Interstate 478 New York

Interstate 478 New York
History
North End
South End

Overview

Interstate 478 is an unmarked route following the Hugh L. Carey (Brooklyn-Battery) Tunnel from I-278 (Brooklyn Queens Expressway) at the Red Hook section of Brooklyn north to the southern tip of Manhattan. Operated by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), the four lane tunnel uses all electronic toll collection through E-ZPass and toll by plate. Cashless toll collection commenced for the Hugh L. Carey Tunnel on January 3, 2017.1

Brooklyn Battery Tunnel from WTC

Battery Park and the north entrance of the Hugh L. Carey (Brooklyn Battery) Tunnel from the World Trade Center in May 1999.

History

The first proposed alignment for Interstate 478 extended south from the planned Lower Manhattan Expressway (I-78) across the Manhattan Bridge to the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway (I-278). The Manhattan Bridge, a suspension bridge built between 1901 and 1909, spans the East River between Canal Street in Lower Manhattan and Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn. The Lower Manhattan Expressway was dropped in March 1971 and I-478 redesignated along the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel and proposed Westway.2

The Brooklyn Battery Tunnel opened to traffic on May 25, 19503 as the longest continuous underway vehicular tunnel in North America. The crossing took ten years to build.4 The tunnel was renamed after Brooklyn native Hugh L. Carey, a former Congressman and Governor of New York (1975-82) on October 22, 2012.3

Route Information

  • North End – Manhattan, New York, NY

  • South End – Brooklyn, New York, NY

  • Mileage – 2.14

  • Cities – New York City

  • JunctionsI-278

Source: December 31, 2021 Interstate Route Log and Finders List

I-478 Annual Average Daily Traffic (AADT)

Location Vehicles per day
I-278 to NY 9A 43,895

Source: 2019 estimate NYSDOT Traffic Data Viewer

I-495 New Jersey - 1969 Map
This map inset from the 1969 New Jersey Official Map shows the previous proposed route of Interstate 478 over the Manhattan Bridge rather than the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel.

This was part of the planned Lower Manhattan Expressway, which would have taken I-78 across Manhattan from the Holland Tunnel east to the Williamsburg Bridge with I-478 branching south via the Manhattan Bridge.

Interstate 478 originally extended north as far as Mid-town Manhattan along the former elevated West Side Highway. The West Side Highway closed on December 16, 1973 from the Battery north to W 46th Street due to structural deficiencies and the collapse of a 60 foot long section at Gansevoort Street. The remainder closed afterwards to W 57th Street, with a temporary roadway built along West Street and 12th Avenue. Demolition of the elevated West Side Highway took place between 1977 and 1989.2 The route was formally dropped north of the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel as an Interstate highway by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) on November 8, 1986.

A replacement of the West Side Highway was approved in May 1993. The new roadway was constructed as a multi lane boulevard from April 1996 to August 2001 and signed as New York Route 9A.2

Highway Guides

North End NY 9A – Manhattan, New York City, New York

I-478 North at NY 9A FDR Drive

I-478 north at Trinity Pl - Manhattan, NY

Leaving the Hugh L. Carey (Brooklyn Battery) Tunnel, an exit connects I-478 with Trinity Place via Greenwich and Edgar Streets. 12/17/17

I-478 north at NY 9A/FDR Dr - Manhattan, NY

NY 9A (West Street) extends north along the Hudson River two miles to the Holland Tunnel (I-78) and five miles to the Lincoln Tunnel (MSR 495). Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR) Drive runs along the East Side of Manhattan adjacent to the East River. 12/17/17

I-478 North End Throwback

I-478 north at Trinity Pl - 2001

A pedestrian bridge spans I-478 just north of the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel at the exit for Trinity Place. Photo by Dan Moraseski (Winter 2001).

I-478 north at NY 9A/FDR Dr - 1999

The north end of I-478 ties into NY 9A (West Street) beyond the Battery Parking Garage. 05/99

NY 9A South at I-478

NY 9A south at I-478/FDR Dr - Manhattan

Exit numbers for FDR Drive, an expressway encircling Manhattan along the East River, commence from NY 9A (West Street) south at the entrance for Hugh L. Carey (Brooklyn Battery) Tunnel at Thames Street. 05/30/22

NY 9A south at I-478/FDR Dr - Manhattan

A two lane ramp (Exit 2) lowers into a short tunnel ahead of the Hugh L. Carey (Brooklyn Battery) Tunnel entrance below Battery Park from NY 9A (West Street) southbound. 05/30/22

I-478 south at Hugh L. Carey Tunnel - Manhattan, NY

Unsigned I-478 descends from NY 9A (West Street) into the Hugh L. Carey (Brooklyn Battery) Tunnel beyond the toll collection point. 05/30/22

South End I-278 – Brooklyn, New York City, New York

I-478 South at I-278

I-478/Hugh L. Carey Tunnel south at I-278 - Brooklyn, NY

Traffic south through the Hugh L. Carey Tunnel emerges from the East River just ahead of I-278 at Red Hook in Brooklyn. Continuing past the site of the former toll plaza, I-478 partitions into ramps for the Gowanus Expressway south to Belt Parkway and Staten Island, Hamilton Avenue to Red Hook, and the Brooklyn Queens Expressway (BQE) east to Atlantic Avenue and Astoria in Queens. 05/30/22

I-478/Hugh L. Carey Tunnel south at I-278 - Brooklyn, NY

The ramp for I-278 east from the Hugh L. Carey Tunnel south passes below the BQE through a tunnel and combines with an entrance ramp from Hamilton Avenue. 08/09/04

I-278 East at I-478

I-278/Gowanus Expwy east at I-478/Hugh L Carey Tunnel - Brooklyn, NY

Interstate 278 (Gowanus Expressway) angles northwest from the end of the Prospect Expressway (NY 27) across Gowanus Canal to Left Exit 25 for I-478 (Hugh L. Carey Tunnel) north to Manhattan. 12/17/17

I-278/Gowanus Expwy east at I-478/Hugh L Carey Tunnel - Brooklyn, NY

A lane drop occurs at Left Exit 25 for the Hugh L. Carey (Brooklyn Battery) Tunnel, resulting in a bottleneck for eastbound traffic continuing along I-278 and the Brooklyn Queens Expressway (BQE). 12/17/17

I-278/Gowanus Expwy east at I-478/Hugh L Carey Tunnel - Brooklyn, NY

Two lanes separate from the Gowanus Expressway at the wye interchange (Exit 25) for the tolled Hugh L. Carey Tunnel (unsigned I-478) north to Lower Manhattan. 12/17/17

I-278/Gowanus Expwy east at I-478/Hugh L Carey Tunnel - Brooklyn, NY

Elevating to span Hamilton Avenue, I-278 shifts onto the BQE northward along Hicks Street before traveling below grade through Brooklyn’s Cobble Hill community. 12/17/17

I-478 North at Hugh L. Carey Tunnel

I-478 north at Hugh L. Carey Tunnel - Brooklyn, NY

Interstate 478 lowers 0.4 miles from the separation with I-278 (BQE) to the entrance of the Hugh L. Carey (Brooklyn Battery) Tunnel. Photo by Cesar Centano (08/22/08).

Sources:

  1. Cashless Tolls In Place At Hugh L. Carey Tunnel.WLNY CBS New York, January 4, 2017.
  2. West Side (Joe DiMaggio) Highway, NYCRoads.com.
  3. “Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel Renamed After Late Gov. Hugh Carey.” CBS New York, October 22, 2012.
  4. Hugh L. Carey Tunnel (formerly Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel).

Page updated June 6, 2022.