New York State Route 878
Map of western Long Island with NY 878 highlighted in red
|Maintained by NYSDOT and NYCDOT|
|Length:||5.69 mi (9.16 km)|
|History:||Designated I-878 on January 1, 1970; mostly redesignated NY 878 by 1991|
|Length:||3.73 mi (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|
|Length:||1.96 mi (3.15 km)|
|North end:||Burnside Avenue / Rockaway Boulevard in Inwood|
|South end:||Atlantic Beach Bridge / Seagirt Boulevard in Lawrence|
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. 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 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. 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, making it the shortest three-digit Interstate Route in the Interstate Highway System. 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.
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. The part of Rockaway Turnpike that helps connect NY 878 is maintained by Nassau County.
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. As signed, NY 878 runs from the split with Rockaway Turnpike south to the toll plaza of the Atlantic Beach Bridge. 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; the road is county-maintained from Rockaway Turnpike to Burnside Avenue. The southern section of NY 878 is one of several NYS touring routes with no connections to other state routes.
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. This designation was removed by 1932.
The expressway was first proposed in late-1945, 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. 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. The original route of the highway would have only extended from the Van Wyck Expressway/Belt Parkway interchange to the Atlantic Beach Bridge.
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.
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. 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). The routing along Park Avenue was opposed by Long Beach residents, who believed it would create a "Chinese Wall" dividing their community.
The Nassau Expressway was mapped as part of the Interstate Highway System in 1961, at which point the New York State Department of Public Works began purchasing land for both the Nassau and Long Beach Expressways. In particular, many homes in Inwood, Nassau County were either condemned and demolished or relocated in order to facilitate the expressway. The Long Beach Expressway was vetoed by the state in 1967 due to community opposition.
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. The construction of this section was approved by the New York City Planning Commission and New York City Board of Estimate in 1963 and was completed in 1967 or 1971. 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. The wetlands had previously been used as a garbage landfill by the New York City Department of Sanitation. Like the Long Beach Expressway, the route was also opposed due to the potential of creating a "Chinese Wall" between communities in Nassau County. 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. 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. The funds were instead awarded to projects in Arkansas, Indiana, and Fort Worth, Texas, further delaying the Nassau Expressway.
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. This section was opened in March 1990. Also around 1980, plans to complete the expressway in Queens were reintroduced, including direct access to Aqueduct Racetrack. 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.
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. 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. 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.
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. I-78 through New York City was canceled in March 1971, but the Nassau Expressway continued to be signed as I-78. 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. The Nassau Expressway was redesignated as NY 878 by 1991.
Until 2005, the southern terminus of the southern portion of NY 878 was at Meadow Causeway. At the time, the portion of the Nassau Expressway from Meadow Causeway to the Seagirt Boulevard interchange was maintained by Nassau County 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. 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. The NY 900V designation, now redundant to NY 878, was removed by October 2007.
|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|
|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
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