Traveling through the Hamptons on eastern Long Island, Interstate 495 (Long Island Expressway [LIE]) takes on a rural feel with fewer trappings of urban society than the west end of the route in Manhattan. Photo taken 06/13/05.
Interstate 495 in New York is the Long Island Expressway, or the L.I.E. to locals. Per the Official Description of Highway Touring Routes, etc. in New York State,1 I-495 exists in two portions: from the Queens-Midtown Tunnel to I-278 (Brooklyn Queens Expressway [BQE]) and from I-678 (Van Wyck Expressway) east to New York 25 at Riverhead. The portion of the LIE in between is referenced as New York 495.
The Long Island Expressway between the BQE and Van Wyck Expressway was constructed with six overall lanes without Interstate Construction (IC) funding. It was added to the Interstate System in September 1955. Additional lanes were approved for the route by FHWA in 1963. This entailed a ten-lane concept, with four elevated lanes above the six-lane mainline as adopted in the 1968 Interstate Cost Estimate.2
Governor Hugh L. Carey and Mayor Edward I. Kock jointly requested the withdrawal of a 4.7-mile section of the LIE from the Interstate System on January 4, 1979 based on the additional elevated lanes. Secretary Brock Adams approved the withdrawal on June 29, 1979, reducing the unobligated balance of IC funds of New York by $14.5-million.1
Despite the official mileage for Interstate 495 not including the portion of the LIE between the BQE and Van Wyck, I-495 is fully signed along the entire length of the Long Island Expressway.
When first designated, Interstate 495 originated from I-95 in Secaucus, New Jersey and extended east into Midtown Manhattan via the tolled Lincoln Tunnel. Following the planned Mid Manhattan Expressway, I-495 was to connect with the Queens-Midtown Tunnel and the Long Island Expressway east to the Clearview Expressway (I-78 at the time). A controversial roadway, the Mid Manhattan Expressway was never built, leaving I-495 as a discontinuous route between Union City, New Jersey and Queens, New York. The portion from the Lincoln Highway west was subsequently decommissioned as an Interstate.