Interstate 490 provides a direct route to the city of Rochester from Interstate 90 (New York Thruway) east from Buffalo and west from Syracuse. The Thruway bypasses the city to the south, passing through the metropolitan area at both Victor and Henrietta.
Heading north from the Thruway in the eastern notch of Genesee County, Interstate 490 travels to the village of Bergen before turning east into Monroe County ahead of Churchville. The rural freeway extends east 11 miles to the town of Chili, where adjacent agricultural areas give way to subdivisions. Curving north, I-490 passes through the town of Gates by Rochester Technology Park and through interchanges with the Airport and Spencerport Expressway freeway spurs.
Interstate 490 turns again to follow the Western Expressway from NY 531 to I-390 / NY 390 and west central Rochester. The urban freeway passes through a mixture of industrial and residential areas to the Inner Loop, a former full beltway encircling the central business district. I-490 makes up the southern third of the loop as it crosses the Genesee River on the Frederick Douglass – Susan B. Anthony Memorial Bridge.
Southeast from the Genesee River, I-490 leaves the Inner Loop and joins the Eastern Expressway to the Can of Worms Interchange with I-590 and NY 590. The freeway remains urban in design southeast through Brighton and into Pittsford with a barrier median and sound walls. Beyond NY 31F (Fairport Road) and East Rochester, Interstate 490 reduces to four lanes and travels more southerly through the town of Perinton. The final stretch crosses the Ontario County line southward to the New York Thruway in the town of Victor.
Interstate 490 was originally designed to provide convenient access from the New York Thruway and Rochester suburbs to Downtown. Through the west side of Rochester, the mainline was constructed in three contracts over a more than ten year period. The first segment was finished between the Erie Canal and Mt. Read Boulevard (Exit 10) in 1963. I-490 was completed from Exit 10 to Platt Street (Exit 12) in 1971.
Construction of Interstate 490 from Platt Street to the Genesee River included work on the Inner Loop expressway and widening and rebuilding of the Troup-Howell Bridge. Named for Troup and Howell Streets, the Troup-Howell Bridge was already open as part of the Inner Loop west to South Plymouth Avenue. The span was upgraded from an urban arterial into a limited access route for I-490. Opened in 1974, this section was the last for I-490 overall.1
Announced in 2001, the Western Gateway Project reconstructed Interstate 490 from I-390 and the Erie Canal to the Genesee River in Downtown Rochester. Costing $85 million, and split into five contracts, work repaved the freeway mainline, rehabilitated/reconstructed overpasses carrying Ames, Child, Saxton and Colvin Streets over I-490 and erected noise barriers along I-490 between Ames and Grape Streets.2
Interstate 490 crosses over both NY 383 (Exchange Street) and the Genesee River over the Frederick Douglass-Susan B. Anthony Memorial Bridge. Photo taken 01/18/17.
The largest aspect of the Western Gateway Project was the replacement of the Troup-Howell Bridge and its approaches. Foundations for the new Genesee River bridge were built below the old span starting in April 2004. The $37 million signature span was completed on June 18, 2007. With three members, the 433 foot long span is supported by 70 feet high steel arches. A pedestrian walkway lines the underside of the crossing.3
Work on the new Troup-Howell Bridge included a new on-ramp from Byron Street serving the South Wedge neighborhood. The city of Rochester asked the New York State Legislature to rename the Troup-Howell Bridge to honor Frederick Douglass and Susan B. Anthony,3 both of whom lived in Rochester and are buried in Mt. Hope Cemetery.4 The bridge was officially renamed to the Frederick Douglass-Susan B. Anthony Memorial Bridge in July 2007.5
The fourth phase of the Western Gateway project got underway in July 2007. The $39 million project repaved the freeway mainline and upgraded 14 bridges. It was completed by December 2009.3