In 1941, the New York City Planning Department proposed a short expressway route to connect the Bronx Crosstown Highway (now the Cross Bronx Expressway) and the Southern Boulevard Express Highway (now the Bruckner Expressway). The purpose was to have a commercial-vehicle friendly alternate to the Bronx River Parkway. Construction began in 1958 and in October 1962, the $9.5 million expressway was opened to traffic.
Over the years, the expressway has received a number of Interstate designations. It was originally designated as I-695 in late 1958. In early 1959, the highway designation was changed to I-895. Later that year, however, I-278 was rerouted to use the Sheridan Expressway. This was the designation of the highway when it opened in 1962. On January 1, 1970, I-278 was realigned to follow the Bruckner Expressway east to the Bruckner Interchange while the Sheridan Expressway was redesignated as I-895.
The future of the Sheridan Expressway is uncertain. The New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) proposed expanding the highway in 1997. The plan faced opposition rooted in claims of environmental justice from community groups, which proposed an alternative calling for the river-front expressway to be replaced with affordable housing, schools and green space.
In August 2008 the alternative community plan was under consideration by NYSDOT. The plan gained momentum in July 2010; however, the state opposed the plan to demolish the highway, citing a study showing that local traffic would be worsened. On June 11, 2012, the Daily News reported that the administration of New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg was also opposed to the removal. The dispute between the local community and the city and state governments has led to a stalemate, what the Daily News called a "crossroads" and "a road to nowhere".