Interstate 990 New York
Interstate 990, the highest-numbered Interstate highway, is metropolitan Buffalo’s Lockport Expressway. The commuter freeway connects the greater Buffalo area with the State University of New York at Buffalo (SUNY Buffalo) and the city of Lockport as part of a four lane corridor using New York 263 and 78.
AASHTO approved the designation of Interstate 990 on November 14, 1980 as the first project for the Lockport Expressway started.1 An extension from New York 299 (North French Road) northeast to New York 263 (Millersport Highway) was later approved by AASHTO on April 17, 1993.
Earliest plans for the Lockport Expressway took the freeway north to the Lake Ontario State Parkway or east directly to Rochester.2 Excessive growth projections for eastern Niagara County in the 1960s redefined the route to end at New York 31 in Gasport.3
The National System of Interstate and Defense Highways Requests on file for additions to the Interstate System on March 30, 1970 included the unconstructed 66.3 mile route linking Niagara Falls with Rochester. The same request designated a 12-mile corridor for the Lockport Expressway. As the lofty population projections for Niagara County never panned out, the route east to Gasport was never fully realized.
Another plan for Interstate 990 had the route overtaking NY 263 (Millersport Highway) northeast from the current end to New York 78.2 With job growth in Lockport accelerating in the 1980s, the Lockport Highway Association advocated the “Four Lanes to Lockport” effort to both enhance accessibility with the rest of the highway network and also attract future investment and jobs.3
The Lockport Expressway opened in the early 1980s as construction got underway for the University of Buffalo – North Campus. The route ended at North French Road in Amherst, with the Four Lanes to Lockport effort focused on extending north to at least Millersport Highway.3
The final section of Interstate 990 opened following a ribbon cutting ceremony held on the morning of December 21, 1990. A two-mile stretch opened from French Road (Exit 4) to New York 263 (Exit 5). The $20 million project included expansion of a mile long section of Millersport Highway to four lanes. The roadway was funded as part of the 1983 Rebuild New York bond issue and included in a “memorandum of understanding” between the governor and state Legislature.4
Subsequent work in the “Four Lanes to Lockport” effort included $13.2 million to reconstruct 3.5 miles of New York 78 (Transit Road) leading north from an expanded New York 263 (Millersport Highway), northeast of I-990. Groundbreaking for the project was held on April 26, 1996. Construction completed in November 1997 wrapped up sixteen years and $85 million in construction to finish the four lane corridor.1
North End – Millersport, NY
South End – Amhurst, NY
- Mileage – 6.35
Cities – Amhurst
- Junctions –
Source: December 31, 2017 Interstate Route Log and Finders List
I-990 Annual Average Daily Traffic (AADT)
|Vehicles per day||Location|
|40,600||I-290 to Exit 1|
|41,500||Exits 1 to 2|
|31,700||Exits 2 to 3|
|24,200||Exits 3 to 4|
|19,000||Exits 4 to 5|
Source: NYSDOT 2002 Traffic Volume Report
North End – Millersport, New York
South End – Amhurst, New York
- “Final Phase Begins in ‘Four Lane to Lockport’ Project.” Buffalo News, April 27, 1996.
- “Re: Was I-990 originally supposed to run east of NY 263?” online posting by cl94, AARoads Forum, August 9, 2014.
- “Four Lanes has enabled Lockport’s continued growth.” Buffalo News, December 27, 2015.
- “New Link in Lockport Route to Open 4-lane Highway to Buffalo Only 2 – Miles Shy of Goal.” Buffalo News, December 20, 1990.
Page updated April 22, 2016.