Interstate 290 New York

History
East End
West End

Overview

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.

History

The original designation assigned for the Youngmann Expressway by AASHO in August 1958 was Interstate 190. 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 forĀ  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.

Route Information

  • East End – Amherst, NY

  • West End – Tonawanda, NY

  • Mileage – 9.80

  • Cities – Buffalo, Tonawanda

  • JunctionsI-190 I-90 NY Thruway

Source: December 31, 2018 Interstate Route Log and Finders List

I-290 Annual Average Daily Traffic (AADT)

I-290 - Tonawanda, NY - 1960
The proposed route of I-290 (Power Line Expressway) in 1960. The connection between the New York Thruway and New York 5 (Main Street) opened prior to construction of Interstate 290.

Highway Guides

East End I-90 NY Thruway – Amherst, New York

I-290 East at I-90 NY Thruway

I-290 east at I-90/New York Thruway - Amherst, NY

Exit 7B loops east onto NY 5 (Main Street) to the village of Williamsville. I-290 proceeds south 0.4 miles to the ramp partition for the New York Thruway east to Albany and west to Erie, Pennsylvania. Photo taken by Jeff Morrison (07/01/07).

I-290 east at I-90/New York Thruway - Amherst, NYI-290 east at I-90/New York Thruway - Amherst, NY

The New York Thruway south from I-290 to U.S. 219 through the Buffalo area is toll free. The Williamsville Toll Plaza lies just to the east of the directional T interchange with Interstate 290. Photos taken by Jeff Morrison (07/01/07).

I-90 NY Thruway West at I-290

I-90/New York Thruway west at I-290 - Amherst, NY

Interstate 290 branches north from I-90 between Snyder and the village of Williamsville. Exit 50 leaves the New York Thruway beyond the Williamsville Toll Plaza at the Forest Road overpass. Photo taken by Chris Elbert (07/06).

I-90 NY Thruway East at I-290

I-90/New York Thruway east at I-290 - Amherst, NY

A full cloverleaf interchange (Exit 51) joins Interstate 90 (New York Thruway) with NY 33 (Kensington Expressway) one mile south of I-290. Photo taken by Douglas Kerr (05/06/02).

I-90/New York Thruway east at I-290 - Amherst, NY

The directional T interchange (Exit 50) with Interstate 290 is the last free exit along I-90 in the Buffalo area. I-290 (Youngmann Expressway) arcs northwest from the Thruway near Cleveland Hill into the town of Amherst. Photo taken by Douglas Kerr (05/06/02).

West End I-190 – Tonawanda, New York

I-290 West at I-190

I-290 west at I-190 - Tonawanda, NY

Interstate 290 (Youngmann Expressway) passes south of the Tonawanda city limits and advances west from NY 384 to I-190 (Niagara Section of the New York State Thruway). Photo taken by Chris Elbert (07/06).

I-290 west at I-190 - Tonawanda, NY

Two lanes default onto Interstate 190 south into Buffalo at the west end of I-290 (Power Line Expressway). The northbound on-ramp connects with I-190 ahead of Exit 17 with NY 266 and the South Grand Island Bridge toll plaza. Photo taken by Chris Elbert (07/06).

I-290 west at I-190 - Tonawanda, NY

Interstate 290 concludes at a directional T interchange with I-190 eight miles north of Downtown Buffalo. Photo taken by Chris Elbert (07/06).

I-190 South at I-290

I-190 south at I-290 - Tonawanda, NY

Interstate 190 travels 0.75 miles from the South Grand Island Bridge over the Niagara River to Exit 16 with I-290 (Youngmann Expressway) east. Photo taken by Chris Elbert (07/06).

I-190 south at I-290 - Tonawanda, NY

Separate panels for I-190 south and I-290 east replaced this diagrammatic overhead for Exit 16 by 2012. Interstate 290 runs east between the city of Tonawanda and village of Kenmore to Brighton and I-990 to the University of Buffalo (UB). Photo taken by Chris Elbert (07/06).

I-190 south at I-290 - Tonawanda, NY

A two lane flyover (Exit 16) connects I-190 south with Interstate 290 (Powerline Expressway) east at the Frontier Fuel Railroad overpass. Rochester lies 75 miles to the east via I-290, the New York Thruway and I-490. Photo taken by Chris Elbert (07/06).

I-190 North at I-290

I-190 north at I-290 - Tonawanda, NY

Spanning NY 325 (Sheridan Drive), Interstate 190 advances a half mile north to Exit 16 for I-290 east. This diagrammatic sign was replaced by 2012. Photo taken by Brian LeBlanc (03/11/02).

I-190 north at I-290 - Tonawanda, NY

Two lanes separate from I-190 north for Interstate 290 east to the city of Tonawanda and the New York Thruway at the town of Amherst. Photo taken by Brian LeBlanc (03/11/02).

I-190 north at I-290 - Tonawanda, NY

The northbound ramp for I-290 combines with the entrance ramp from NY 324 (Grand Island Boulevard) prior to the full-Y interchange at Exit 16. NY 324 parallels the west side of I-190 through this exchange. Photo taken by Douglas Kerr (11/10/01).

Sources:

  1. “N.Y. Will Allot Erie Bulk of Road Jobs.” The Kingston Daily Freeman (NY), March 22, 1961.
  2. “Canada Firm Bids Low on Expressway Job.” The Post-Standard (Syracuse, NY), July 12, 1963.
  3. “Do You Remember July 11?” Tonawanda News (NY), July 11, 2014.
  4. “Do You Remember July 11?” Tonawanda News (NY), November 30, 2012.

Page updated August 28, 2019.