moses in February 1966.4
Planning for the Oyster Bay-Rye Bridge halted in 1970. New studies were required following the implementation of stricter environmental legislation by the Federal government in 1970. An Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) was completed in November 1972 for a 16.5 mile long roadway, including the span and approaches between I-95 and NY 25 in Syosset. New York State submitted the mileage for inclusion in the Interstate system under the Federal Highway Act of 1968.4
Residents in Rye, Oyster Bay and other locations along the proposed corridor organized to counter the bridge and extension of I-287. Their efforts and environmental concerns led to formal cancellation of the crossing by Governor Nelson Rockefeller on June 20, 1973.4
The cancellation of the Somerset Freeway in North Jersey in 1982, the proposed alignment for Interstate 95 between Lawrenceville and Metuchen, resulted in an extension of I-287 east from South Plainfield to the New Jersey Turnpike in Edison Township. This segment was previously designated as Interstate 95. The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) approved the renumbering on June 26, 1985.
The final project of the overall 14 mile reconstruction of I-95 between Bronx, New York and Port Chester was the “Last Mile” of the New England Thruway. Costing $135 million, a design-build contract was awarded for work in August 2018. Construction rebuilt the mainline of I-95 between milepost 14.1 and 15.0 with wider shoulders. Improvements at the exchange joining I-95/287 included replacement and realignment of the ramp joining I-287 east with I-95 north. The ramp from Midland Avenue to I-95 north was also realigned.5
Exit 21 from I-95 south to I-287 west was expanded to two lanes. Additional improvements were also made along I-95 northbound at the Midland Avenue Interchange. Bridge work included a replacement of the Grace Church Street Bridge spanning I-95 at milepost 14.46 and rehabilitation of the Boston Post Road overpass, the Purchase Street overpass and I-95 over the Byram River.5 The overall project was completed by November 1, 2021.6
East End – Rye, New York
East End Throwback
Button copy signs formerly posted at the loop ramp joining I-287 west with I-95 south beyond the Midland Avenue entrance ramp in Rye. This exchange lies a half mile beyond the separation with Interstate 95. Photo by Michael Summa (1976).
The New York State Legislature approved the renaming of the Governor Malcolm Wilson Tappan Zee Bridge to the Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge on June 29, 2017. Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the bill shortly thereafter.7 However signs installed in 2018 were subsequently replaced or amended as they omitted the middle initial.8
Guide signs for Interstate 287 along I-95 were replaced after the Tappan Zee Bridge was renamed the Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge. 08/29/05
South End – Edison Township, New Jersey
The New Jersey Turnpike Outer Roadway northbound at Exit 10 for I-287 north and Route 440 east. 08/19/21
South End Throwback
New Jersey Turnpike guide signs were replaced to use conventional signing standards in stages from 2016 to 2018. 06/13/05, 06/26/05
- “Mario Cuomo Bridge opens amid controversy.” News 12 Westchester (NY), September 11, 2018.
- “Governor Cuomo Announces Opening of First Span of the Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge.” New York State Governor’s Press Office. August 24, 2017.
- Cross Westchester Expressway, New York Area Roads, Crossings and Exits (Steve Anderson).
- Oyster Bay-Rye Bridge, New York Area Roads, Crossings and Exits (Steve Anderson).
- “Thruway Authority Announces Construction Begins on $135 Million Infrastructure Project on I-95 in Westchester County.” New York Thruway, press release. August 20, 2018.
- “Governor Hochul Announces Completion of $135 Million Infrastructure Improvement Project on I-95 in Westchester County.” New York State Governor’s Press Office. November 1, 2021.
- “Tappan Zee Bridge gets new name: The Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge.” The Journal News (White Plains, NY), June 29, 2017.
- “Missing a middle initial, Gov. Mario M. Cuomo Bridge signs will be fixed.” The Journal News (White Plains, NY), August 15, 2019.
Page updated April 11, 2023.