New York State Route 878

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Interstate 878 markerNew York State Route 878 marker

Interstate 878 and State Route 878
Nassau Expressway
Map of western Long Island with NY 878 highlighted in red
Route information
Maintained by NYSDOT and NYCDOT
Length: 5.69 mi[3] (9.16 km)
History: Designated I-878 on January 1, 1970;[1] mostly redesignated NY 878 by 1991[2]
Northern segment
Length: 3.73 mi[3] (6.00 km)
West end: NY 27 / Belt Parkway and Conduit Avenue in Queens
I-678 in Queens
East end: Farmers / Rockaway Boulevards in Queens
Southern segment
Length: 1.96 mi[3] (3.15 km)
North end: Burnside Avenue / Rockaway Boulevard in Inwood
South end: Atlantic Beach Bridge / Seagirt Boulevard in Lawrence
Counties: Queens, Nassau
Highway system
NY 840 I-878 I-890

New York State Route 878 (NY 878) is a state highway in the U.S. state of New York, forming the Nassau Expressway. The route exists in two sections connected by Rockaway Boulevard and Rockaway Turnpike, maintained in part by New York City, the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) (as NY 909G), and Nassau County.[4][5] The termini of the combined route are the Belt Parkway and Conduit Avenue (NY 27) in Ozone Park, southern Queens, and the Atlantic Beach Bridge in Lawrence, southwestern Nassau County.

The 0.70 miles (1.13 km) of NY 878 from I-678 east to the JFK Expressway is officially designated as Interstate 878 (I-878), but this designation is not posted on any signage.

Route description[edit]

Northern segment[edit]

The 3.73-mile (6.00 km) northwest section in Queens is mostly built to freeway standards and lies along the north edge of John F. Kennedy Airport, just south of the Belt Parkway and Conduit Avenue (NY 27). Officially it stretches from the interchange between the Belt Parkway, Conduit Avenue (NY 27) and Cross Bay Boulevard east to the intersection of Rockaway Boulevard and Farmers Boulevard.[6][7] The eastbound freeway does in fact begin in the median of Conduit Avenue just west of Cross Bay Boulevard – but it carries NY 27 until a point between the IND Rockaway Line underpass and Lefferts Boulevard. The separate NY 878 begins at that split, and carries eastbound one-way traffic only until the junction with I-678 (Van Wyck Expressway). There it becomes two-way, continuing east past the JFK Expressway; the freeway ends at traffic light at North Hangar Road. NY 878 ends soon after at Rockaway Boulevard and Farmers Boulevard, the second traffic signal after North Hangar Road. (The first is Rockaway Boulevard south-eastbound.)

The 0.70 miles (1.13 km) stretch from I-678 (Van Wyck Expressway) east to the JFK Expressway is designated but not signed as I-878 by the Federal Highway Administration,[7][8] making it the shortest three-digit Interstate Route in the Interstate Highway System.[9] This designation is not signed or used internally by the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT); in fact, this section of NY 878 is only signed eastbound, not on the shorter westbound side.[10]

Between the two halves of NY 878, traffic uses Rockaway Boulevard in Queens and Rockaway Turnpike in Nassau County. From the end of NY 878 to near Guy R. Brewer Boulevard, the road is maintained by the New York City Department of Transportation. From there to just short of the city line is NY 909G; the last 0.07 miles (0.11 km) are again city-maintained.[7][11] The part of Rockaway Turnpike that helps connect NY 878 is maintained by Nassau County.[5][12]

Southern segment[edit]

The 2.40-mile (3.86 km) southeast section of NY 878 is a surface expressway, with only two bridges – over the Far Rockaway Branch of the Long Island Rail Road and under Seagirt Boulevard at a trumpet interchange.[13] As signed, NY 878 runs from the split with Rockaway Turnpike south to the toll plaza of the Atlantic Beach Bridge.[10][14] However, only the 1.96-mile (3.15 km) piece from Burnside Avenue in Inwood south to the Atlantic Beach Bridge toll plaza in Lawrence is actually considered NY 878 by NYSDOT;[3] the road is county-maintained from Rockaway Turnpike to Burnside Avenue.[2][6][12][13] The southern section of NY 878 is one of several NYS touring routes with no connections to other state routes.


