Interchange of the Week
Monday, 23 October 2000
Bruckner Interchange, Bronx, New York
I-95, I-295, I-278 & I-678
Hutchinson River Parkway

A full-size image (1.00 Mb) is also available, showing a wider view of the interchange at a larger scale.

Orientation: The Bruckner Expressway enters from bottom left as I-278. It traverses the interchange on the center-most elevated roadway and exits at upper right as I-95. The Cross Bronx Expressway enters at top left as I-95 and exits at bottom right as I-295 (the Cross Bronx Extension toward the Throgs Neck Bridge). The Hutchinson River Parkway comes in from the top and continues south from the interchange as I-678, the Hutchinson River Parkway Extension and Bronx-Whitestone Bridge approach. The service roads for the Bruckner Expressway are Bruckner Boulevard. Westchester Creek is at center; Zerega Avenue is the surface road parallel to it on the left.

Exit numbers: On I-95, Exit 6A is for I-678 southbound and Exit 6B is for I-295 southbound. The exit from the northbound Hutchinson River Parkway to westbound Bruckner Boulevard is Exit 1. This interchange is the terminus of Interstates 278, 295 and 678 and, as such, is not a numbered exit on any of them.

The interchange: This interchange is even more complex than it appears from this photo. Note, for example, the various spans across Westchester Creek. Although there are only four spans, they carry eleven different dedicated roadways, four of which occupy the southernmost span alone. Furthermore, much of the interchange's ground level is obscured in the photo by shadow and by the upper-level structures. This lowest level consists basically of a junction between the Hutchinson River Parkway and Bruckner Boulevard, predecessor and now service road to the Bruckner Expressway. This junction was the original Bruckner Traffic Circle, to which the Cross Bronx Expressway and later the Bruckner Expressway were eventually connected. Finally, in 1972, construction began on the numerous ramps and viaducts that comprise the uppermost layers of today's interchange.

Missing connections: As complex as it is, a number of connections are not available in the interchange. Most of these missing connections would be redundant, as they are available by means of other nearby expressways. Specifically, acute-angle connections are not possible; that is, from the westbound Cross Bronx Extension to the eastbound Bruckner Expressway (and vice-versa), and from the eastbound Cross Bronx to the westbound Bruckner Expressway (and vice-versa). The first connection is afforded by I-695, the Throgs Neck Expressway, a short distance ot the east. The second is made via I-895, the Sheridan Expressway, a short distance to the west. Also, connections are available between I-678 and every other Interstate approach except I-295, as this would send traffic exiting Queens directly back into that borough. Finally, direct connections between the Interstates and the non-Interstate Hutchinson River Parkway (to and from the north) are not available. The parkway connects directly only with Bruckner Boulevard and the other service roads.

Service roads and the ground level: An unusual aspect of this interchange is the complex junction of service roads on the ground level. Bruckner Boulevard, which serves the Bruckner Expressway, coming from the west, is first joined by a ramp from the mainline to serve Zerega Avenue. The intersection with this street is directly under one of the viaducts. The service road then swings left and is joined by another branch of the ramp from the mainline, which passes over Zerega Avenue. At this same overpass, the Cross Bronx service road from the west also joins (this is the roadway making an S-curve at the left of the picture). The merged roadways are carried over Westchester Creek on the Unionport Drawbridge, clearly visible here on the interior of the interchange. There is then an intersection with Brush Avenue, a local road on the east side of the creek. Next, Bruckner Boulevard merges into the partial traffic circle, and passes in succession: 1) a ramp to the southbound I-678 service road with access to Ferry Point Park, 2) a left-hand ramp to the northbound Hutchinson River Parkway, and 3) a right turn to the Cross Bronx Extension service road. In the meantime, it also passes under a ramp to I-678 southbound, and over a ramp from I-678 northbound, as well as over the parkway itself.

In the westbound direction, Bruckner Boulevard: 1) is met with ramps to and from the northbound Hutchinson River Parkway, 2) is joined on the right by a ramp from the southbound parkway, 3) is joined on the left by a ramp from I-278 westbound, and 4) finally leaves the traffic circle and intersects Brush Avenue. Then, beyond the Unionport Drawbridge, a ramp branches right to intersect Zerega Avenue and continue westbound as the Cross Bronx service road, while Bruckner Boulevard proper passes over Zerega Avenue and the eastbound Cross Bronx service road, before settling back in on the edge of the westbound expressway.

Bruckner Expressway at Steve Anderson's Also link to the Cross Bronx Expressway and Hutchinson River Parkway pages.
Bruckner Interchange Rehabilitation Project (NYS Department of Transportation)

Terry Jamro writes:
"I have bad feelings towards this interchange. When traveling on I-95 south, this interchange squeezes all through traffic on I-95 to ONE lane [at the merge with the ramp from I-678]! It's been this way for a while. Last time I was through the area there was a lot of construction going on. I think there would be enough room for at least 2 through lanes.

"This interchange backs traffic all the way into the Bronx, and it can be a hellish ride continuing to the George Washington Bridge."

John Cairns responds:
"One point on the completion date for the interchange: According to Steve Anderson, the Bruckner Interchange was completed by December, 1972. I believe the new upgraded interchange was under construction from about 1966 to 1972. It is now under reconstruction [now complete] to repair the bridge decks, lighting & signage. That is why it funnels all of I-95 traffic into one lane. Before construction, there were two lanes of I-95, which merged with two lanes of I-295 (Cross Bronx Extension carrying traffic from the Throg’s Neck Bridge and Long Island). The inner lanes merged, forming the three westbound lanes of the Cross Bronx Expwy. When reconstruction is completed, this configuration should be restored. In my opinion, the interchange itself is quite adequate but the expressways that feed it were built to earlier standards and do not have the capacity necessary for the volume of traffic handled, particularly the Cross Bronx Expressway and the I-95 portion of the Bruckner Expressway north of the interchange."

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