Interchange of the Week
Monday, 13 October 2003
I-81 & NY 17, Kirkwood
US 11
A full-size image (595 KB) is also available.

Orientation: Interstate 81 runs from bottom right to top left; NY 17 enters with I-81 at top and exits at top right. US 11 runs from bottom to left, and is connected with NY 17 by a divided highway (reference route 990G) at center.

Frances Street runs east from reference route 990G toward the right, and Crescent Drive branches from US 11 at bottom, coming to a dead end alongside the connector. Reference route 990F occupies segments of both streets, forming a right angle between US 11 and reference route 990G. The Susquehanna River, dividing the towns of Kirkwood and Conklin, is seen at lower left.

Exit numbers: Exit 2 from I-81 is for NY 17 east to New York, and US 11 (via reference route 990G). Northbound, signage for the US 11 exit is labelled "Industrial Park", but in the southbound direction that area is served by Exit 3 (see below). From NY 17 westbound, Exit 75 is for I-81 south to Scranton and US 11. From eastbound NY 17 the exit number given is that of I-81 (Exit 2).

The interchange: This interchange is the eastern split of Interstate 81 and NY 17 (future Interstate 86), which overlap through the City of Binghamton. (The western split is featured in Week 45.) Also served by this interchange is the high-speed connector to US 11, which carried NY 17 before Interstate 81 was constructed. (NY 17 then overlapped US 11 through Binghamton.) The interchange consists of a cloverleaf with one ramp "unrolled": that carrying through eastbound traffic for NY 17. The resulting configuration combines the full cloverleaf with the directional-Y interchange (a simple split of two roadways with one overpass). Through traffic on either I-81 or NY 17 passes through one of the Y's, with two lanes provided for each direction. Another Y exists between NY 17 and the connector roadway, altough only one lane is provided for the latter. A stream passing through the interchange adds to its visual interest.

Nearby, yet another directional-Y forms the split between US 11 and the connector roadway. This was once the split between US 11 and NY 17, just as there is now such a split with I-81. Note that this interchange design (in isolation) does not permit reverse-turn movements. Such movements are provided in this case by segments of Frances Street and Crescent Drive, which together are maintained by the State as reference route 990F. The existence of a state highway along these segments stems from the fact that they mark the original intersection between US 11 and NY 17. US 11 made the right angle turn from south to west, while NY 17 continued north on what is now Crescent Drive. Its old alignment was largely erased by the present highway, but numerous disconnected segments exist to the east of this area.

Nearby interchanges: Above is Exit 3, the next northward interchange on I-81. This southbound-only exit (northbound Exit 3 is for Broad Street in Binghamton) is labeled "Industrial Park", for it serves a nearby area of such parks, also visible in the top image. Exit 3 is an unusual form of half-diamond (see Week 58) in which the exit ramp simply intersects Colesville Road (Broome CR 52) at its intersection with Industrial Park Drive (CR 181). However, the entrance ramp comes from one of the industrial park access roads and crosses back over I-81 before merging. Note that this odd ramp is marked for one lane where it meets the access road, though it is wide enough for two. It expands to two lanes as it crosses I-81, then narrows again to one as it merges with I-81. This setup probably results from unfulfilled plans, with other access roads possibly connecting to this ramp.

Just south of Exit 3, where Colesville Road intersects US 11, a connector called Colesville Road Extension (CR 177) spans the Susquehanna River to NY 7 (shown at right). Because NY 7 runs directly alongside the river, the connector crosses over the highway and loops around to meet it on the far side in order to clear the river. The same thing happens at US 11, because the Norfolk Southern Railroad sits next to the highway. In this case, the connector meets Colesville Road just north of US 11. Colesville Road Extension also provides access to certain industrial areas.

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