Interstate 690 New York

I-690 New York
History
East End
West End

Overview

Interstate 690 forms a through pass route and urban loop south from the New York Thruway to Lakeland, the New York State Fairgrounds, Solvay and the city of Syracuse. The freeway continues northwest from I-90 as NY 690 to bypass the village of Baldwinsville, while the east end serves commuter traffic in the town of Dewitt.

I-690 west at State Fairgrounds - Syracuse, NY
Interstate 690 west at the temporary at-grade intersection for the State Fairgrounds north of Solvay. The access road for the fair grounds Orange Lot ties into the freeway within the three wye interchange for NY 695. Photo taken 01/17/17.

I-690 was one the few routes within the Interstate system with a traffic light (I-78 west of the Holland Tunnel in New Jersey is another). Serving the New York State Fair and the Lakeview Amphitheater, the signals were located at the west end of the State Fairgrounds Orange Lot. Operated by a state trooper, the lights were in place for a 12-day period during the annual New York State Fair.1

A $20 million proposal announced by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo on January 23, 2017 included a new westbound on-ramp to I-690 from the Fairgrounds’s Orange Lot. The addition resulted in the removal of the temporary traffic light, which at times caused two-hour wait times. Other changes for the Orange Lot included paving and striping of a 65 acre section, expanding the vehicle capacity by 500 spaces to 7,500 overall, and adding E-ZPass parking lanes for faster payments.1

Substantially completed by October 31, 2018, funding by the $1.5 billion Upstate Revitalization Initiative paid for phase 1 of the State Fairgrounds project. Traffic patterns during the New York State Fair changed with the east entrance/exit to the Orange Lot converted to ingress only, and all egress movements shifted to the new on-ramp.1 The temporary traffic signal for the annual State Fair near Exit 6 returned for the 13-day event in 2019. It will not return in 2020 per Governor Andrew Cuomo.11

The New York State Assembly approved a bill in June 2017 allowing toll free commuting along the New York Thruway (I-90) between Exit 39 (I-690) and Exit 34A (I-481). The measure would have allowed local drivers to obtain a permit and use the Thruway through the Syracuse area without paying a fare. The Thruway Authority would also be able to restrict the use of the permits to non peak hours, or implement charges per mile if a significant loss of revenue occurs.2 Governor Andrew Cuomo subsequently blocked this bill on October 23, 2017, indicating that the bill would violate state line:3

The state is prohibited from limiting or altering the rights of the New York State Thruway Authority to set tolls and fees that are deemed necessary to operate and maintain the Thruway system.

Passage of this bill would also serve as a catalyst for other jurisdictions to seek similar toll reductions, thus resulting in further and more expansive toll revenue loss.

Prohibiting the Thruway Authority from collecting tolls at these five exits would result in a “significant fiscal loss,” which would need to be addressed “in the context of the annual state budget negotiation.”

Route Information

  • East End – East Syracuse, NY

  • West End – Van Buren, NY

  • Mileage – 14.19

  • Cities – Syracuse, East Syracuse

  • JunctionsI-90 NY Thruway I-81 I-481

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

I-690 Annual Average Daily Traffic (AADT)

Location Vehicles per day
NY 48 to NY 370/NY 31 east 11,591
NY 370/NY 31 east to NY 31 west 17,988
NY 31 north to CR 159 21,888
CR 159 to I-90 (Exit 1) 23,028
Exits 1 to 4 33,976
Exits 4 to 5 51,340
Exits 5 to 6 54,213
Exits 6 to 8 83,553
Exits 8 to 9 73,661
Exits 9 to 10 58,182
Exits 10 to 12 69,529
Exits 12 to I-81 west jct 75,659
I-81 west jct to Exit 13 86,333
Exit 13 to I-81 east jct 99,528
I-81 east jct to Exit 14 124,917
Exits 14 to 15 82,367
Exits 15 to 17 88,630
Exits 16 to 17 45,469
Exit 17 to I-481 54,843

History

Interstate 690 was coupled with I-81 and I-281 in the $150 million, 1968 interstate and arterial highway program for Syracuse, New York. I-690 was outlined to make use of the New York Central right of way, which would accommodate one of the two lane roadways for the eventual freeway.4 The Onondaga Interchange, where I-81 and I-690 converge along the north side of Downtown Syracuse, debuted to motorists on August 22, 1968. Opened without fanfare at 11:01 AM, the 1.89 mile section of I-690 west to Hiawatha Boulevard (Exit 8) cost $13.6 million to build.5