Heading north from the Atlantic Beach Bridge on NY 878 in Nassau County

The portion of Rockaway Boulevard and Rockaway Turnpike between NY 27 and the Atlantic Beach Bridge was originally designated as NY 104 in the early 1930s.[15] This designation was removed by 1932.[16]

The expressway was first proposed in late-1945,[17] to connect Brooklyn with southeastern Queens and the South Shore of Long Island, as well as to provide a link to Idlewild Airport (now JFK Airport). It was among several highways planned jointly between Robert Moses' Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority (TBTA), and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.[17][18][19] By 1949, the Nassau Expressway was planned along with a replacement for the original Atlantic Beach Bridge. It was envisioned by Moses and Nassau County executive J. Russell Sprague as a vital link between Atlantic Beach and both the Belt Parkway system and the Bronx–Whitestone Bridge. A contract for preliminary engineering work was let that year.[20][21] The original route of the highway would have only extended from the Van Wyck Expressway/Belt Parkway interchange to the Atlantic Beach Bridge.[17][20][21]

The Nassau Expressway was originally planned as a single highway, with the now-separate spurs to be connected by a highway running parallel to Rockaway Boulevard and Rockaway Turnpike through the Idlewild/Hook Creek wetlands and through the small Meadowmere, Queens community adjacent to Five Towns. This route was favored as a replacement to Rockaway Boulevard/Turnpike, which was viewed as inadequate and congested.[22][20][23]

The Nassau Expressway was proposed along with a planned Long Beach Expressway, which would have extended east past the Atlantic Beach Bridge along the South Shore to Long Beach and Lido Beach, ending at a junction with the Loop Parkway leading to Jones Beach and the Meadowbrook State Parkway.[17][18][20][21][22] The Long Beach Expressway would have been a six-lane expressway, running along Reynolds Channel on the north shore of the Long Beach Barrier Island to New York Avenue, then along Park Avenue (the primary commercial thoroughfare of Long Beach).[22][24] The routing along Park Avenue was opposed by Long Beach residents, who believed it would create a "Chinese Wall" dividing their community.[24]

The Nassau Expressway was mapped as part of the Interstate Highway System in 1961,[25] at which point the New York State Department of Public Works began purchasing land for both the Nassau and Long Beach Expressways.[18][22] In particular, many homes in Inwood, Nassau County were either condemned and demolished or relocated in order to facilitate the expressway.[22][23] The Long Beach Expressway was vetoed by the state in 1967 due to community opposition.[18][22]

The first section of the Nassau Expressway was a 2.8-mile (4.5 km) long one-way eastbound segment between Cross Bay Boulevard and 150th Street (at the current JFK Expressway), interchanging with the Van Wyck Expressway at JFK Airport.[18][22][25][26] The construction of this section was approved by the New York City Planning Commission and New York City Board of Estimate in 1963[27][28] and was completed in 1967[29] or 1971.[18][25] Construction on the southern section of the highway along Rockaway Boulevad and in Nassau County was hindered due to the muck that composed the right-of-way along the Idlewild wetlands near the Queens-Nassau border, which could not be built upon and was both fiscally and environmentally difficult to dispose of.[18][22] The wetlands had previously been used as a garbage landfill by the New York City Department of Sanitation.[30] Like the Long Beach Expressway, the route was also opposed due to the potential of creating a "Chinese Wall" between communities in Nassau County.[23] By March 1971, the Nassau Expressway segment east of 150th Street to Rockaway Boulevard was cancelled along with several other expressways by Governor Nelson Rockefeller.[31] By late-1973, however, the project was resurrected, with federal funds sought from the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1973. The project would have completed the westbound highway west of 150th Street, and the Rockaway Boulevard and Nassau County sections. Rockaway Boulevard would have also been relocated and modernized.[30][26] The funds were instead awarded to projects in Arkansas, Indiana, and Fort Worth, Texas, further delaying the Nassau Expressway.[32]

A revised plan for the Nassau County section of the highway, between Rockaway Turnpike in Inwood and the Atlantic Beach Bridge, was introduced around 1981, calling for a four-lane arterial highway.[18][19] This section was opened in March 1990.[18] Also around 1980, plans to complete the expressway in Queens were reintroduced, including direct access to Aqueduct Racetrack.[29][33][34] Into the 1990s, however, the project did not commence in spite of the fact that the new expressway would have relieved congestion on the parallel Belt Parkway.[34]


From 1959 to 1970, the I-878 designation was used for a section of what is now I-278 (Bruckner Expressway) between the Sheridan Expressway (I-895) and the Cross Bronx Expressway (I-95) in the Bronx.[22] I-278 was routed north on the Sheridan, while its present route was taken by I-878. At that time, the northwest piece of present NY 878 was to be part of I-78, which would have continued from the Holland Tunnel along the Lower Manhattan Expressway, Williamsburg Bridge and Bushwick Expressway to reach the Nassau Expressway at Cross Bay Boulevard.[22] Northeast of Kennedy Airport, I-78 was to turn north onto the Clearview Expressway, using the Throgs Neck Bridge and Cross Bronx Expressway to end at the Bruckner Interchange.[22]

