Interchange of the Week
Monday, 21 May 2001
NY 5 & NY 179, Blasdell
A full-size image (360 kb) is also available.

Orientation: NY 5 runs from bottom to top along Lake Shore Road, while NY 179 enters at right along the Mile Strip Expressway; it ends at NY 5. To the left, Gateway Boulevard runs into Woodlawn Beach State Park.

The interchange: From Lackawanna north to downtown Buffalo, NY 5 is a fully controlled-access freeway, including the Buffalo Skyway over Buffalo Harbor. South of Lackawanna, it follows a divided highway alignment including two interchanges as well as numerous at-grade intersections. Its junction with NY 179 just west of Blasdell, shown above, is one of the two interchanges, and consists of a traffic circle bypassed by NY 5 on an overpass. For another version of a traffic circle-with-bypass configuration, see Week 23.

This interchange dates from a quite early period in expressway construction, and has been simplified more than once from its original design. Until fairly recently, there were additional ramps within the circle to facilitate left-turn movements. A still earlier feature of the interchange consisted of turnback loops, affording a "second chance" for motorists having taken the wrong exit from the circle. A complete turnback ramp is visible in the northeast quadrant here, although they were originally provided in all four quadrants. That on the southeast has been modified to provide access to the parking lot of the Ford stamping plant (bottom right). The turnback ramps probably predate the NY 5 overpass.

NY 5 & NY 75, Athol Springs
A full-size image (400 kb) is also available.

Orientation: NY 5 runs from bottom left to top right. NY 75 branches off towards the bottom, left of center. Big Tree Road passes through the traffic circle at bottom.

The interchange: Not far to the south, in the vicinity of Athol Springs, is NY 5's other interchange south of Lackawanna. The grade-separated split between NY 5 and NY 75 is of a design found in a few locations throughout New York State. Of added interest here is the nearby traffic circle between NY 75 and Big Tree Road, which also serves some of the reverse turn movements between NY 5 and NY 75. The path of Big Tree Road through the circle is a later alignment: Old Big Tree Road can be seen at extreme lower left; it intersects NY 75 just south of the photo's edge. It is probable once again that the NY 5 bypass of the traffic circle is a later addition. The circle was likely once the northern terminus of NY 75, with NY 5 passing through its west and north legs.

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