Construction proceeded on two additional sections east to the Butternut Interchange with Interstate 481 (then I-281).5 Bids for the $30 million, 2.4 mile section of the freeway east from Foreman Avenue to Erickson Street were opened on April 28, 1966.6 I-690 east to I-481 was completed in the early 1970s.7 The western terminus was reconfigured with a direct interchange at Interstate 90 in 1987.8

The Butternut Interchange, where I-690 connects with Interstate 481 in the town of DeWitt, includes a pair of unused ramps and grading for additional connections with the unconstructed relocation of New York State Route 5. A 1965 proposal for a bypass of Fayetteville outlined a corridor extending southeast from I-690 and then I-281 along the right of way of the New York Central Railroad, Chenango branch to Route 92 at point near Oran.9 The Fayetteville Bypass was advanced by state officials at a luncheon on March 17, 1967, but without a tentative timetable. Coupled with a proposal to relocate Route 92 to the south of Manluis, the realignment of Route 5 was roughly projected to follow the old Erie Canal east.10 Ultimately neither Route 5, nor the four to six lane highway envisioned for Route 92 east from the Jamesville interchange with I-481 were constructed.

Highway Guides

East End I-481 – East Syracuse, New York

I-690 East at I-481

I-690 east at I-481 - East Syracuse, NY

Spanning Bridge Street with four lanes, I-690 continues to a lane drop at the traffic separation for Interstate 481 north to the NY Thruway and south through eastern reaches of Dewitt. Photo taken 05/09/05.

I-690 east at I-481 - East Syracuse, NY

Forthcoming I-481 provides a bypass route for through traffic heading north on I-81 to Watertown and south to Cortland and Binghamton. The bypass may become part of I-81 should the option to remove the freeway viaduct east of Downtown be finalized. Photo taken 05/09/05.

I-690 east at I-481 - DeWitt, NY

A left side ramp leaves Interstate 690 east for I-481 north. The northeast quadrant of I-481 is somewhat rural, turning west by Cicero Swamp Wildlife Management Area to meet Interstate 81 at the village of East Syracuse. Photo taken 05/09/05.

I-690 east at I-481 - DeWitt, NY

A end shield appears for Interstate 690 eastbound along the southbound ramp to I-481. An unused ramp east to Butternut Drive diverges from this connection just ahead. Photo taken 05/09/05.

I-481 South at I-690

I-481 south at I-690 - DeWitt, NY

Interstate 481 travels one mile south from a cloverleaf interchange (Exit 5) with Kirkville Road through the East Syracuse village limits to I-690 west at Dewitt. Photo taken 05/09/05.

I-481 south at I-690 - East Syracuse, NY

A pair of viaducts along I-481 span wetland areas of Butternut Creek, East Ellis Street and CSX Railroad’s DeWitt Yard ahead of the directional T interchange (Exit 4) with Interstate 690 west. Photo taken 05/09/05.

I-481 south at I-690 - East Syracuse, NY

I-481 south spans NY 290 (Manlius Center Road) by an array of business and industrial parks just ahead of the ramp departure (Exit 4) for Interstate 690 west. Photo taken 05/09/05.

I-481 south at I-690 - DeWitt, NY

I-690 begins and heads west through East Syracuse to Interstate 81 at Downtown. The urban loop continues northwest to Solvay and the New York State Fairgrounds along Onondaga Lake. Photo taken 05/09/05.

I-481 North at I-690

I-481 north at I-690 - DeWitt, NY

Interstate 481 curves northeast from a cloverleaf interchange with NY 5 and NY 92 to meet the east end of I-690. Photo taken by Douglas Kerr (04/01)

I-481 north at I-690 - DeWitt, NY

A left side ramp with two lanes (Exit 4) departs from I-481 north for I-690 west to East Syracuse, Syracuse and Solvay. Photo taken by Douglas Kerr (09/25/02).

West End I-90 NY Thruway New York 690 – Van Buren, New York

I-690 West at I-90 NY Thruway New York 690

I-690 west at NY 48 - Seneca Knolls, NY

Crossing over the New York Thruway (I-90), Interstate 690 westbound reaches Exit 3 for NY 48 (State Fair Boulevard) at Farrell Road. NY 48 follows State Fair Boulevard northwest from Farrell Road to Baldwinsville. Photo taken 01/17/17.

I-690 west at I-90 - Seneca Knolls, NY

Back to back off-ramps depart from Interstate 690 west for Jones Road (Exit 2) and the New York Thruway (Exit 1). Jones Road stems south from NY 48 to become Brickyard Road west of Exit 2, paralleling I-90 to NY 173. Photo taken 01/17/17.

I-690 west at I-90 - Seneca Knolls, NY

Ramps at the parclo interchange (Exit 2) with Jones Road tie into the adjacent exchange (Exit 1) with the Thruway access road. Photo taken 01/17/17.

