Interchange of the Week
Monday, 20 August 2001
NY 17 & NY 352, Elmira
Water Street & Jerusalem Hill Road

The original interchange.
(Click for full size.)
The interchange under reconstruction.
(Click for full size - 629 KB.)

Orientation: NY 17, the Southern Tier Expressway, runs from top to bottom, parallel to Newtown Creek on the east edge of Elmira. NY 352 runs west from it, on East Church Street (upper left). Water Street runs west from NY 17 at bottom, while Jerusalem Hill Road runs from NY 17 toward bottom right.

Exit numbers: Originally, Exit 56 from NY 17 was for NY 352 (East Church Street) to Elmira, Exit 57 eastbound was for Jerusalem Hill Road and Exit 57 westbound was for Water Street. Today, all of these connections are served by a single Exit 56.

The interchange: This pair of interchanges has been replaced by a single new interchange opened in 2002, serving the downtown and residential areas of Elmira. Exit 52 (NY 14), along with several at-grade intersections, serves the commercial areas of Horseheads and Elmira Heights. The original Exit 56 was a trumpet interchange, not at all unusual except for the eastbound ramps, which were confined between NY 17 and Newtown Creek. Therefore, they ran parallel to the expressway for a significant distance, turning sharply to cross the creek rather than having a more gradual curve.

Far more peculiar was Exit 57, actually two completely distinct interchanges. Water Street was connected with NY 17 to and from the east only, while Jerusalem Hill Road connected only to points west. A single bridge carried both Water Street and Jerusalem Hill Road over NY 17. Notice, however, that opposing traffic streams would pass on the left side rather than the usual right (see Week 2 for another example of this).

The new interchange at Exit 56 consists of a simple extended diamond, with service roads running parallel to NY 17 between Water and Church Streets. With the reconstruction, through traffic between Water Street and Jerusalem Hill Road was restored.

Stub of the Week - NY 17 & CR 60 (Old NY 17)
Just east of Exit 56, NY 17 has several at-grade intersections with its pre-expressway alignment, now designated as Chemung CR 60. This photo shows the span between two of the three segments of CR 60. Left turn lanes are present in the median of NY 17, and there is ample room for entering and exiting traffic waiting to cross the opposing roadway. However, the junctions are without signals and will have to be eliminated in order for this stretch of highway to receive the I-86 designation. A gravelly track is visible in the photo between the two segments of old NY 17, which may have been the original roadway at one time.

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