Interstate 290 forms a northern bypass of the city of Buffalo. The commuter route serves the suburbs of Tonawanda, Brighton, Amherst, Snyder and Williamsville. I-290 links the New York Thruway (Interstate 90) mainline with the Niagara Section of the Thruway along I-190. Some maps show it as the Youngmann Expressway, while others show it as the Powerline Expressway. The “power line” name is derived from the parallel transmission lines along the freeway corridor.
The suggested route marking for Interstate highways submitted to the American Association of State Highway Officials (AASHO) on August 22, 1958 from the State of New York Department of Public Works assigned I-190 for the Youngmann Expressway. AASHO recommended on August 29, 1958 that I-190 around the north side of Buffalo be changed to I-290 since it was a loop. This change was accepted and made official by AASHO on November 10, 1958 as part of the statewide urban Interstate numerology.
Governor Nelson Rockefeller announced that $18,438,000 in funds allocated by the state on April 27, 1961 included $7.356 million for construction of the initial 3.34 mile section of the Powerline Expressway (I-290).1 Subsequent bids for constructing 4.7 miles of the Elmer G. H. Youngmann Memorial Expressway were received by the New York State Department of Transportation on July 11, 1963. A $7.04 million bid was submitted for building 2.68 miles of I-290 from I-190 (Niagara section of the N.Y. Thruway) and Delaware Avenue. The succeeding 1.99 miles of I-290, from Delaware Avenue east to Niagara Falls Boulevard, received a low bid of $4.67 million.2
The Delaware Street overpass of the Youngman Expressway was under construction in 1964.3 With total costs around $20 million, Interstate 290 fully opened in 1965.4 Elmer Youngmann was a district engineer for the New York State Department of Public Works.