I-690 west at I-90/NY 690 - Seneca Knolls, NY

Traffic for Interstate 90 (NY Thruway) departs from I-690 west to Albany, Buffalo, Rochester and Utica. The NY 690 freeway continues another 6.9 miles around the village of Baldwinsville to NY 48 (Oswego Road). Photo taken 01/17/17.

I-690 west at I-90/NY 690 - Seneca Knolls, NY

An end shield for I-690 accompanies the first confirming marker for NY 690 north at the loop ramp from the New York Thruway. I-390, I-481, I-590 and I-890 also transition into state route freeways at their respective end points. Photo taken by Douglas Kerr (09/00).

New York 690 East at I-690 I-90 NY Thruway

NY 690 south at I-90/I-690 - Van Buren, NY

NY 690 southbound one mile out from the trumpet interchange (Exit 1) with I-90 (New York Thruway). The I-90 leg of the New York Thruway always uses the control cities of Albany and Buffalo. The turnpike also serves Rochester and Utica in Upstate New York. Photo taken 05/09/05.

NY 690 south at I-90/I-690 - Van Buren, NY

NY 690 south reaches the off-ramp (Exit 1) for the NY Thruway access road. Interstate 90 has six interchanges within the Syracuse area. Photo taken 05/09/05.

NY 690 south at I-90/I-690 - Van Buren, NY

The first eastbound Interstate 690 shield stands along side an end sign for NY 690 at the parclo interchange (Exit 2) with Jones Road. Jones Road links I-690 east with NY 48 (State Fair Boulevard). Photo taken 05/09/05.

I-90 NY Thruway West at I-690 New York 690

I-90 west at I-690/NY 690 - Geddes, NY

I-90 (New York Thruway) west passes under Interstate 690, one mile east of Exit 39. Prior to 1987, a trumpet interchange connected the two freeways just west of their crossover here. Photo taken by Douglas Kerr (09/00).

I-90 west at I-690/NY 690 - Van Buren, NY

Entering the trumpet interchange (Exit 39) with the access road linking the New York Thruway with I-690 east and NY 690 north in the town of Van Buren. Photo taken 09/27/09.

I-90 NY Thruway East at I-690 New York 690

I-90 east at I-690/NY 690 - Van Buren, NY

One mile ahead of Exit 39 with the access road linking the New York Thruway with NY 690 north and I-690 east at Seneca Knolls. NY 690 north provides part of a route linking west Syracuse with Fulton and Oswego on Lake Ontario. Photo taken 05/09/05.

I-90 east at I-690/NY 690 - Van Buren, NY

Traffic to I-690 east and NY 690 north departs Interstate 90 east at Exit 39. I-690 angles southeast along Onondaga Lake to the New York State Fairgrounds and the village of Solvay en route to Downtown Syracuse. Photo taken 05/09/05.

I-90 at I-690/NY 690 - Van Buren, NY

Motorists from both directions of the New York Thruway emerge from the toll plaza at Exit 39 and partition into ramps for NY 690 north to Baldwinsville and I-690 east to Syracuse and the western suburbs of Fairmount, Westvale and Camillus via NY 695 and NY 5. Photo taken 09/27/09.

Sources:

  1. “NYS Fair officials: I-690 ramp not perfect but would ease jammed lot.” The Post-Standard (Syracuse, NY), January 23, 2017.
  2. Assembly okays bill allowing toll-free commuting on Thruway in Syracuse area.CNYCentral, June 21, 2017.
  3. “Gov. Cuomo vetoes bill that would make Thruway free for Syracuse commuters.” The Post-Standard (Syracuse, NY), October 24, 2017.
  4. “Interstate Project Viewed As Downtown Salvation. The Post-Standard (Syracuse, NY), March 5, 1962.
  5. “Interchange Debut Lacks Fuss, Foulup.” The Post-Standard (Syracuse, NY), August 23, 1968.
  6. “Arterial Progress.” The Post-Standard (Syracuse, NY), March 25, 1966.
  7. New York Routes – Routes 600-699.
  8. “I-690 Rebuilt to Safety Standards.” Syracuse Herald American (NY), January 25, 1987.
  9. “F’ville By-Pass Eyed.” The Post-Standard (Syracuse, NY), September 16, 1965.
  10. “By-Pass Solution Advanced.” The Post-Standard (Syracuse, NY), March 18, 1967.
  11. “This will be the last NYS Fair with that traffic signal on I-690.” The Post-Standard (Syracuse, NY), August 26, 2019.

Page updated August 27, 2019.