Interchange of the Week
Monday, 18 December 2000
I-90, I-490 & NY 96, Fishers

A full-size image (343 KB) is also available.

Orientation: I-90, the New York State Thruway, runs across the bottom edge of the photo. I-490 enters from top and intersects the Thruway at bottom right. NY 96 runs north and south along the left side, crossing I-490 at top.

Exit numbers: From the New York State Thruway, Exit 45 is this, the eastern interchange with I-490. On I-490, Exit 29 is the third in a series of interchanges with NY 96; the Thruway interchange is unnumbered from I-490.

The interchange: The junction of I-490 and NY 96 shown here (Exit 29) offers only partial connections, but coupled with the half-diamond interchange at Exit 28, it provides complete access. Functionally, Exit 29 is a full diamond interchange with certain turn movements restricted. Access between the Thruway, via the easternmost stretch of I-490, and NY 96 in both directions, is available. However, I-490 eastbound traffic (from top to bottom) has access only to NY 96 southbound, and at one time (shown here), NY 96 southbound had no access to I-490 westbound. Instead, connections to and from these directions were made at Exit 28, which consists of ramps between I-490, to and from the west, and NY 96. This is an advantageous design, as the section of NY 96 between exists 28 and 29 runs through a busy, fast-growing retail district, anchored by the Eastview Mall, and the delegation of traffic movements between the two interchanges helps to reduce bottleneck conditions at any one location. Still, to accommodate growing traffic demands, a new ramp was opened in 2003 from NY 96 southbound to I-490 westbound at this location, to supplement the one at Exit 28. One other unusual feature is the ramp from NY 96 northbound to I-490 westbound, which branches to the right, crossing under I-490 and intersecting it on the inside of its offramp to NY 96.

At the time of this photo, the interchange was under reconstruction, and a temporary ramp had been built for traffic from NY 96 to both directions of I-490. The permanent eastbound onramp had been closed, and is seen here freshly paved in new concrete. The temporary ramp was built just to the south of this, crossing the ramp from NY 96 north to I-490 west, which was also closed between NY 96 and the temporary ramp. The image also shows traffic sharing the eastbound roadway of I-490, as the westbound roadway and bridges were being reconstructed in concrete.

Thruway Interchange 45 uses the typical trumpet design, with one exceptional feature. A local road (Willowbrook Road) passes under the Thruway just inside of the eastbound entrance ramp gore, with the result that an additional underpass was built to carry the ramp. The underpasses used here, as throughout this section of the Thruway, are concrete box culverts. Interchange 45 was the location of a fatal bus accident in 2002.

Abandoned interchange: Before I-490 was built, in the very earliest days of the Thruway, a cloverleaf interchange was built between the Thruway and NY 96. The ramp embankments in the two northern quadrants of that cloverleaf are still visible in this photo. Also, in the southwest quadrant, property lines reflect the former path of the eastbound offramp; in fact, this ramp existed as a service roadway until the 1980's. Only the southeast quadrant shows no trace of the old interchange.

Frank Solomon writes:
"It seems that the Rochester-Canandaigua route has always had a certain kind of priority with the State of New York, like even today with the special 6-lane section of Thruway.

"The first depiction of the section of Thruway between Exits 44 and 45 was on the 1947 Esso map, shown as "proposed." By 1949 (that's quite a while back!), it was already under construction. In 1951 or thereabouts it was already open, and for just two years (approx. 1951-1952) it was shown as carrying a NY 96A route number.

"In 1953 the Thruway was blasted through, and when the Thruway officially opened in 1954, this section was assimilated into the whole. Of course the original diamond interchange had to be ripped up and replaced with a tollbooth.

"As you've seen, the original ramps (in grass) are still visible from the time when the Thruway (albeit only a few miles of it) was FREE."
New York State Thruway Authority official site.

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