Interchange of the Week
Monday, 1 December 2003
I-495 & I-678, Queens
Grand Central Parkway
Click the image to enlarge.

Orientation: Interstate 495, the Long Island Expressway, runs from left to right through Flushing Meadows-Corona Park. The Van Wyck Expressway carries Interstate 678 from bottom to top at right, while the Grand Central Parkway (reference route 907M) runs from top to bottom at left. College Point Boulevard enters at top right, eventually merging into the Van Wyck Expressway service roads.

Exit numbers: From I-495, Exits 22A and 22B are for the Grand Central Parkway eastbound and westbound, and Exits 22C and 22D are for I-678 southbound and northbound. Exit 22E is for College Point Boulevard.

From I-678, Exit 12A is for College Point Boulevard, to I-495 eastbound. Exit 12B is for I-495 westbound. From the Grand Central Parkway, Exits 10E and 10W are for I-495 eastbound and westbound.

The interchange: Two interchanges are featured here. The first is a full cloverleaf between the Grand Central Parkway and the Long Island Expressway (I-495), with collector/distributor roads on the former and service roads on the latter. There are a few anomalies in this interchange, however. The first is that the slip ramp entering the LIE mainline from the westbound service road (Horace Harding Boulevard North) branches off in advance of the ramp from the eastbound (geographically southbound) Grand Central Parkway. Therefore, traffic using this ramp does not enter the mainline until west of Woodhaven Boulevard (Exit 19). This ramp is also unusual in that it intersects two local streets in the Corona neighborhood. Another addition to the basic cloverleaf form is the entrance to the eastbound parkway from 62nd Avenue, which runs parallel to the eastbound LIE service road (Horace Harding Boulevard South).

East of the cloverleaf interchange, the Long Island Expressway passes under a pedestrian walkway connecting the south and north sections of Flushing Meadows-Corona Park. On the south side is Meadow Lake, with the New York State Amphitheatre at its base. To the north are the Unisphere and the New York State Pavilion, two of the prominent structures of the 1964-1965 World's Fair. East of the walkway is the interchange complex between the Long Island Expressway, the Van Wyck Expressway, and College Point Boulevard.

The design of this interchange provides direct flyover ramps to and from the west between I-495 and I-678, and indirect ground-level connections to and from the east and College Point Boulevard. The LIE service roads spread apart at this point, intersecting College Point Bouleavrd just east of the I-678 overpass (this marks Exit 22E on I-495). I-678 northbound has a single exit (Exit 12A) for College Point Boulevard and I-495 eastbound, the latter connection being made by a channelized right turn onto the eastbound service road, followed by a slip ramp entering the mainline. From south to east, motorists must use the southbound Exit 12A ramp at top right to College Point Boulevard, then turn left onto the service road. Similarly, connections from I-495 west to I-678 are made by the entrance ramps from College Point Boulevard. (The southbound entrance is made by a slip ramp south of the photo's bottom edge.) South of the interchange is the Exit 11 southbound ramp to Harry Van Arsdale Jr. Avenue via the southbound service road; this ramp also serves Flushing Meadows-Corona Park by means of a turnoff visible at bottom. At the Exit 11 ramp, there is an overpass providing access from the park onto I-678 northbound, and to the Long Island Expressway (via College Point Boulevard).

Of final note, at the time of this photo, the southbound lanes of I-678 were closed for reconstruction.

Long Island Expressway,
Van Wyck Expressway, and
Grand Central Parkway at Steve Anderson's

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