The one-way eastbound section of the Nassau Expressway from Cross Bay Boulevard to the Van Wyck Expressway was built in the late 1960s as part of I-78.[35] I-78 through New York City was canceled in March 1971,[31] but the Nassau Expressway continued to be signed as I-78.[citation needed] However, effective January 1, 1970, the Nassau Expressway and unbuilt Cross Brooklyn Expressway, stretching from I-278 at the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge east to the Atlantic Beach Bridge, was officially designated I-878 by the New York State Department of Transportation.[1] The Nassau Expressway was redesignated as NY 878 by 1991.[2]

Until 2005, the southern terminus of the southern portion of NY 878 was at Meadow Causeway.[36] At the time, the portion of the Nassau Expressway from Meadow Causeway to the Seagirt Boulevard interchange was maintained by Nassau County[2] while the section between the Seagirt Boulevard interchange and the Atlantic Beach Bridge toll barrier was maintained by the New York State Department of Transportation as NY 900V, a 0.25-mile (0.40 km) long reference route.[13] In 2005, NY 878 was extended south to its present terminus at the Atlantic Beach Bridge toll barrier, resulting in an overlap with NY 900V.[37] The NY 900V designation, now redundant to NY 878, was removed by October 2007.[38]

Major intersections[edit]

The northern segment of NY 878 is a limited-access highway; the southern segment is a surface road with at-grade intersections. Exit numbers on NY 878's northern segment are only signed eastbound.

County Location mi[3][39] km Exit Destinations Notes
Queens Ozone Park 0.00 0.00 NY 27 west (South Conduit Avenue) Western terminus of NY 878 east
NY 27 east (South Conduit Avenue) to Belt Parkway / Lefferts Boulevard – Long Term Parking Eastbound exit and entrance
Belt Parkway west – Verrazano Bridge
NY 27 west (North Conduit Avenue) – Kennedy Airport
Westbound exit only; western terminus of NY 878 west
1S Van Wyck Expressway south – Kennedy Airport No westbound entrance; westbound exit is combined with NY 27 west
1N I-678 north (Van Wyck Expressway) – Whitestone Bridge No westbound entrance
2.76 4.44 2S JFK Expressway – Kennedy Airport No westbound exit
2.90 4.67 2N Belt Parkway east / NY 27 east (South Conduit Avenue) Eastbound exit only
3.30 5.31 Eastern terminus of freeway section
3 North Hangar Road / North Boundary Road – Kennedy Airport At-grade intersection with westbound jughandle
3.73 6.00 Rockaway Boulevard north / Farmers Boulevard At-grade intersection; Rockaway Boulevard continues south without designation
Connection made via 2.8 miles (4.51 kilometres) of Rockaway Boulevard and Turnpike
Nassau Inwood 0.00 0.00 Burnside Avenue
Lawrence 1.71 2.75 Seagirt Boulevard Trumpet interchange
1.96 3.15 Atlantic Beach Bridge Southern terminus of NY 878 at toll barrier
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b State of New York Department of Transportation (January 1, 1970). Description of Touring Routes in New York State for the Interstate (I), Federal (U.S.) and State (N.Y.) Route Number Systems (PDF). Retrieved March 26, 2009. 
  2. ^ a b c d Lawrence Digital Raster Quadrangle (Map). 1:24,000. New York State Department of Transportation. 1991. Retrieved March 26, 2009. 
  3. ^ a b c d e "2008 Traffic Data Report for New York State" (PDF). New York State Department of Transportation. June 16, 2009. p. 325. Retrieved January 24, 2010. 
  4. ^ Jamaica Digital Raster Quadrangle (Map). 1:24,000. New York State Department of Transportation. 1975. Retrieved March 26, 2009. 
  5. ^ a b Lynbrook Digital Raster Quadrangle (Map). 1:24,000. New York State Department of Transportation. 1991. Retrieved March 26, 2009. 
  6. ^ a b New York State Department of Transportation (October 2004). Official Description of Highway Touring Routes, Scenic Byways & Bicycle Routes in New York State (PDF). Retrieved March 26, 2009. 
  7. ^ a b c New York State Department of Transportation (2003). "Queens County traffic counts" (PDF). Retrieved March 26, 2009. 
  8. ^ Federal Highway Administration. "Auxiliary Routes of the Dwight D. Eisenhower National System Of Interstate and Defense Highways as of October 31, 2002". Retrieved March 26, 2009. 
  9. ^ American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials. "Interstate Highway System Fascinating Facts". Retrieved July 24, 2006. 
  10. ^ a b Field, Andy; Nitzman, Alex (December 2, 2005). "Interstate 878 (Nassau Expressway) / New York 878 (Rockaway Boulevard)". AARoads. Retrieved January 3, 2010. 
  11. ^ "Local Roads Listing – New York City" (PDF). New York State Department of Transportation. July 27, 2011. Retrieved January 12, 2012. 
  12. ^ a b "County Roads Listing – Nassau County" (PDF). New York State Department of Transportation. July 26, 2011. Retrieved January 12, 2012. 
  13. ^ a b c New York State Department of Transportation (2003). "Nassau County traffic counts" (PDF). Retrieved March 26, 2009. 
  14. ^ Kerr, Douglas (August 4, 2002). "NY State Route 878 Ends". New York State Highway Termini. Retrieved March 26, 2009. 
  15. ^ Anderson, Steve. "State Roads on Long Island". NYCRoads. Retrieved April 5, 2009. 
  16. ^ Texaco Road Map – New York (Map). Cartography by Rand McNally and Company. Texas Oil Company. 1932. 
  17. ^ a b c d Moses, Robert (November 11, 1945). "New Highways for a Better New York; We have started a program, says Mr. Moses, which will give us a less congested and more comfortable and accessible city.". The New York Times. Retrieved February 19, 2017. 
  18. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Nassau Expressway". New York City Department of Parks and Recreation. December 1, 2001. Retrieved March 11, 2017. 
  19. ^ a b "LONG ISLAND JOURNAL". The New York Times. June 6, 1982. Retrieved March 11, 2017. 
  20. ^ a b c d Ingram, Joseph C. (July 16, 1949). "New Bridge To End Shore Traffic Jam: Six-Lane Atlantic Beach Span as Key Link for Parkways Will Be Started This Fall". The New York Times. Mineola, New York. Retrieved March 11, 2017. 
  21. ^ a b c "Work Is Let To Start Nassau Expressways". The New York Times. Albany, New York. May 5, 1949. Retrieved March 11, 2017. 
  22. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Anderson, Steve. "Nassau Expressway (NY 878)". NYCRoads. Retrieved March 26, 2009. 
  23. ^ a b c Abramson, Barry (March 25, 1979). "Nassau Expressway Ready to Materialize". The New York Times. Inwood, New York. p. 14. Retrieved March 11, 2017. 
  24. ^ a b "Long Beach Trade Fights Super-Road: Group Says the Route Through Business Center Would Create 'Chinese Wall'". The New York Times. Long Beach, New York. July 30, 1949. Retrieved March 11, 2017. 
  25. ^ a b c "10.6-Mile Nassau Expressway May Be Completed in 10 Years". The New York Times. Babylon, New York. March 21, 1971. p. BQ99. Retrieved April 14, 2010. 
  26. ^ a b Burks, Edward C. (September 11, 1973). "Funds Sought for Nassau Expressway". The New York Times. Retrieved March 11, 2017. 
  27. ^ "PLANNING GROUP BACKS NEW ROAD; Link of Nassau Expressway to Stretch 2.8 Miles". The New York Times. April 19, 1963. Retrieved March 11, 2017. 
  28. ^ Bennett, Charles G. (June 28, 1963). "2 LINKS APPROVED FOR QUEENS ROAD; City Board Gives Go-Ahead on Nassau Expressway". The New York Times. Retrieved March 11, 2017. 
  29. ^ a b Nassau Expressway Construction, New York City: Environmental Impact Statement. United States Department of Transportation, Federal Transit Administration, New York State Department of Transportation. 1981. Retrieved February 28, 2017. 
  30. ^ a b Nassau Expressway Extension from the Vicinity of Cross Bay Blvd to Atlantic City Bridge, Queens/Nassau Counties: Environmental Impact Statement. United States Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration. 1972. Retrieved March 11, 2017. 
  31. ^ a b Cliness, Francis X. (March 25, 1971). "Lower Manhattan Road Killed Under State Plan". The New York Times. p. 78. Retrieved April 14, 2010. 
  32. ^ Faber, Harold (April 21, 1974). "Loss of U.S. Aid to Delay Nassau Expressway Link". The New York Times. Albany, New York. p. 105. Retrieved March 11, 2017. 
  33. ^ "Booklet Offers Alternates On Nassau Expressway" (PDF). Wave of Long Island. December 8, 1979. p. 13. Retrieved March 11, 2017. 
  34. ^ a b Herszenhorn, David M. (September 3, 1995). "NEIGHBORHOOD REPORT: SOUTH OZONE PARK; 'Road to Nowhere': Still No Return". The New York Times. Retrieved March 11, 2017. 
  35. ^ National Bridge Inventory, a database compiled by the United States Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration, available at
  36. ^ New York State Department of Transportation. "2004 Traffic Data Report for New York State" (PDF). Retrieved March 26, 2009. 
  37. ^ New York State Department of Transportation (August 16, 2006). "2005 Traffic Data Report for New York State" (PDF). Retrieved March 26, 2009. 
  38. ^ New York State Department of Transportation (October 2007). Official Description of Highway Touring Routes, Bicycling Touring Routes, Scenic Byways, & Commemorative/Memorial Designations in New York State. 
  39. ^ Google (January 6, 2017). "New York State Route 878 (western segment)" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved January 6, 2017. 

External links[edit]

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